Spring Cleaning The Liver

By Rosanne Lindsay, ND

Spring has sprung!  Tis the season for rebirth and regeneration. Spring is ruled by the wood element which is associated with the liver and its complementary organ, the gallbladder.  What better time to reset and rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit than through the liver, an organ known to regenerate itself if a portion is surgically removed?

It was at one time considered the seat of life; hence its name— liver, the thing we live with. -Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, Tales and Memoirs

As the body’s largest filter and gland, the liver is a detox powerhouse responsible for more than 500 (possibly 5000) functions. Your liver filters 1 liter of blood every minute from the digestive tract before it flows to the rest of the body. It holds about one pint of blood (13% of the body’s blood) at any given moment. It detoxifies, nourishes, replenishes, and stores blood. It also energizes the blood by releasing stored sugar (glycogen) as glucose. Other jobs of your liver include:

  • metabolizing drugs and detoxing chemicals,
  • synthesizing glutathione, an important antioxidant that removes toxins (heavy metals and chemicals),
  • converting sunlight to vitamin D3, critical to the immune system function,
  • producing bile, which helps break down fats in the small intestine during digestion, and carry away wastes,
  • making amino acids which become protein,
  • converting T4 thyroid hormone to T3,
  • making steroid and sex hormones that affect libido, menstrual cycle, and timing of menopause,
  • creating digestive enzymes and immune cells, and storing vitamins.

The liver is also responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body and balancing emotions. The liver accumulates emotions of anger, irritability, resentment, and frustration, all signs that our Qi is not flowing smoothly. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body works according to the meridian clock when each organ is most active. If you find yourself waking up between 1am and 3 am in the morning, your liver could be trying to tell you something.

  • 1am-3am – Liver
  • 3am-5am – Lungs
  • 5am-7am– Large intestines
  • 7am-9am – Stomach
  • 9am-11am – Spleen & pancreas
  • 11am- 1pm – Heart & mind
  • 1pm-3pm – Small intestine
  • 3pm – 5pm – Bladder
  • 5pm -7 pm – Kidneys
  • 7pm – 9pm – Pericardium
  • 9pm- 11pm – Triple heater (related to metabolism)
  • 11pm- 1am – Gallbladder

Liver Congestion

The liver accumulates toxins from exposures to food, pesticides, GMOs, water, air, aluminum and mercury from vaccines, medications, mercury amalgams, make-up, lotions, alcohol, byproducts of metabolism, as well as emotions from the effects of stress. If your liver isn’t happy, neither are you. Signs of a sluggish liver include:

  • Sallow skin color and poor skin tone
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Yellow-coated tongue
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ache that worsens with anger
  • PMS or Irritability
  • Irregular or painful periods
  • Depression
  • Pain or discomfort along sides of body
  • Arthritis
  • Inability to digest fats

If you experience any of these signs, it is time to thank your liver for working so hard and consider some Spring cleaning and detoxification protocols. Key health benefits of detoxification allow you to:

  • Feel young, look great
  • Increased vitality, energy, and stamina
  • Reduction of allergic symptoms
  • Improvement of digestive functions
  • Better concentration, clarity and mental focus
  • Enhanced mental performance
  • A sense of calm and ease
  • Increased resistance to illness
  • Reduction in risk for many chronic diseases
  • Reduced symptoms of chronic toxicity
  • Weight loss

Easy Ways to Cleanse the Liver

Coffee enema: Use distilled water and organic, caffeinated (lightly roasted) coffee. After the coffee cools to approximate body temperature, the enema is administered and held for up to 20 minutes while lying on your right side, then relieved with a bowel movement. Consider an enema at least once a week until symptoms resolve, while choosing to eat healthier.

Lemon/lime water: Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s Qi. Drink the juice  ½ a lemon or lime in warm water first thing in the morning. Lemon becomes an alkaline ash in the body to balance pH. Garnish your lunch with a dill pickle.

Eat Green: Chlorella and other green super-foods: Green is the color of springtime and the liver. Chlorella purifies the liver and the blood, serves to nurture gut bacteria, and promotes bile production. Green juicing with beets also targets the liver. Eat vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts (brassica family), and artichoke. See this liver detox salad and drink green tea.

Foods:  garlic, grapefruit, beets, cherries, avocados, apples, tofu, mustard seed, squash, caraway seed, spearmint, oregano, sweet basil, red beans.
Burdock and Dandelion teas (or as tinctures): To cleanse the blood and strengthen the liver.

Bentonite clay: There are internal and external versions that carry out toxins from the body. You can soak in a tub of Bentonite water. Or drink 1 tsp. hydrated Bentonite clay in water before before bed.

Milk Thistle: as a tonic strengthener for a few weeks. Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself.

Castor Oil Packs: externally applied over the liver to decrease inflammation for optimal liver function, to improve digestion and the healing of tissues, and much more. Easily applied for kids.

Eye Exercises: The liver opens to the eyes.

Stretch:  The liver controls the tendons. The liver releases blood it to the tendons in times of activity to maintain tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Yoga can help release emotions. Check out these poses for detox. Acupuncture can help open the liver meridian to release emotions.

Water: Spring (clean) water against dehydration.

Turmeric:  This anti-inflammatory spice is excellent for liver virus or infections. Cook with turmeric or check out this recipe for golden milk with turmeric, ginger, ghee, full-fat coconut milk, and raw honey.

Spend Time Outdoors: Outdoor air helps liver Qi

Liver disease affects one in ten Americans.  It’s time for some Spring cleaning. If you love your liver, your liver will thank you for it.

Rosanne Lindsay is a Naturopath in Wisconsin. Consult with her (virtually) to create a health plan that increases vitality at natureofhealing.org, where this article first appeared. Rosanne is also President of the National Health Freedom Coalition, co-founder of Wisconsin For Vaccine Choice  and author of the book The Nature of Healing, Heal the Body, Heal the Planet. Find her on Facebook at Rosanne Lindsay and Natureofhealing.

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