The liver is the father of all organs being the largest organ and having more jobs to do in the body than all other organs apart from the brain. It is located in the upper right-hand portion of the abdominal cavity, beneath the diaphragm and on top of the stomach, right kidney and intestines. It usually weighs about 1.3 kilograms (three pounds) and
is responsible for processes which deal with substances that enter
the body and substances that are filtered, stored and excreted.
There are two distinct sources that
supply blood to the liver:
Oxygenated blood flows in from the
Nutrient-rich blood flows in from the hepatic portal vein.
The hepatic artery
carries blood from the aorta, whereas the portal vein carries blood
containing digested nutrients from the entire gastrointestinal tract
and also from the spleen and pancreas. These blood vessels subdivide
into capillaries, which then lead to a lobule. Each lobule is made
up of millions of hepatic cells which are the basic metabolic cells.
Lobules are the functional units of the liver
The liver holds about 13 percent of the
body's blood supply at any given moment.
It consists of two main lobes, both of which are made up of thousands of lobules. These lobules are connected to small ducts that connect with larger ducts to ultimately form the hepatic duct.
The hepatic duct transports bile produced by the liver cells to the
gallbladder and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
The liver regulates most chemical levels
in the blood and excretes a product called bile, which helps to
break down fats, preparing them for further digestion and
All of the blood leaving the stomach and
intestines passes through the liver. The liver processes this blood
and breaks down the nutrients and drugs in the blood into forms that
are easier to use for the rest of the body.
The liver's highly specialised tissues regulate
a wide variety of high-volume biochemical reactions, including the synthesis
and breakdown of small and complex molecules, many of which are necessary
for normal vital functions.
When the liver has broken down
harmful substances, they are excreted into the bile or blood. Bile
by-products enter the intestine and leave the body in the faeces.
Blood by-products are filtered out by the kidneys and leave the body in the
form of urine.
The bile produced in the liver is collected in
bile canaliculi, which merge to form bile ducts. The intrahepatic ducts
eventually drain into the right and left hepatic ducts, which merge to form
the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct from the gallbladder joins with the
common hepatic duct to form the common bile duct. Bile either drains
directly into the duodenum via the common bile duct, or is temporarily
stored in the gallbladder via the cystic duct. The common bile duct and the
pancreatic duct enter the second part of the duodenum together at the
ampulla of vater.
Every month the liver replaces itself using the food ingested. If it is not
provided with the correct nutrients or overworked by consuming too many
toxins and chemicals including drugs and alcohol it will begin to
malfunction. This can cause raised cholesterol levels, poor skin, nails and
hair due to toxin build up and digestion problems. It is worth looking at
changing the diet when any of these symptoms appear as it is more often than
not the cause. If left unchecked nutritional imbalance and over toxicity can
lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and jaundice and malfunctions of the
More than 500 vital
functions have been identified with the liver including the
iver damage can lead to artery and heart problems and strokes as the liver is responsible for producing all types of cholesterol that the body requires and is also involved in the removal of excess cholesterol from the blood that could cause a build-up of plaque on the artery walls. Therefore it is important to take care of this most vital organ. The most common damage of the liver is caused by excessive alcohol and drugs.
Glycogen and sleep
The average adult liver has about 75 to 100 grams worth of storage space for glycogen, which varies between men and women of different body sizes. An averagely active adult will use about 10 grams per hour of their glycogen stores for energy and much more when intense activity is undertaken. This means that stores will be running low during the eight hours of fasting, when sleeping, especially if the last meal was consumed a few hours earlier.
A teaspoon of honey taken before bed will restock the liver with the glycogen it needs for an eight hour sleep and hence the brain will not activate a stress response which often occurs when glycogen is low. This stress response can cause people to wake up during the night. Honey also contributes to the release of melatonin in the brain, as it leads to a slight spike in insulin levels and the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan leads to serotonin which is made into melatonin in the dark. When honey is taken last thing at night it also improves the metabolism and helps the liver break down the toxins that are stored in fat cells.
The liver supports almost every organ in the
body and is vital for survival. Because of its strategic location and
multidimensional functions, the liver is also prone to many diseases from various causes. The
most common include:
Jaundice (yellow skin and/or whites of the
eyes) This is where bilirubin deposits in skin, causing an intense itch.
Itching is the most common complaint by people who have liver failure.
Often this itch cannot be relieved by drugs.
Swelling of the abdomen, ankles and feet
occurs because the liver fails to make albumin.
Excessive fatigue occurs from a generalized
loss of nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Bruising and easy bleeding are other
features of liver disease. The liver makes substances which help prevent
bleeding. When liver damage occurs, these substances are no longer
present and severe bleeding can occur.
