The liver isn’t called “liver” for no reason; a healthy liver allows us to be healthy livers of our own lives. The liver processes toxins, nutrients, blood, and emotions—specifically anger, and it also plays a role in metabolic function, hormone breakdown, and how the body builds protein (in addition so much more). On a doshic level, the liver is primarily influenced by pitta (see our previous articles to learn more about the doshas), as they share many of the same qualities. The liver can get “hot” or “agitated” easily, processes information (food, thought, experience, blood, etc.) quickly when in balance, and is very direct—has a direct influence on and leadership role over the rest of the body.
To keep the pitta in us happy, and to keep our livers happy, it’s important that we get a moderate amount of exercise multiple times each week, stay hydrated, eat some cooling foods, keep our space clean and clear and not full of chemicals/toxins, and work with herbs that support our liver.
When we have a headache, flushed face, red or burning eyes, acne, nosebleeds, outbursts of anger, inflammation, allergies, and/or indigestion and heartburn, we know our pitta (and liver) is off balance. Eating cooling foods and herbs that pacify pitta and support the liver is important for alleviating our discomfort and eating them in appropriate amounts for your own personal dosha/constitution is essential.
Because pitta is oily, sharp, hot, light, spreading and liquid, it’s helpful to incorporate foods and herbs with the opposite qualities to restore balance when we’re overly pitta. That means foods that are dry, mild, cooling, grounding, stabilizing and dense, like: watermelon, mung beans, celery, apples, figs, pasta, kale, cabbage, coconut, cilantro, strawberries, papaya, limes, mangoes, oranges, cherries, avocados, cauliflower, leafy greens, bitter melon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions, parsnips, spelt, rice, quinoa, crackers, cereal (dry), barley, wheat, tapioca, tofu, tempeh, soy, lentils, garbanzo beans, soft cheese, cow’s milk, ghee, homemade yogurt, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin, barberry, turmeric, milk thistle, dandelion, goldenseal, and neem.
Adding some combination of the foods listed above into your meals is a great way to start the cooling, cleansing process. In Ayurveda, we’re taught to use herbs to supplement our meals, and to use treat both as medicine. To eat mindfully, chew slowly, and to pay attention to what ingredients we’re eating. So, organic and minimally-processed to not-processed-at-all foods are considered the best. The best way to know which herbs and foods are right for you and your personal constitution is to have a consultation, and we’re here every day of the week to support you (you can schedule with us on our website or by phone).
Since the liver has the job of processing toxins, if we want our digestion, blood, and skin to stay smooth and clear, we’ve got to be mindful of how many additional toxins we’re letting into our bodies that we do have control over—since, sadly, there are many we can’t control (like the chemicals and pollutants in the air). That goes for the quality of our food, and also the quality of our household cleaners and beauty products. Swapping out windex for white vinegar and water, and basically any chemical disinfectant for grain alcohol and water or white vinegar and water, or an essential oil based spray, is a great start. For really tough to clean spaces, you can use a bit of baking soda and white vinegar and scrub away at whatever is sticking to your kitchen sink or bathtub walls—it bubbles up, so you don’t need too much baking soda and vinegar (and then you’ll want to rinse or wipe with water after to clean up any baking soda grains left over). And for beauty, switching over to organic or chemical free skin care, hair care and makeup products is the way to go.
We highly recommend the company, Shaffali, and they’re skincare line, which we’re now carrying in our office for purchase. The owner and founder of the company, Shaffali, makes sure all the products are organic, formulated with an Ayurvedic perspective in mind, and without any toxins, chemicals or fillers. She spent 20 years working in the spa industry, and has a mission to help people recognize and amplify their inner and outer beauty. We’re carrying the Face Mask, Face Mist, Facial Exfoliant, and the Body Scrub and Body Moisturizer.
We would love to see you for a consultation, and to help you switch over to more organic, balanced routine that works for your body.