LIVER HEALTH WITH AYURVEDA
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It performs some of the body’s most vital functions. It is the primary organ of detoxification. It helps remove harmful toxins introduced into the body. Unhealthy food habits, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, environmental pollutants can all lead to accumulation of harmful toxins or ama in the body. The liver processes these harmful toxins and helps remove all these, keeping the body clean. The liver is also the organ which breaks down the various complex nutrients we consume daily into easily digestible forms. Apart from this, it also plays a major role in protein synthesis in the body. Metabolism and digestion are also affected by liver function.
Ayurveda considers the liver to be a predominantly hot or pitta centric organ. Pitta is representative of heat. However, when pitta is in excess in the body, this can work negatively and affect the liver in a bad way. When liver function reduces, it can cause exhaustion, tiredness, poor digestion and so on. This makes it absolutely essential to take steps to ensure good liver health. The liver is also an extremely resilient organ, which makes it easy for it to bounce back. Simply by incorporating the right lifestyle and dietary changes to pacify pitta, it is possible to maintain proper liver function. Ayurveda provides a number of ways to have a healthy liver.
- Panchakarma is the best way to reset the liver and provide optimum rest and time for it to get back to normal function. However, this must always be done carefully at an ayurvedic centre on the advice of an ayurvedic doctor.
- A simplified version of panchakarma, or even a 1-3 day cleanse can help the liver. Try a “one meal day” once a week or replace meals with fruit juices and vegetables for a day. All these reduce the load on the liver and help it detox.
- Triphala is an ayurvedic medicine which consists of Haritaki, Bibitaki and Amlaki. This is an effective remedy to help with digestion and regulate bowel movements.
- Drinking warm lemon water on an empty stomach in the morning is a great way to boost liver health. Lemon is a rich source of antioxidants and helps the liver detox.
- Bitter foods are great for cooling the body and pacifying pitta. Try adding bitter gourd to your diet, or take neem extract in small quantities.
- Reduce intake of refined sugar, flour, oils and fats. This will reduce the load on the liver.
- Coriander, fennel, cumin, turmeric and mint are all great ayurvedic herbs to add to your food. They help cool the body thereby reducing pitta.
- Pranayama and yoga can help the body. However, try to avoid doing much physical activity in the hotter afternoon hours.
- Abhyangam is an ayurvedic massage which helps detox the body. It deeply stimulates the skin, muscles and removes any toxins. It also relieves stress thereby reducing pitta in the body.
- Chyawanprash is another ayurvedic formulation which can be taken to boost digestion and detoxification in the body.
- Aloe vera gel is another cooling choice to help the liver.
If you suffer from any liver disease or condition, always consult an ayurvedic doctor for the best regimen.