Liver Detox or Regeneration:
What do You Really Need?
Liver Blood -
anemia, muscles, arthritis, cancer
- headaches, allergies, hormone issues, depression, lumps
Congested Liver -
similar to stagnation
- high blood pressure,
inflamed skin, gallbladder issues, splitting headaches
Liver Yin and Blood
dryness, blurred vision,
tinnitus, infertility, hot flashes
- tremors, seizures, vertigo,
dizziness, muscles, tendons
Purify Mind and
- letting go,
you been motivated to spring clean your home, purging it of
clutter, dirt, dust, and toxins; making needed repairs; and
restoring broken things? The same is in order for your body and
mind. Cycles of rejuvenation and purification are at their
height this time of year.
According to the wisdom of 5,000 year-old Traditional Holistic Healing
Arts, the liver and gall bladder correlate with the spring
season, a time when many experience more intensity in chronic
health conditions, greater stress, and physical difficulty. Both
liver and gall bladder are quite active in the process of
cleaning out and repairing. It is the perfect time of the year
to give them some extra attention.
what kind of attention do they really need? A lot of people,
including many health practitioners, oversimplify the
complexities of the liver and do more harm than good with a
gunshot approach. Using extreme detoxification products, foods,
and beverages that aren’t appropriate for your personal
condition will damage your health. Different therapeutic
strategies are needed based on individual patterns.
everyone needs to purge and flush toxins
conditions warrant nourishing the liver; others necessitate
regeneration. Liver heat wants to be cooled; liver blood
wants to be enriched; and liver stagnation is seeking movement.
Dampness in the liver needs to be dried out; liver wind wants to
be subdued; and liver yin requires replenishing. A congested
liver needs to be decongested.
overview of these conditions is included in this article. But
first it’s important to understand the bigger picture of your
liver’s many functions. So, before you buy the popular
detoxification products of the day, read on.
liver is the largest internal organ and is constantly working to
process everything you consume. This means food, beverages,
medications and supplements; and substances you ingest through
breathing, through your skin; and through your thoughts and
feelings. It is said to be like the General of an army. Its
complimentary organ, Gall Bladder, gives the ability to
Liver stores and distributes nourishment for the entire
body. It is involved in the formation and breakdown of blood,
and filters toxins from the blood. Liver cells make bile which
aids digestion, and stores bile in the gall bladder to be used
in the intestines for the breakdown of fats, and enhancing the
ability of small intestines to absorb fatty acids. So this organ
is an important aspect of healthy digestion.
Hormones are regulated by the Liver, and many menstrual,
menopausal and other hormone imbalances are rooted in a stagnant
Blood is nourished and purified by the liver, and when the liver
is stagnant, blood purification can be inadequate, leading to
the release of toxins through the skin. Impure blood is a cause
of acne, eczema, carbuncles, boils, acidosis and allergies.
Toxic blood feeds all degenerative conditions, including
arthritis and cancer.
tendons are nourished and moistened by the liver
resulting in smooth joint movement and good muscle action. If
liver blood is deficient, this may lead to symptoms such
as anemia, muscle cramps, weak limbs, and numbness of limbs, spasms,
contracted tendons, and tremors. Dry, brittle cracked nails are
a sign that the liver blood is deficient.
Detoxification will worsen liver blood deficiency.
Your eyes are nourished and moistened by your liver which
gives the capacity to see. Liver Blood deficiency results in
blurred vision, myopia, floaters, color blindness, dry "sandy"
visual abnormalities, including cataracts, glaucoma, and night
blindness mirror the health of the liver.
healthy liver establishes a smooth flow of vital life force
energy through the whole person in body, mind, emotions and
spirit. When liver energy is stagnant the health issues listed
occur. This is only a partial list. Most people have some degree of liver stagnation.
Nervous system disorders
Lumps, swellings, mastitis
Menstrual and menopause problems
Muscle pain and tendon and ligament issues
Impure blood which causes skin disorders
Neck and back tension; headaches, including migraines
Distended abdomen, chest, or breasts
Impatience, moodiness, frustration, anger, depression
Overeating, late night eating, rich, greasy food such as mammal
meats (turkey, in particular, overheats and stagnates the liver);
cream, cheese and eggs; hydrogenated and poor quality fats;
excessive nuts and seeds; chemicals in food and water;
prescription drugs; all intoxicants; and highly processed,
refined foods all contribute to a sluggish and congested liver.
food isn’t everything. How you perceive yourself and internalize
your life’s experiences have as much effect as the food you
eat. Perfectionism, control issues, need to be right, critical
of self and others; resentment, and holding a grudge all damage
the smooth flow of energy to and from the liver. Repressed
emotions are stored in your liver. Consider
Brain: Taming the Voice of Sabotage Webinar on May 12th.
