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Liver cleansing herbs

The liver acts as the body's primary detoxification organ for the clearance of toxins. Certain vitamins & minerals, as well as plant nutrients, can help support the liver in its detoxification & eliminative processes.

Liver cleansing herbs and nutrient instructions

One of the body's primary self-defence mechanisms is the conversion and neutralization of metabolic products and toxins into soluble and safe by-products, which can then be eliminated. All ingested and microbially produced toxins are presented to the liver, the body's primary detoxification organ for clearance.

The liver has two related processes known as phase 1 and phase 2 in its ability to detoxify pollutants and associated chemicals. Associated with each phase are a number of reactions, which are reliant on certain nutritional vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

It is common, that generally, people will have low levels of one or more nutrients, or an accumulation of toxins, which will slow down the overall detoxification pathway. For this reason, when you start on a detoxification process, you may notice a slight detoxification reaction. This is the stimulation or replacement of substances that are needed for the correct clearance of toxins, to increase the capacity of the liver to produce detoxification.

As certain adjustments are made by the liver and any accumulation of toxic residues is cleared, the reactions you can encounter are soon eliminated. For this reason we have set out a standard procedure for using detoxifying herbs and nutrients, one, which we believe, reduces all reactions to a minimum for the least amount of time. Please contact us if you are unsure as to the information in this document, or if you are experiencing a reaction.

How to take liver cleansing herbs?

The recommended dosage is 2 capsules, two or three times a day. However, the first time you take this supplement we would like you to do a test first. This is an indicator, as to how much of this can you tolerate at once.

To do this, wait until you are at home and take 1 capsule. Monitor how you feel for the next 1/2 - 1 hours after taking this. During this time, note if you feel noticeably more tired or do you develop a foggy, sluggish feeling? If you do, have some lemon juice in water and this feeling should disappear.

You also need to be aware of how you feel the following morning. If you wake up with a sluggish, tired feeling, this is also showing that the dosage is too high and when you start the following day, you need to start with less than the 1 capsule. To do this, open the capsule and tip out 1/2 of the contents and only take 1/2 a capsule at a time. Then slowly increase the dosage until you are taking the recommended dosage.

We suggest you do this by starting with the 1/2 or 1 capsule and have this for 3 mornings in a row. The next day, so long as you did not get the foggy feeling, increase the dosage by having 1 capsule in the morning and 1 capsule with dinner. Again, monitor how you feel after having this. If you get the foggy feeling, have lemon juice and water, and at dinner time the following day you must reduce the dosage, by opening the capsule and tip out 1/2 of the contents and only take 1/2 a capsule.

Continue with this for another 3 days, then on the 4th day, so long as you did not get the foggy feeling, increase the dosage by having 1 capsule with lunch. You are now having 1 capsule, three times a day. Slowly increase to 2 capsules, three times a day, by adding 1 capsule at breakfast, then 1 at dinner and 1 at lunch. You do not have to increase the dosage this slowly, however, you should not feel sluggish after taking this supplement.

If you get the sluggish feeling at any point, reduce the dosage down to the previous level for another few days before increasing it again. You should not feel sluggish after taking this supplement.

One important consideration is to keep your water intake well up. We recommend that at least 2 litres of pure water is to be consumed daily, and if you are overweight then a further litre is needed.

Using liver supportive nutrients and phyto-nutrients

Certain nutrients and phyto-nutrients, or plant nutrients, which are indicated in the support of healthy liver function, may be recommended during liver cleansing. These are not always essential, but at times necessary.

For the reason mentioned above, taking liver nutrients may produce a similar reaction to taking a specific herbal formulation. If a reaction occurs (usually headaches, muscular aches, weakness and dizziness), reduce nutrients by half the dosage and start to include the various phyto-nutrients present in the following foods. After the reaction has ceased, slowly reintroduce nutrients back into the programme, monitoring any change in well-being.

Phytonutrients are plant substances found in various fruits and vegetables, which support detoxification pathways and promote general well-being. These nutrients exert powerful nutritional and antioxidant actions and are useful modulators of toxic reactions.

Foods to increase to reduce toxic reactions and support detoxification

Broccoli & Watercress These vegetables contain glucosinolates, indoles & isothiocyannates, which are powerful activators of phase 1 & 2 detoxification pathways
Lemon, Lime & Other Citrus The peel & pith of these citrus fruits contain limonene, which activate phase 2 enzymes. Also provide a valuable source of the antioxidants, Vitamin C & bioflavonoids
Soya Bean Isoflavones Assist in cholesterol clearance & the hormonal metabolism associated with detoxification
Green Tea Green tea exerts a strong antioxidant action and scavenges destructive free radicals associated with poor detoxification & subsequent toxic reactions of liver cleansing.
Spices Turmeric & Ginger Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which exhibit potent antioxidant activity, whilst inducing important phase 2 enzymes, normally associated with reactions to cleansing
Beetroot, Carrot, Garlic & Grapes All possess valuable phytochemicals, which support the proper detoxification of reactive intermediates formed during the liver detoxification process

Food choices to support detoxification

These foods have small amounts of naturally occurring beneficial phytochemicals, which help support the detoxification process.

Purchasing organic foods helps the process and if organic produce is unavailable, then it is recommended that fruits and vegetables are washed thoroughly and, where possible during the cleanse, should be peeled.

Vegetables and Fruits Asparagus, red cabbage, pumpkin, lettuce, sweet potato, capsicum, parsley, chives, tomato, mango, kiwifruit, tamarillo, paw paw, banana
Other Foods Almonds, buckwheat, garlic, lentils, rice, millet, corn, gluten free pasta & breads, sea salt
Protein Foods Skinless chicken & turkey, fresh fish, tuna, salmon, lean lamb, whey protein
Fat Foods Avocado, flax seeds or oil, olive oil, macadamia nuts, sunflower & pumpkin seeds

General guidelines

Eat regular meals, selecting from a variety of foods but attempting to consume at least 6-8 foods on the desired lists.

Avoid any foods that are going to stress the liver (ie fatty foods, alcohol, coffee etc).

Preferably, eat foods raw and as fresh as possible. Otherwise lightly steamed.

It may be necessary to purchase a high quality whey protein supplement to provide adequate amounts of the amino acids needed for detoxification (taurine, glycine, methionine and glutamine) and to enhance your liver's production of glutathione, your premier liver antioxidant.

Please contact us if you are unsure as to whether you need extra support in the form of nutrients.

At Ideal Health we stock a number of liver cleansing herbal formulas. Please ask about these and which one would suit you best.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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