An interesting report in the news at the moment is the story of the baby boy who’s failing liver has recovered following implantation of liver cells. As a herbalist, this strikes a chord, as it is an example of a conventional medical approach that achieves recovery via supporting the body in healing itself. This is generally the approach of herbal medicine, not conventional medicine, which usually suppresses the natural functioning of the body, rather than supporting healthy function. The approach therefore has elements in common with a herbal approach to liver health, which includes herbs such as milkthistle seed (Silybum marianum) which has been shown in studies to support liver function and regeneration and protect liver cells via several mechanisms including protecting cell membranes, boosting detox chemicals such as glutathione and acting as an antioxidant (see Pradhan and Girish, 2006). A recent clinical study has supported the use of milk thistle in treatment of chronic hepatitis C (Kalantari et al., 2011). Other plants that are used to support liver health and function are turmeric, schisandra, liquorice and artichoke leaf.
Caution: The information here is offered for its educational value only and should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease; please contact your health care practitioner.
Kalantari H, Shahshahan Z, Hejazi SM, Ghafghazi T, Sebghatolahi V.E (2011) ‘Effects of silybum marianum on patients with chronic hepatitis C.‘ J Res Med Sci. 16(3):287-290.
Pradhan SC, Girish C. (2006) ‘Hepatoprotective herbal drug, silymarin from experimental pharmacology to clinical medicine’. Indian J Med Res.124(5):491-504
Caution: If using plants for medicinal purposes, obtain from a reputable source. The information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease; please contact your health care practitioner.