Top 5 liver herbs for the holidays
The holiday season is upon us, and so too are all those yummy festive treats. If the thought of one more barbecue has got your liver quivering with fright, you’re not the only one! We’ve put together our top 5 list of herbs to support your liver and digestion these holidays.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and delicious temptations galore!
Excessively fatty, sugar-rich and carbohydrate-heavy meals can be a lot for your liver and digestion system to handle all at once. For some people, overindulging might result in indigestion, bloating, flatulence, burping and even nausea. These types of meals should be avoided if possible!
Traditional Chinese medicine and the liver
The liver produces bile to break down fat and is also responsible for many detoxification processes. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also views the liver as being involved in the flow of Qi (vital energy), blood and body fluids around the body, which supports digestion and the spleen.
In TCM, eating fatty or greasy food to excess may impair the liver’s function of managing the flow of Qi around the body, which can lead to stagnation of liver Qi as well as poor digestion, sluggishness and increased heat or dampness in the liver.
Enter our favourite liver herbs!
1. Milk thistle and liver health
Traditionally used in Western herbal medicine as a liver tonic to assist fat digestion and to relieve indigestion, milk thistle also supports healthy liver function and detoxification.
2. Citrus peel for healthy digestion
Citrus peel is traditionally taken in TCM to aid healthy digestion and for relief of indigestion, bloating, excessive belching and nausea.
3. Baical skullcap supports detoxification
Baical skullcap is traditionally used in Chinese medicine for healthy detoxification support and to clear excessive heat. Excessive heat in the liver is thought to occur as a result of liver Qi stagnation.
4. Globe artichoke relieves digestive disturbances
A popular herb in Western herbal medicine, globe artichoke is traditionally used to aid bile production for the relief of digestive complaints including symptoms of indigestion such as abdominal bloating and discomfort, burping and nausea.
5. Chamomile for indigestion
Finally, chamomile is also traditionally taken in Western herbal medicine to relieve mild digestive disturbances such as indigestion, bloating, flatulence and burping.
More helpful holiday tips
- Add foods to your holiday spread that aid detoxification and help a sluggish liver. TCM suggests foods and herbs with pungent qualities such as watercress, rosemary, oregano and cardamom or sour and bitter foods including grapefruit, garlic, ginger and coriander
- Include sources of fibre such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes in your holiday meals to help your body’s detoxification processes and waste removal. If you have a sluggish liver, Chinese medicine recommends serving fibre-rich foods warm
- Enjoy treats in moderation. Go easy on fatty, greasy, sugary foods and alcoholic beverages. Healthy sources of fat to look for instead include oily fish, olive oil, avocadoes and nuts. Couple these with lean protein such as turkey and salmon or vege-proteins such as tofu and legumes, and don’t forget to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Drink plenty of water (at least two litres daily)
- Don’t forget to exercise! Being active will help you feel less sluggish and help you manage your weight over the holidays. According to TCM, exercise also aids the flow of liver Qi (TIP: if you’re sweating a lot while exercising in the heat, make sure you consume some extra electrolytes and magnesium to help with any lost via sweat while exercising)