The liver is probably one of the most under-appreciated organs in the body. Located on the right side of your body just under the rib cage and weighing up to 3 lbs, the liver is involved in over 500 bodily functions including metabolism, regulation of glycogen storage, hormone production, recycling red blood cells, synthesizing plasma protein, and general detoxification. And did you know that your liver is the only organ that can actually grow back? Liver donors only donate part of their liver, then grow that part back!
The liver also produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder directly under the liver. Bile is needed to help the body digest and absorb fats along with eliminate certain waste products. Bile is also a natural laxative and helps keep the bowels moving. It’s no surprise that those who have their gallbladders removed often suffer digestive and intestinal elimination difficulties.
While your tongue may love sweetness, your liver loves bitter. Foods such as beets, lemons and limes, dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are especially good for the liver. Herbs such as Milk Thistle, Burdock Root and Dandelion are also very powerful liver supporters and cleansers.
Dr. Christopher’s Liver and Gallbladder Formula not only supports the liver, but also helps clean the blood and contains the herbs Barberry, Wild yam, Cramp bark, Fennel seed, Ginger, Catnip and Peppermint. Why these herbs? Let me break it down for you so you know what you are taking and why.
Barberry Bark is an excellent liver tonic and has been used to help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (1). The main constituent of Barberry is Berberine (a bitter alkaloid). Berberine is not only responsible for supporting healthy liver function and bile secretion, but also a multitude of other health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels, weight loss, boosting the immune system and reducing inflamation (2).
Wild Yam Root
Wild Yam is most known for its antispasmodic properties, relaxing muscles, relieving abdominal and intestinal cramps and helping many women through painful menstruations and pregnancies. In fact, Wild Yam is a powerful emmenagogue, Wild Yam also stimulates the gallbladder and increases bile flow, helping treat hepatic congestion, bilious colic and gallstones. Wild Yam also has diaphoretic, diuretic, hepatic, stomachic, tonic, anti-emetic, anti-rheumatic and anti-asthmatic properties (3).
Fennel is most known for its carminative properties, great for treating cases of flatulence, colic and indigestion. Fennel’s presence in the Liver and Gallbladder formula however is due to its ability to help break up obstructions in the liver, spleen and gallbladder (Back to Eden, 239). Fennel can also be used to help increase the flow of breastmilk.
Ginger is mostly used as a spice in many cuisines, but also possesses various medicinal benefits as well. Ginger is a great carminative. As the liver and gallbladder are strengthened and supported, bile will flow more freely into the intestines. This influx of bile has a tendancy to form pockets of gas when mixed with old fecal matter, and ginger will help treat this condition. Ginger also contains high amounts of antioxidants and enzymes that help with inflamation and digestion. Ginger is a mild stimulant as compared to cayenne, and can also act as an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, sternutatory, rubefacient, anodyne, sialagogue, pungent, condiment, aphrodisiac (5).
Catnip is most renowned for its ability to relieve colic and is very gentle acting, thus very suitable for children. Catnip is an excellent relaxant and can help the liver and its bile ducts to relax. Due to its name, its no surprise that the herb greatly affects cats, displaying a drug-like effect. Google catnip and cats and you’ll find some hilarious photos and videos. Catnip, along with its relaxant properties, can also act as an aromatic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine and sedative (6)
Peppermint is probably one of the most common herbs used and well known for its relaxant and antispasmodic properties. It must have been popular long ago as well, as some Egyptian manuscripts contain distilling instructions for the herb! (7) Peppermint can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines. It is also a powerful aromatic; there is nothing quite like the sweet, intense scent of peppermint! And unlike many other herbs, peppermint actually tastes good 🙂
For more information on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, click here!