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1 - Liver Information
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1. Liver Information

Liver functions

The liver is the most important organ after the heart. It performs hundreds of functions including:

Circulation: transfer of blood from portal to systemic circulation, activity of the liver's reticulo-endothelial system (kupffer cells) in the immune system. The liver stores and regulates the blood and is responsible for nourishing every cell in our body. Every part of the body depends on blood from the liver for nourishment and sustenance.

Excretion: formation and secretion of bile for digestion and cleansing of blood; removal of ammonia from blood; excretion of substances filtered from the blood by the liver such as heavy metals or dyes.

Metabolism: carbohydrate, protein, lipid (fat), mineral and vitamin metabolism; manufacturing and storage of many nutrients such as glucose and vitamins; production of heat through metabolism.

Protection and detoxification: removal of foreign bodies from the blood (phagocytosis); detoxification by conjugation, methylation, oxidation and reduction.

Production: formation of urea, serum albumin, glycogen and blood coagulating proteins such as prothrombin, fibrinogen and heparin; erythrocyte (red blood cells) destruction.

Regulation of hormones: inactivation and elimination of hormones through the bile or urine. Since estrogen and androgen are both cell division stimulators, elevation of their levels in the blood due to the liver's failure to remove them efficiently can cause their accumulation in tissue. This in turn may lead to abnormal growths such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, breast cysts and breast cancer, prostate enlargement or prostate cancer. Excessive estrogen is also the most common cause of painful menstruations.

The liver also regulates body functions which affect emotional and mental activities. In a diseased condition, the liver's blood storage and regulatory functions are affected, and bleeding or clots can result. When liver blood is deficient, nourishment to tendons and blood vessels is curtailed, the joints become stiff, and muscles become spasmodic and numb. Blood deficiency in the liver may even lead to stroke, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, deafness, fainting or convulsion. When the liver blood is so deficient that it cannot nourish the eyes, night blindness or blurring may result. If the liver is affected by stress or unhappy feelings, its vitality may be repressed and the sides hurt, and hiccups or hernia may develop. The bowels may become constipated and sleep may be disturbed causing nightmare or insomnia.

The liver is the most emotion sensitive organ and its weakness is often connected to emotional sensitivity. Individuals who are emotionally sensitive are more prone to weak liver even if they do not have a poor diet or are not taking medication regularly.

The structural position of the liver as a bridge between the returning blood from the digestive system and the lower part of the body to the heart makes the liver an important organ for the health of the heart. A weakened and swollen or congested liver can obstruct the venous blood flow to the heart causing heart palpitations or even heart attacks (see reference 3). In other words a healthy liver is essential for maintaining an adequate amount of blood flow to the heart and the heart can only pump the blood it receives.

Age-related vision and memory loss: the importance of the liver

According to the scientific studies, the liver and kidneys are the organs that "age" us. That is why almost all longevity herbs used in herbal medicine are liver and kidney tonics. Without a clean, efficient liver and healthy kidneys, blood is not filtered clean. "Dirty" blood, loaded with toxins or waste products, is heavier and more sluggish. This causes poor circulation and reduced capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients. As a result, tissue and organ cells are undernourished. If this condition persists the cells will deteriorate and inevitably age.
The eye and brain cells are especially affected because the blood has to flow against gravity to reach them.

In an article on Alzheimer disease in the January 1988 issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, malfunction of the liver and kidneys was mentioned as one of the causes leading to Alzheimer disease. Brain tumour, which physically blocks blood flow to the brain, was also cited as one of the causes. The brain weighs only 2% of our body weight, yet it needs 20% of our oxygen supply. If the toxin-loaded blood from a weak liver has limited capacity to carry oxygen, the brain cells are affected most.

Case Study:
"I was born with photographic memory, but I lost it at the age of 17. Up to the age of 16, I could remember every single word in textbooks that I glanced through just once. I was surprised to learn that I could not do that any more before I finished my high school. Looking back, my very stressful childhood must have congested my liver and my inadequately filtered blood had difficulty flowing up to my brain to nourish my cells. The fact that I fainted in school at the age of 11 indicated that my blood flow to my brain was already sluggish even at an early age. As the years went by with stressful life, my memory kept going down hill and reached the bottom at age 47, the year that I was diagnosed with badly congested liver. When I cleansed out my liver and gallbladder, changed my diet and started doing daily morning exercise, my memory improved. I don't think I will get my photographic memory back, but I did gain back some of my memory power and stopped its deterioration."

Liver problems: liver congestion and stagnation

Liver congestion and stagnation are common liver problems. Yet conventional medicine does not understand them and has no test to detect them. In hepatitis or liver inflammation, liver enzyme levels in the blood are elevated because of the ruptured liver cells which contain high contents of liver enzymes. However, in liver congestion or stagnation, liver cells are still intact and liver enzyme levels in blood are normal. Therefore normal clinical tests which rely on liver enzyme levels as a measure of liver condition cannot detect liver congestion or stagnation.

Case Study:
"I had blood tests performed a few months before I was diagnosed with badly congested liver by a traditional Herbalist. These tests showed no abnormal liver condition because they simply could not detect liver congestion. I never knew I had liver problems until the Chinese doctor correctly diagnosed my congested liver condition. This was the turning point for my health problems. When my liver became healthy again through a lengthy jouney of self-healing (see Liver cleansing section below), most of my chronic health problems disappeared."

According to Herbal Medicine, all internal organs work as a team in the body; the liver is considered the "General" or "Chief of Staff". Unfortunately, many of our modern prescription drugs are damaging to the liver or kidneys. Over the counter drugs such as painkillers can also cause liver toxicity. Therefore it is not surprising that many people over the age of 50 develop liver weakness or toxicity. Even among healthy people who are not dependent on drugs, the liver has been filtering blood day and night throughout life without being "cleansed". Over the years, circulating blood has deteriorated in quality which goes unnoticed. The end result is often a feeling of sluggishness and heaviness due to poor circulation. Studies linking liver damage to excessive or long-term use of painkillers have been reported.

Case Study:
"I come from a family with weak livers. My father died of a stroke at the age of 59. It was very likely related to liver problems as he had been diagnosed as having a weak liver. My uncle became quite sick at the age of 67. His extremities were dark in colour due to poor blood supply and he was very tired and weak. He went to see a western medical doctor and was told that he was beyond help and would not live much longer. He decided to seek a second opinion from a Herbalist Medical Doctor who prescribed a liver cleansing herb (Chinese Gentian) which purges the liver. He is now over 80 and is still healthy."

Final Words

Weakening of the liver and eventual toxicity are usually slow processes. In many cases the only sign of liver weakness is poor digestion and low energy level. Most people pass this off as something that happens with age. As a result they do little or nothing about it until it is too late. Fortunately, nature has endowed our liver with excellent regenerative powers. If we are able to understand the early signs of degeneration, we have an excellent chance of restoring it to optimal functioning with proper care.

Dr. Robert Bruce


We highly recommend that you read 2) Gallstone Information next.


DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, disorder, pain, injury, deformity, or physical or mental condition.

This information is not medical advice. Because every person's situation is different, the author of this article will not be held responsible for any negative results which come from reading or acting upon the information in this article. Use at your own risk.

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