(NaturalNews – Dr. David Jockers) Most people in western society have grown up without using bitter herbs on a regular basis. Bitter herbs are not the most tasty, but they are outstanding for our health. These herbs help produce digestive enzymes and improve liver and gallbladder function as well as anything. Utilizing bitter herbs on a regular basis is a fantastic health strategy for optimal digestion and detoxification.
When the tongue recognizes the bitter flavor it sets off a set of reactions in the neuroendocrine system that is labeled the “bitter reflex.” This process is mediated by the hormone within the stomach called gastrin which stimulates the flow of hydrochloric acid. This reflex then goes down and helps with liver and gallbladder secretions of bile and pancreatic enzyme secretions (1).
Experts believe that the bitter reflex helps to improve the structure and function of all the digestive organs. “Bitter is good for the liver” is a popular slogan describing the benefits of these herbs. They are also good for cleansing the blood, digestive system, kidneys and urinary tracts.
Bitter herbs are divided into two major categories: cholagogues, which increase the flow of bile, and hepatoprotectants which repair and protect the liver from overexposure to toxins. The cholagogues include dandelion root, parsley, burdock root, artichoke, ginger and goldenseal. While hepatoprotectants include turmeric and milk thistle.
Be sure to include some of these bitters in your meals and in your juicing schedule.
This is rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are also very high in highly absorbable methylating agents such as vitamin B2, B6 and folate. Rich in minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc, it releases excess fluid out of the body detoxifying the kidney and liver. Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne (2).
Parsley is super rich in chlorophyll and also contains about three times the amount of vitamin C by volume as an orange. Vitamin C is extremely important for healthy immune function and youthful skin & joints. Additionally, it contains carotenoid anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which enhance eye function and help the body neutralize damage from UV radiation (3).
This is a powerful heavy metal detoxifier. This is due to its strong array of phytonutrients and chlorophyll. This is extremely good for blood, liver and kidney purification. Be sure to utilize cilantro in your juices to help pull out heavy metals like aluminum, mercury and nickel (4).
Ginger is classified as a carminative (reducing intestinal gas) and an intestinal spasmolytic (soothes intestinal tract) while inducing gut motility. Ginger is known to reduce fever related nausea, motion sickness, and feelings of “morning sickness.” Additionally, it helps aid in the production of bile, making it particularly helpful in digesting fats (5, 6).
The orange Asian herb turmeric has been traditionally used for centuries by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Curcumin is the most powerful active anti-inflammatory compound within turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to detoxify the liver, boost glutathione levels and be a powerful suppressor of chronic inflammatory mediated disease processes (7).
Milk thistle was used by medical herbalists in the late nineteenth century to treat varicose veins and liver, spleen and kidney disorders. Today, it is primarily used to improve the function of the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal system. Many individuals have seen dramatic improvement using milk thistle for health issues such as psoriasis, menstrual problems, jaundice and poor circulation (8).
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