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The 17 Best Natural Ways to Heal your Liver
Our liver is one of the most important organs in our body with literally hundreds of functions, but it often doesn’t get much love. Having a poorly functioning or sluggish liver will affect your overall health and well-being in multiple ways, but you can repair your liver. By taking the right supplements and eating the right foods for a healthy liver, you can improve liver function naturally for a happier and healthier life.
11 minute read time
There is a LOT of information out there about liver health. Many practitioners recommend harsh liver cleanses, fasts, and detox protocols as a way to cleanse the liver. However, this is not something I personally recommend.
Our livers need LOVE. They are stressed, overworked, and bombarded. Instead of doing a cleanse that can wipe your body of nutrients or following harsh detox advice that could be hard on the body, I highly recommend that you love your liver everyday in some way.
Luckily there are many natural supplements and foods for a healthy liver that can help with gentle, safe, and effective liver support.
“But I Don’t Have Liver Pain. Is My Liver Healthy?”
The liver is a truly unique organ that can actually regenerate itself, even after 80% of it is removed!
Which is amazing, but since we can function with as little as 1/6th of our livers, it can take years, even decades, before we even notice any apparent liver dysfunction. By then, it could be too late.
Many people say to me, “Well, I don’t have liver pain, so I must not have liver issues.” I don’t believe that is true at all, and we will get into symptoms of a sluggish liver soon.
By recognizing the early signs of liver dysfunction, we can help our livers function their best while preventing disease down the road.
Why Liver Health Is So Important!
Natural liver support is CRUCIAL for overall health and wellness.
Our livers are a very overlooked organ when it comes to daily life. We tend to think about our hearts, our lungs, and our brains long before we think about our livers.
These days, we are bombarded with environmental toxins in our food, air, household products, and even our furniture. Part of the liver’s job is to filter out toxins and convert them into less toxic substances so they can be excreted. However, when the liver gets bombarded by toxins, and when that’s coupled with a poor diet, it cannot do its job correctly.
This seems to be the reason for this obesity epidemic, as well as a SAD lifestyle.
Toxins get stored in fat when the liver cannot handle the constant influx of toxins. All of these things factor into illness! When your body is unable to get rid of the junk, disease will start.
Anyone that has experienced any kind of illness will definitely have some form of liver dysfunction (plus leaky gut and mineral imbalances – all 3 are related).
You can learn all about the importance of liver support in my course Holistic Detox Support as well.
What Are the Main Functions of the Liver?
It actually serves about 500 different functions to the body. Yes, you read that correctly- 500 different functions! From HealthFree, here are just a few of the most important jobs the liver has:
- Making three-quarters of your total cholesterol, which is used to produce hormones and bile salts
- Storing as much as 1 liter of blood in times of excess blood volume to be able to supply it in times of blood loss or heavy exercise
- Making 1 quart of bile per day for fat metabolism and neutralizing the acidity of toxins
- Detoxifying incompletely digested proteins, excess hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.), drugs, food additives, poisons, etc.
- Converting beta-carotene to Vitamin A
- Breaking down and absorbing vitamins A, D, E, and K. (If your liver is dysfunctional, you will not be able to metabolize these vitamins, no matter how much you take!)
- Storing excess vitamin A, B-12, D, K, and iron
- Converting ammonia, a byproduct of protein metabolism, into urea for kidney excretion
- Filtering out bacteria in the blood from the intestines before it enters general circulation
- Synthesizing up to 4 ounces of glucose daily, if needed (for example, during fasting or diabetes)
- Reducing blood sugar swings up to 65%.
There are a LOT of important processes that the liver handles.
Since an unhealthy liver can’t handle all of those processes well, it’s no wonder why so many people are suffering from illnesses and poor health.
What Are the Top Sluggish Liver Symptoms?
“Sluggish Liver” means when your liver and gallbladder are not working as well as they should be. Again from HealthFree, here are some of the signs of a sluggish liver (the most common symptoms are in bold):
- Poor digestion
- Excessive amounts of hormones (The liver deactivates them and is, in fact, the most important organ for hormone regulation.)
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Abdominal bloating or tenderness in the liver area
- Acne, skin rashes, itching, or jaundice (yellow tinge to skin)
- Fatigue (low energy)
- Loss of appetite
- Bitter or metallic taste in the mouth
- Split ends (hair)
- Brittle nails
- Mood swings (due to large swings in blood sugar)
- Hemorrhoids or varicose veins (due to liver congestion producing pressure on the veins)
- Pain in the back between the shoulder blades
- Inability to digest fats
- Water retention in the legs
- Muscle pain when inflating a blood pressure cuff around the calf
- Gallbladder problems
- Sleep disorders
- Heart palpitations or even heart attacks (All the blood to the heart goes through the liver. So, if it is congested the heart may not get as much blood as it needs.)
