In the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is an important regulator of “Qi” in the body. Qi translates freely to “vital energy”, which is supposed to be the energy that supports life itself.
As such, good liver health is essential to our deepest sense of vitality. The Chinese also believe that the organs are closely linked to our emotional health and that liver imbalances make us more frequently angry and frustrated, among others.
Today we have access to these main Chinese herbs for the support of our Liver. Majority of these herbs also work to strengthen and nourish your vital organs. They also help to maintain our body balance, even when faced with emotional and environmental influences, Chinese herbs can be used to keep us safe and vibrant.
In TCM, diseases is contracted as a result of interactions between different parts of the body and the environment. There is the idea of three treasures: qi, shen, and jing. Qi is our source of life or bodily energy.
When we are under too much stress, mentally and physically, it can affect our qi and lead to stagnant energy in organs like the liver and kidneys. Shen is our spirit. This is what allows us to think and feel, and it is responsible for our cognitive and emotional presence.
The last treasure is the jing, it determines our physical and energetic characteristics. Just like our qi, jing can also be decreased when we are under too much stress.
In order to preserve our nature and vitality, we need to adopt a balanced lifestyle. We need to follow a nutritious diet and turn to Chinese herbs when rebalancing
Below are the Traditional Chinese Herbs for Liver Support
Mint is found in many gardens and also in wild nature. It is a fresh herb that can be collected, dried and used as a condiment or drink as a tea. Mint is good for the cold or the flu, especially if you have a fever. It also relieves the liver, so if you’re stressed, have a cup of mint tea!
Reishi, or Ling Zhi in Chinese, is known as the “mushroom king” because of his incredible list of health benefits. In TCM, the reishi mushroom is commonly dried, sliced, boiled in hot water and prepared to make a soup or healing tea.
It is used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to nourish the heart, maintain the health of the liver, encourage calmness, delay aging and enhance fertility, strength, and stamina.
It is known to symbolize well-being, longevity and divine power: it feeds our three treasures and helps us maintain our health.
Reishi is full of antioxidants and healing compounds such as polysaccharides, triterpenes and complex sugars known as beta-glucans. Today, it is easy to find reishi mushrooms in the form of powder, capsules, and extracts, as it has become a popular remedy to combat health conditions naturally.
It is used to reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease, stabilize blood sugar levels, balance hormones and even function as a natural cancer treatment.
Panax ginseng has been used in China for centuries as a herbal remedy. It is one of the most popular herbal remedies, with the name panax meaning “all healing.”
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is valued for its ability to improve a number of pathological conditions and diseases, including diabetes, fatigue, anorexia, palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, impotence, and hemorrhage.
Ginseng is recommended for patients with low qi, coldness and yang deficiency. It is known to relieve digestive conditions, improve mental activity, improve longevity and induce calming and sedative effects. It also nourishes five vital organs of the body – the spleen, lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver.
Today you can find ginseng in dried, powdered, capsule and tablet form, but for 5000 years the Chinese people have been using ginseng roots to make tea. In fact, in Chinese medicine, practitioners recommend that all adults over the age of 40 drink a cup of ginseng tea every day.
Fo-ti is one of the main Chinese herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine to support the health of the liver and kidneys, induce calm, nourish the heart and combat the effects of aging.
It is known as a “tonic to give youth” and valued for its invigorating and adaptogenic properties. It is also believed to balance yin and yang energies by treating a yin deficiency that can lead to health problems such as stress, anxiety, aging, and fatigue.
According to researchers at the Pharmaceutical University of China in Nanjing, several clinical studies provide evidence that fo-ti benefits sleep disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and high cholesterol.
Traditionally, fo-ti root is used alone or in a black bean sauce soup, but it is also available raw and steamed. You can also use fo-ti as a supplement, powder, tea or tincture.
