How were the chocolate strawberries and Christmas pudding this year? Better with extra lashings of whipped cream I’ll bet! If you’re lying on the couch thinking up New Year resolutions against overindulgence, read on to find out how you can support your liver through the party season. You can avoid having to do a major detox diet by adding a few herbs that promote digestive vitality and a natural detox.
It’s the bitter principle in foods that promotes the digestive force. Bitter tasting foods stimulate production of gastric hydrochloric acid and activate enzymes throughout the digestive tract. Lettuce contains this bitter principle and is one of the best natural detox foods on the menu so eat plenty of salad with your roast turkey leftovers during the next few days.
Milk Thistle and Dandelion root are two of my favourite liver tonic herbs. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) protects your liver and gall bladder from toxic damage and provides potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. It helps repair and renew liver tissue through new cell generation. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is another garden weed that offers wonderful nutritive and restorative properties. While the leaf is high in potassium and a safe natural diuretic for supporting kidney function, the root is especially beneficial for the liver and digestion. It promotes the digestive juices and supports liver detoxification, prevents gallstone formation and is a blood purifier.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice from the ayurvedic tradition with many therapeutic properties. It’s great for calming digestive upsets, treating and detoxifying the whole gastro-intestinal system. Mix a small amount in a serving of yoghurt at the end of a big meal.
Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum), one of our native pepper trees, is another favourite digestive tonic, also with wonderful liver cleansing and blood purifying actions. One or two leaves infused in hot water make a stimulating and tasty tea. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is great for treating nausea and bloating after over indulging in Christmas goodies, and is also helpful if you’re driving to your holiday destination and prone to travel sickness. Ginger combines well with Kawakawa to ease digestive discomfort.
These and other herbs, individually or in combination, stimulate a natural detox process to keep your liver and digestive tract functioning healthily. Try one of the KiwiHerb liquid formulas such as Kawagin, Liver Cleanse or Herbal Digestive Aid.
Treat your liver kindly and enjoy the rest of the festive season!
By Carolyn Simon ND, DipMedHerb
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