What to avoid with liver, gall bladder and pancreas disorders
NOTE: Nitrates are used to
artificially give processed meats like bacon and sausage products a deep red colour. They have been
proven to cause cancer of the pancreas so all processed meats should be
substances can occur in nuts, grains and legumes when certain fungi
that grow on food produce toxins during processing and/or storage.
These toxins include aflatoxins which are poisonous substances that
have been shown to cause liver and pancreatic cancer. Peanuts are
the worst culprits. Always ensure these foods are fresh before
Cirrhosis of the
liver is one of the most serious hepatic diseases. It is a condition used to
denote all forms of diseases of the liver characterized by the significant
loss of cells. The liver gradually contracts in size and becomes leathery
and hard. The regenerative activity continues under liver cirrhosis but the
progressive loss of liver cells exceeds cell replacement. A progressive
distortion of the vascular system also takes place which interferes with the
portal flow of blood through the liver. The further degeneration of the
liver function and structure may ultimately lead to hepatic failure and
The early stage of liver cirrhosis is characterized by symptoms such as gas
and indigestion with occasional nausea and vomiting. There may also be loss
of weight and abdominal pain. The patient develops a low grade fever in the
advanced stage. He also has distended veins in the abdomen, jaundiced skin
and bad breath. There may also be an appearance of reddish hair like
markings on the face, arms, neck and trunks. There may be excessive bleeding
from the stomach and the abdomen also becomes swollen and bloated.
The main cause of
liver cirrhosis is the excessive consumption of alcohol for a long period.
If the person does not abstain fromalcohol the
disease can progress to an end stage of liver failure. Other causes of liver
The treatment for
liver cirrhosis should first commence by putting the patient on a complete
bed rest and complete abstinence from alcohol, coffee, fats, oils, sugar, spices and any unnecessary
Hepatitis A is one of five known viruses
that cause inflammation of the liver (the others are B, C, D and E). The
vast majority of people recover from the infection within six months without
any serious health problems. The best way to speed up recovery is to abstain
from anything that can tax the liver, cleanse it daily and consume high
nutrition meals plus try raw juice therapy to give the liver a rest from
digesting protein. Alcohol, smoking tobacco, sugar, animal fats and toxins
from medications and chemical household products and cosmetics all add the
the weakening and taxation of the liver.
The incubation period of hepatitis A is about 30 (15-50) days and is a self-limiting infection. Acute symptoms are usually mild to moderate. It is spread by faecal-oral contamination and close personal contact.
The incubation period of hepatitis B is approximately 90 (21-180) days. The severity of the chronic symptoms range from moderate to severe. It is commonly transferred through blood (the virus can live up to two weeks outside of the body), blood products, sexual intercourse or close personal contact. About 10 percent of those infected are carriers with no symptoms. About five to 10 percent of those infected suffer from chronic hepatitis development.
The incubation period of hepatitis C is 20-90 days. The symptoms are moderate to severe and become chronic in more than 50 percent of those infected. It is transmitted the same way as hepatitis B. Infected persons may not show symptoms.
Hepatitis D only occurs along with hepatitis B co-infection and has an incubation period of 30-50 days and the symptoms range from moderate to severe. Because it is linked to hepatitis B, it can become chronic. See hepatitis B for transmission.
Many diseases of the liver are accompanied by jaundice caused by increased
levels of bilirubin in the system. The bilirubin results from the breakup of
the haemoglobin of dead red blood cells; normally, the liver removes
bilirubin from the blood and excretes it through bile.
There are also many paediatric liver diseases including biliary atresia,
alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, alagille syndrome, progressive familial
intrahepatic cholestasis and Langerhans cell histiocytosis, to name but a
Diseases that interfere with liver function will lead to derangement of
these processes. However, the liver has a great capacity to regenerate and
has a large reserve capacity. In most cases, the liver only produces
symptoms after extensive damage.
This organ is a
small pear-shaped muscular sack that acts as a storage tank for bile. The
bile is made in the liver by liver cells and is sent through tiny ducts or
canals to the duodenum (small intestine) and to the gallbladder. The
gallbladder stores the bile to have it available in larger quantities for
secretion when a meal is eaten. The ingestion of food and especially fats
cause the release of a hormone, cholecystokinin, which in turn signals the
relaxation of the valve at the end of the common bile duct which lets the
bile enter the small intestine. It also signals the contraction of the
gallbladder which squirts the concentrated liquid bile into the small
intestine where it helps with the emulsification or breakdown of fats in the
For more information and natural remedies to protect and heal the gallbladder and remove gallstones naturally see the Gallbladder page
Gallstones are derived from
the bile and consist mainly of calcium, cholesterol, or bilirubin and can be
smaller than a grain of sand or larger than a golf ball. As gallstones
travel through the bile duct they may block the duct that transports bile
from the liver to the small intestine. When this occurs the gallbladder can
become backed up and pain results from built up pressure or inflammation. The
build-up of bile or passage of gallstones along the bile duct can also
result in liver or pancreas inflammation.