5. Royal jelly
Royal jelly is produced by young foster bees and is the main source of food for the queen of the colony. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to combat respiratory problems (including cough, sore throat, colds, and flu), to improve digestion and to build endurance. Royal Jelly is known to support the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
It is also known for its reproductive health, wound healing, neurodegenerative disorders, and aging protective effects. It is used in Chinese medicine to normalize and regulate all functions of the body and nourish your jing which increases vitality and overall health.
Royal jelly is very powerful, so you only need half a teaspoon a day to get its many benefits. It can be eaten raw or mixed with honey to make a spread.
6. Goji berries
In China, goji berries are known as “wolfberry fruit,” and were mentioned in the oldest book of Chinese herbs that exist, Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing.
Practitioners of Chinese medicine consider goji berries to be calm and sweet. It is known that they act positively on the liver and kidneys due to their detoxifying properties, thus contributing to our qi and essence.
Goji berries are a healthy source of antioxidants, amino acids plus 20 other minerals, including selenium, potassium, and iron.
The list of benefits of goji berries is extensive, including its ability to increase immune function, promote healthy skin, protect eye health, regulate blood sugar levels, improve mood, increase fertility, Detoxify the liver and fight cancer.
In China, goji berries are commonly cooked and added to recipes such as rice congee, tonic soups, and dishes made with chicken, pork or vegetables. They’re also used to make different teas, fruits, and wines.
This liver cleanser plant has popularized vegetables such as escarole or escarole. Its leaves are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. In addition, its dried root can be a healthy substitute for coffee.
As a vegetable, it is very easy to prepare. To make delicious and refreshing salads with nutritional and medicinal properties, combine it with other foods that counteract its particular bitter taste. Use it before meals, whether fresh or dry: its components help boost children’s and adults ‘ appetite and reinforce the digestive system.
Thanks to its lactucopicrin, responsible for the bitter taste of chicory leaves, it also has a cholagogues effect; that is, it facilitates the emptying of the gallbladder and, therefore, improves the digestion of food.
Therefore, it cleanses the liver and improves its functions. Chicory is recommended for those suffering from disorders of the gallbladder and liver and slow digestion.
Its mild laxative action also treats chronic constipation, and its mild diuretic effect helps prevent fluid retention. The dried chicory root is used as a coffee substitute, with the advantage that it is a digestive infusion without stimulants.
Though not previously given much importance as a medicinal plant, it has begun to enjoy a reputation as a remedy for liver cleansing and biliary disorders from the twentieth century onward. Indeed some of its active ingredients are included in liver health pharmaceutical products.
Both its leaves and stem, either fresh or dried, are an outstanding remedy for damage to the liver and urinary diseases. Besides being hepatoprotective (i.e. protecting the liver against toxins). It is cholagogue and choleretic, promoting good digestive properties.
For poor digestion and liver failure, it is a highly recommended treatment. It is also diuretic, purifying, and helps remove urea, so it is useful to those suffering from kidney failure. Artichoke also helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
9. Milk thistle
Thistle is native to temperate Mediterranean areas, where it has been used since Antiquity. In many regions, it is a traditional winter vegetable served during the Christmas holidays.
It has a delicate, sweet and slightly bitter flavor. Although it is not quite nutrient-rich, it does provide other active components. These components are silymarin and inulin, to which it owes its medicinal benefits.
It is one of the most effective treatments for preserving and repairing the liver. This is because it contains silymarin, a material capable of regenerating toxin-damaged liver cells and relieving liver tissue inflammation.
Milk thistle is, therefore, an excellent remedy against hepatitis and liver failure. It is also used to treat liver problems caused by insufficient bile secretion, such as gallstones and biliary dyspepsia. It has strong hepatoprotective effects to alleviate overeating and alcohol and drug-abuse symptoms.
As if that were not enough, the thistle also stimulates the appetite. It has a slight laxative effect and helps to reduce the high levels of cholesterol because it has lipid-lowering activity. It may also be actively used as an anti-inflammatory to reduce sunburn and dermatitis.