Liver/Gallbladder Disease

Natural and herbal remedy recipes for treating liver and gallbladder disease


Liver/ Gallbladder Disease 

 

Liver is the sole organ in promoting and detoxifying blood. Promoting liver health is similar to promoting blood. Spring is the best season to address liver health because it is the beginning of a new cycle of growth and the liver needs to produce more blood to support the growth. To protect and improve liver health, we need to observe the following guideline:

1. Drink more water

Water is important to keep fluid moving and to clean out toxins from the body. Water helps in digestion, circulation of nutrients and detoxification of blood. The more toxins we can clean out of the body, the lesser burden it will be for the liver. Green color foods can increase the detoxifying function and mung bean is the best choice. Cooking mung beans in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes and drink the green water regularly throughout spring and summer is best to support detoxification and can cool down internal heat. 

2. Eat regular balanced diet

Both over eating or under eating can cause abnormal production of digestive enzymes and bile by the liver therefore affecting its normal function. Foods should be bland in taste in spring and not too hot or spicy. It is best to eat more fruits and vegetables.

3. Not too much alcohol

Moderate drinking can uplift liver yang energy but too much alcohol can damage the liver by giving it too much things to detoxify. 

4. Stay positive and be happy

Anxiety, anger, sad and worry are the emotions that can cause suppression to liver energy and damage the liver. Controlling these emotions can give positive and uplifting energy to the liver so that it can work at its best. 

5. Adequate exercise

Light outdoor exercise in spring such as hiking, jogging and tai-chi can promote blood circulation which is good for promoting liver function.  

6. Eat foods to benefit liver

Foods such as chrysanthemum, animal's liver, goji-berries, angelica, etc. can lower liver heat and enrich blood. Eating some sour taste foods can help to promote liver health but over doing it can suppress liver energy.    

The Liver in Environmental Illnesses 

The importance of the gut flora in ill health is becoming increasingly obvious as it is implicated as a cause of an increasing number of illnesses. The health of the gut has a substantial impact on the health of the liver as everything absorbed from the intestines passes through the liver so that harmful substances can be detoxified before the rest of the body is exposed to them.

In one study by doctors at Biolab UK, 61% of sufferers of undiagnosed chronic illnesses with predominant fatigue were found to have overgrowth of both bacteria and yeast in the gut1. As a result of their normal metabolism these micro-organisms produce waste products that in increased amounts can be harmful to the liver and the person’s health as a whole. Yeast in particular produce a large amount of ethanol (drinking alcohol) which is highly toxic to the liver, in fact alcohol is the single most toxic substance to liver cells. As well as producing increased amounts of toxic substances for the liver to deal with, yeast or bacterial overgrowth also causes damage to the intestinal lining causing 'leaky gut'.

Increased gut permeability results in even more potentially toxic substances from the gut being absorbed to put further stress on the livers detoxification pathways. A study of liver disease in alcoholics found that only the patients with a leaky gut developed cirrhosis of the liver2. This points to the possibility that in people with gut dysbiosis, not only is there chronic ingestion of alcohol but the leaky gut caused by bacterial and/or yeast overgrowth leads to more severe effects on the liver from the alcohol produced. If the liver is overwhelmed by toxins from the gut and from chemicals in everyday use it won't function correctly and may even become damaged and inflamed. As a result, not all toxins entering the liver are detoxified and gain access to the bloodstream to travel anywhere in the body. These toxins and the excess of free radicals (highly reactive forms of oxygen) caused by poor liver function can cause direct damage to tissues and also initiate allergic or auto-immune reactions. Un-neutralized toxins are also expelled into the bile in this situation and can further damage the intestinal lining, setting up a vicious cycle in which gut dysbiosis and leaky gut cause poor liver function which in turn worsens the gut dysbiosis and leaky gut.

As mentioned earlier, the liver requires large amounts of energy and nutrients to function efficiently. If the liver is overwhelmed by toxins, these nutrients can become depleted and the liver will function inefficiently resulting in numerous symptoms and problems throughout the body. Many of these nutrients can be replaced by supplementation, improving the functioning of the liver. There are also a number of herbs and other methods that can heal a damaged liver and improve detoxification functions.

Herbs for the Liver

Milk Thistle (Silymarin)
The milk thistle plant contains silymarin and related flavonoids which are some of the most potent liver-protecting substances known. These flavonoids are powerful antioxidants so protect the liver from damaging toxins and free radicals. They also stimulate healing and the production of new liver cells and cause the liver to increase production of glutathione, the bodies most important antioxidant and detoxifying substance. Silymarin has been proven to both protect liver cells and repair existing damage in animals intoxicated with mushroom toxins, medicines, heavy metals or toxic organic solvents3. Human studies have also shown decreased mortality in patients with alcoholic liver damage who are treated with silymarin3. Milk thistle is commonly available in capsule or tincture form and a common dose would be 200mg 2/3 times per day. For hepatitis and cirrhosis doses of 400mg or more 3 times per day are common. 

Burdock
Burdock contains a number of nutrients important to liver function. These include vitamins B1, B6 and B12 which are essential for the function of phase 1 liver detoxification's pathways, vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant and sulphur which is essential for a number of important phase 2 liver detoxification pathways in which potent toxins created by phase 1 detoxification are neutralized. Phase 2 pathways requiring sulphur include those utilizing glutathione. Burdock also contains other substances such as arctiin which act to improve liver and gallbladder function. 