- Poor memory
- Thyroid problems
- Frequent numbness in the extremities
- Frequent infection
- Night blindness or blurry sight (The Chinese say that the liver is the river into the eyes. Clean and nutrient-rich blood flows into and nourishes the eyes.)
Have any of those symptoms?? I’ll guarantee that you have one, if not several.
Now, there are 2 different phases to liver detox, and you can read about that here – there is a GREAT chart to explain which phases need what as well. There are many nutrients that are needed for these phases, and there are a few foods and herbs that truly help certain phases.
Before you get started, though, it’s important to know…
Can Liver Detox and Healing Create a Detox Reaction?
Detox reactions are incredibly common when we are just starting to heal.
Since chronic illnesses are a culmination of many, many years of absorbing toxins and dealing with nutritional deficiencies, we can quite literally be full of toxins. Toxins get stored in fat when our bodies become overloaded, so you may have quite a bit more in your body than you realize.
This is why it’s important to go slowly when you are starting anything new. Have patience with your body! We did not get sick overnight, so we need time to heal.
How to Improve Liver Function Naturally
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, you will definitely need some form of liver healing.
The best thing about using NATURAL ways to heal is that many items have multiple benefits. So picking a few items from the following lists can help with overall healing- not just liver health!
My course Holistic Detox Support goes over many options for liver health as well, and includes even more information about all of our most crucial detox pathways.
In addition to the foods and supplements I’ve listed below, it’s important to note that you can also help your liver by:
- Cleaning toxins from your home! Toxins in everyday beauty and cleaning products are among the biggest threats to our health, and using them will continually stress your liver out as well. This post on reducing environmental toxins goes over the most important things to work on switching out.
- Using castor oil packs (read about castor oil packs here!)
- Working on healing emotional trauma – stored emotions can influence our physical health and this is often a huge missing link for many people.
- Working with an HTMA plan. HTMA can help determine your ability to detox and can give insight on many issues that can cause liver dysfunction.
On to the foods!
What Herbs, Drinks, and Foods Are Good for Liver Repair?
Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious natural foods and herbs to choose from when you’re looking for foods for a healthy liver.
Also, remember to eat as clean as you can. Look for organic and non-gmo foods (local is even better!) and reduce the amount of processed foods you consume.
Here are some of my favorite healthy, natural drinks and foods for liver repair:
Herbs and Spices for Liver Repair
1. Garlic, Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne
All of these are great herbs for overall health and wellness, but they can also help with liver healing and detoxification support.
2. Herbal Infusions
Herbal infusions are when you steep or soak herbs like nettles, oatstraw and red raspberry leaf in water then drink the liquid. It’s very similar to how you make a cup of tea. Infusions are extremely nourishing to the body, and most of them help with your liver, lymph, kidneys, and adrenals.
Drinks for Liver Repair
1. Dandelion Root Decoctions or Tea
One of the EASIEST ways to help the liver is dandelion root tea. Go for ROOT for longer term use though, not the leaf (leaf is the majorly diuretic part of the plant).
Dandelion can help those healing from cancer, infections, hepatitis, and its main purpose is to help cleanse the body. It can be helpful for hypoglycemia, UTIs, blood pressure regulation, acne, weight loss, anemia, jaundice, constipation, and more.
Dandelion cleans toxicities from the blood, lymph system, kidneys, liver and urinary system. Since dandelion is a bitter herb, it is amazing for digestion. Traditional Medicinals tea is PERFECT for these benefits.
2. Bone Broth, Gelatin, or Collagen
Protein is basically food for the liver, with its amazing amino acids to help with healing and detoxification. But what’s the best way to get that protein? Collagen is my favorite, but bone broth is excellent too. Gelatin is also a great option. Perfect Supplements is my favorite place to get grass-fed, glyphosate free collagen powder that is tasteless and easy to use!
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This awesome vinegar helps digest food, assimilate minerals, regulates blood sugar, helps weight loss, detoxes the liver, can kill pathogens and some bacteria (like e.coli), is great for cardiovascular health, and has a role in protecting against cancer. Read my post on ACV here to learn how to use this in your diet.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is AMAZING for overall health. It cleanses the colon, aids in detoxification, reduces histamine and mast cell issues, strengthens the immune system, balances blood sugar, increases bile flow, and SO much more. We love George’s Aloe as it’s tasteless and easy to use.
Foods for Liver Repair
One of the BEST liver helpers is actually the liver itself.
Beef liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet – but if you are like most people and cannot stand the thought of eating it, you can also get beef liver in capsules or powder form! I like Perfect Supplements’ Perfect Desiccated Liver Capsules or Perfect Desiccated Liver Powder.
We usually recommend doing an HTMA first though to check your metabolic rate as well as copper status before introducing beef liver.
Fiber is also essential for liver health! I know – that sounds odd. But fiber is essential for cleaning up our bile which is what takes our toxins out. Read my post on bile and fiber here for more information.
