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 Anthroposophical Medicine: The Importance of the Liver for Healing  
Karl Maret MD ©

Many people who wake up in the middle of the night actually have an underlying weak liver and would do well to undertake a liver cleansing program. In Western medicine, we are taught that early morning awakening is often a sign of depression. The Greeks knew about this already 2000 years ago when they called depression by the name "melancholia", which literally translated means "black bile" (melanos = black, choler = bile). If the liver becomes sluggish and metabolically underactive, then the bile flow produced by the liver becomes stagnant (symbolically turns "black"). Depression is often a symptom of bad liver function.

Other symptoms of liver imbalance include anxiety and anger, especially suppressed anger. These symptoms are so commonplace today in the general population that one wonders if we are not seeing an epidemic of liver stress, and metabolic imbalance brought on by the onslaught of the stresses of modern life, and the deadening effects of our technological civilization. Yet we must never forget that the "LIVER" takes its name from life, and not from the death processes in the body, otherwise, it would have been named "Deather"!

The liver is the central organ of detoxification in the body. If it becomes sluggish then the toxins in the body will begin to congest the lymphatics and a greater strain will eventually be imposed on the four major organs of elimination: the colon which removes our solid wastes (Earth element), the kidneys which remove our liquid wastes (Water element), the lungs which remove our gaseous wastes (Air element) and our skin which also excretes our wastes when we heat up and sweat (Fire element).

The body follows a system of priorities when it eliminates wastes and poisons. All books of natural healing stress that health begins in the digestive system and colon. For example, if a person eats a detrimental diet, the stomach fails to digest it properly. Most people call this stage "indigestion". This, then, becomes a problem for the colon as fermentation and putrifaction occur. This is called flatulence or "colic". The poisonous wastes in the colon then affect the liver as they pass into the portal blood circulation from the colon. The liver must then take time from its other important functions to detoxify these gases and toxic metabolites and then pass these along to the kidneys (also lungs and skin) for elimination. All this because the pecan pie with ice-cream went down on top of a piece of steak or fish!

It sounds like just a small thing, but here lies the major root of all chronic diseases. Remember it was the father of medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates, who said 2000 years ago: Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food!

The thousands of enzyme systems that are responsible for virtually every body activity are constructed in the liver. The proper functioning of the eyes, the heart, the brain, the gonads, the joints, and the kidneys, are all dependent on good liver activity. If the liver is impaired from constructing even one of the thousands of enzyme systems the body requires, there is an impairment in overall body function and a resultant greater metabolic stress on the individual.

By supporting the stomach and small intestines (digestion, enzymes), the colon (elimination) and the liver (body's chief metabolic organ) we can break the cycle of toxic stress that often afflicts our body, and help to build a new foundation for optimum health. By giving a liver stimulating herbal or homeopathic formula in the morning and a liver rebuilding formula at night, we properly assist the body's natural healing rhythms. As health (and not disease-care) practitioners, if we neglect to improve the liver functions of our patients, we often fail to achieve the goal of their optimum health and well-being.

(Excerpted from Lilipoh: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Through Health)
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