One of the most important organs in the body for our overall health and wellbeing, we often think of the liver primarily as a detoxification organ—and it most certainly is—however, it also manufactures and regulates hormones, controls fat storage and energy production, creates proteins, cleanses the blood, plays a critical role in digestion and regulates the supply of essential vitamins and minerals, among many other things.
Case in point, if your liver is out of balance, overly toxic or under-functioning in any way, shape or form, your entire mind-body system will suffer as a result. That means low or depressed mood, low energy, skin problems, diminished sex drive, poor digestion, brain fog/mental sluggishness and a host of other symptoms. On the other hand a well cared for and properly functioning liver (which can be accomplished through the ingestion of the liver cleansing foods and herbs listed below) will support lasting energy throughout the day, feelings of happiness and joy, increased mental clarity and functioning, strong digestion, healthy eyes, hair, skin and nails, increased libido and generally radiant health and wellness.In Traditional Chinese medicine philosophy, the liver is an important regulator of ‘Qi’ in the body, which loosely translates to ‘life-force energy’ or ‘vital energy’, which is believed to be the energy that sustains life itself. As such, proper liver health is essential to our deepest sense of vitality and aliveness. The Chinese also believe that the organs are closely related to our emotional health and that liver imbalances cause us to more frequently experience anger and frustration, among others.
As such, the inclusion of special liver cleansing foods and herbs are regularly called for in Traditional Chinese medicine practices as well as in Western herbal traditions and nearly every indigenous culture on the planet. By making these powerful liver cleansing herbs and foods a regular part of your diet and lifestyle, you can quickly restore functioning of your liver to optimal levels and ensure radiant lifelong health and wellness.
Liver Cleansing Foods and Herbs for
Lifelong Health and Wellness
1. Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Stimulates appetite and improves digestion
also known as the common appetizer endive, this powerful liver cleansing food doubles as a medicinal tonic herb.
This liver cleansing plant has popularized vegetables such as escarole or endive. Its leaves are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Furthermore, its dried root can be a healthy coffee substitute. As a vegetable, it is very easy to prepare it. Pair with other foods that counteract its particular bitter taste to make delicious and refreshing salads with nutritional and medicinal properties.
When should you use it?
Whether fresh or dry, use it before meals—its components help to stimulate the appetite of children and adults, and strengthen the digestive system. Thanks to its lactucopicrin, responsible for the bitter taste of chicory leaves, it also has a cholagogue effect; that is, it facilitates emptying the gall bladder and therefore improves food digestion. Thus, it clears the liver and improves its functions. Chicory is recommended for those suffering from gallbladder and liver disorders and slow digestion.
Its mild laxative action also treats chronic constipation, and its mild diuretic effect helps prevent water retention. Dried chicory root is used as a coffee substitute, with the advantage that it is a digestive infusion without any stimulants.
Use its freshly picked leaves in salads or fresh juice. Its juice is very bitter but very effective for stimulating appetite. Use its fresh or dried root for preparing decoctions (2 teaspoons per cup). The root is also available dried and crushed for preparing coffee substitute (dried, roasted, and ground). It can also be found in liquid extract (2 to 6 drops per day split into multiple doses).
Digestive decoction: mix a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of chicory root and boil it for 5 minutes. Let it steep for 10 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day, before meals, to stimulate your appetite and digest your food well.