Naturopathic Medicine: Liver, Detox, Cleansing HerbsWhether we like it or not we are living in a toxic world. From the air we breathe and the water we drink to the food we eat and the products we use. No matter how diligent we may be, there are bound to be various toxins that enter and sometimes embed in our system.

Several times per year a systemic cleansing is always a good practice but there are also a variety of daily detox herbs that botanical medicine offers. Working with a naturopathic doctor, incorporating one or more of these herbs each day may be able to assist such functions as the lymphatic, digestive and circulatory system.

By assisting these systems (and others) one may be able to stave off various conditions or diseases that may otherwise, over time, slowly accumulate and adversely affect an optimal quality of life.

Due to the potential of contraindications when ingesting particular herbs, it is essential to follow the strict guidance of a naturopathic doctor to avoid unwanted effects.

The Detox Study
Some health practitioners have downplayed the potential benefits of assisting the human system with alternative and/or botanical therapy cleansing.

A one of a kind study/survey by researchers at Bastyr University and the University of Washington reported, not only the benefits of detoxification but the future of the importance of naturopatic medicine.

Titled, ‘Detoxification in Naturopathic Medicine’ and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health 12/11) it was concluded that,

“As increasing evidence of the relationship between body burden and adverse health effects of synthetic chemicals emerges, safe and effective methods of reducing body burden levels will be a vital component of naturopathic medicine, and complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine in general. Detoxification therapies used by ND’s [Naturopathic Doctors] may serve as an adequate means to reduce the body burden of synthetic chemicals found today in humans”

There may be a day when mainstream cultures treat detoxification techniques with just as much attention as they do going to the gym and working out.

CCM: The Liver, Kidneys and Lungs
As opposed to conventional medicine which often attempts to heal (or fix) in a linear fashion, Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) approaches the body’s organs from many different angles. When attempting a daily detox protocol, a naturopathic doctor trained in CCM will inspect the many clues regarding presentation of a patients’s liver as well as the kidney and lung two other major players in detoxifying the body.

According to the ancient healing text, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (the Neijing Suwen) ~240 B.C. the liver, kidney and lungs are referred to in a variety of ways that offers indicators regarding their current state of health.

Below are some of these unique descriptions:

“The spirit of the Liver, the hun, rules the nervous system and gives rise to extrasensory perception.”

“Lungs and Kidneys are the zang organs since they are yin in nature and their function is transformation and storage.”

“If one does not follow the play of the elemental energies according to the seasons, the Liver energy will stagnate, resulting in illness in the Spring…During the Fall there will be congestion of the Lung energy. In Winter the Kidney will be drained of its reserves.”

Throughout history it is through these and many other observations that naturopathic medicine has emerged and is fast becoming the go-to healing choice.

Liver Imbalance
When the liver is out of balance it is a great strain on the kidneys and lungs. A liver imbalance can present in a variety of ways. Many of these are subtle and happen often but eventually dissipate. When they exceed subtlety or duration, there may be an imbalance.

Some signs may include:

  • Anger
  • Impulsiveness
  • Depression
  • Lump in throat without cause
  • Side rib pain
  • Lumps
  • Goiters
  • Vision difficulty
  • Ear ringing
  • Migraines

Daily Liver Cleansing Botanicals
The liver is on the front lines when it comes to cleansing your system and it is the most bombarded by its owner. Unhealthy fats, processed food, white flour and white sugar, environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol, you name it the liver has a thankless job.

In addition to milk thistle, one of the main go-to herbs for liver detox, under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor these other herbs may also be used to assist in cleansing your liver.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – “According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, curcumin stimulates production of bile by the gallbladder. The liver uses bile to eliminate toxins; bile also rejuvenates liver cells that breakdown harmful compounds. For this reason, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat digestion and liver disorders.” (Livestrong)

Artichoke leaves (Cynara) – “Artichoke increases the production of bile by the liver, increases the flow of bile from the gallbladder and increases the contractive powers of the bile duct: vital activities, both to digestion and to detoxification. It is also able to increase both the solid and liquid parts of bile by increasing the number and size of bile vesicles within the liver cells, which help to digest food, particularly fatty food.” (EnCognitive)

Burdock root (Arctium) – “Few herbs are more widely used than burdock root for detoxifying the liver. British herbalists use it specifically for eruptions of the head, face, and neck, and esteem the root for just about any liver toxicity condition, including eczema, psoriasis, and boils.” (Better Nutrition)

Oregon graperoot (Berberis) – “Oregon grape root is traditionally used as a tonic, a bowel cleanser, and to treat infections, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers. Applied to the skin, Oregon grape root treats psoriasis. The active chemical found in Oregon grape root is berberine. This plant alkaloid, according to the medical journal Alternative Medicine Review, has been clinically proven to show significant anti- microbial properties. It kills parasites, bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.” (Natural News)

Through a daily detox program the system may be able to maintain homeostasis without the extra stress of external and internal toxins. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of Insurance Companies that commonly carry acupuncture benefits for its members. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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