The liver produces about one liter of bile per day. Collected in numerous small ducts the bile ends up in the gall bladder - the storage tank for bile. From there it is released through the bile duct into the duodenum about 20 minutes after eating. The duodenum serves as a second stomach. There food, after being processed by the acidic digestive juices of the stomach, undergoes an additional alkaline processing by the bile. Bile is a mixture of:
- digestive juices (produced in the liver)
- metabolic waste products extracted from the blood (by the liver)
Let me simplify the detox mechanisms of our body using the metaphor of drip brewing. The finished coffee represents the water-soluble components of the coffee powder dissolved in water. It's like the urine of our body, with the filter-paper beeing our kidneys und the urinary bladder being the can. The too-large-to-pass the-filter and non-water-soluble coffee dregs in the filter represent that which our liver removes from the bloodstream. It's a lot of crude dirt and sludge that the liver has to slave away 24/7/365. During daytime alone this immense workload is not managable. For completion it depends on the night shift.
If the liver had pain receptors it would hurt the whole day and the whole night. In case the liver region actually hurts, this is caused by an overworked and therefore enlarged liver pressing into neighbouring tissue to such a degree that pain receptors there give notice. That's rather dramatic and late. What are the precursors of an overworked/enlarged liver? How can I notice in time? How to know how my liver is doing? - No sweat, there is a simple rule of the thumb:
Fatigue ist the pain of the liver.
Explanation: A good example for on overworked liver is the hangover und it's primary ingredient tiredness: the liver needs more time to detoxify the excess alcohol without us causing more trouble. The message is: Please keep still until we have cleaned up the mess. Typical hangover symptoms like exhaustion, rotten mood, headache, sick stomach, tense muscles especially in the neck come in various combinations and different degrees from all kinds of intoxications:
In the course of many years a lot of livers get slowly worn down without being noticed. The daily "little too much" accumulates with time. Health decreases subtly in steps too small to notice, we feel normal. And one not so fine day the accumulated result shows suddenly and unmistakably. A serious problem is diagnosed, sometimes even a burn-out or some life impairing disease.
- too much, too heavy, too late food
- jumping timezones
- not enough sleep
- taste enhancers like MSG (Mono-Sodium-Glutamat, China-Restaurant-Syndrom)
- longterm excess of "gusto"-toxins like nicotine, caffeine..
- aspertam in „light"-products
- chronic constipation
- stale food
- chemical food additives; tolerance levels are individually very different
- legal und illegal psychoactive drugs
- inhaling solvents (car gas, paints, glues..)
- Herxheimer reactions and other unpleasant reaction in the wake of voluntary and non-voluntary detoxification processes
- our liver ist the organ with the greatest capacity for cellular regeneration
- drive for activity - the opposite of fatigue - is the exultation of the liver. In case you "suffer" from that, your liver is healthy.
What to do when tired? How can I support my liver?
- In case it comes from too much work: take rest!
- In case it comes from inactivity: do sit-ups! The liver profits from any bend or twist of the trunk, be it related to physical work or sports. Bending and stretching causes a stimulating internal massage of the liver.
- In case it comes from too much food: eat less!
- In case it comes from too much toxins (alcohol, legal & illegal drugs, job related exposure, household toxins): stop intake and/or exposure!
- Sour taste stimulates the liver metabolism!
- Bitter taste stimules the regeneration of the liver!
The liver has to detoxify metabolic waste and toxins too large for the kidney-filter. As opposed to the waterbased urin this is rather some kind of sludge. If there is not enough water or too much solid waste the sludge gets more and more doughy and finally forms lumps.
To the left you can see such kind of lumps that came out in the course of a liver-cleanse. The green color comes from fresh bile. With time bile oxidizes turning yellow and later russet giving the stool its characteristic dark color. It's the iron (Ferrum) from dead red blood cells that literally rusts.
In most Humans, even children, the biliary ducts are partly clogged with lumps of detox-sludge. They remain invisible to x-ray and sonography unless they have reached a certain size and age und have undergone gradual calcification.
- auto-intoxication through chronic constipation increases the workload of the liver tremendously.
- TCM & Ayurveda says: as long as the liver works properly, the human cannot get sick.
- Both TCM & Ayurveda look at liver, skin and eyes as a functional unit. Cataract ("dry eye") is initially treated with liver-enhancing herbs. According to Ayurveda diabetes can only occure when the liver is chronically overworked. The same is held for problems of the pancreas, duodenum, splen, gallbladder, uterus. Problems in these organs can only develop once the liver has been weakened. As long as no degenerative process has been manifested in these organs, "simply" bringing the liver up to full function is enough to solve the issues.
