Certain dietary supplements may help treat your fatty liver. According to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, fatty liver, or steatosis, is the accumulation of excessive fat inside your liver cells. Possible causes of fatty liver include poor diet, alcohol abuse and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and Reye's syndrome. Before taking supplements to help treat your fatty liver, talk with your doctor about possible side effects, proper dosage and potential drug interactions.
Milk thistle, a member of the aster family, is an herbal supplement that may be helpful in treating your fatty liver. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, milk thistle, also known as Silybum marianum, has been used for centuries to health treat many health problems, especially liver problems. Milk thistle is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region and has a bitter taste. Milk thistle's seeds are used for medicinal purposes. Ed Smith, an herbalist and author of the book "Therapeutic Herb Manual," states that milk thistle is a general liver remedy that helps your liver regrow and replenish new cells. Milk thistle has been used to help treat many liver-related ailments, including fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Milk thistle may also be used as a protectant before exposure to liver toxins. This herbal supplement is rich in antioxidant flavonoids.
Oregon Grape Root
Dr. Sharol Tilgner, a naturopathic physician and author of the book "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," states that Oregon grape root, also known as Mahonia aquifolium, is an astringent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, choleretic, cholagogue and vulnerary, or a substance that promotes the healing of wounds or irritated tissue. Oregon grape root, a member of the barberry family, helps stimulate your liver and reduces your liver congestion. Oregon grape root also increases your production and secretion of bile, which is an important digestive juice. The root bark and stem bark of the plant are used by practitioners of botanical medicine to help treat many liver problems, including fatty liver. Oregon grape root has a bitter, astringent taste and drying and cooling tendencies. If you are pregnant, cautions Tilgner, you should avoid taking this herbal supplement, due to its ability to stimulate your uterus.
Artichoke, also known as Cynara scolymus, is a perennial thistle native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Artichoke has a tuberous root and large flower buds. The dried or fresh basal leaves of the plant are edible. The entire plant has an unusual smell and a strong, bitter taste. Extracts from the leaves of the plant are used medicinally in herbal supplements to help treat numerous health conditions, including fatty liver. Dr. William A. Mitchell Jr., a naturopathic physician and author of the book "Plant Medicine in Practice," states that artichoke, a member of the daisy family, is an effective hepatic, or liver, antioxidant that can help regenerate a depleted, deteriorated and diseased liver. Artichoke, notes Mitchell, contains cynarin, a substance that helps stimulate choleresis, or the secretion of bile into your gallbladder by your liver.
- Penn State: Fatty Liver
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Milk Thistle
- "Plant Medicine in Practice;" William A. Mitchell Jr., N.D.; 2003
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
- "Therapeutic Herb Manual"; Ed Smith; 2007