Learn more about gallstones and how to eliminate and protect against their formation on the Gallbladder page.
The pancreas is a
large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum; the first part of
the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive juices, or enzymes,
into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic
enzymes join with bile (the liquid produced in the liver and stored in the
gallbladder) to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin
and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body regulate the
glucose it takes from food for energy.
Diabetes occurs either when
the pancreas stops producing insulin or the body is unable to use the
insulin it produces. Both result in glucose, the body's fuel, not being
absorbed by the cells and building up in the bloodstream. Insulin is needed
to be present and working for this absorption into the cells to occur.
Pancreatitis is inflammation
of the pancreas and may be caused by gallstones blocking the pancreatic duct
chronic alcohol use,
infections and genetic abnormalities.
For more information and natural remedies to protect and heal the pancreas naturally see the following:
Pancreatic cancer infects the cells
of the duct and spreads into the body of the pancreas. Blood vessels and
nerves which are near to the pancreas may also become involved in the spread
of the cancerous cells. Risk factors include cigarette smoking, chronic
pancreatitis and advanced age (over 65 years old). If left untreated,
pancreatic cancer can spread to all the abdominal organs as well as other
parts of the body.
Unhealthy diets have a lot to do with pancreatic
problems. Eating too many sugars such as sweets, biscuits, cookies, cakes,
pastas and even breads, can cause an overload of sugar in the body. As the
body breaks down these sugars it does it in such a rapid pace that it creates
blood sugar imbalances that can lead to conditions such as diabetes. This rapid
rise and fall process of high to low blood sugar levels due to diabetes,
leads to the deterioration of the pancreas and eventually pancreatic
exhaustion, which can be prevented by eating a proper diet.
The liver is the only internal human organ capable of natural regeneration of lost tissue; as little as 25% of a liver can regenerate into a whole liver if minor damage occurs. However, eventually it will get clogged and overworked which is when food stops being digested properly and the rest of the system is affected.
The following will clean it up so it can do its job.
It maybe advisable to consume a small pot of low fat probiotic live yoghurt or a small glass of goat's milk before taking the flush to line the stomach.
These ingredients together taken in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else, will detoxify and clean the liver.
In the event of
gallbladder discomfort, it is a good idea to cut down on food consumption
for a couple of days The remedies below also help to cleanse the gall bladder, liver and
pancreas and should be taken first in the morning unless otherwise stated. It maybe advisable
to consume a small pot of low fat probiotic live
or a small glass of
goat's milk before taking the flushes to line the stomach if there is
1 x apple
(juiced fresh), 1 x
(one tablespoons) and 1 x
powder (1/8 teaspoon) once a day.
Later in the day, consume the juice of the other half of the lemon.
Nature Cures Remedy 3
seed (250g), pure
(1 tablespoon) and
seed oil (1/2 teaspoon) mixed thoroughly with half a cup of hot water.
This should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach.
Nature Cures Remedy 4
(1/2 teaspoon) daily can dissolve as many as 80% of gallstones. Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improves the
solubility of bile, making bile and its compounds, including those that form
gallstones, easier to dissolve.
enhances blood flow to the liver and increases bile
production. It can be combined with
dandelion root and
milk thistle in a tea. This blend is even more effective when mixed with
herbs such as
marshmallow root and
slippery elm. This mixture will also help decrease gallbladder
Place all ingredients in a large glass jug and stir well.
Place in the refrigerator overnight.
Consumes through out the next day.
Do this for one week.
Cures Remedy 8
Milk thistle (trim the sharp edges off young milk thistle leaves) and
mix them with
dandelion greens and steam like spinach or eat them raw. These herbs can
also be taken as tea or tincture.
Milk thistle contains silymarin, a flavonoid believed to cure
gallstones. Silymarin helps the gallbladder with the production of bile,
which helps breaks down the components in the gallbladder than can lead to
gallstones. Substances in milk thistle can also aid liver function, which is directly related to gallbladder function.
Dandelion greens contains taraxacin that also stimulates bile
production. And the greater volume of bile is more likely to flush out a
stone. The seeds of milk thistle and the root of dandelion contain higher
levels of these beneficial nutrients.
Raw juice therapy can successfully treat gallbladder and pancreas disorders, liver damage and
jaundice. The best organic natural foods to
Abuta is a powerful herb that can help to treat hepatic liver disorders.
can cleanse and support the liver functions.
Aloe vera juice is a powerful
cleaner and nourishes of the intestinal organs.
To make juice from an aloe vera plant, break off a few leaves. Take a sharp knife and carefully peel the green rind from the leaves and discard. Peel off the yellow layer with a sharp knife or it can be removed by using one tablespoon of white vinegar and one cup of water. There should be about one tablespoon of clear aloe vera gel left.
