Herbal Teas for Healthy Liver
Holistic Living

Top 5 Herbal Teas to Keep Your Liver Healthy

Posted

10 July 2015

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The humble liver; an organ that doesn’t have the fierceness of the heart, or the lungs but is still one of the hardest working organs in our body. It is also one the toughest and strongest organs that performs many functions in order to keep the human body in good shape. In a nutshell, the liver processes everything you eat and / or drink and either repackages it for your body to use or eliminates it. The liver plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s metabolic balance, so a good and healthy functioning liver is the hallmark of overall good health. Not exactly a role to take lightly.

Since the liver is almost like the gatekeeper of the body, processing everything that you eat or drink, it is exposed to a variety of toxins, microbials, circulatory and cancerous insults and pollutants. Add to that things like alcohol and certain medications and you’ve got more things that further burden our liver.

When you look at it this way, I’m sure you understand why it is so important that we keep a healthy diet and maintain good lifestyle habits so that we can reduce the workload of our liver. A little helping hand by regularly cleansing the liver can also restore and enhance its function. Lucky for us, we don’t have to go far for that as mother nature offers an abundance of liver supporting herbs.

Here are 5 top herbal teas that can help to restore and keep your liver healthy:

purelyb Chanca Piedra

Phyllanthus

Also known as ‘Dukung Anak’ or Chanca Piedra, it is widely available in countries like India, Malaysia, China, and Brazil, amongst others. Currently, the Phyllanthus Niruri and Phyllanthus Amarus varieties have been clinically studied for their liver-protecting activity.[1,2] The indigenous people of the Amazon have used phyllanthus for centuries to promote the body’s natural elimination of liver, gallbladder and kidney stones. It also stimulates the liver to purge itself of harmful toxins and foreign particles. [3]

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Two Phyllanthus studies have been linked to protective and detoxifying actions in children with hepatitis and jaundice with the British study reporting that children treated for acute hepatitis had liver functions return to normal within five days. [4,5,6,7,8,9]

Dukung Anak has a bitter aftertaste, though it is normal for liver protective herbs to have bitter aftertastes as this actually helps to stimulate the bile juice production from the gall bladder, and helps in the fat metabolism and reduces the formation of calcified stones in the body.

purelyb dandelion root

Dandelion Root

Dandelion root is a commonly used herb for liver and digestion support as it is a very safe herb, with a bitter woody taste (a good thing). Dandelions may seem like a weed, but their roots contain vitamins and minerals that can improve your liver function. It has cholagogues properties - a medicinal agent that helps stimulate the production of bile and its flow between the gall bladder. Why is the production of bile so important? Because it helps in fat metabolism and digestion, maintains healthy cholesterol levels, and protects your gallbladder functions. It is also a gentle ‘hepatoprotectant’ herb which helps to repair and protect liver from exposure to toxins. [10,11,12,13]

Drinking dandelion root tea regularly is a good way to keep your liver healthy. Since dandelion has a unique bitter taste, some people use it as a healthy coffee substitute. It is definitely a great idea to enjoy a cup of ‘dande-latte’ after a big unhealthy fatty meal.

purelyb turmeric

Turmeric

Turmeric is in the same plant family as ginger, and it contains a lot of powerful antioxidants that will keep your liver healthy. Turmeric is like a rock star amongst herbs, and it is also one of the most clinically tested and written-about herb. It is most noted for reducing inflammation, but it is also a great herb to protect and heal a damaged and diseased liver.

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A new clinical trial published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine is shedding light on turmeric's remarkable liver protective and regenerative properties. [14]

Its active compound - known as curcumin - has long been connected to liver health. It can stimulate your body to produce the enzymes that flush the known dietary carcinogens and toxins from the liver; the result is enhanced protection against liver damage, and even regeneration of affected liver cells. Besides this, turmeric is also notably responsible for improving the health of the gallbladder as well. The result: a much healthier liver that can function properly. [15,16,17,18]

To drink it mix a spoonful or two of turmeric powder in warm water to drink as a tea, or alternatively, blend to taste in your juice.

purelyb green tea

Green Tea

Green tea has been cultivated for centuries, and it is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidant polyphenol, particularly catechin. These antioxidants have proven to be supremely effective at improving liver function, as well as getting rid of toxins and free radicals accumulated in the liver.

However, bear in mind that green tea while drinking in a moderate amount in tea form may reduce the risk of liver disorders, could actually have toxic effects on your liver when taken in large amounts in supplement form. [22,23]

So the bottom line is If you want the benefits of green tea, drink it as a tea - even up to 10 cups a day appears to have positive benefits to your liver, according to the University of Maryland - but do skip the supplements.

purelyb chamomile tea

Chamomile tea

A traditional, gentle calming and sedative tea made from flowers, chamomile tea is very soothing for our nervous system, and it is also a great liver protective herb.  It tastes slightly bitter, and in Traditional Chinese medicine it is thought that Chamomile tea may be able to clear the heat of the liver. [25,26,27]

Researchers at the Himalayan Pharmacy Institute in Sikkim cited a 2006 study showing that an extract of chamomile effectively protected liver cells from inflammatory damage caused by paracetamol, known in the United States as acetaminophen. It can also be helpful with digestion after a meal. Be sure to steep it well to get all the medicinal benefits.

