How healthy is your liver - by anastasia zafiropoulos

Anastasia Zafiropoulos is a naturopath with a Health Sciences degree (Complementary Therapies). With eight years of experience in the natural health industry, Anastasia works at our retail store (ABC Vitamins) and runs a naturopathic practice offering one-on-one consultations. You can contact Anastasia through ABC Vitamins - Click here for contact information.


To check out some of our Liver products click here


The liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body. When it’s not functioning properly an array of health problems can result including fatigue, inability to lose weight and high cholesterol. Naturopath Anastasia Zafiropoulos, explains why taking care of your liver can put you on the path to optimal health and wellbeing. 


Everyday your body is exposed to a multitude of toxins through food you eat, water, alcohol and coffee you drink, polluted air you breathe, drugs you consume and of course chemicals you slap on your skin and hair daily. The liver’s primary function is to filter theses toxic substances from your blood so they can be eliminated from your body. The liver also plays a vital role in the metabolism, it’s the major fat burning organ of the body and regulates fat metabolism. It also plays an important role in regulating cholesterol levels, and helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.


Signs of liver dysfunction
If the liver becomes overloaded with toxins or deficient in essential nutrients, detoxification will be affected. This will result in toxins being pushed back into the blood stream, which may cause:

  • tiredness and lethargy
  • inability or difficulty in losing weight
  • weakened immune function
  • digestive problems or abdominal bloating
  • poor skin health and skin conditions
  • sluggish metabolism
  • elevated cholesterol
  • mood swings
  • menopausal symptoms and PMS may be more severe.
  • sugar cravings
  • bad breath /or coated tongue
  • dark circles under eyes
  • unstable blood sugar levels.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and know that you do tend to overindulge now and then (be it on alcohol, caffeine, high fat or sugar foods) then I would recommend a liver tonic (see list of liver herbs below), to help cleanse your liver and make sure it functions optimally, it will also be good for your digestive health!


Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) helps the liver cells regenerate faster than normal, stimulating repair and regeneration resulting from alcohol and other forms of poisoning. It also acts as a digestive tonic due to its bitter principles. This herb is excellent for promoting milk secretion and safe to be used by breastfeeding mothers.

Bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense), a favourite of the Chinese for over 2000 years, it helps protect and strengthen the liver. It has anti inflammatory and tonifying properties on the digestive system.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) stimulates liver and kidney function. The bitter constituents stimulate gastric secretions, helping to increase the production of bile by the liver. It is one of the most effective diuretics, used specifically in jaundice caused by liver congestion.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) corrects liver function and helps promote the flow of bile. It is indicated where there is inflammation of the gallbladder or when gallstones are present. It is a bitter tonic, and helps cleanse and strengthen and poorly functioning liver.

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) has liver protective properties and a restorative action. It is used in treating hepatitis and poor liver function. It is an excellent tonic and an adaptogen, helping the body to better deal and cope with stress.

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is beneficial to the liver, protecting against toxins and infection, and helping stimulate digestive secretions. The herb has strong bitter properties and treats gall bladder problems, nausea, indigestion and helps lower “bad cholesterol”.


To check out some of our Liver products click here


This article is reprinted from Go Magazine February 2011 issue, with permission from Go Vita


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