Top 7 best herbs for liver health

The liver is a vital organ that plays a crucial role in metabolism and detoxification. Using some of the top 7 best herbs for liver health can help keep it functioning perfectly, keeping your whole body healthier.

Unfortunately, the liver is also susceptible to damage from toxins from medicines, processed food, medicine, and other factors. To help the liver effectively perform its functions, including herbs for the liver is important.

1. Milk thistle

Milk thistle is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.

The active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Milk thistle is commonly used as a supplement to support liver health, but it may also be effective in treating other conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a few different ways that milk thistle promotes liver health. One way is by helping protect the liver from damage.

The liver is responsible for filtering out toxins from the blood, and over time, this can take a toll on the organ. Milk thistle helps to protect the liver cells from being damaged by these toxins.

milk thistle plant flower

Another way that milk thistle helps the liver is by stimulating new cell growth. When the liver is damaged, it needs to regenerate new cells to replace those lost. Milk thistle helps to stimulate this regeneration process, resulting in a healthier liver.

Lastly, milk thistle helps improve the function of enzymes in the liver. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down toxins and other substances in the body.

When they don’t function properly, it can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body and further damage to the liver. By improving enzyme function, milk thistle helps keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.

Milk thistle is especially beneficial for those with fatty liver disease, hepatitis, or cirrhosis.

In one study, people with alcoholic liver disease who took milk thistle had a lower death rate than those who did not take the herb.

Milk thistle may also help to reduce inflammation and improve liver function in people with hepatitis C.

How to use milk thistle?

There are a few different ways to take milk thistle. The most common way is to take it in capsule form, but it can also be taken as a tea or tincture.

Risks and side effects

While milk thistle is generally considered safe, it can interact with some medications. If you are taking any medications, please consult your healthcare provider before taking milk thistle.

2. Dandelion

Dandelion is a small, yellow flowering plant found in many parts of the world. It is an excellent addition to any diet or natural health regimen.

The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including liver problems.

In fact, it’s well known as a liver tonic. The herb is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that have been shown to support liver health.

whole dandelion plants and roots on wooden surface

Dandelion promotes liver health by helping detoxify the liver, stimulate bile production, and protect the liver cells from damage. The herb also helps improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation.

The herb is safe for most people to take, but it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking dandelion if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.

How to use dandelion: tea

One of the most popular ways to take dandelion is by drinking it in tea form. This is a great way to get all of the benefits that dandelion has to offer.

To make dandelion tea, simply steep one teaspoon of dried dandelion leaves in eight ounces of boiling water for five minutes. You can then drink the tea as is or add honey or lemon to taste.

How to use dandelion: capsules

Another popular way to take dandelion is in capsule form. This is a great option for those who do not like the taste of dandelion tea or for those who want a more concentrated dose of the herb.

Dandelion capsules can be found at most health food stores or online. Simply take the recommended dosage as directed on the bottle.

Dandelion can also be taken as a tincture. Add a few drops of the tincture to water or juice and drink it down

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries. It has also been used as a liver tonic in traditional Chinese medicine.

It has a wide range of health benefits, including the promotion of liver health. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the liver from damage.

Curcumin also stimulates the production of bile, which is essential for digestion and the elimination of toxins from the body.

Fresh turmeric, turmeric powder, and turmeric capsules on a black background

In a recent study, rats were given turmeric extract for four weeks before being exposed to a toxin that damages the liver.

The rats that received the turmeric extract had significantly less liver damage than the rats that did not receive the extract.

Another study found that curcumin was able to protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol consumption.

In this study, rats were given either curcumin or a placebo prior to being given alcohol. The rats that received curcumin had significantly less liver damage than the rats that received the placebo.

How to use turmeric?

Turmeric has a warm, earthy flavor and can be used to add flavor to food or to make tea.

To make turmeric tea:

  1. Start by boiling water and adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder for every cup of water.
  2. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes, then add honey or lemon to taste. You can also add other spices like ginger or cinnamon if you like.
  3. Drink 1-2 cups of turmeric tea per day for best results.

If you want to use turmeric in cooking, it can be added to just about any dish. It goes well with rice, stews, vegetables, and more.

Just add a pinch or two of turmeric powder to your dish while cooking, or sprinkle it on top before serving. Start with a small amount and add more to taste.

4. Ginseng

Ginseng is a herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to promote liver health.

The active ingredients in ginseng, called ginsenosides, have been shown to have liver-protecting effects. They can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, two major drivers of liver disease.

Ginseng also helps improve liver function and increase antioxidant activity.

