Liver Diseases


Overview

The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and is also considered a gland because among its many functions, it makes and secretes bile. Located in the upper right portion of the abdomen protected by the rib cage, it plays an important role in many bodily functions from protein production and blood clotting to cholesterol, glucose (sugar), and iron metabolism. Liver disease is a broad term that covers all the potential problems that cause the liver to fail to perform its designated functions. Usually, more than 75% or three quarters of liver tissue needs to be affected before a decrease in function occurs.

The liver is called Yakrit in Ayurveda. There are three elements in ayurveda: vata, pitta and kapha which can affect the body functions when imbalanced. Pitta is the predominant element  of the liver. Most liver disorders are aggravated conditions of Pitta. Excessive bile production or a blockage in the flow of bile usually indicates high pitta, which in turn affects the agni or enzyme activities responsible for absorption, digestion and metabolism.

Symptoms

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice).
  • Abdominal pain and swelling.
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Dark urine color.
  • Pale stool color.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Tendency to bruise easily.

Causes

  1. Excessive intake of alcohol.
  2. Excessive intake of spicy oily food/unctuous food.
  3. Sedentary lifestyle.
  4. Overweight or obesity.
  5. High levels of fats, particularly triglycerides, in the blood.
  6. Insulin resistance, in which your cells don't take up sugar in response to the hormone insulin.

Common diseases of liver

  • Jaundice
  • Fatty liver
  • Liver cirrhosis, etc

Treatment

  • Diet and lifestyle Modifications
  • Herbs and Herbo-Mineral Preparations
  • Example -

Correcting metabolism - Chitraka, Haritaki, Amalaki, Bibhitaki

For proper liver function (Hepatoprotective) - Bhrngaraja, Kutaki, Arogyavardhini vati, Lashunadi vati.

Other Therapies:  Virechana/Purgation therapy (cleaning digestive tract and purifies blood), Blood letting therapy.

Herbs

 Chitraka, Haritaki, Amalaki, Bibhitaki, Bhrngaraja, Kutaki, Arogyavardhini vati, Lashunadi vati.


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