Ayurvedic Approach to the liver
What does the liver do?
Let's start by addressing the functions of the liver. What does it actually do in our body.
- Plays a role in digestion & metabolism
- Synthesizes protein, produces critical enzymes and hormones
- Breaks down & recycles red blood cells
- Regulates glycogen storage
How do we harm the liver?
- Overuse of alcohol
- Recreational drugs
- Prescription drugs
- Environmental pollutants
Pitta & the liver
The pitta dosha is associated with the liver. Ayurveda describes the liver as a hot & fiery organ. It has a close relationship with your agni or digestive fires. Ayurvedically speaking you can see why the liver is part of the digestive fire and metabolism.
How to support your liver health
In Ayurveda they recommend periodic cleanses which can be done in the spring & fall seasons. A good time to do it with the seasonal shift. Now some argue that cleanses aren't necessary as our liver naturally cleans itself. Which is true, but our body has more toxins, pollutants than ever before. It's also a great idea if you do have a nightly glass of alcohol to take a break for a week or so just to hit reset and let your liver rest.
I won't share a full cleanse on this episode I've done some in the past. Which you can read more about on my blog.
Drinking warm water throughout your day to keep things moving. Lime water will help balance an already out of balance pitta dosha vs lemon water. Lemon water can create more friction for an imbalanced pitta dosha increasing the heat of the body.
- Sweet, bitter & astringent tastes help pacify the pitta dosha which in turn will help calm the liver.
- Minimize sugars, oils and fats if feeling a bit imbalanced
- Watch alcohol, and recreational drugs
- Ghee is a wonderful component to add to your diet and will be very nourishing to not only your liver but your ojas.
- Cooling spices such as coriander, cilantro, fennel, cumin, turmeric, mint & lime juice on your meals.
- Foods that strengthen your liver- bitter greens like kale, beet greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, nettles, and comfrey leaf.
Pitta Pacifying lifestyle
- Self-care practices built into your day
- Working out before 10am and a calming practice such as hatha yoga, walk, pilates, or barre
- Feel your feelings- pittas can sometimes shove everything down because they don't have time to look at what's coming up and become a pot boiling that will eventually spill over.
- Shitali breathwork
- Alternate nostril breathing
- Moon bathing
- Chyavanprash- helps foster clarity and health in the blood, liver and digestive tract.
- Turmeric -a great anti-inflammatory herb
- Aloe Vera gel- cooling especially great in the summer months
- Brahmi/Gotu kola (great for calming a rajastic mind)
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