Regularly eat moderately pungent foods, including
mustard greens, turmeric, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, marjoram,
cumin, caraway, fennel, dill, ginger, black pepper, horseradish,
rosemary, peppermint and spearmint.
Green foods, especially dark,
leafy greens clear stagnancy and cool liver heat. Include
dandelion, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens,
watercress, and others.
Include these anti-stagnancy
foods: beets, sweet brown rice, strawberries, peaches, cherries,
chestnuts, pine nuts, cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi, cauliflower,
broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Sprouted grains, beans and
seeds, and fresh vegetables and fruits stimulate liver energy
flow. Try my Borscht Soup Recipe
Avocado, Beet and Fennel Salad.
spring cleanse or at least parts of it.
Causes are similar to
those for liver stagnation. Vinegar and lemon reduce
accumulations in the liver and abdomen that result from a rich
diet, a meat-centered diet, and too man refined foods. Use 1
tsp. organic apple cider vinegar in a cup of water 2-3 times
daily. Do not use distilled vinegar. This will also lift a bad
mood. Vinegar is warming. Alternatively you could use fresh
lemon which is cooling. Use 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon in water
several times daily.
sour flavor is most active in the liver where it counteracts the
effects of rich, greasy food, and the heavier foods of winter.
It functions as a solvent by breaking down fats and protein.
Sour helps in digestion to dissolve minerals for improved
Emphasize sour foods such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, leeks,
sauerkraut, vinegar, pickles, strawberries, tart apples,
rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, and huckleberries. Tempeh,
sourdough bread, and sprouted grains, are also the sour flavor.
Best to eat unyeasted breads. Try my vegan
Reuben with sauerkraut.
Radishes and daikon are very effective for decongesting your
spring cleanse or at least parts of it.
digestive enzymes; these are high quality and my favorites:
and Quiet Digestion.
contributes to serious conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis,
fibrosis, enlarged liver, gallbladder inflammation and stones;
chronic viral inflammations.
These conditions are also caused by too much liver heat and
stagnation. Follow recommendations for stagnation and heat
and seriously consider an animal-free diet. There are very good
formulas; some are not listed because
Consultation is recommended for best nutrition therapy
and herbs based on your constitution and condition.
spring cleanse or at least parts of it.
Red, sore, burning, and dry eyes
Inflamed skin such as hives
Low backache, weak legs
High blood pressure
Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, Viral Infections
Gallbladder inflammation and stones
Impatience, anger; explosive personality; arrogance;
long term liver stagnancy creates heat in the liver as do rich
diets, too many fats and animal protein from meat, cheese, and
eggs, and fried foods.
Prolonged over-consumption of
caffeine and caffeine-like substances, including coffee, black
tea, matte, cocoa, colas, and chocolate; alcohol and other
intoxicants; and sugar are heating up your liver,
Sea vegetables are very useful. Include lots of steamed dark
leafy greens—they cleanse the blood and liver. Include greens
that naturally grow in the spring such as watercress, dandelion,
chickweed, nettles, and purslane. Add lemon juice to
steamed greens—it makes the
iron in them more available. Iron is a blood
strengthening mineral which clears heat from the liver.
Sea Vegetables Recipes
Use good quality flax oil;
Protein from beans, legumes and white meats (except turkey which heats
and congests the liver); large variety of cooked vegetables,
some fresh fruit and salads, and whole, unprocessed grains.
Drink green tea, dandelion and chicory teas, yerba mate, or
rosemary tea instead of coffee for energy, and chamomile tea
instead of alcohol to relax.
Avoid liver stagnating foods.
Heat Clearing Herbs
spring regeneration/cleanse or at least parts of it.
Yin is the nourishing,
moistening aspect, and, when deficient, needs to be replenished.
Detoxification will cause further disharmony that will manifest
as disease. This condition often combines with liver blood
Liver yin deficiency
contributes to adrenal fatigue
(a buzz term in modern medicine); overall body dryness; anemia,
B12 deficiency, infertility, blurred vision, easy bruising,
brittle nails, tinnitus, and some tremors. Liver yin deficiency
causes deficiency heat resulting in sweats and hot flashes.
excessive hot, spicy
food including garlic; coffee and black tea; cigarettes,
alcohol, and recreational drugs, including marijuana. Excessive
vigorous exercise, being constantly on the go; and overwork
deplete liver yin and kidneys which also must be regenerated.
Vinegar should be minimized and lamb, shrimp and veal avoided.