Place in a blender with a glass of orange and
lemon freshly squeezed juice and blend. Drink immediately.
Apple cider vinegar can cleanse and purify the intestinal organs. Drink one tablespoon per day in warm water before eating or drinking anything else. Add any of the other foods from this page such as freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey.
Artichoke (globe) compounds support liver regeneration and bile production which is essential for digestion.
Astralagus is capable of reducing liver damage that has already been incurred as well as in protecting the liver against further possible damage.
Beetroots contain betanin that is a powerful protector of the liver.
Burdock root can help to repair damage done by drinking too much alcohol.
Chicory root contains a compound called esculetin that can protect the liver against the damage that can be cause by the intake of carbon tetrachloride, coffee and paracetemol. It also stimulates bile production and protects the gallbladder by inhibiting stone formation.
Chinese rhubarb root is said to enhance and improve gallbladder function and relieve both liver and gallbladder complaints by releasing an accumulation of toxins.
cleans the liver and intestinal tract and
purifies the blood.
cleans the liver and intestinal tract and
purifies the blood.
Dandelion root and leaves both have diuretic and anti-inflammatory compounds that protect the liver and can be used to treat cirrhosis and a fatty liver.
False Daisy: The juice of all parts of the eclipta alba plant is useful in treating liver problems. The juice of its leaves, in particular, is used for cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis.
Extract the juice from the leaves of eclipta.
Mix together one teaspoon each of this juice and raw honey.
Consume this mixture three times a day for one month.
Fig leaves have powerful gall bladder, liver and pancreas cleansing properties.
fig leaves, wash them thoroughly and pound them.
Fill a medium glass
with water (preferably bottled mineral water).
cleans the liver and intestinal tract and
purifies the blood.
Green tea has a protective effect against liver disease and has antiviral properties that help fight viral hepatitis. It also reduces oxidative stress, which initiates cirrhosis of tissues. Drink three cups per day with the juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey.
Huang lian, also known as picrorhiza kurroa, can be useful in treating cirrhosis of the liver, especially when it is caused by viral hepatitis. It reduces oxidative stress, promotes the secretion of bile juices and improves liver functioning and helps to treat jaundice. Plus, it stimulates appetite and acts as a powerful laxative. When suffering from constipation, mix twice the amount of this herb and honey and take it along with a cup of warm water three or four times a day.
Mix together one tablespoon each of powdered root of this herb with raw honey.
Consume three times a day for one month.
Liquorice root can treat chronic hepatitis B. Glycyrrhizin interferes
with hepatitis B surface antigen and is synergistic with interferon against
hepatitis A virus. It is also used at times to treat hepatitis C. Liquorice
root helps protect the liver from damage due to chemotherapy. At low doses,
the herb stimulates the liver to manufacture cholesterol and excrete it in
bile. This can help lower serum cholesterol levels.
Milk thistle tea can help to cleanse the liver of toxins and help it
leaf extract has the ability to fight off viruses including
hepatitis due to it's ability to interfere with the amino acid production
within the virus.
Papaya seeds contain components known to support and cleanse the gall bladder, liver and pancreas.
Grind some fresh papaya seeds to extract one tablespoon of juice.
Add the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon.
Drink it once or twice daily for one month.
Passion fruit contains components which have the ability to
protect the liver and help it to heal.
Phyllanthus amarus herb is very effective in naturally treating liver,
gall bladder and pancreas diseases including the hepatitis virus.
clean the liver and intestinal tract and
purifies the blood.
Reishi mushrooms can treat hepatitis, especially in cases without severe
impairment of liver function.
Schisandra is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cleanse the liver, protect liver cells from further damage and help regenerate liver tissues. Studies have found that it can help protect against drug-related liver damage.
In 2001, Chinese researchers studied the effects of this herb combined with astragalus root and found that the combination effectively helped improve portal hypertension in patients.
cleans and protects the liver, intestinal tract and pancreas and
purifies the blood. Some studies have shown that it can also prevent the replication of the hepatitis B virus. The curcumin in tuemric can help to treat a fatty liver and protect against metabolic disorders and diabetes and help with weight loss.
clean the liver and intestinal tract and
purifies the blood.
Yellow dock root stimulates regular bowel movements that helps to protect the gallbladder and intestines by helping to expel toxins and waste.
Prevention of liver, gallbladder and pancreas disorders
Consuming foods rich in the following nutrients can prevent free radical damage to the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
Always consume natural foods rich in these nutrients rather than supplements which can cause serious imbalances and follow the blue links to find out the highest natural sources of them.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to diagnose medical problems, prescribe remedies for illness, or treat disease. Its intention is solely educational. If you are in any doubt about your health, please consult your medical or health professional. Nature Cures does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of the information provided here or the outcome of using it.
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