Useful foods and herbs for liver and gall bladder

Flora Fauna 18th Century Illustration

The liver is the primary organ responsible for breaking down and eliminating toxins that enter the body.  When the toxic load is greater than the body can handle, and this can be increased by things like pollution, stress, alcohol, processed foods, excess sugar and pharmaceutical drugs, the liver can become overburdened and this has a huge impact on our digestion, mood and hormones.  The liver also produces bile, a powerful acid-neutralising and fat-emulsifying substance used in the digestive process.  The gall bladder stores the bile until the liver needs it and may become sluggish so not enough bile is released when required.  This is the reason most people get very sleepy if they eat a large fatty meal.

Below is a list of foods and herbs that you should be trying to incorporate into your diet on a daily basis.  Start today!

My top tips: powerful foods and herbs to promote liver and gall bladder health

  • Apples contain pectin which helps to bind and excrete heavy metals right off the intestines. This directly helps to reduce the load of filtration on the liver.
  • Beetroot, carrots, red onions and aubergine contain flavonoids and beta-carotenewhich are potent antioxidants.
  • Garlic contains allicin and the mineral selenium, both antioxidants. It assists theremoval of heavy metals from the liver.
  • Eggs, brown rice and whole grains, broccoli and spinach contain B-complex vitamins which improve liver function and promote liver decongestion.   E.g. Vitamin B12 helps to metabolize fats and improves liver health.
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale contain glucosinolates which help the liver produce enzymes for detoxification.  Best eaten lightly steamed, especially if you suffer from a sluggish thyroid. Make sure you wash these properly and try to eat organic wherever possible.
  • Grapefruits are rich in antioxidants and help in natural detoxification of the liver.
  • Bitter vegetables such as rocket, lettuce, dandelion greens, artichoke and chicorypromote the production and flow of bile.
  • Powerful herbs for the liver & gall bladder
  • Dandelion and yellow dock: rich in iron and other minerals, stimulate the production and flow of bile.  Dandelion works very well for oestrogen-dominant conditions such as endometriosis, cysts and fibroids.
  • Milk thistle: according to research, contains silymarin, which supports the protection of the liver.  It recycles glutathione, our body’s own natural antioxidant and helps to repair and regenerate liver tissue
  • Turmeric: a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer herb which is easy to add to cooking.


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