The Love of Your Liver

When I was in elementary school health class, I first heard rumor of the liver and its magical regenerative power. Cut off even a portion of it and the whole thing would grow back, they said. Sorta. I concede that perhaps my memory of the information was a little skewed, or the teacher’s understanding of it could have been basic. After all, he was the PE teacher. Advanced liver anatomy and pathology might not have been a reasonable expectation.

General Toxin Begone

I love my liver, though I have not always shown it ample appreciation. When you consider the function of this large flat organ, we should all show a bit more love. The liver is responsible for filtering and cleaning your blood. As the warm red liquid circumnavigates your body, carrying with it oxygen, nutrients and captured toxins, it all flows through the liver for sorting and sifting. Whatever is deemed waste, allergens, harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites are released into the intestinal tract for excretion.

Another vital function of our liver is its role in bile production. Bile is a digestive secretion made in the liver and composed of water, bilirubin and bile salts. Once the liver makes the bile, it is then stored in the gallbladder until use. Bile allows us to digest fats. In addition, bile helps filter out excess hormones, environmental toxins and other bodily waste.

Major Bodily Upset

When our liver is not functioning ideally, it takes a significant toll on other areas of our health.

Many factors can contribute to a sluggish liver. Consuming grease and other unhealthy fats can certainly cause the liver to work overtime. Alcohol is another way we can dehydrate and distract the liver from its normal toxic load. Excess sugar consumption and chronic dehydration are particularly taxing on all organs, liver included.

Often overlooked in liver health, are the emotions which tie into it. Anger is said to cause heat in the liver, according to eastern and ayurvedic practices. When we do not process anger in a productive and healthy way, it can cause discord throughout the digestive system. We discuss the importance of emotional health as it relates to your organs in Do You Hear What I Hear.

Perhaps most notably, when your liver is overwhelmed it affects hormone metabolism. The various hormones which regulate all bodily function are interconnected. They are the little data packets which determine which signals will be sent where. When any part of the hormone production, exchange and metabolism process is failing, it matters to your whole being. In Unraveling Adrenal Fatigue, we explained the importance of hormonal symbiosis.

When left unchecked, a sluggish liver becomes an inflamed one. Prolonged inflammation leads to cancer and other serious issues. So let’s not let it get that far. Take steps to reverse liver damage and inflammation today.

Admiral Realignment

There is good news. The liver does have an uncanny ability to reverse damage and heal itself; when given the proper environment to do so. You can help create the right environment with some thoughtful choices. Just as we clean the filters on our home appliances and vehicles, this vital bodily filter can also be cleansed. With herbal support, better nutritional choices, hydration and attention to your emotional well-being; you equip your liver with the greatest opportunity for success. As you might guess, changes in these areas not only improve liver health; but virtually every other are of your life.

You can find a blend of all of these in our Live and Let Liver herbal tincture.

Trust me, a little love and attention aimed at your liver health is well worth it. Nothing beats regular digestive and bowel habits, adequate sleep, mental clarity and emotional peace. Your liver, when performing optimally, is a key moderator in all of those. When all is said and done, you are the only one truly vested in what kind of life you want to live. You can choose to be stagnant and sluggish. You can also choose to make your health a priority. Doing so improves every aspect of your being and gives your loved ones the gift of the best possible version of you. Look forward to the morning revellie and become who God made you to be.

Rise and Shine ???? – Roots to Remedies

The Well Planned Home Apothecary

When a fever strikes, it never phones ahead for a reservation.  A concussion doesn’t check the calendar for convenience.  Midwives and Doulas can attest that babies born without induction, do so on their own schedule and are oblivious to the existence of a due date.  When illness makes a visit, most are unprepared.  We start scrambling to make it go away immediately, but with no real confidence or direction. Whether it is you or your child who needs healing, in the moment of distress is a challenging time to make decisions. 

Why Knowing Now Matters

Natural wellness has a large population of fair weather fans.  As long as we feel great, why not root for it.  If a fever or rash or sudden bout of anxiety shows up, it takes someone confident in both the human immune system and the cooperative power of nature to stay to course.  We always encourage individual research to find your own path and the right answers for you. 

By investing the time in educating yourself in the ways of sustainable wellness and natural remedies; you will gain the confidence to apply that information when someone is sick and the environment is stressed.  Being prepared removes much of the pressure when the time arrives to take action.  

Our Ideal Home Apothecary (Click on herb title for a list of products that contain the herbs)

#1 – Goldenrod

Goldenrod is an herbal Goliath.  It functions like a broad spectrum antibiotic, without the drawback of changing microbial dna to form superbugs. It has shown especially useful in afflictions of the kidneys,  bladder and urinary tract.  Also unlike synthetic antibiotics, Goldenrod won’t negatively affect your gut microbiome.  This allows your immune system to be nurtured and supported to gain the advantage over intruders.  This incredible herb, mislabeled an intrusive weed, also has effective cancer killing properties.

