The crocuses and dandelions are popping out of the ground, and the days are getting longer. After a season spent mostly indoors, our bodies yearn for sunlight, movement, and fresh food. Spring is an ideal time to give your body a reboot by optimizing liver health and detoxification.
A great way to enhance your body’s natural detoxification system is to support the function of your liver. The liver filters blood coming from the digestive tract before sending it to the rest of the body. It detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. Among other metabolic processes, the liver produces bile, which breaks down fat into fatty acids to produce energy. Liver health is also essential for healthy hormones.
Align with the seasons and move into spring feeling fresh and energetic by including these five liver-supporting herbs into your day.
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelions support the digestive system by maintaining a proper flow of bile. Dandelion root also has a natural diuretic effect, supporting the body’s ability to eliminate more toxins. Dandelion tea is a great substitute for coffee while cleansing the liver.
Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum marianum)
Milk Thistle contains a flavonoid, Silymarin, which has antioxidant properties and supports a healthy inflammatory response. Silymarin has been found to increase glutathione (an antioxidant necessary for detoxification), and it may also support healthy liver cells.
Yellow Dock Root (Rumex crispus)
Yellow Dock aids in detoxification by supporting healthy bile production. It also supports elimination and removal of toxins by encouraging healthy bowel movements and urination.
Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa)
Besides the well known effects of turmeric to support a healthy inflammatory response, recent research has shown that curcumin, the primary polyphenol in turmeric, may have liver-protective properties and support healthy liver function.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Recent studies indicate that Glycyrrhizic acid, a key active constituent in licorice root, supports healthy immune function and a healthy inflammatory response. It supports optimum microbial balance in the body and nourishes liver cells. As an adaptogenic herb, licorice can help support the overall functioning of the body during detoxification.
Spring Detox Decoction
When working with hard, woody parts of the plant, such as these liver-supporting roots, use a decoction to extract the active compounds. Here’s a simple recipe.
- 2 parts licorice root
- 2 part dandelion root
- 1 part ginger root
- 1 part cinnamon bark
- Use 1 cup water per tablespoon of herbs.
- Place herbs and cold water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 20-40 minutes.
- Cool and strain.
- Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
Fall & Winter Foods for Inflammation
Writer Katie Gerber is a holistic health and nutrition coach serving clients locally in the front range as well as online. In 2014, she completed Aviva Romm’s Herbal Medicine for Women certification. After thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014 and the Colorado Trail in 2016, Katie decided to use her botanical medicine and nutrition knowledge to help fellow wilderness lovers seeking more energy and better health. She transitioned from her career as a pastry chef, and enrolled in the Institute for Transformational Nutrition. She now uses her lifelong passion for holistic health with her background in the culinary arts to help people live healthier lives, in alignment with nature. Katie writes for several publications and speaks at local events. When she’s not writing and working with clients, you’ll most likely find her in the mountains, in the garden, or in the kitchen testing recipes. Find out more about Katie, her articles, and her adventures at her website.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.