You need quiet, meditative alone
time consistently. Rest more; get more sleep; practice deep
breathing several times daily for at least five minutes; take
yoga or tai chi classes; read a book for pleasure.
of your diet should be a variety of cooked vegetables. Sea
vegetables are excellent for building the yin and moistening
dryness. Include miso, tofu, tempeh, adzuki, mung, and black
beans. Tempeh, tofu, and miso are very nourishing for the yin as
are oats, rice, and millet. If your digestion is strong and you
don’t have belly fat issues, use some goat or sheep yogurt
(nothing from a cow). And, if you eat animal food, include eggs,
oysters, mussels, clams, and small amounts of sardines. Buy
organic, non-GMO foods. Spirulina powder is especially helpful.
Herbs for Building Liver
Herbs for Liver Blood
imbalance manifests as symptoms that affect the nervous system,
muscles, tendons, and eyes. Parkinson’s disease, stroke, Bell’s
Palsy; convulsions, seizures; tremors, twitching, vertigo,
dizziness, and sudden headaches are examples of an internal
liver wind invasion.
also expresses in conditions where symptoms change quickly such
as pain in the body that changes locations, or rashes that move
to different areas of the body. Allergies, the common cold and
flu exhibit, in part, liver wind. Symptoms change from
shivering, coughing, headache, watery, itchy eyes, pain, etc.
Pesticides and hormones accumulated in animal fats; pesticide
residues in plant foods; fish with excessive toxins including
farm raised fish and bottom dwellers; pharmaceuticals, including
over the counter drugs and recreational drugs; hydrogenated
oils; fatty meats, bacon, eggs, rich sauces, butter and
margarine; alcohol, coffee, and sugar; a fast paced life;
emotional turmoil; and causes of heat patterns.
organic food as much as possible. Use sea vegetables, flax and
hemp seeds and flax and hemp seed oils; high quality coconut
milk or coconut meat; plant proteins are best: beans, legumes,
tofu, tempeh, miso; and wild caught fish. Eat a wide variety of
vegetables including those listed for liver stagnation, and
minimize raw vegetables.
erratic eating, work and sleep habits, overeating, overworking,
and excessive worry.
Herbs for Liver Wind
Purifying your Mind
encourages and supports letting go, clearing out the old,
renewal, and planting new seeds. This may mean habits; personal
truths that have been guiding your life; ways of being in the
world; work and relationships that are not supporting your
highest good; and poor nutritional choices. Purging yourself of
outdated beliefs, attitudes, and toxic emotions that are not
supporting your health and happiness clears stagnant energy that
may be keeping you heavy and stuck.
Negative emotional states cause you to make poor food choices
and eventually lead to health, weight, and lifestyle
problems. Your body, mind, emotions, and spirit are one
continuum of energy with each aspect affecting the others.
Journaling your thoughts and feelings is very helpful for
Include things and experiences that you want to eliminate from
your life. Emotions are a metaphor for what you’re holding onto
in your physical body. The process of writing can bring to your
awareness thoughts and emotions that are keeping you where you
are. As these negative states surface, pay attention to them and
find ways to release them. Reflect on their positive purpose in
your life—how they’ve caused you to grow, mature, become more
forgiving, and change in other positive ways.
Include in your journaling all the positive aspects of you, your
life, and all the good things you want to bring into your
life and health. Renew your relationship with yourself by making
a decision to love and respect yourself. This means you will
have to eliminate negative self-judgment, perfectionism, and
living in the past. In doing so, the miracles that are occurring
in nature will be reflected in your life. A more radiant, vital,
healthier and happier you will soon emerge.
people lack vision. Creating a vision statement is akin to
planting seeds in the garden. Plant the mental seeds now by
writing your goals; and feeding and nurturing your dreams by
taking action toward them. Watch them blossom and come to
fruition as nature does in the warmer months.
resources for mental/emotional clearing:
is far more than vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrate, and
fats. Every food has specific properties that either regenerate
or degenerate your health, including mind and emotions. You've
learned how some cause stagnation, congestion, heat, and
depletion of the vital nourishing moistening yin, and blood
building and cleansing aspects.
Please get to the root of your liver and other health and weight
imbalances. Review the information I’ve given and make some new
There’s so much reductionist, inaccurate, one-size-fits-all
information and advice circulating in the world; and no lack of
internet advice from hundreds of thousands of people who lack an
understanding of food therapeutics.
you resonate with a Holistic approach,
professional guidance for the right nutrition and holistic
health plan for
you. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical,
mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach.
Schedule an Introductory Holistic Health
and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 30-year
Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You'll be on your way to better
health. Sessions can be done by phone,
skype, or at Pittsburgh office.
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30-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor/Coach, speaker, and author,
has helped thousands of clients reverse health and weight issues;
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