Dandelion
Clinical studies have shown dandelion extract to have protective effects against lipid peroxidation and free radicals, both damaging products of a poorly functioning liver4. Like burdock, dandelion contains a wealth of nutrients important to liver function, especially the B vitamins. It cleanses the liver and increases the production of bile. Dandelion is often used as a herbal treatment for all liver diseases of the liver including hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an infection or inflammation of the liver due to viruses of "A", "B" and "C". Drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated seafood can result in hepatitis A. It can easily spread through person-to-person contacts. Hepatitis B is usually contracted from bad blood or infected needles or sexual activity. Hepatitis C is always acquired from blood transfusions. The major symptoms are fever, flu-like symptoms, weakness, poor appetite, fatigue, dark urine and light-colored stools. Most people who got hepatitis can eventually recover with proper nutrition and complete rest. However, liver disease caused by alcohol can lead to death.

Chinese medicine sees hepatitis as damp heat invasion causing spleen dampness, liver energy congestion, blood coagulation, disharmony of liver and spleen, and liver-kidney yin deficiency. Infectious virus, excessive alcohol consumption and irregular eating habits can impair the normal functions of spleen, therefore affecting liver and gallbladder to regulate bile. Bile will then deposit in muscles, skin, bladder, creating yellowish eyes, face and urine. Treatments focus on clearing heat, removing dampness, harmonizing spleen, and nourishing yin. Herbs commonly prescribed are capillaris, atractylodes, aconite, persica and carthamus.

Jaundice

Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin. Jaundice is often seen in liver disease such as hepatitis or liver cancer. It may also indicate obstruction of the biliary tract, for example by gallstones or pancreatic cancer. Turmeric in yellow curry is effective in treating jaundice.

The diet for people with liver disease should be low in protein, low fat and avoid raw fish and shellfish. Avoid spicy and highly processed foods. Sweet potatoes can lower the yellowish color on skin. Foods that are diuretic, such as job's tear, are useful in removing dampness. Bitter melon and dates drink are  tonic for liver. Dandelion and burdock are effective in cleansing the liver and the bloodstream. Licorice is used for treating viral hepatitis. Honey can promote proper functioning of liver cells, lower liver fat and promote proper circulation of blood and lower blood pressure. Green pepper and bitter melon are best for releasing liver fire with symptom of red and dry eyes. White turnip soak in vinegar can promote bile movement and help to secret gall bladder stones and kill cancer cells. 

Gallstones

Gallstones are formed by stagnant bile flows, secreted by the liver and passed to gallbladder for storage. First it formed sludge and then stones. When the stones are small, they will pass through into the intestines and out. If they are large and got stuck in the bile duct, they will cause a sharp, stabbing sensation. Most elderly people have gallstones due to excess cholesterol, high sugar and fat diet and overweight. Women on pill are more likely to have gallstones. The symptoms are bloating, upper abdominal discomfort, flatulence and food intolerance.

Diet plays an important part in preventing the formation of gallstones and reduces the frequency of their attacks. The preventive diet consists of fruits, vegetables, fiber, no sugar, and little saturated or unsaturated fat. A vegetarian diet is recommended. Lemon juice with olive oil before bedtime will help to eliminate gallstones. Apple juice, pear juice and beet juice are good for cleaning out the system. Sour white turnip promotes the production of bile and prevents the formation of gallstone. Walnut and celery can help to pass out small stones and so is sour plum juice.

 

All Liver and Gallbladder Recipes:

Chrysanthemum and Goji-berries Tea (5701)

Clear liver heat

Abrus Cantoniensis Tea (5702)

Clear liver heat and detoxify

Self-heal and Soy Bean Tea (5703)

Calm over active liver due to liver or lung heat

Gou-ji Leaves Tea (5704)

Treat hardening of liver

Complete Liver Protection Tea (5705)

Clear heat, detoxifying liver and prevent liver disease

Tie Guan Yin Detox Tea (5706)

Treat early symptoms of hepatitis

10 Herbs Hepatitis Tea (5707)

Treat early symptoms of hepatitis

Chrysanthemum & Licorice Tea (5708)

Lower liver heat and clear toxins in eyes and liver

Two Berries Drink (5709)

Treat dry eyes, swollen with pain and unclear vision

Capillaris and Honey Dates Drink (5710)

Treat infectious hepatitis

Hypericum and Egg (5711)

Acute jaundice hepatitis with eyes and skin turning yellow

Goji-leave Congee (5712)

Treat weak liver function with poor eye sight and/or hardening of liver

Ling-Chi and Astragalus Soup (5713)

Treat later stage of chronic hepatitis

Goji-leave and Chicken Liver Soup (5714)

Treat weak liver function

Abrus Cantoniensis & Pig Liver Soup (5715)

Treat hepatitis C with yellow skin

Catfish Soup (5716)

Treat acute or chronic hepatitis

Honeysuckle and Gardenia Soup (5717)

Treat pain around the liver and swollen liver

Pigeon and Goji-berry Soup (5719)

Treat deficiency of liver and kidney leading to weakening of heart and spleen

Corn Silk and Carp Soup (5718)

Treat symptoms of hepatitis

Abrus Cantoniensis, Dandelion and Chicken Bone Soup (5720)

Calm liver and clear heat, and strengthen liver functions

Coin Grass and Abrus Cantoneinsis Tea (5721)

Small gallstones found in gallbladder

Clear Liver Heat Pork Soup (5722)

Treat cholelithiasis or cholecystitis with dampness-heat syndrome and infectious hepatitis

Cordyceps Chicken Soup (5723)

Benefit blood and liver; improve body strength and the immune system

Amaranth and Pig Liver Soup (5724)

Treat weak liver with abnormal teary eyes