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Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function

author image Robyn Hughes
Robyn Hughes has been writing since 2008 about health, nutrition, fitness and botanical medicine. She is a naturopathic physician and freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cognitive science from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore.
Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Water is essential to health. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images


The liver is the largest gland in the body. It has several important functions, including control of metabolism, deactivation of hormones, manufacture of digestive compounds and detoxification of drugs and toxins. Proper liver function is essential to overall health, and there are many natural strategies which may enhance liver function.


Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Glass of ice water. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Drink water. On a biochemical level, water molecules are involved with the detoxification processes of the liver. Without water, the processes may be stilted. Also, proper hydration is essential for the kidneys to carry out their detoxification role. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Filtered water is preferable.

Liver-Stimulating Botanicals

Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Herbalist. Photo Credit Barry Austin/Photodisc/Getty Images

Herbalists and naturopathic doctors employ various herbs to enhance liver function in their patients. According to William A. Mitchell, Jr., a naturopathic physician and author of â??Plant Medicine in Practice: Using the Teachings of John Bastyr,â? these botanicals increase the production of bile, improve enzymatic activity of the liver or increase blood flow and nervous activity of the liver. Examples include milk thistle, artichoke, rosemary and boldo. rnrnWhile these botanicals have shown clinical efficacy, they have not all been subject to conclusive scientific scrutiny. Consult an herbal expert or holistically-minded health care professional to find combinations and dosages appropriate for your individual needs.

Castor Oil Packs

Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Castor plant. Photo Credit jopelka/iStock/Getty Images

According to Dr. Dickson Thom, naturopathic physician and author of â??Biotherapeutic Drainage Using the UNDA Numbers,â? castor oil packs are a simple, cost-effective and helpful method of stimulating liver and immune function. To use a castor oil pack procedure, soak a flannel cloth in the oil, apply the cloth to the abdomen, place a hot water bottle on the cloth and rest comfortably for at least 45 minutes. The oil may stain clothing and sheets, so use old linens and plastic wrap barriers as needed. For maximum results, Dr. Thom recommends applying a castor oil pack at least three days per week.


Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Fruits have fiber. Photo Credit OlgaMiltsova/iStock/Getty Images

Dr. Lidia Tomulet, a naturopathic physician in Durham, North Carolina, explains that eating sufficient fiber increases the frequency and quality of bowel movements. In turn, the body efficiently eliminates toxins. This prevents the reabsorption of toxins and hormone metabolites into the body, which would cause them to recirculate through the liver and increase its burden. In other words, eating fiber leads to increased excretion of toxins, which diminishes the liverâ??s detoxification load.


Natural Ways to Improve Your Liver Function
Sauna. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

According to Dr. Walter Crinnion, naturopathic physician and noted expert in environmental medicine, sauna sessions are a useful means for mobilizing environmental chemicals that are stored in the body. This mobilization enables the liver to better perform its activities of detoxification. Also, sauna sessions release toxins through sweat, which decreases the liverâ??s burden and enhances its function.

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