- The liver is the boss of the fat metabolisms und plays the decisive role in the elimination of fat-soluble wasteproducts (heavy metals, borrelia-toxins, neurotoxins..).
- Fat containing tissue
- mucosa of the joints
- subcutaneous fatty tissue (spare tire & fatty tissue around the intestines)
- When it comes to digestive juices, the liver is the counterpart of the stomach: a mix of partially digested food and gastric acid leaving the stomach is them mixed with alkaline bile (in the duodenum). Enough bile is needed to neutralize remaining gastric acid and shift the pH-value above 7,2 in order to enable the next digestive step. If bile is short or "too weak" this step cannot happen und digestion remains incomplete.
Detoxification consumes energy. Lots of toxins need lots of energy. In times of need, because detoxifications has a high priority (survival), energy gets diverted from other activities of daily live into detox-processes:
This is no secret and the reason for the traditional set-up of hospitals:
- One gets tired because energy usually available for physical activity gets diverted.
- Loss of appetite is the result of our body diverting usually available for digestive processes.
- All chronic disease diminishes sexual drive for the same reason.
There are things you could/should do before getting into trouble big enough to warrant hospitalization. An effective and important preventive is supporting the overworked liver with bitters. Bitters enable the liver to regenerate itself much more effectively. Bitters make the liver smile, though not necessarily me.
- confinement to bed
- easily digestible food
- no sexual activity
Historically bitter is an alarm-taste. It says "Don't eat it! It's poisonous and you might die of it!" In those times the small quantities of bitter needed for liver regeneration were everywhere in our daily food. only a few generation ago mankind started to systematically eliminate bitter taste through controlled cultivation. Today hardly any bitters make it onto our plates, and our liver gets starved of bitters. Counteracting this needs amounts of bitters that trigger the historic but outdated message: "Don't eat it! It's poisonous and you might die of it!"
In the same time period that had us eliminating bitter taste from our food items, the workload of the liver increased due to a growing amount of toxins hitherto unknown. Industrial production came with a downside. Waste and toxins increase und concentrate not only in our outer environment but also in our inner environment. We definitely need more bitters than cavemen, but get less. Though meanwhile false, it is still alarming.
Our liver works below value, it could do better. Even if it is hard to understand and against my habits, the liver needs bitters for our own good. Suffering from the above described "hangover-symptoms" is a mood killer, especially if it happens every day.
Tired children get crumpy and show it. When I get tired I also become crumpy but try to not show it. A good night's sleep usually solves the problem. But when I'm still tired in the morning I remain crumpy (hang-over), and if that carries on day after day it's called a depression. Bad mood and tiredness are the two sides of the same coin.
It often takes a few days for the body to learn that bitters are not life threating but rather life enhancing. If this is you, take bitters for a few days in a disciplined way, if necessary in very small quantities. Give your body the chance and time necessary to learn that under present circumstances the ancient message "Don't eat it! It's poisonous and you might die of it!" is no langer valid.
It is next to impossible to get the necessary bitters from our regular food. You'll have to resort to collecting wild plants, or grow them in the garden or buy them.
Properties of Bitters
- reduce (detoxify)
- make cold (reduce body temperature)
- make dry (reduce secretion of mucus)
Though detoxification is wanted, the other two properties may not. What to do if I am already feeling cold? Or in case the mucosa of my joints is already dry? Can I use bitters, after all my liver needs support, in spite of these unwanted effects?
Yes, certainly, but not pure bitters. One should use a combination of bitters with other herbs that counteract the unwanted effects, herbs that create warmth and "lubricate". Since we are all different, the amount of counteracting herbs needed varies with the constitution of the concerned person. Detailed Information follows further down.
Until the age of 27 I practiced high-performance sports and ate accordingly. From one day to the next I stopped sports, turning into a lacto-vegetarian and continuing to eat the same quantities. Five years later I had developed the typical symptoms of diabetes:
- poorly healing wounds around my ancles
- frequent nightly urin, copious and pale
- dry gums und mouth inspite of drinking lots of water
- clumsy steps in the darkness
At that time I lived in Singapor and Malaysia, having lots of contact to people of Indian descendance. According to traditional Indian medicine the pancreas can only cause trouble in case of a malfunctioning liver. They therefore treat initial diabetes as liver weakness, translating into a radical change of food habits and lots of bitters.
I dropped white sugar and chocolate almost completely and drastically restricted products made from refined starches. Additionally I took a mix of bitters in molasse 3x a day. My Indian friends introduced me to this mixture that I now call Liver Magic. My generell well-being slowly but continually increased. After about nine month I was without physical symptoms of diabetes and reduced the intake ofLiverMagic to 2x a day. After another 4-5 month I took it only in case of need, which I still do today. I can still develop diabetical symptoms, but it needs prolonged misuse of sugar and refined starch products.
