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Nourishing the Liver The Wise Woman Way, part 2

Monday, June 10, 2019 6:36 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
NOURISHING THE LIVER
THE WISE WOMAN WAY, Part Two

by Susun S Weed


Part One





Use herbs that nourish the liver. Simple remedies such as dandelion, yellow dock, chicory, milk thistle, and nettle aid the liver and are safe to use. But many herbal remedies, especially those taken in capsules, are hard on the liver and need to be avoided or used with great care and caution when liver function is not strong.


Avoid herbs that are rich in alkaloids and other natural chemicals that stress the liver: including golden seal, senna, celandine, chaparral, lobelia, licorice, valerian, rhubarb root, cayenne, and poke root. Some sensitive people may find aromatic herbs such as peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, and lavender upsetting to their livers.


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is probably the simplest, safest, most effective, and least expensive liver-nourishing herb known. All parts of the plant are medicinal: root, leaves, stalks, and flowers. Tincture of the root is most often used, but root vinegars, flower wine, cooked leaves, and stalk tea may be substituted. The greatest effect comes from eating or taking a dandelion remedy three times a day, but even once a day is useful. For more information on making and taking dandelion remedies, please see my book Healing Wise. The usual dose of the tincture is 10-30 drops diluted in some water and taken before meals. There is no known overdose.


Yellow dock (Rumex crispus and other species) is another common weed widely used to improve liver functioning. The root is generally tinctured and taken in 20-30 drop doses with meals; but the leaves or seeds can be put up in apple cider vinegar, and 2-3 tablespoonfuls taken on salad, cooked greens, or in water. Yellow dock, like dandelion is simple and safe to use. There is no known overdose. It is a highly effective agent for promoting bowel regularity.


Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flashes her brilliant blue flowers for months along roadsides here in the northeast. In the fall, we dig her roots to make a liver-strengthening tincture. The dose is usually 20-40 drops three times a day in some water. There is no known overdose. Some folks do drink chicory root tea, but it is very bitter. Roasted chicory roots are used as a coffee substitute; opinion is divided as to whether this preparation still has medicinal qualities.


Milk thistle seed (Psylibum marianum or Carduus marianum) is the most famous liver tonic in the United States. It is widely recommended for anyone dealing with liver problems, whether it be jaundice, hepatitis, or multiple chemical sensitivities. It is not a wild plant, but it is relatively easy to grow from seed, and the seeds are available and not too expensive. A dose of the tincture is 1-2 dropperfuls 2-4 times a day. There is no known overdose.

To tincture seeds that you buy, simply fill a jar one-third full of milk thistle seed. Then fill the jar to the top with 100 proof vodka (no, 80 proof won't work). Shake daily for a week, then sit back and wait for five more weeks. After six or more weeks, your tincture is ready to use. Leave the seeds in the vodka for as long as you wish, even after you start using your tincture.


Milk thistle is most properly thought of as a liver protector. It functions best when taken before the liver encounters alcohol, chemicals, poisons, or other stressors. Those with chemical sensitivities find it helpful to take a large dose of milk thistle seed tincture before venturing into difficult environments.


Nettle, also known as stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), is one of my favorite herbal remedies for everyone. I pour a quart of boiling water over an ounce of dried nettle (that's about one full cup) in a canning jar, screw a tight lid on the jar, and let it steep for at least four hours.

The resulting brew, which is dark and rich, nourishes the kidneys and adrenals as well as the liver. Allergic reactions of all kinds, including sensitivities to natural and man-made chemicals, may have as much to do with the adrenals as with the liver. I drink 2-4 cups of nettle infusion daily for optimum health. There is no known overdose.


Look for results from these Wise Woman ways within a month of beginning regular use. No need to use all the herbs mentioned. Consistent use of even one of them, along with anger work and a good diet, can bring results that border on the miraculous.


Herbal medicine is people's medicine. It is here for all of us: simple, safe, and free. You don't have to be an herbalist to understand and use the herbs I have discussed. You can buy or make your own remedies, as you wish. Your children will be delighted to join you in exploring the green blessings that grow all around you.

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