The Best Supplements & Herbs to Nurture Your Liver & Kidneys
You’ve finally decided to nurture your liver and kidneys. You might be looking for the best liver detox or how to successfully flush your kidneys and liver. You might be wondering, “What does the liver do?” or “What are the best herbs for kidney health?” This article will answer those questions and more.
Let’s Start With Your Liver
At around 3 lbs, your lovely liver is a large, meaty organ, almost the size of a football. This dark brown and reddish beast is protected by your rib cage and sits on the upper right side of your stomach. It lives just beneath your diaphragm and above your tummy. When you feel pain in your liver, it most likely comes from your upper right abdomen, mid-to-upper back, or within your right shoulder blade.
Your liver has a few adjacent relatives. Cousin Gallbladder sits directly under the liver, where you’ll also find parts of Aunt Pancreas and Uncle Intestines. This little system works hard to digest your food, absorb nutrients, and filter the blood that comes from your digestive tract.
While the liver regulates and detoxifies the chemicals going through your body, and metabolizes the drugs in your system, it secretes bile, which breaks down fats and carries waste to your intestines. All of this happens during digestion. When you eat, your liver goes to work.
Your liver produces proteins that are important in blood clotting, and it breaks down old and damaged blood cells. It metabolites carbohydrates and ensures your blood sugar levels remain constant. Your liver also stores vitamins and minerals and releases them when you need them most.
The liver is one of those organs that people tend to take for granted. We sometimes assume that it can handle anything. While this is almost true, we forget that the liver is a catch-all for everything we put into and experience within our bodies, including emotions. Even though it’s usually reliable, and our primary line of defense, the liver has limits.
Liver disease is severe and can stem from a variety of causes, including:
- Cancer and other growths
- Injecting drugs
- Exposure to other people’s fluids
- Exposure to chemicals and toxins
How To Improve Liver Function
Sometimes healing our livers is as simple as dramatically reducing our consumption of alcohol and drugs, avoiding risky sexual behavior, removing aerosols and toxic soaps from our homes, meditating, crying, forgiving others, protecting our skin, and eating natural, organic, whole foods.
If you’re serious about improving your liver function, you might consider taking some of these herbs, each of which has unique healing properties:
- Milk Thistle
- NAC N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
- Artichoke Leaf
- Marshmallow Root
- Chana Piedra
- Dandelion Root
- Yellow Dock Root
- Tocotrienols (a type of vitamin E)
Ayurvedic medicine has also been successful in healing the liver, doing so for thousands of years. While it’s best to consult a physician or Ayurvedic practitioner before consuming these herbs, here is the list of Ayurvedic herbs often prescribed to cleanse the liver: Bhumyamalaki, Barberry, Kutki, Amla, Turmeric, Guduchi, and Amalaki.
Tell Me About My Kidneys and How to Heal Them Naturally
Your two kidneys are bean-shaped warriors who continuously protect you. How do they do it? They filter your blood, removing waste, drugs, acid, and excess water to produce urine. They help your body maintain a healthy balance of water, salt, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in your blood. They also produce an active form of vitamin D, which feeds your bones.
With a million functional units called nephrons, your kidneys keep your nerves, muscles, and other tissues functioning correctly. They regulate plasma, extracellular fluid, ion concentrations, pH, toxins, and hormones. Your kidneys allow your body to control your blood pressure and make healthy red blood cells, and they filter your blood before its journey into the heart. Your kidneys play a significant role in your health.
Chronic kidney diseases can cause or stem from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weak bones, high blood pressure, anemia, nerve damage, Glomerulonephritis, cysts, urinary tract infections, congenital disorders, drugs, and toxins. While not every kidney story has a happy ending, most kidney diseases can be treated successfully.
Herbs for Kidney Health
To keep your kidneys happy and healthy, you might consider adding some of these herbs, berries, roots, and supplements into your daily regiment. Be careful when ingesting these things as they can be toxic in any quantity. Consult a doctor the moment you believe your kidneys to be in jeopardy.
- Milk Thistle
- Juniper Berries
- Golden Rod
- Dandelion Root
- Gravel Root
- Corn Silk
- Marshmallow Root
- Vitamin B-6
- Potassium Citrate
- Grapes, peanuts, berries w/ resveratrol
- Lemon, orange, beet, and melon juices
- Teas: Fenugreek, Ginger, Mint, Nettle, Hydrangea, Tumeric, Sambong
When cleaning or healing your kidneys, Ayurvedic medicine suggests the following herbs: Brahmi or Gotu Kola (Bacopa monnieri), Shilajit, Punarnava, Manjishtha, and Varuna. When cleansing your kidneys, consider consuming lots of watermelons, leafy greens, roots, and teas with the herbs as mentioned above.
Liver and Kidney Flushes and Diets
What is the best drink to flush your kidneys and liver? What cleanses will bring my vital organs back to full strength? There are several natural liver and kidney cleanses and diets that will help improve the functionality of these critical organs. Here are a few suggestions:
- For 2-3 days, begin each day with a glass of water infused with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Enjoy a morning smoothie that includes one or more of the following: beetroot, apples, cucumber, spinach, banana, lemon juice, and grated ginger. You might follow-up your smoothie with a cup of green tea.
- For lunch, enjoy proteins like organic chicken and tofu, and veggies like red onion, green beans, and carrots. Add a little Greek yogurt, grapes, and some brown rice. Keep the meals trim and simple.
- For dinner, create a meal that includes a few of the following: a cup of coconut water, blueberries, kale, a small portion of tofu, sweet potatoes, celery, tomatoes, kidney beans, parsley, and garlic.
- Throughout each day of your cleanse, enjoy concocting your own teas with Dandelion root, Marshmallow root, Turmeric, and Ginger. Or select a few favorites from the liver and kidney herb lists above.
- As you come out of the cleanse, consider changing your daily routine to include some of the ideas in this list, mixed with things like Milk Thistle, Omega-3s, and other supplements mentioned above.
No matter how healthy you are, consider adjusting your diet to include kidney- and liver-friendly foods. You might focus on berries, citrus fruits, vegetables, brown rice, lean meats, including chicken and seafood. You might also consider avoiding processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar, artificial sweeteners, foods high in sodium, beef, pork, alcohol, and caffeine.
Wishing you lots of healing as you begin to nurture your liver and kidneys!
Health Benefits of Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil is pressed from the castor bean, which is actually a seed. Native to Africa, India, and the Mediterranean region, the Castor plant, Ricinus communis in Latin, has spread throughout the world since ancient times. The plant is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops.
What is Castor Oil Used For?
Castor oil was first documented in an Egyptian medical papyrus in 1550 BCE, but is believed to have been used for centuries prior, specifically for constipation. But this oil has served multiple purposes, and has been used in soap manufacturing. It has also been incorporated into skin and hair products, and in modern times, is used in manufacturing polyurethane. There are also claims that the oil encourages hair growth, and has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that the oil speeds wound healing, and is a useful treatment for bedsores.
New York Times best-selling author of the groundbreaking 1994 “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom,” Christiane Northrup M.D. has practiced medicine, and been an advocate for women’s health, for decades.
Dr. Northrup recommends castor oil packs for a number of issues, including endometriosis (a painful condition where uterine tissue forms within the pelvis), PMS and severe monthly cramps, urinary tract infections, and ovarian cysts, and advises using castor oil packs three times a week (except during menses) for immune system health.
Another author, Carolyn DeMarco, (“Take Charge of Your Body”) recommends castor oil packs for painful varicose veins, liver, gallbladder, and kidney concerns, constipation, sciatica and arthritis. The packs are also used by cancer patients, and in detox regimens.