Body's largest internal organ--The Liver

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The most important factors involved in dealing with all diseases
of the human organism are liver and gall bladder congestion. In 
fact medical doctors have found that in all serious diseases, 
particularly cancer, the liver was in extremely poor condition. 

If the liver is 100% clean, (virtually impossible these days) and
functioning correctly, we would be practically free of disease 
and even the aging process would slow down considerably.  
Of course, as herbalists we know that when an organ is full of 
mucus or pus and not functioning correctly herbs can be a 
definite aid, but the body has to heal itself... 
and that requires energy and time. 

This will come through detoxification, with correct diet, 
fasting, poultices, compresses, exercise, water therapy, 
patience, etc.  Only then, after this has been achieved, will 
herbs help correct any functional disorder. That is not to say 
that herbs do not work in congestive or inflammatory disorders, 
but through experience the results are more effective when the 
herbs are used in conjunction with dietary changes and 
detoxification. It is important then to realise that regardless 
of the area of the body dis-eased, without liver cleansing 
results will be minimal.  

The liver, is the largest and most complex organ in the body. It 
cleanses 600 litres of blood daily, processing all matter, food 
or otherwise, that finds itself in the system. All toxic material
ingested through the portal vein system (via the stomach and 
intestines) will be acted upon by the liver and neutralized, thus
preventing absorption into the main bloodstream. This 
includes chemicals, preservatives, nicotine, alcohol, artificial
substances, etc,  (This is why prescription drugs have to be 
of a high enough dose to overcome and bypass the detoxification 
and neutralization process of the liver). Even the most natural 
and purest of foods can be poisonous to the body if the liver is
not functioning properly. Sugar will be changed into glycogen for
storage for example, but excess amounts will pass on into the 
general blood stream affecting other organs such as the kidneys.

Fats can also accumulate in the liver from over consumption of 
foods such as meat, milk, cheese, white flour and even brown rice
if eaten to excess. The ducts of the liver and gall bladder 
become obstructed with thickened bile and stones due to the 
excess cholesterol and bile caused by the over-consumption of 
foods and fats. These conditions are the direct or indirect cause
of most disease today.  

Among the liver's many functions is the processing of bile from 
blood, (approximately one pint daily in a normally functioning 
liver). This liquid (next to the blood), is the most important in
the body. Other functions of the liver are the processing of 
glucose, haemoglobin, transformation of protein and fat, vitamin
and enzyme production, regulating levels of iron and body 
temperature, cholesterol levels and lipid metabolism, 
detoxification and the production of substances to prevent 
infection. Nearly all of the compounds used by the body are 
produced in the liver. When this organ is overloaded toxins 
remain and eventually the kidneys are left to deal with this. 
Then, with both organs unable to operate correctly, the liver 
becomes enlarged. It is at this point that it ceases to function
appropriately and toxic waste finds itself into the general 
bloodstream. Overeating, as well as too 
much of any food, can also cause an enlarged liver. 

Chills and fevers are the liver's response to congestion, an 
overactive liver suffering from heat in the summer and an 
insufficient liver not tolerating cold in the winter. 
The bile, which is stored in the gallbladder in a more 
concentrated form, is of extreme importance in all areas of the 
body. The gallbladder actually draws the bile into itself from 
the liver duct. Many back problems in fact are the direct result
of inadequate bile flow. The synovial fluid around all joints 
will decrease if bile flow is low, sometimes causing terrible 
pain. Many people will take cortisone injections for relief 
believing it, mistakenly, to be arthritis or some other 
inflammatory disease. The cure of course comes with liver 

Another area of the body that can suffer from lack of bile are 
the sinuses. This soothing lubricant (bile) keeps mucus membranes
moist, otherwise they become dry and inflamed. Most allergy 
conditions can be traced to liver congestion. Avoiding foods that
create a reaction bring relief but will not cure the allergy. 
Allergies and sinus conditions will often disappear after the 
liver has been cleansed.  

Some of the many herbs that can be used to relieve liver 
congestion are: 
Dandelion, Cascara, Oregon Grape root, Gentian root, Culvers 
root, Poke root, Black root, St. Benedict, Sage, Agrimony, Myrrh,
Tormentilla, Celandine, Artichoke, Woodruff, Barberry...etc. 
These are herbs that promote bile flow.(Many of these herbs if 
taken indiscriminately, can cause severe reaction. Always seek 
the advice of a qualified Herbalist). 

Signs and symptoms. 
There are many signs or symptoms that indicate the liver or 
gallbladder are congested. Insomnia and waking between 1 and 3 
a.m., or sleeping all night and waking up feeling that you 
haven't slept at all along with weakness, sluggishness and 
tiredness. When there is no bile in the stomach there can be 
nervousness and migraine headaches and digestion is seriously 

Emotional upsets such as sudden anger and depression 
are sure signs. No bile can also cause gas in the stomach 
producing pain around the heart and sternum area and water may 
develop around the heart and in the lungs. Visual problems may 
develop, neck and shoulder pain, low back pain or pain in the 
joints especially the knees, weakness and pain in upper front leg 
muscles and calves, pain in the arms and top of the right hand. 
There is likely to be dry or oily skin, itchy ears, muscle pain 
after working, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, frequent 
urination, pain between the shoulder blades, colitis, ulcers, 
hiatus hernia and digestive problems, (especially after eating),
too much sleep, nausea, vomiting, certain foods repeating, (such
as radish, green peppers, cucumber and onions), pain in the right 
side radiating to the back, colic, mental problems, pain in the 
liver or gallbladder area, headaches and a bitter taste in the 

External signs.  
Reddish blue colouring under the eyes and over the forehead and 
other areas of the body. Two vertical lines between the eyebrows,
yellow eyes or skin, a red nose etc. Other problems caused 
directly by liver congestion are spastic colon, worms, 
infections, chills, anal itching, anaemia, diabetes, obesity, 
underweight, appendicitis and heart palpitations. Liver 
congestion can also lead to ear problems, swollen legs (edema), 
skin diseases, rheumatism, arthritis, glandular imbalances, 
menstrual problems, nervous disorders, muscle weakness, 
bronchitis, sclerosis, T.B., cancer, sterility, impotence, 
thyroid conditions, etc. etc. There are many other related 
conditions but they could fill a book. Obviously it is important
to keep the liver clean by eating properly, walking in the fresh
air, breathing deeply and taking proper rest and meditation.  
It can readily be seen then, when dealing with any disorder of 
the body, that the liver must be taken into proper consideration
to enable any treatment (herbal or otherwise) to be effective. In
the next issue of the Newsletter I shall look at the specific 
applications of the herbs and their various benefits.