Preserving Liver Health Through Ayurveda

Introduction

 

The liver organ is considered a fire or pitta organ.  Good health of the liver requires the balance of the pitta dosha . If the liver is overloaded with toxins it will burn too hot and become inflamed causing problems throughout the body. The imbalance is treated with a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes as well as herbal remedies.

Ayurveda recommends following a detox programme at each season’s junction, particularly at the beginning of spring. Cleaning the liver in spring clears toxins that have accumulated during winter. The junction between the end of summer and beginning of autumn is good time to cleanse liver to eliminate excess pitta that accumulates during summer.

Pitta Dosha

There are 5 types of pitta dosha :

  • Pachaka pitta
  • Ranjaka pitta
  • Alochaka pitta
  • Sadhaka pitta
  • Bhrajaka pitta

Amongst them pachaka pitta and ranjaka pitta play a vital role in the proper functioning of liver.

Pachaka pitta:

Site-GIT

The juices, enzymes and various acids involved in the process of digestion contribute to pachaka pitta.

Ranjaka pitta:

Site-LIVER, spleen, lower part of the stomach

The complex process of production of blood cells , balancing body chemistry and all those activities which are responsible for giving pigmentation, be it to the skin or the red colour to the  blood, are all carried out by ranjaka pitta.

Vitiation of pitta dosha occurs due to:

  • Excess consumption of spicy, sour and salty food
  • Consuming alcohol in excess
  • Over exposure to hot sunny climate
  • Short temperdness
  • Using dried vegetables
  • Indigestion of food

Pitta Balancing Diet

  • Eat food that is cool, dry, light, sweet, bitter
  • As there is imbalance of agni, diet should be easy to digest one.
  • Drink adequate quantity of water.
  • Improve fibre intake
  • Beans, green vegetables, sweet fruits, vegetables like:
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflower
    • Onion
    • Garlic
  • Fresh papaya or carrot juice are very effective home remedies to protect liver. Most fresh fruits are good except acid forming fruits.
  • Cut down on heating foods and tastes, oil, salt, hot spices, tomatoes, alcohol, vinegar, egg yolks, red meat and refined flour.
  • Do not eat late at night , avoid irregular eating habits
  • Avoid day sleep, exposure to hot sun, exertion, anxiety, alcohol and smoking
  • Bitter herbs are best to pacify pitta. Bitter herbs cause a reflexive secretion of gastric juices and tone the muscles of digestive tract. They also support detoxification by helping the liver process incoming nutrients and filter impurities from circulation and they have anti-bacterial and pitta reducing properties.

Ayurvedic Aspect of Liver Diseases

When there is vitiation of paachaka pitta , the ranjaka pitta situated in liver becomes deranged and does not get its nourishment. This invariably results in liver diseases. In other words, all liver diseases occur due to imbalance of pachaka pitta.

Now apart from vitiation of pitta , there is vitiation of vata as well particularly vyana vata. This results in the blockage (srotorodha) of blood carrying channels and as a result pitta does not reach ‘grahani’ (duodenum). It,  in turn, gets circulated all over the body via rasa , rakta(blood) dhatus.

Vitiation of ranjaka pitta thus can cause hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, anaemia, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Herbal First Aid

Many herbs that support liver functions can calm and pacify imbalanced pitta and reduce liver congestion. Some of them increases bile flow, others support enzymatic detox process and nourishes and stabilize liver.

Curcumin- speeds up liver detox process. Curcumin prevents alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to the liver. In case of congestive heart diseases, curcumin and turmeric is not advised. Turmeric is also avoided if you suffer from painful gall stones, obstructive jaundice, acute bilious colic and extremely toxic liver.

  • Ø Juice of Tinospora cordifolia (guduchi) with honey once a day in empty stomach detoxifies liver.
  • Ø Black salt with tomato juice once a day detoxifies the liver.
  • Ø Ayurvedic medicines like tiktakam kashayam tab + punarnavadi kashayam tab each 3 times a day before food is very effective.
  • Ø Arogya vardhini vati is best for liver disorders.
  • Ø Milk thistle-prevents liver toxicity during chemotherapy. It nourishes and strengthens the liver.
  • Ø Drugs like bhoomyamlaki , kaalamegha ,punarnava, and katuki are effective in treating liver problems.

 [In Picture: Milk Thistle]

12 thoughts on “Preserving Liver Health Through Ayurveda

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