Your spleen is an organ and a critical part of your lymphatic system. Your spleen is situated in your upper-left abdomen and helps your lymphatic system protect your body by warding off infections and clearing old red blood cells and foreign substances from your blood. Dietary supplements may help improve the health and function of your spleen, although you should avoid using these natural substances until you have discussed their health implications with your doctor.
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There are several spleen problems that may develop. Two of the most serious spleen problems, notes Medline Medical Encyclopedia, include enlarged spleen and ruptured spleen. Enlarged spleen, or splenomegaly, may be caused by numerous health problems, including liver disease and certain cancers. Symptoms associated with this spleen problem include abdominal pain or fullness, anemia and fatigue. A ruptured spleen is usually caused by a traumatic injury and may cause life-threatening internal bleeding. A ruptured spleen is a medical emergency.
Several dietary supplements may be helpful in improving your spleen health and function, although some supplements used for this health purpose may not be supported by rigorous clinical research trials. According to Dr. William A. Mitchell Jr., a naturopathic doctor and author of "Plant Medicine in Practice," some of the most effective supplements for your spleen may include bearsfoot, barberry, white oak, Hart's tongue fern, New Jersey tea, dandelion and blue flag.
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The root of the dandelion plant is incorporated into dietary supplements and may be one of the most helpful supplements in improving your spleen health and function. Mitchell notes that dandelion root has historically been used as an alterative, or healing substance, in the treatment of both spleen and liver enlargement. Dandelion root, notes master herbalist Ed Smith, author of "Therapeutic Herb Manual," is also a diuretic and kidney cleanser that helps improve your appetite and digestion.
Because spleen problems may lead to serious health complications, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible if you develop the characteristic signs and symptoms of spleen disorders. Though dietary supplements may be a helpful adjunct therapy in the treatment of your spleen problems, supplements alone may not be enough to resolve your health problem. In most cases, a combination of conventional and alternative health care strategies may best treat your condition.