Think of your liver. It sits in the upper right area of your abdomen, protected by your rib cage. This reddish brown organ weighs about 2 kilograms and is does everything from help digest the French fries you ate last night, helps to heal the cut on your baby finger and stores that extra bit of glucose you used up running for the GO Train. It’s a multitasker for sure.
In both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver, ensures energy and blood flow smoothly throughout the body. It also regulates bile secretion, stores blood, and is connected with the tendons, nails, and eyes.
Emotions like anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, bitterness, “flying off the handle” are also connected to the liver.
Both TCM and ayurveda attribute liver challenges to heat that is trapped in the liver, and they seek to clear and cool the organ through lifestyle changes and herbal treatments.
Ayurveda views the liver as “hot” or “pittic” because the fiery, dynamic energy of pitta—one of the three doshas (along with vata and kapha) that regulate the physiological functions of the body—guides and supports these myriad functions of the liver. Too much fiery energy, can accumulate in the liver and lead to physical problems. Ayurveda describes symptoms caused by excess pitta that are very similar to what is called “liver fire” in TCM: headaches; flushed face; red, burning eyes; acne; nosebleeds; and outbursts of anger. Ayurveda adds inflammation, allergies, and symptoms of indigestion (like heartburn) to the list.
Live for Your Liver
Overall, both ancient wisdom and modern science agree that how we live has a huge effect on our livers. So even though you can’t avoid chemical contaminants completely, you can keep your liver healthy if you just take care of it by following these 5 suggestions:
Eat good-quality food when you are hungry. Avoid overeating (more liver burden) and refined or heavily processed food.
Move your Bowels
High-fiber diets help keep the bowels, liver, and blood clean by facilitating elimination. Drink water throughout the day. And if you drink coffee or tea, add a glass of water for each.
Take a break
Fast on fresh juices for a day—or even just a meal—every week or two. Take time to breathe deeply, relax, and meditate.
Cut Down on the Chemicals
Minimize exposure to chemicals of all sorts—from food additives and cosmetics to caustic cleaning agents. Remember that the liver needs to break down every chemical entering the body either for use or excretion.
Bitter is Better
Experiment with bitter salad greens or a liver tonic like Milk Thistle for six to eight weeks. Note any changes in body, energy, or mind.
This is very tasty recipe that has been used traditionally for liver heath.
Beet and Carrot Casserole
1 bunch beets
1 LB carrots
2 bunches scallions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
4 -6 TBS Olive oil or Ghee (clarified butter) or Butter
Braggs Liquid aminos and Black Pepper to taste
Grated cheddar or soy cheese to taste
Scrub beets and carrots. Steam beets whole. When half done (ten to twenty minutes) add carrots. Cook until tender yet firm. Remove beet skins. (They slid off). Grate beets and carrots with coarse grinder. Loosely (so colors stay distinct) mix them together. Sauté the scallions and garlic. Toss this mixture with the beets and carrots, Braggs and black pepper. Put in casserole dish. Cover with grated cheese and bake until cheese is golden.
For an excellent Yoga practice and meditation for the liver – check out thsi week’s podcast at www.yogavision.com/podcast