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Cleansing and Supporting the Liver
I advocate cleansing the liver on a regular basis. This is crucial for everyone, not just those of you participating in herbal or chemical therapies, or suffering from liver ailments. Your liver is one of the most vital organs you possess. If it is damaged, your body cannot function properly. Without it, you cannot survive. An unhealthy liver is the root of many physical problems.
When you undergo any kind of chemical treatment, the liver is affected. This holds true whether you are taking prescription antibiotics, herbal or synthetic hormone treatments, or just are surviving on a junk food diet. Everything that you ingest passes through the liver in some form, via the blood stream. Many of these substances end up stored in the liver, as the body does not know how to rid itself of many of the unnatural toxins we ingest daily, from chemicals to preservatives to additives. When the liver becomes overloaded, it develops problems that can lead from mild to dangerous to fatal. Even a mildly sluggish liver can seriously affect our energy levels, and our libidos! Always remember that the liver is responsible for controlling the hormone levels in our bodies.
Toxic substances end up stored in the liver. Once the buildup becomes too much, the liver begins to have trouble eliminating wastes from the body, as well as trouble digesting our food. This then leads to a buildup of toxins in other organs, and in all the tissues of the body, including the brain. A buildup of this nature can be fatal, if the liver doesn't first cease to function altogether. So it is our job to eliminate these toxins from the body on a regular basis. It is also our job to feed the liver the nutrients it needs to support its important functions, as well as to occasionally give it a complete break from all we put it through in a day.
Hormone therapy especially calls for a need to monitor the liver carefully. When hormones, synthetic or herbal, reach a saturation point in the liver, you will then experience an overload of that substance in the body. You continue to take your estrogen (or any other substance), the liver is already full and cannot remove more from the blood, and you suddenly are full of many times the amount of estrogen, or whatever chemical you are ingesting, than your body needs. This then manifests into many other serious and potentially fatal problems, not the least of which is cirrhosis.
This includes such substances as alcohol and recreational drugs. If you are undergoing hormone therapy, chemical treatments, pregnancy and/or nursing, liver disease, etc., these are two things that you should be staying far away from. You are already taxing your liver's abilities with the extra work. Add in the damage that has been proven to be caused by these substances, and you are a walking train wreck waiting to happen. Binge drinking is very dangerous when on hormones of any kind. If you have ever watched someone die of liver failure, then you know what I mean by that. If not, spare yourself and your loved ones of the hideous scene and intense pain it creates. Organ donors are in very short supply.
The first step to a healthy liver (and body!) is diet. There is no substitute for eating properly and obtaining as much of your daily nutritional needs from whole foods, rather than from synthetic vitamins. You should be eating a diet high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and low in refined sugars. Eat foods every day that are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients protect the liver and other organs from free radical damage. You should avoid processed foods (such as lunchmeats, junk foods, etc.), soft drinks, fried foods, salty foods, and white sugar (and especially sugar substitutes!). Try using honey or stevia as a nutritious replacement to sugars. Limit your caffeine intake, or stop using it altogether (caffeine can cause breast tenderness and pain). Limit red meats, and add fish to your diet at least twice per week. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes.
Here I will pass along the most effective therapy I have found, as it is used for treating hepatitis and other liver problems, as well as for cleansing and supporting. I have discovered it to be most effective.
The first couple of days of your cleansing regimen you should fast lightly. Drink plenty of fresh water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and eat lightly, such as salads, if at all. This gives the liver a rest from the rigors of digestion, and gives it a better chance to clear out toxins. Plenty of water is very necessary to help flush the toxins from your system. If you live in an area where your tap water is questionable, use bottled water.
After the first couple of days, you can slowly increase your diet by adding foods, starting lightly, and avoiding red meats, all processed foods and sugars. Concentrate on totally healthy foods during the liver cleanse. If you are taking a synthetic hormone therapy, discontinue your hormones for at least three days, or as advised by your physician.
Herbally, take the following combination.
4 capsules milk thistle
3 capsules dandelion root
2 capsules ginger
2 capsules sarsaparilla
2 capsules parsley
2 capsules nettle
1 capsule yellow dock
1 capsule kelp
Use these twice per day, morning and evening. In the middle of the day, drink a liver support tea, such as this combination:
2 parts dandelion
1 part ginger
1 part peppermint
1 part rosemary
1 part rose hips
Mix together the dry herbs and store in a glass container away from light and heat. Make the tea by using one to two teaspoons of the dry herb, steeped for 10 minutes in very hot (not boiling) water. Strain, sweeten with honey to taste, and drink.
Continue this for one week. For the second week of the cleanse, continue to drink the tea in the middle of the day. Change the herbs to the following:
3 capsules dandelion root
3 capsules milk thistle
2 capsules ginger
2 capsules spirulina
1 capsule kelp
Take this twice per day. At the end of the two week cleanse cycle, return to your regular treatment program. You can continue to drink the liver tonic tea once per day or so, if you so desire. Remain on a healthy daily diet, and you should enjoy better health.
Bear in mind that the above is a GENERAL suggestion only, for maximum effectiveness you should have a regimen that is matched to your specific individual body and its needs. Seek the guidance of a trained certified professional if you do not have the training yourself to do this.
After the first cleanse, you may wish to schedule a few days per month to partake in a short liver cleanse, consisting of the herbs recommended for the second week above. This would be especially important if you are undergoing a long-term therapy, or are suffering from liver damage. In the case of the latter, I would recommend drinking a liver tonic tea at least once per day.
Information within this article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose nor treat. Seek guidance from a health care professional.
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