Insights on “cleanse” with Dr. Lori

At our March gathering we looked deeply at nourishing our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. When we are nourished and paying careful attention to our needs, we have the energy and enthusiasm to live life to its fullest! We also have the energy to cleanse our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies and function in an efficient and peaceful way. Although there are many organs responsible for cleansing, I like to look to the liver first.

Our liver is an amazing filter and processor of all the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines before it passes to the rest of our body. It is the largest solid organ in our body, performing over 500 vital functions such as metabolizing fats, proteins, carbohydrates, making plasma proteins which regulates blood clotting, maintaining healthy blood sugar, activating enzymes, storing vitamins and minerals, producing and excreting bile, cholesterol, hormones and most importantly detoxifying (removing) all the chemicals and toxins from our blood! And let’s take a guess at how big a job that is? Let’s say on a good day a normal healthy liver can deal with ten helpings of toxins a day. In our current world overloaded with emotional stress, electromagnetic frequencies, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, preservatives and a long and growing list of toxins of all sorts, we likely get a least five to ten times as many helpings shoveled into our hard working liver to process at record speed so we can wake up and feel fine in the morning. Did I mention we have to sleep well also? Sleep is when much of our liver detoxifying gets done!

Besides physical toxins and poor sleep, emotional stress can also be hard on our liver. In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine there is a clear connection between the organs and the emotions. In the case of the liver, emotional stress can injure the liver and disharmony of the liver can cause emotional imbalance. In Chinese Medicine the liver is connected to anger, resentment and frustration. In Ayurveda the liver is affected not only by anger and frustration, also by courage, braveness, joy and pride. In all healing systems the emotion can cause the imbalance in the organ as well as the organ disharmony causing the emotional imbalance. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

 Let’s take anger as an example. “Anger” which some believe is not an actual “emotion” at all, rather some type of “suppressed emotion.” If we suppress our emotional body long enough we often get angry, regardless of what the underlying emotion is. If we don’t express sadness or grief and we keep it bottled up inside or if we want to express love and joy yet feel unable to, or we pretend to be fearless when we are terribly afraid, we often get frustrated and angry instead. This emotional suppression can constrain the energy of the liver and prevent it from doing its many jobs well.

In conclusion, we need to love our liver a little more! Being in emotional balance and being able to express our emotions will help us keep our liver and all our organs healthier. Avoiding or minimizing alcohol and getting good quality and quantity of sleep are obvious ways of loving our liver. Toxins are a more complicated subject! Cell phone towers, artificial flavors, additives and preservatives, pesticides, sugar, cleaning products etc are not as easy to avoid although every little bit of awareness helps! Read labels! Filter your water! Eat less packaged and processed foods! Bitter green leafy vegetables, dandelion, artichoke, milk thistle and a variety of other herbs and foods are especially supportive, protective and help improve and stimulate liver function. What about our living spaces? Do we feel less frustrated and angry when our house is clean? This is also being loving to our liver! How about sweating a bit more, taking care of our microbiome (gut flora) and paying careful attention to how we are eliminating! We don’t want to detox to re-tox because if we aren’t eliminating well toxins will go right back to our over-worked liver! What does our body odor smell like? How often are we peeing? How often do we poop and what does it look like? So much to be aware of!! And that’s just the beginning of the adventure! Have some fun! Spring cleaning here we come!