#2 – Vitamin C

        Just about everyone knows to reach for some vitamin C when you feel a sniffle coming on.  It is time tested advice.  Vitamin C boosts the immune system, shortens the severity and duration of colds, improves cataracts, helps wounds heal, is great for skin, hair and nails, is a cancer fighting antioxidant, increases bone density and reduces your risk for stroke.

#3 – Elderberry

        Elderberries are a powerful immune system booster. They are proven to ease colds and the flu, speed recovery, and fight infections. This is because they not only give a jolt to the immune system but also balance and support its regulation. 

#4 – Dandelion

        Dandelion leaf and root are both powerful parts of this common “weed.” The leaf can be used in bitters, while the root is a hepatic herb for detoxifying. They purify the body and liver by flushing out toxins and excess water. Dandelion  can improve bone health and promote weight loss. It also has diuretic and laxative properties. Additionally, studies have shown it lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, fights anemia, prevents liver damage, and lowers oxidative stress. Others even suggest that it could

lower blood sugar levels, fight cancer, and even treat jaundice.

#5 – Skullcap

        One of my personal favorite herbs!  This beauty has anti inflammatory and antioxidant abilities.  It calms anxiety and an overstimulated nervous system.  Skullcap is helpful in reducing fever, as a sleep aid and hormone balancing measure.  It can also reduce heart disease and even treat epilepsy and muscle spasms. 

#6 – Chamomile 

        Chamomile is a calming herb for many different ailments. It is antispasmodic, helping to prevent and ease spasms in the stomach and body. It fits into most of the essential medicinal categories: digestive health, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and sedative. This little flower does it all

#7 – Peppermint

        Who doesn’t love the smell and taste of peppermint?  It isn’t just pleasant to the senses.  Peppermint boasts an array of benefits including: relaxes the digestive system and improves stomach discomfort, eases headaches, opens sinus and lung passageways, is a powerful antimicrobial, reduces depression and improves mood, is effective against parasites and is amazing for oral hygiene and health.         

#8 – Aloe Vera

        Aloe Vera is both adaptogenic and a superfood.  This means it is nutrient dense, boasting a host of vitamins and minerals and has the ability to adapt to our particular cellular needs.  This amazing plant enhances immunity, normalizes digestion, soothes and heals skin disorders and improves heart health.  Aloe is also antimicrobial, antifungal and can slow the aging process.

#9 – Medicinal Mushrooms

        The properties contained in these wonders of nature are formidable and vast.  So much so, we dedicated an entire entry to them here. Some balance hormones, most are adaptogenic, many are effective in cancer treatments. We love mushrooms for wellness and feel you will too!

#10 – Ginger

          For over 2000 years, Chinese medicine has recommended the use of ginger to help cure and prevent several health problems including; morning sickness and nausea, respiratory issues, cold and flu, colon and ovarian cancer, pain and inflammation and swelling. It is known to strengthen immunity, promote energy circulation in the body and increase our body’s metabolic rate. 

#11 – Nettle

          Another adaptogen, Stinging Nettle is also categorized as being anti-tumor, anti-spasmodic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hemostatic, hypotensive (calming), nutritive, kidney/ and adrenal restorative.  Used in natural medicine, Nettle has been observed to improve allergies, hemorrhoids, arthritis, asthma, blood deficiency, eczema, fatigue, hypothyroidism, menstrual cramps, sluggish metabolism, urinary tract infections, as well as strengthen hair, teeth and bones.

#12 – Cinnamon

          The aroma of cinnamon is identifiable the world over.   In every country, cinnamon is used for flavor and for health.  Cinnamon is a warming spice which fends off high blood sugar and lowers blood pressure. It has broad spectrum antimicrobial activity, making it an excellent ingredient in dental care.  It fights infections and viruses, while also tempering inflammation.  Cinnamon is believed to improve mental function and is a strong antioxidant. 

Making Empowered Choices

This is a solid place to start.  Having these items on hand makes implementing them much more likely when they are needed most.  No worried partner or parent wants to venture out in the middle of the night to a 24 hour drugstore in search of comfort.  Create your place of comfort ahead of time so when you or they are sick, the focus can be on the patient’s recovery, rather than what needs to be gathered to even collect your thoughts.  Preparedness breeds confidence.

Be Bold ???? – Roots to Remedies

The Might of the Mushroom

They can look like tiny umbrellas, or clusters of shells or even like real life Dr. Seuss drawings.  One hilarious, but lifelong immature, friend refers to them as little spongy penises. There are over ten thousand known species of mushrooms.  From horticulture to potlucks to hormone therapy to music festivals, one guest can be found at every party – the mushroom.  These small wonders of nature have an unbelievably broad spectrum of uses.  

