A human body is composed of various organs that are assigned specific tasks for its effective functioning. The liver, being the second largest organ in our body, is one of the most important of all. It undertakes a whole lot of functions to keep the vitality of our body in check by helping the body be rid of toxins, aiding digestion, maintaining the circulatory system, breaking down drugs to simple elements, controlling cholesterol levels and fighting infection. Of late, cases of liver ailments have gone up which may be due to a bunch of different factors, including infections, genetic factors, alcohol abuse, increased exposure to chemicals in our daily life, unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle etc. Considering the lifestyle changes that happened over the years, we are more exposed to pollutants and other chemicals which make the liver go into overdrive mode in keeping the body detoxified. The liver, being the organ that manages major body functions exhibits various symptoms for us to track if one’s liver starts getting in ill health. Any damage to the liver may result in serious health injuries if not taken care of in the initial phase itself. A deteriorating liver can result in major body functions getting affected, thereby injuring other organs as well.
Ayurveda, being the science that bases its treatments on restoring the body balance, places high importance on the liver balancing function as it is the vital organ that handles chayaapachaya (metabolism) of food that gets consumed. In Ayurveda treatment for liver disorder, considered as imbalanced pitta, the focus is on enhancing the detoxification process of the liver and helping protect it against any further possible damage. In Ayurvedic literature, there are references to various liver ailments and their treatments in detail. Different liver ailments as mentioned in Ayurvedic literature are Yakrit Vridhi (Hepatomegaly), Yakrit Dalludara, Dakritdora, Dakrit Gata Dosa, Yakrit Kshya ( Cirrhosis Of Liver), Yakrit Vidradhi (Liver Abscess), Yakrit Granthi (Hepatic Cyst) depending on its formation, mass and structure. Clinical features based on the function of liver diseases are classified as Kamala, Kumbhakamala, Panaki, Halimala, and Alasa.
According to Ayurveda, as the Liver is where blood is stored it is the locus of Rasadhathu, which when comes to the Yakrit / Liver and the Spleen / Pleeha, gets coloured by Ranjakagni which is responsible for colouring ahara rasa. The liver is an organ that knows how to heal itself considering that we are supporting the healing process by not pushing our body with hot food or chemicals, instead treating the body by keeping it clean and cool. This will help the liver detoxify itself and speed up its recovery process. In a person with any liver disorders, the body starts showing milder symptoms which usually might go unnoticed in the initial phase. The symptoms include Yellowish discolouration of eyes and the skin (Jaundice), Ankle and leg swelling, Urine discolouration turning it to a darker shade, Stool discolourations to a paler shade, Itchy Skin, Abdominal pain, persistent fatigue, Vomiting or Nausea, Loss of Appetite etc. Seeking medical help in case of persistent symptoms is always advised.
Balancing the Liver functions – Naturally
Diet – According to Ayurveda, changing the diet to include herbs and organic fibre-rich food, most importantly freshly cooked that are devoid of any kind of preservatives. Include food that is bitter in taste as it causes gastric juice to be secreted that can help tone muscles of the digestive tract and supports detoxification. Moreover, its antibacterial properties support immunity whereas the heat-clearing property helps balance the pitta. Apart from bitters, including food that can induce a cooling effect to the body are also found beneficial for balancing the liver functions. There is a choice of herbs that can be taken including Neem, Aloe Vera (Ghrita Kumari), Kutki / Katuki (Bitterroot), Amla, Turmeric, Bitter Gourd (Karvela), Punarnava to name a few. Vegetables and fruits such as carrots, greens, beetroot and apples are also found to be good for liver health. Make sure to drink enough water to help the body flush out toxins.
Laxatives – Ayurveda treatment for liver disorder is based on detoxifying the body and the most effective method to have a toxic flush is through laxatives. As pitta usually accumulates in the large intestine, it can be removed from the body completely only by a laxative induced bowel movement.
Fasting – Including fasting as a part of lifestyle will help the liver with the much needed time it needs to decongest and detoxify itself. While fasting, we can support the liver by consuming fresh juices in between.
Tonics/Supplements – In Ayurveda, there are different herbs that have exhibited their effectiveness in supporting and protecting liver functions and reversing liver damages caused due to chemical toxicity. These need to be included as a part of your lifestyle based on advice from your Ayurveda practitioner.
Exercise – Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation or light exercises that can help relax one’s body and reduce stress is extremely beneficial in maintaining liver function balance. Accumulated stress is one of the reasons for having a congested liver.
Make lifestyle changes for your liver and overall longevity. Book an appointment and get a thorough consultation and try leading a pitta balancing lifestyle after consulting with the experienced doctors at our Ayurveda hospital Kerala. Take a break at times from the busy lives to indulge in yourselves and your passions to reenergize the body and inner self. Reduced stress helps balance the pitta, which in turn supports the liver in balancing its functions.