The natural quality of your skin reflects the health of your liver. A stressed liver will show up on your skin as itchy red acne and flare-ups on your skin. One organ that is directly affected from the kind of lifestyle we lead, our food habits and circadian rhythm is the liver which works as a filter for the blood flowing in from the digestive tract. The liver also metabolizes drugs, regularizes glycogen storage, rejuvenates blood cells and detoxes the body of chemicals and so it has become almost urgent to pay attention to the health of our liver. A lot of people have already turned towards non-invasive and alternative treatments like Ayurveda and Yoga, with a rich pedigree of over 5000 years as the science of healing and wellness, for post treatment and preventive care. The results have been only encouraging.
According to Ayurveda, 5 Bhuta Agni (metabolic fire), rest in the liver. Agni is the element of fire that is responsible for transformation. Liver is also associated with Pitta Dosha and has its fiery nature to indicate this connection. Liver organ is also considered as the seat of emotions like anger, resentment, envy and frustration. But also, a balanced Pitta Dosha indicates stronger will power, courage and enthusiasm. Here are a few Ayurvedic tips to help you keep your liver happy, healthy and in balance.
1) Give your liver a detox break
Your liver is constantly working to detox the heavy inputs like fatty foods or heavy meals, pollutants from the external environment, and the alcohol intake. Few times of the year it is a good idea to give the liver some rest and seek some Ayurveda prescribed pampering in the form of Panchakarma. This signature Ayurvedic treatment uses the healing and nurturing qualities of herbal oils that seep into body tissues drawing out the toxins from each cell and putting it into the digestive tract from where it is eliminated. If you are someone who is always looking out for a kick-your-boots-up relaxing spa vacation, replete with healthy Dosha specific food, great detoxes and treatments like Abhyanga, full body oil baths, herbal wraps administered by highly skilled therapists and doctors for an internal and external overhaul of your system in the midst of nature, head over to The Art of Living International Retreat Center, state-of-the-art wellness center nestled on the lap of Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone, North Carolina that promises an immersive spiritual and physically invigorating journey. For more information on the Panchakarma Retreat this October, go here!
Good old practice of having lemon water with honey first thing in the morning is a blessing for your liver as it aids the process of detoxification. Lemon water has an alkaline effect on the body post-metabolism and pacifies Pitta.
3.Have a Pitta pacifying diet for your liver
Here are quick tips on a Pitta friendly diet that your liver is likely to enjoy during the detox.
- a) Have cooling and dry foods with more sweet, bitter or astringent tastes. Bitter foods are cooling on the liver.
- b) Avoid salty or sour foods.
- c) Have more raw and green vegetables.
- d) Avoid refined items like refined sugar and refined salt and oils that put pressure on the liver’s metabolic functions when the liver is in the resting phase. You do not want to burden it with more toxicity. Let your liver breathe!
- e) Avoid recreational drugs or alcohol for the time of detoxification. These again burden the liver functions.
- f) You can have healthy fats like clarified butter or ghee in small amounts.
- g) You can have Pitta calming herbs and flavors like coriander, fennel, cumin turmeric and mint.
4. Herbal Formulations
There are effective herbal formulations in Ayurveda that address the root cause of liver problems in each individual with the help of a unique evaluation process for diagnosis called Pulse Diagnosis or Nadi Pariksha.
A) Liv On
You can have the highly effective and herbal Ayurvedic medicine called Liv On which is the perfect solution for all liver problems. It is known to help recover from indigestion, jaundice or other liver complications. Some of its benefits include
-It helps eliminate acetaldehyde, a toxin that builds in the system due to excess consumption of alcohol.
-It helps people with liver damage since it supports regrowth of healthier liver cells.
-made from the magical herbs and ingredients like Tamarisk, Ayurvedic formulation called Mandur basma rich in iron oxide, extracts of yarrow, chicory, caper, Capparis spinosa, black nightshade plants, and and Arjun tree.
-Rich in anti-oxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties.
B) Arogyavardhani Vati is a herbal formulation with minerals which literally translates to ‘herbal preparation for improving health and a disease-free body’. It is also greatly beneficial for not just liver, but also fights diseases of heart, stomach, intestines, thyroid, gall bladder and skin. It contains the cumulative strength of Kutki or Picrorhiza Kurroa which is known to be a extremely helpful herb in healing the liver, sap of gum resin, white leadwort, purified asphaltum, Indian gooseberries, tropical almond, myrobalan among other powerful herbs.
5) A useful Ayurvedic remedy for liver related disorders
-Make a paste of tender castor leaves and black fennel
-Have it on empty stomach early
They are common breathing practices or Pranayamas that can be done for liver, stomach, abdomen and pancreas.
- A) Kapalbhati Pranayama (Meaning- Skull Shining Breathing Exercise)
-Sit with eyes closed, spine erect, hands on the knees, and palms facing the sky.
-Place the right hand on the stomach and then, take a deep breath in and slowly as you exhale, relax your whole body.
-For Kapalbhati, take a deep breath in and as you exhale, breathe out forcefully while pulling the stomach all the way in every time we exhale. You will see, every time you exhale forcefully, the inhalation happens on its own.
-Continue this fast paced exhalations for 15-20 times or according to your capacity, till the body can hold the breath.
-Repeat the cycle 3 times
Kapalbhati helps to remove all the toxins from the stomach and liver region.
For liver, breathe in completely and pull your navel forcefully and breathe out forcefully
B) Agnisara is another powerful Pranayama taught in the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Yoga program which works wonder for the liver, helping improve and regulate the bile secretion.
7. For your skin
Liver problems are a direct outcome of a debilitated Pitta Dosha, that eventually shows on your skin. So it is important to apply essential oils on your body that have Pitta pacifying qualities like Shankara’s Soothing Body Oil, made from oil extracts of sunflower, almond, grapeseed, coconut,borage, geranium leaf, primrose, chamomile, calendula, helio carrot, shavegrass, lemon balm and licorice.This hydrating body oil features a soothing blend of essential oils that are known for their relaxing and de-stressing capabilities. The oil can be used in massage, as a bath oil, or as a moisturizer to help address over critical thinking, irritability, and anger-all emotions seated in the liver.
8) Yoga Nidra or Yogic Sleep
Having felt the stretch in the abdomen and all other parts of the body after a good Yoga session, now it is time to rest and let the body cells relax. It is very important that after doing asanas, we either finish the session with a guided meditation of Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep). Without proper rest after the asanas, you miss out on the most important experience of Yoga which is a deep spiritual rest that your body gets, after having exhausted the Rajas Guna in the body through focused activity.
With inputs from Dr. Nibin Nirmalan, a Senior Sri Sri Ayurveda expert from Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research Center, Bangalore, India
Disclaimer: The conditions and illnesses could also be due to a mix of Dosha imbalances. Please do not try to self-diagnose. This article is purely for informational purpose. We strongly recommend you consult a Sri Sri Ayurveda physician for a thorough examination of your constitution and its balances/imbalances.