The liver and kidneys work hard to keep our bodies in top-top shape every day. They corral and flush toxins from the blood and assist with detoxification. Here, Dr. Bill Rawls shares how herbs like milk thistle, adaptogens, and medicinal mushrooms can be used to support liver and kidney function, plus enhance the detox process. Read about the science of detoxification here.
Question: Which herbs support liver and kidney detox?
Tim Yarborough: You touched on a couple herbs that support the liver. Would you mind just highlighting those again? Because a lot of people were wondering about how to support their liver and kidneys, specifically for detoxing.
Dr. Rawls: You know, that’s one of the nice things about herbs. I mean, there are very, very few herbs that actually adversely affect liver function. And this is something that I really recognized early on, when I was making that transition from a conventional physician toward more of using herbs more than anything else in my practice. And that is a fact that most drugs that you take are really hard on your liver.
And with half of our population, 80% of people over 50 now are taking at least one drug, and all of those things are affecting the liver. And then, you throw in all the other toxins that we’re exposed to, and bad food, and everything else. It’s no wonder that people are developing fatty liver from burning out their liver cells. So supporting the liver is really important. And really, there are only a few herbs that have been shown to actually stimulate regeneration of liver cells.
Milk thistle is one of the top ones. Dandelion is really good for that. Another herb that’s a favorite herb of mine is andrographis. But there’s so many herbs that support liver function. Virtually, all of the adaptogens: ashwagandha, ginseng, rhodiola, eleuthero. Cordyceps is an herb that’s been looked at; it’s another medicinal mushroom, it has been looked at for supporting kidney functions. But all of these things are supporting cells in the body.
So when you protect one cell in the body, you protect all the cells in the body, and you de-stress cells. So it’s that whole pathway of inflammation that I’m talking about. So when you address all aspects of those pathways, then it takes the pressure off the cells, and the pressure off the detoxification systems. And if you’re not hammering your liver cells, then they have the ability to regenerate. So when I say that milk thistle stimulates regeneration of liver cells, it’s actually more that it’s taking the pressure off, and it’s protecting the cells, and allowing the cells to regenerate like they should.