10 years later I returned to Germany. The bitters available could not meet the quality demands I have carried over from Asia. I suspect it to be due to our cultivation and processing of the herbs. Though we have highly effective plants like St. Mary's Thistle, once they have been turned into a commercially available product they do not satisfy my demand. I'm spoiled.
Experiments with local bitters made it clear to me that wild harvesting can meet my own individual need. But making it available for others is economically not feasable. Stiffeled in my wishful imagination of using local herbs I started looking for a supplier of the Asian herbal incredients ofLiverMagic. I was lucky and ever since the demand for this modern variation of a traditional Indian recipe (Vaedyak Shastra, a Bengal branch of Ayurveda) has increased steadily.
So far I have not come across any herbal remedy matches the broad effect and cost-effectiveness ofLiverMagic. Certainly highly individualized support of the liver can be even more effective. However, it's not that easy.
Liver Magic - the basic recipe
For starters you just want to taste and find out whether it suits you ("maybe it's not worth the effort"), and wether you can override your taste objections. Try the "regular"LiverMagic It's the least demanding variation and by the way, it's the most economic one.
Mix the following four powdered herbal powders in a relation of 1:1:1:1 into sugarcane molasses of room temperature:
- Andrographis paniculata (dried whole plant above the root, above right)
- Azadirachta indica (dried leaves, above left)
- Asparagus Racemosus (dried root, below left)
- Terminalia chebula (dried fruit, below right)
- using 0,5 Liter molasses you need 25 g each of the four herbs
- using 1 Liter molasses you need 50 g each the four herbs
- We are allowed to provide you with the information how to support your liver, but not the mixture itself.
- We are allowed to sell you the incredients, the container and a spoon for stirring, but you will have to do the stirring yourself.
- A chemist's shop (drug store, apothecary) is allowed to prepare and sell youLiverMagic provided you bring them a valid prescription from a registered physician or therapist (depends on your country).
do it yourself
1. LiverMagic (LM)
- size XS: 20g herbal mix + 100ml molasses gives you about 170ml
- size S: 100g herbal mix + 500ml molasses gives you about 850ml
- size M: 200g herbal mix + 1L molasses gives you about 1,7L
- size 2M: 500g herbal mix + 2,5L molasses gives you about 4,4L
- XS: 32g herbal mix + 100ml molasses
- S: 160g herbal mix + 500ml molasses
- M: 400g herbal mix + 1L molasses
- 2M: 800g herbal mix + 2,5L molasses
- Process the herbs as soon as possible, because the properties of powdered herbs slowly diminish. Once inside the molasses the mixture the are practically ageless and rather improve with time like a good wine.
- use sufficiently large containers: a 2-liter bowl for 1L molasses, a 1-liter bowl for 500ml.
- mix the 4 dried herbs; in case there are lumps, pulverize them with a spoon, if necessary grind them
- add the molasses und stir with a suitable (strong) cooking spoon until it becomes a homogeneous paste with the consistency of viscous honey
- stir slowly and with patience, if necessary with breaks; use kneading-like movements
- the paste turns stiffer within 30 minutes, fill it into containers before
- crumbly consistence of the paste means there was not enough molasses or the molasses is to viscous; the herbs need to soak themselves in molasses; add more if needed
- liquid consistence of the paste means to much molasses has been used or it was to liquid; add more herbs
- it's a manual task - common household food processors are usually not up to the task; in case there is no inbuilt fuse the engine might burn.
- DON'T refrigerate
- hot temperatures (summer) may cause LM to swell (up to 110% of the original volume) which does not affect it's quality but may affect the storage place: it mayforce the lid und spill, a real mess
- all rodent, insects und fungi avoid bitters; the only way I ever succeeded in breeding mold on a LM containers was by taking it in and out of the refrigerator; it caused moisture to condense in the thread between lid and container which enabled a little mold to grow on the outward portion of the thread; no condensed water no mold
About "same quality" of Herbs & Molasses
No matter where I buy molasses, its viscosity changes with season and from batch to batch. The viscosity ofLiverMagic is bound to vary accordingly. Herbs too are different from charge to charge, their color, consistency, taste and courseness vary too. Asparagus being more fibrous than the other herbs has a tendency to form lumps. And so on. These are signs of life. Even the apples from a single tree taste different depending from which side of the tree they come.
Dose and Duration
For a couple of month ½ teaspoon on an empty stomach in the morning, ½ teaspoon in the evening before going to sleep. Pay attention to the degree to which the paste influences your fatigue und lack of energy. From this observation you can infer you future use ofLiverMagic, as well the amount and the duration. In case you wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. and have difficulties to go back to sleep, take an additional dose at that time.