In one study, rats with chronic hepatitis were given ginseng extract for eight weeks. The results showed that ginseng significantly reduced liver damage and improved liver function.

stack of fresh ginseng roots

Ginseng may also be helpful for those with fatty liver disease. This condition is characterized by an accumulation of fat in the liver, and it can lead to serious health problems such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

The study in rats also found that ginseng extract could decrease fat accumulation in the liver and improve insulin sensitivity.

Additionally, ginseng stimulates new cell growth. This is important because when liver cells are damaged, they need to be replaced so the liver can continue functioning properly.

How to use ginseng?

Ginseng is available in several forms, including fresh, dried, and powdered. It can be consumed in teas, as capsules, or extracts.

When shopping for ginseng, look for products from reputable dealers.

Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the product label; start with a lower dose and increase gradually as needed.

Some people may experience side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, or gastrointestinal upset when taking ginseng.

If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use or try going down on the dose.

5. Licorice

Licorice is a plant that has been used for centuries for its sweet flavor and medicinal properties. The root of the licorice plant is the part that is used, and it can be consumed in many different ways.

Licorice root can be chewed, eaten as a candy, or brewed into tea. It is also available in supplement form.

Licorice has a number of potential health benefits. It is thought to help with digestive issues, such as stomach ulcers and heartburn.

It may also help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Some research suggests that licorice could also have anti-cancer effects and boost liver health.

Licorice root on a table, glycyrrhiza glabra, top 7 best herbs for liver health

This is because the main active ingredient in licorice is glycyrrhizin, which has been shown to have liver-protective effects.

A recent study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that glycyrrhizin protects the liver from damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation.

Oxidative stress is a condition in which there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them. This can lead to cell damage and various diseases, including cancer.

The study found that rats treated with glycyrrhizin had reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation markers in their liver tissue. This suggests that licorice may help protect the liver from damage.

Another study done on patients with fatty liver disease found that consuming 2 grams of licorice root extract every day for two months reduced AST and ALT, which are both liver damage markers.

Side effects of licorice:

Though it is generally safe, there are some potential side effects associated with the use of licorice.

The most common side effect of licorice is gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Other side effects can include headache, muscle pain, and dizziness. In rare cases, licorice may cause more serious side effects such as high blood pressure, kidney damage, or stroke.

If you experience any side effects while taking licorice, stop taking the herb and consult your healthcare provider.

6. Garlic

When it comes to liver health, garlic is one of the best foods you can eat. Garlic has been shown to promote liver health in a number of ways.

garlic cloves and bulb on a wooden table
  • It can protect the liver from damage. It does this by scavenging harmful toxins and free radicals and stimulating the production of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
  • It improves liver function. Garlic increases blood flow, improves bile production, and fights inflammation, all of which can help improve liver function.
  • It aids in the regeneration of liver cells. This is important because the liver is constantly exposed to toxins and needs to be able to regenerate itself in order to function properly.

In one study, adults consuming raw garlic 7 times a week reduced their risk of fatty liver disease by 29 percent.

Raw garlic has also been associated with reduced liver cancer. Consuming raw garlic as little as twice a week was shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by 23 percent.

7. Ginger

Ginger is a popular spice with many health benefits. It can be used in a variety of dishes and is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Ginger can also be used to make tea or taken as a supplement.

Studies have shown that ginger can help improve liver function by increasing bile production and reducing the level of toxins in the blood.

Also, the active compound in ginger, gingerol, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help protect the liver from damage.

Pumpkin seeds on the table

In addition, ginger helps increase blood flow to the liver. The liver needs a constant supply of blood to function properly.

Ginger does this by dilating blood vessels and improving circulation. This increased blood flow also provides the liver with more oxygen and nutrients, which helps it to function properly.

Besides promoting liver health, ginger is a great natural remedy for colds and flu, and can help boost the immune system.

It is also thought to be beneficial in aiding weight loss. So, if you’re looking for a healthy way to spice up your life, try adding some ginger to your diet!

Final thoughts on the top 7 best herbs for liver health:

The liver is a vital organ that helps filter toxins from the blood. A healthy liver is essential for good health, but unfortunately, the liver can be easily damaged by unhealthy lifestyle choices, medication, and other factors.

One way to promote liver health is by taking herbs that have specifically been shown to boost liver health.

Some of the best include milk thistle, turmeric, dandelion root, ginseng, and garlic.

These herbs can help cleanse the liver, protect it from damage, and improve its overall function. 

If you are looking to improve your liver health, incorporating some of these herbs into your diet or supplementing with them is a great place to start.

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