In addition to being the largest organ in the human body, the liver is one of the most important organs. It performs several vital bodily functions, such as filtering toxins present in one’s blood, ensuring one’s blood sugar levels are healthy, regulating blood clotting, to name but a few. It is also responsible for the production of bile (which helps digest and absorb fats in the small intestine) and Albumin- a protein that ensures that fluids in the bloodstream do not leak into the surrounding tissue.

In addition to all these critical functions, it is also responsible for regulating blood clotting and amino acids, resisting infections, storing vitamins and minerals and processing glucose. All told, the liver performs over 500 functions that are vital to the normal functioning of the human body, making it one of the most important organs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine ascribes an even greater role to the liver- it is considered to be responsible for regulating the body’s qi (vital energy), which means that the liver is always amongst the first to be examined when there is anything wrong with one’s body. It is also considered to house the hun, or soul, which gives us our consciousness and sense of purpose, and which leaves the body after death. There are several symptoms that can signify an improperly functioning liver, such as an ashen complexion, acne, eye problems (such as bloodshot eyes or blurry vision), muscular weakness and insomnia. The liver also helps to regulate emotions, so unexplained irritability and anger can also indicate a liver problem.

How to Detox Your Liver Meridian

There are several ways in which you can go about detoxifying your liver meridian, but the most common methods consist of eating foods which assist in detoxifying the liver, or getting treatment from someone well-versed in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Foods that Detoxify the Liver

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are several foods that we can consume that have a positive impact on our liver. Sour foods, for example, are said to nourish the liver- lemon water, for example, has a diuretic effect on one’s body, helping to flush toxins from one’s system.

Turmeric, on the other hand, is supposed to help in decongesting the liver, clearing heat from the body improving one’s qi and blood flow. It can be added to a drink or to a dish- turmeric mixed with plain milk or coffee is a popular mode of consumption.

Ginger is a warming food that nourishes the blood, improves blood circulation, and even has antibiotic and antibacterial effects that can help cleanse the body of toxins and fight pathogens. Adding freshly sliced ginger to teas or soups is the best method of consumption for the purpose of boosting liver function.

Magnolia berries are also well known for their anti-inflammatory properties which help nourish and protect the liver. For best results, it should be brewed as a tea and consumed once a day.

Treatments prescribed under Traditional Chinese Medicine

There are two main treatments prescribed for the liver meridian under Traditional Chinese Medicine- reflexology and meridian shiatsu massage.

The basic premise of reflexology is that the energy pathways that flow throughout the body end in the same basic areas-the feet, the hands and the ears. If there is an energy blockage relating to a particular part of the body, it can be corrected by working on the end of that particular pathway. There’s a point on the foot called taichong, located an inch or so below where the big toe meets the second toe, which is said to stimulate the liver and encourage digestion.

Meridian Shiatsu treatments work on a similar principle to reflexology treatments- except the focus is on points across the body- it is not just limited to one’s hands and feet. The objective in a meridian shiatsu massage is much the same as it would be in reflexology treatments- to clear the energy pathways by stimulating points across the body that correspond to the liver meridian, thus ensuring that the liver function increases.

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