The liver is the largest glandular organ in the body and has more functions than any other human organ. A person’s entire blood supply passes through the liver several times a day. At any given time there is about a pint of blood in your liver. Ayurveda considers the liver as the seat of ‘Pitta’ activity. Pitta in Ayurveda parlance is one of the three functional units, Vaata and Kapha being the other two. The liver is responsible for all kinds of assimilation in the body including digestion, the actions of enzymes and your metabolism at the tissue level.
The liver has a pivotal role in body metabolism.
• It produces bile which is buffered in the gall bladder and is used to breakdown and digest fatty acids.
• It produces prothrombin, fibrinogen and heparin that help in preventing blood from clotting within the circulatory system.
• It converts sugar into glycogen which is temporarily stored till the muscles require energy.
• It synthesises proteins and cholesterol and converts carbohydrates and proteins into fats.
• It also produces blood protein and various other enzymes required for digestion and other body functions.
• It produces urea which it synthesis from carbon dioxide and ammonia.
• Prominently it is responsible for detoxifying the body of poisonous substances by transforming and removing toxins and wastes. There are five main sources of body toxins and wastes that the liver deals with: toxins from food (traces of pesticides, preservatives) and alcohol: external toxins (drugs, adulterants, and environmental pollutants): internally produced chemicals, such as hormones that are no longer needed: nitrogen-containing waste left over from protein re-use and energy production. These toxins and wastes are converted into less harmful substances by the liver and then eliminated from the body.
Because of the significant role in maintaining health, we must do all we can to keep it in a healthy state.
The causes of the liver disorder are mainly dietary, like eating allergic food that is not suitable to one’s constitution or eating heavy, cold and dry items regularly. Alcohol consumption is also a major cause of liver damage. Viral infections such as hepatitis A to E and G are other causes. Most chemical drugs get detoxified in the liver and may cause liver damage in the long run.
Food for Liver:
• All leafy steam cooked vegetables are good for the liver especially ash gourd (green pumpkin) in the form of soup with pepper powder and rock salt.
• Diluted buttermilk with few pieces of dried and crushed pomegranate fruity cover (hard) with a pinch of turmeric, a few leaves of curry patta and pepper with a little bit of rock salt is a good drink for the liver and tasty too!
• Grapes both dry and fresh in the form of juice or raw are equally good
• A leafy vegetable curry made out of kakamachi (Solanum nigrum) is very useful for the liver. In southern states, this is a common addition in the diet.
Mentioned below are some herbs which are well known and useful for liver care. Daily intake of these herbs as indicated for a period of 41days will be useful to tone up the liver.
• Kakamachi (solanum nigrum)
• Tinospora cordifolia (Guduchi- Amruthaballi)
Take 1 handful of around 60 gm matured green stem of Tinospora cordifolia. Remove the thin outer skin, cut into small pieces 2-3 inches size. Crush the stems slightly and put them in 120ml of boiled hot water at night and cover the pan. Next morning, squeeze the Tinospora cordifolia and remove it from water and filter it. Add one tablespoon of honey and drink the liquid on an empty stomach. This can help to rejuvenate the liver and make it function in an optimum manner.
• Aegle Marmelos (Bhel, Bilwam) and Eclipta Alba (Bhringaraja, Karishilam Kanni)
• Eclipta Alba (Bhringaraja, Karishilam Kanni)
– Make a paste of the fresh leaves of Aegle Marmelos (Bhel, Bilwam) and Eclipta Alba (Bhringaraja, Karishilam Kanni) 5 gm each. Add a pinch of turmeric. Consume this paste in the morning on an empty stomach followed by a cup of diluted buttermilk.
• Phyllanthus Amarus ( Bhoomyamalaki – Kizharnelli)
For viral infections of the liver like Hepatitis A, follow this for 14 days:
– Take 5 gms of Phyllanthus Amarus (Bhoomyamalaki – Kizharnelli), preferably the reddish shaded variety. Make a paste and mix with one glass of fresh unboiled cow’s milk or diluted cream free buttermilk. Take this in the morning on an empty stomach and consume the same quantity in the evening at around 6 pm. Avoid any oily substances, sour items and salt. This enhances the retro-viral activities in the liver and the person gets relief from all symptoms of jaundice in two week’s time.
This article was originally published by Prof (Dr.) G G Gangadharan, Ramaiah Indic Specialty Ayurveda. The copyright of this article is owned by Ramaiah Indic Specialty Ayurveda, Bangalore.