References:

1. Londhe, J., et al. "Geraniin and amariin, ellagitannins from Phyllanthus amarus, protect liver cells against ethanol induced cytotoxicity." Fitoterapia. 2012 Dec;83(8):1562-8.

2. Amin, Z., et al. "Protective Role of Phyllanthus niruri Extract against Thioacetamide-Induced Liver Cirrhosis in Rat Model." Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2012;2012:241583. 

3. Stickel, F., et al. "Herbal medicine in the treatment of liver diseases." Dig. Liver Dis.2007; 39(4): 293-304. 

4. Srirama, R., et al. "Hepatoprotective activity of Indian Phyllanthus." Pharm Biol. 2012 Aug;50(8):948-53. 

5. Thakur, J., et al. "Enhancing hepatoprotective bioactives of phyllanthus amarus through immobilization by growth promoters and media changes." Indian J Pharm Sci.2011 May;73(3):271-5. 

6. Sharma, S., et al. "Hepatoprotective activity of the Phyllanthus species on tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BH)-induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells." Pharmacogn Mag. 2011 Jul;7(27):229-33. 

7. Wong, V., et al. "Treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with Phyllanthus urinaria - A randomized trial." J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Oct 4.

8. Negi, A., et al. "Recent advances in plant hepatoprotectives: a chemical and biological profile of some important leads." Med. Res. Rev. 2008 Sep; 28(5): 746-72. 

9. , C., et al. “Use of herbal supplements for chronic liver disease.” Clin.Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004; 2(11): 947-56. 

10. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2002:78-83.

11. Dandelion | University of Maryland Medical Centerhttp://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion#ixzz3ekWqlOTY 

University of Maryland Medical Center 

12. Sweeney B, Vora M, Ulbricht C, Basch E. Evidence-based systematic review of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(1):79-93.

13. LaValle JB, Krinsky DL, Hawkins EB, et al. Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide. Hudson, OH:LexiComp; 2000: 420-421.

14. Sang-Wook Kim, Ki-Chan Ha, Eun-Kyung Choi, Su-Young Jung, Min-Gul Kim, Dae-Young Kwon, Hye-Jung Yang, Min-Jung Kim, Hee-Joo Kang, Hyang-Im Back, Sun-Young Kim, Soo-Hyun Park, Hum-Young Baek, Yong-Jae Kim, Joon-Yeol Lee, Soo-Wan Chae. The effectiveness of fermented turmeric powder in subjects with elevated alanine transaminase levels: a randomised controlled study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 ;13:58. Epub 2013 Mar 8. PMID: 23497020

15. Asai A, Miyazawa T. Dietary curcuminoids prevent high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation in rat liver and epididymal adipose tissue. J Nutr. 2001;131(11):2932-2935.

16. Baum L, et al. Curcumin effects on blood lipid profile in a 6-month human study. Pharmacol Res. 2007;56(6):509-

17. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:379-384.

18. Curcuma longa (turmeric). Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2001;6 Suppl:S62-S66.

19. Imai K, Nakachi K. Cross-sectional study of effects of drinking green tea on cardiovascular and liver diseases. BMJ 1995; 310: 693-6. PubMed Citation  (In a population based survey of 1371 Japanese men, drinking >10 cups of green tea daily was associated with lower total cholesterol and triglycerides levels, increased HDL and lower ALT [19 vs 24 U/L] and AST [23 vs 25 U/L] values).

20. Jin X, Zheng RH, Li YM. Green tea consumption and liver disease: a systematic review. Liver Int. 2008;28(7):990-6.

21. McKenna DJ, Hughes K, Jones K. Green tea monograph. Alt Ther. 2000;6(3):61-84.

22. Bonkovsky HL. Hepatotoxicity associated with supplements containing Chinese green tea (Camellia sinensis). Ann Intern Med 2006; 144: 68-71.

23. García-Morán S, Sáez-Royuela F, Gento E, López Morante A, Arias L. [Acute hepatitis associated with Camellia tea and Orthosiphon stamineus ingestion]. Gastroenterol Hepatol 2004; 27: 559-60. Spanish. PubMed Citation  (25 year old woman developed jaundice 2 months after starting green tea extract 

24. Pasechnik LK. Cholagogic action of extracts prepared from wild chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)Farmakol Toksikol. 1996;29:468–9. 

25. Gardiner, P (2007). "Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Chamomile".Pediatric Review 28 (4): 16–18. PMID17400821.

26. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2012). "Chamomile". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 3 November 2012.

27. "Roman chamomile: MedlinePlus". MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2014-08-30.

 


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