The Dirty Work

Everyone has seen random mushrooms sprouting up in the yard, after a good rain. This is actually just another example of the perfection of nature. When mushrooms occupy soil, surrounding plants benefit! Depending on the type of mushroom, fungi work to alter the composition of the soil. There are three main categories: saprotrophic, mycorrhizal and parasitic.

Saprotrophic mushrooms are decomposers that break down dead tissue and matter into smaller particles. They then release nutrients back into the soil which are beneficial for surrounding plants.  Mycorrhizal breeds form a partnership with the roots of other plants.  The fungi supply extra moisture and phosphorus to its partner’s roots, while the host plant provides delicious glucose for the mushrooms.  Parasitic species are much like saprotrophs, only if left unharvested, they will eventually decompose their host entirely.  Each of these categories of mushrooms contain edible and medicinally useful breeds.

The Deliciousness

Mushrooms are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods on the planet. Their naturally al dente texture adds a hearty feel to any meal. They have an earthy, nutty flavor on their own; but easily take on any herbs or spices they are cooked with, due to their porous flesh. People eat them raw, on pizza, stuffed, sautéed, marinated, skewered, in gravy, on steak, with pasta, grilled, in their omelet, in stews and the list goes on.

Mushrooms are nutrient dense as well. They all supply varying but significant amounts of protein and fiber. If you are mineral deficient, try adding some shrooms to your diet. They are loaded with phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper, riboflavin, niacin and are a phenomenal source of natural vitamin D

Check your email (subscribe here) or Watch our FB page this week for mushroom recipes.

The Medicinal 

We’d like to highlight some of the therapeutic benefits of some specific mushrooms.  

Chaga – The DNA of the Chaga is closer to the DNA of human beings than any other plant on earth.  They are masters at cellular regeneration throughout the body.  They are adaptogenic and so they reduce the cause of 90% of all disease; which is stress.  Our joints and bones greatly benefit from the Chaga, and it is also a known pain reliever.

Cordyceps – These ancient superfoods are used to reduce oxidative stress because of their specific enzyme and nutrient profile.  They boost immune function while slowing the aging process.  It is also believed they increase both fertility and libido.

Lion’s Mane – This mushroom is known to stimulate brain cell growth, reduce symptoms of anxiety/depression, stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and support heart health.

Maitake – Studies have shown this mushroom to possess the following medicinal properties: anti-bacterial, anti-candida, anti-tumor, anti-viral, blood pressure moderator, blood sugar moderator, cholesterol reducer, immune enhancer, lungs/respiratory support. It may also help with weight loss. Maitake is also one of the best sources of Vitamin D.  This mushroom is packed with so many benefits!

Reishi – Nicknamed the “Queen of the Mushrooms”, this specimen is known to be an incredible immune booster, energy booster, and mood booster. It is high in antioxidants and can improve heart health and support blood sugar control. It can reduce body weight and prevent weight gain and fat accumulation. This mushroom can also help with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all while protecting the liver.

Turkey Tale – Turkey tail is a mushroom linked to an impressive range of potential health benefits. Studies have shown that it is very high in antioxidants, contains polysaccharopeptides that can support the immune system, it can improve gut health, it can boost cellular nutrients, and could even support people with certain cancers and their treatments.  In fact, since 1977, Turkey Tail has been approved for use as an anti-cancer adjutant in Japan.  

The ongoing research into the way medicinal mushrooms are being used to battle cancer is quite promising.

The Others

In addition to edible and medicinal mushrooms, there are also those which are hallucinogenic.  These are commonly referred to as magic mushrooms, and they are different from medicinal mushrooms.  The compound in this type of mushroom, which is responsible for its vivid effects, is called psilocybin.  While the reputation of these is linked to silly images like the caterpillar of Alice in Wonderland, they are starting to be recognized as a serious consideration for extreme psychological disorders, such as PTSD and trauma.  Even the FDA has referred to psilocybin as “breakthrough therapy”.

There is a long history of mushrooms depicted in ceremonial and religious art.  Interestingly, there are ancient drawings and cave paintings of mushrooms all over the world.  Such illustrations in Spain, Brazil, Tassilli, the Sahara and France have dates ranging from 7000 to 25,000 years old.  Many of the paintings resembling people with mushrooms and beams of light between the mushroom and the forehead of those depicted.  It is believed by historians that the ancient inhabitants viewed the hallucinogenic properties as a tool of worship.  One painting in Tassilli, seems to show the Holy Trinity surrounded by dancers holding mushrooms.

Whether you grow them, cook with them or use them medicinally, mushrooms are a wonder of creation.  Their genetic make-up is closer to humans than to plants.  Mushrooms come in bizarre shapes and sizes and they certainly don’t look all that powerful.  Their abilities should remind us all that sometimes the most odd looking and unlikely have the greatest value.

Your Worth is Powerful, Roots to Remedies