Not only are fruits nutrient dense, fiber rich, and delicious, many of them are great for our livers, too! Dark berries like blueberries and cranberries are high in helpful antioxidants, and citrus fruits like lemons and limes provide enzymes that help in detoxification.
Everyone knows veggies are good for us, but some are extra great for helping our livers. Artichokes, beets, onions, and tomatoes are high on that list.
6. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-diabetic properties and are all amazing for liver health as well.
What Are the Best Liver Health Supplements?
- Sunflower Lecithin
Sunflower Lecithin is not something well known yet, but it is gaining popularity. This form of lecithin is rich in phosphatidylcholine, which is a B complex vitamin that has extremely important roles in fat metabolism and liver health. It helps with stimulating bile flow and can help flush fat out of the liver, and it is also extremely important for brain health.
- Liver Love
Liver Love from Earthley is an amazing and gentle liver support tincture.It is made from organic ingredients, including turmeric root, milk thistle seed, dandelion root, and peppermint leaf. It has anti-inflammatory properties while supporting natural detox, promoting regularity, and easing bloating and gas.
All of Earthley’s products are vegan, gluten and dairy free, 100% organic, non-GMO, and made in the USA.
- Whey Protein
Whey protein is also an amazing helper for the liver since it helps the body create more glutathione, which is crucial for detox. Protein in general is food for the liver!
However, I am not a big fan of supplementing with glutathione directly. Like taking melatonin, using glutathione can confuse the body over time and it could stop the natural production of it.
Plus, bypassing the body’s natural ability to make certain things isn’t always best. In this case, it can create way too much detox on a stressed-out system.
- Bitter Herbs
Bitter herbs like Herb Pharm’s Better Bitter spray are amazing for overall gut and liver health. Bitters are especially helpful for bile flow, improving stomach acid, and helps assimilate nutrients. Or Earthley has an awesome bitter tincture as well that is safe for ages 1+, and also OK to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
My Absolute FAVORITE Liver Health Supplement
Hands down, it’s BioRay Liver Life.
I’ve been using Bioray Liver Life (in addition to many of the other Bioray tinctures) in HTMA plans for clients for over 5 years now. This has been hands-down the absolute BEST liver support I’ve ever found. It is very potent and often brings quick shifts for my clients that use it.
The company has found that it can heal the liver by 50% in 15 days at the full dose which shows how strong it truly is. With my own clients, I have seen huge changes.
Women have found relief with their menstrual cycle after starting it (less cramps, less acne breakouts, better sleep). Many have seen their liver enzymes reduced after only a month or 2 of use. Also, many have had their cholesterol rebalanced, sleep improved,and their physical and mental energy increased, as well as a very positive change in digestion.
If I could only recommend one item for healing, it would likely be Bioray Liver Life, as it truly can help with so many of the chronic health issues that people are dealing with.
According to their website, BioRay Liver Life has these benefits:
- Improves detox, nutrient absorption and food tolerance
- Increases metabolism and energy levels
- Balances healthy body weight
- Restores healthy pH balance
- Promotes restful sleep and balanced hormones
- Reduces skin irritations, head pain and sensory issues
- Can reduce histamine response by about 48%
- Can improve liver function by 50% in only 15 days!
- Provides support for kidneys, liver, adrenals and lymph system
Liver Life is made from these organic ingredients:
- Agaricus Blazei mushroom – heals the liver and boosts immune health
- Red Root – one of the best herbs for lymph health
- Milk thistle seeds – amazing for liver detox and regeneration
- Olive Leaf – Has strong anti-viral properties
- Turkey Tail mushroom – Immune system supporter
- Reishi mushroom – a well-known adrenal adaptogen and immune system supporter
- Maitake mushroom – another amazing adaptogen; anti-viral; immune support
- Deionized water and gluten-free grain alcohol (20% by volume)
It is also gluten free, soy free, non-dairy, non-GMO, and vegetarian.
BioRay Liver Life comes in 2 or 4 ounce bottles. They also have a similar product called Liver Lover that is close to Liver Life, but it is alcohol free. (tinctures are traditionally made with alcohol because that is the best way to draw out the properties of the plants used.)
My readers also get a special discount – use SASSY at checkout for 10% off your entire order at Bioray or at Perfect Supplements (they carry Bioray as well!).
The BioRay Kids CALM is also amazing for liver support for kids!
About the company: BioRay has been around for about 25 years. They use a mixture of ancient Chinese medicine and modern science to formulate their products. They make their products in small batches and use only organic ingredients. Read my post on the entire BioRay line here for more information.
The Not-So Bitter End
There are SO many ways to help the liver out. The key is to use supplements, herbs, drinks, and foods that assist and aid the liver, hopefully as gently as possible.
We don’t want to do harsh liver cleanses (the liver doesn’t actually get dirty, just sluggish) unless you are already familiar with them, or unless you are under the care of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Interested in learning more about detox your entire body safely and naturally? Then scroll down to read more about my Holistic Detox Support Course!