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The primary way in which your body expels toxins is via the liver, which detoxifies and cleanses your body by continuously filtering the blood of poisons that enter it through the digestive tract, the skin, and the respiratory system. But when your liver becomes overworked as a result of stress or excessive exposure to toxins, your entire system can be thrown off balance, and your health severely compromised.
Since the liver is also responsible for producing bile, another form of detoxification that is metabolically necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of fats and proteins from your food, it is exceedingly important that your liver be properly maintained. Without a well-functioning liver, your body will be unable to cleanse itself and absorb nutrients, which is a recipe for a health disaster.
“The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver,” writes Dr. Karl Maret, M.D., about the importance of vibrant liver function. “The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity.”
“If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.”
So here are seven important foods you may want to begin incorporating into your diet in order to maintain a healthy liver.
Garlic, grapefruit, green tea, and green vegetables
Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage, and aid it in the detoxification process.
Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost the production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it (http://www.dailymail.co.uk).
Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function (http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v26/n11/abs/0802141a.html). This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.
Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body, and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.
Avocados, walnuts, and turmeric
Rich in glutathione-producing compounds, avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219074822.htm). Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.
Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.
Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.
To learn more, visit:http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/liver-cleanse-foods/
Sources for this article include:
1. Licorice Root
Licorice is one of the more widely consumed herbs in the world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs. Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane that needs immune system support . It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can expel the mucus. Compounds within this root help relieve bronchial spasms and block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the air ways. The compounds also have antibacterial and antiviral effects to them as well which helps fight off viral and bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections. Glycrrhizins and flavonoids can even help prevent lung cancer cells from forming which means they can even prevent lung cancer.
Coltsfoot has been traditionally used by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs. It clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs, and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments. Coltsfoot is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract known as a tincture.
The toxic breakdown of therapeutic compounds in cannabis from burning the plant are totally avoided with vaporization. Extraction and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils of the unprocessed plant affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity that comes from smoking. Cannabis is perhaps one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world shown in study after study to stimulate cannabinoid receptor activation in specific genes and mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. Vaporizing cannabis allows the active ingredients to stimulate the body’s natural immune response and significantly reduces the ability of infections to spread. Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator. It is even a proven method to treat and reverse asthma.
4. Osha Root
Osha is a herb native to the Rocky Mountain area and has historically been used by the Native Americans for respiratory support. The roots of the plant contain camphor and other compounds which make it one of the best lung-support herbs in America. One of the main benefits of osha root is that it helps increase circulation to the lungs, which makes it easier to take deep breaths. Also, when seasonal sensitivities flare up your sinuses, osha rootm, which is not an actual antihistamine, does produce a similar effect and may be help calm respiratory irritation.
Thyme is very powerful in the fight against chest congestion. It produces powerful antiseptic essential oils which are classified as naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal. Thyme is well known to zap acne more so than expensive prescription creams, gels and lotions. Thyme tea has the power to chase away and eliminate bacteria and viruses so whether your infection is based on either, it will work. Thyme has been used as a lung remedy consumed since antiquity and is used extensively today to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia.
Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oil of oregano fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breathe more deeply? Its benefits are not limited to equestrians. It has been used as “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine. Lobelia, by some accounts, is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Extracts of Lobelia inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus, breaks up congestion. Additionally, lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine, in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing. Also, because lobelia helps to relax smooth muscles, it is included in many cough and cold remedies. Lobelia should be part of everyone’s respiratory support protocol!
Elecampane has been used by Native Americans for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis. Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks. Elecampane is also available in tincture format for ease.
Native to Australia, eucalyptus isn’t just for Koala bears! Aborigines, Germans, and Americans have all used the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups and its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. As an added bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.
Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs. Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract. A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water. Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.
Lungwort is a tree-growing lichen that actually resembles lung tissue in appearance. However, this natural remedy doesn’t just look the part. As early as the 1600′s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Pulmonaria selections come in all kinds so seek a herbologist for direction. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.
Chaparral, a plant native to the Southwest, has been appreciated by the Native Americans for lung detoxification and respiratory support. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation and NDGA which is known to fight histamine response. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. Chaparral is also a herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are mostly available in a tincture extraction but chaparral tea may support respiratory problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus.
Sage’s textured leaves give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage’s essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments. Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs. The rich aromatic properties arising from sage’s volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea’s vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or a vaporizer.
Peppermint, and peppermint oil, contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene. Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Many people use therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion. Additionally, peppermint is an antioxidant and fights harmful organisms.
15. Plantain Leaf
With fruit that is similar in appearance to a banana, plantain leaf has been used for hundreds of years to ease cough and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. Clinical trials have found it favorable against cough, cold, and lung irritation. Plantain leaf has an added bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs.