Liver Stagnation is when the energy of the liver does not flow as freely as it should. The liver is our powerhouse organ and is mostly responsible for how our life force and vital energy moves through the body, and important for the circulation of blood providing essential fluids, oxygen, and nourishment to all of our cells and systems. Anxiety, stress, and diet can all contribute to liver stagnation. In energy medicine the emotions connected to liver health are anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, and bitterness. To optimize any treatment protocol that is focused on healing and supporting the liver, drink plenty of water and maintain a plant based diet as much as possible.
The spring and fall are both excellent times of year for cleansing and nourishing the body. This is especially important for the liver because it filters all the toxins that we absorb throughout daily life, and can become backlogged which leads to stagnation. In the fall as the days get shorter and colder, we tend to hibernate more, staying home more and craving and eating warm foods. This time of year also always makes me crave plant medicine that supports the liver.
Milk Thistle is the most widely used herb for the liver, and has been used around the world for hundreds of years for it’s ability to protect, heal, and detoxify the liver. Milk Thistle is best taken as a capsule, liquid extract, or tincture. Due to the hard exterior of the seeds it can be difficult to extract all the medicinal benefit when steeping it as a tea.
One of my favourite Milk Thistle products to take is made by Botanica and is a Fermented Liquid Extract. Because it is fermented you get the added benefit of probiotics, enzymes, amino acids, and b-vitamins that are a naturally occurring by-product of the fermentation process, as well as all of the medicinal benefits of the herb. It is super easy to take and very absorbable by the body because it is a “living food”. I personally try to include a liver tincture or Milk Thistle extract in my diet on an occasional basis for preventative maintenance, and usually do a one month liver support where I take it every day, in the spring and fall. If you prefer capsules, Living Alchemy Milk Thistle is another one of my favourites.
In massage and bodywork treatments I often notice that people with swelling, stagnation, and chronic tension can benefit from taking herbs internally to support the liver. Everything in our bodies is connected and if something is not flowing well in one area it is a sign to look at the whole body to understand what is happening and why.
You can find Milk Thistle and liver formulas at almost all health food stores. If you are local here in Pemberton there are lots of options available at Stay Wild Natural Health, including the two I mentioned above in liquid or capsules.