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- Health Concerns
Many of our customers are currently participating in Dry July. While having a break from alcohol, its a really good opportunity to support your liver, so you feel amazing when August comes around.
The liver has many roles in the body, including detoxification. While having a break from alcohol, its a good opportunity to provide the liver for nutrients to supports its rest and revitalisation. Everything we eat gets packaged and transported via the liver. The liver breaks down spent hormones & is involved with recycling of nutrients too. In all, it is a very busy organ with many roles. Giving it a spring clean can help to feel more energised, enjoy glowing skin, support better hormone health, potentially reduce cholesterol, support digestive issues such as bloating or constipation and help to lose a few excess kilos too. Below is some information on some age old liver supporting herbs and supplements.
Dandelion, which is pictured above, is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion. It increases bile flow which in turn assists digestion of fats and also key vitamins, which incorporate with lipids as they digest. Because it encourages digestion of Vitamin A, and has mild laxative effects, it can help skin conditions, along with the liver and the bowel. Most liver formulations will contain dandelion. You can also find this herb in your garden & add it to salads or homemade pesto. Just make sure you get the right herb, as we have another similar looking yellow flowered plant that often grows in the same place. Dandelion has a lions tooth shaped leaf which helps its identification. Dandelion is also often used as a coffee substitute, which tastes great and helps to support the liver.
Milk Thistle, also known as St Mary’s thistle, is traditionally used to protect and restore the liver. Milk thistle may protect the liver from damage from toxins and supports the liver by increasing turnover of the cells. It has been used to support conditions such as fatty liver, and also to protect the liver cells when undergoing chemotherapy. If you take a drive in the New Zealand countryside you might see St Mary’s thistle growing, although as the name suggests, its prickly (with purple flowers) and the actives of Silybum comes from the seeds, which makes it a little challenging to gather.
Glutathione is a tripeptide of 3 amino acids, cystine, glutamic acid and glycine. Glutathione is known as the body’s master antioxidant and has important roles in the digestive organs including supporting the liver. Any liver support programme should include protein, to give the building blocks for glutathione and also to provide taurine which enhances bile flow. The liver is one of our hardest working organs which means it has plenty of oxidative stress. Glutathione helps to mitigate damage from this. Glutathione also assists alcohol break down, so it can be useful to take this supplement before sharing a bottle of wine with friends (after Dry July). When planning any detox programme, we recommend using protein powder to support getting enough of these key amino acids, or taking glutathione as a supplement.
Sometimes spotted in local gardens, globe artichoke is a magnificent looking specimen, globe shaped with a large thistle like flower, which is great to eat when you steam the leaves. Globe artichoke helps the body to produce bile and distribute fats around the body. It is helpful for reducing cholesterol & blood lipids and also for issues such as gall stones, and fatty liver. It can also be useful for bloating, flatulence and constipation. However, if using to support gall stones, be cautious and only use under the guidance of a herbalist or doctor, as stones can move causing blockages.
Mariangela Rondanelli, et al, Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolemia: a double blind randomized, placebo controlled trial
Hangyong Zhao et al, Dandelion root extract suppressed gastric cancer cells proliferation and migration through targeting lncRNA-CCAT1, as viewed at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S075333221731987X
Sacco R et al, Glutathione in the treatment of liver diseases: insights from clinical practice, as viewed at https://europepmc.org/article/med/27603810