How’s Your Liver Doing? Holiday Recovery Tips


After the festivities and often the overindulgence, of the Holidays it is quite common for many people  to find themselves suffering the effects badly. Quite apart from the immediate discomforts of hangovers, other symptoms such as migraines, joint pain, bloating, and fatigue can appear and persist for some time after the bout of too much rich food, too much junk food, too much alcohol, too little sleep and too much stress. Often the body finds it very difficult to detox after the onslaught of December. After the indulgences of the Holiday their liver will be pleading with them for a little TLC.

Rather than taking something for each individual symptom you experience an efficient way to deal with all the different problems is to target your treatment towards the struggling liver.

Good health requires good digestion. The Holiday period wreaks havoc on the body and you need to quickly take steps to reverse this and get back on track.

The state of your gut partly determines your vitality and overall health. It is directly tied in to your immune system and affects your mood and thinking ability.

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, and it has many functions. A part of the digestive system, it is the detoxification centre of the body. Everything that we ingest must be processed by the liver before it can be passed out and used in the body. This includes not just the food we eat, but also any drugs, alcohol, and chemicals we come in contact with. The liver also helps in cleaning metabolic waste out of the body. It produces bile to digest fats and removes toxic bilrubin from the blood. It plays a role in the immune system, blood clotting, amino acids regulation, acts as a storehouse for iron and glucose, produces plasma proteins as well as toxin removal.

Without a liver we cannot survive, although we can manage with just a part of a liver. It certainly is aptly named as the “live-r”.

Taking some time to attend to the needs of your liver over the Holiday period will help you enter the New Year ready to fly through 2014. There are various ways to deal with the after effects of too much rich food, too much alcohol, too little sleep and too much stress and anxiety  naturally and they can easily be incorporated into your routine.

Many suffer the ill-effects of overindulgence during the Holiday Season - hangovers, digestive upseta, fatigue, aching joints, are just some of the problems that can arise.
Many suffer the ill-effects of overindulgence during the Holiday Season – hangovers, digestive upseta, fatigue and aching joints are just some of the problems that can arise.



On New Years day I regularly attend a family birthday party and I always carry some of the Homeopathic remedy Nux-vomica with me, not for myself, but for anyone at the party suffering a New Year hangover. Nux-vomica is toxic in its crude state, but not as a Homeopathic preparation, where it is a wonderful remedy for the illness caused by overindulgence in too much rich food, too much alcohol or too much coffee. Take it according to the principles of Homeopathic prescribing for a quick recovery.

nux vom

There are a number of other Homeopathic remedies that are excellent for both supporting and cleansing the liver, giving speedy and sustained relief, protection and support. But they need to be prescribed individually according to the symptoms that are individually expressed by each person. If you find you are susceptible to liver stress it would be very worth your while to seek out a fully trained Homeopath (not a Naturopath for this one) who will find the remedy that is the best for you and your problem. Look here to find a fully qualified and Registered Homeopath in Australia.

Dandelion root provides the liver with a wonderful gentle cleanse as it is a natural detox flush. It is also great for any gallbladder problems as it increases bile production. It is often used as an appetite stimulant. It improves food metabolism by the liver and helps to remove toxins quickly and efficiently from the body.

Two studies cited in the Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism show dandelion has liver regenerative properties in cases of jaundice, liver swelling, hepatitis and indigestion. Often found in herbal tincture mixes, it can be simply and easily taken in the form of capsules (500 to 2000mg daily) or as a ‘tea’ or ‘coffee’ drunk three times a day. Dandelion root even makes a decent latte!

including grasses and flower pollen

Milk thistle (Silybum) seeds are a powerful liver cleanser. They stimulates the secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder. Milk thistle has traditionally been taken to help protect the liver and is used to relieve the symptoms of over-indulgence of food and drink by fighting oxidation and free radicals. It is also useful for rebuilding the liver after it has been damaged by stimulating liver cell regeneration. Take it in tablet form before and after you head out for a night partying. Look for an extract containing about 140mg of silymarin. You can take it daily right through the Holiday period and for a while after as an excellent gentle support for your liver.

You will also find silymarin, the active ingredient of milk thistle, in artichoke leaf extract which is another great liver cleanser.

Burdock root cleanses the liver and aids detoxification. Studies have shown that the powerful antioxidants in burdock help the liver to heal and protect it from further damage.

Turmeric is a fabulous herb for reducing inflammation that is becoming easier and easier to source in the West. The antioxidants in turmeric are known to be of great benefit in easing joint pain but also improve the health of the liver. Adding the spice to your cooking is the easiest way to take it. You won’t get enough this way to make a difference to pain symptoms you are already experiencing, but it can act as a support to your body. Instead take one of the many quality turmeric formulations now available in tablet or liquid form as well as eating it.

Green tea supports liver function as it is high in catechins. Pomegranate, seeds or juice, contains the liver detox compound ellagic acid to help liver detoxification.



Protect your liver from further overload stress. Eat organic, even if only for a short time as it keeps pesticides and chemicals out of your system. Avoid foods that have been stored in plastic as the toxins in the plastics can leach into your food. Avoid GMO foods. Steer clear of non-green personal care products and cleaning products – the toxins are absorbed through your skin.

Photo courtesy: Shawn Campbell
Photo courtesy: Shawn Campbell

It is really important to get straight back into healthy eating practices right after overindulging. Get rid of the sugars, cut back on grains and try to eat lighter meals, which should not be difficult with the warm weather finally here. Your digestion works best in the morning so eat more of your daily intake earlier in the day and keep your evening meal small.

Certain foods can benefit your liver. Onion and garlic activate the liver enzymes that flush out toxins. Beets and carrots, full of beta-carotene, promote increased liver function and make great additions to freshly squeezed juices.

Apples, avocados, walnuts and lemon juice all help flush toxins, although in different ways.

Water – water – water – and more water. Drink filtered, fluoride-free water to flush out the toxins from the liver. A glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon or lime squeezed into it first thing in the morning, kickstarts your liver and the digestion process.

Lemons and limes are one of natures great gifts and including them in your morning routine has huge health benefits
Lemons and limes are one of natures great gifts and including them in your morning routine has huge health benefits

While you are actually experiencing digestive symptoms as a result of overindulgence there are a few things you can take to help. Activated charcoal absorbs toxins, helping to protect the liver. Aloe vera is a digestive tonic which also relieves pain. Both are easy to find in your health food store. Chewing fennel seeds after eating will help your digestion, or you could take a fennel seed tea after eating.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping as it is often called, is an effective method that combines ancient Chinese acupressure techniques with modern psychology. Incredibly simple at its basic level it can be done by anyone, anywhere in a couple of minutes. Simply tapping with two fingers on the ribs on the right side of the body over the liver will stimulate liver processes. Watch this thirty second video for a demonstration. (Note that it is posted backwards and shows her tapping the wrong side! It must be the RIGHT side)

A variation on EFT that I prefer is EEM which uses a range of simple short energy exercises and techniques to get results. Massaging your hands and feet daily stimulates a number of acupressure points that help keep your liver strong and healthy. According to EEM practitioner Rose Mattax the most effective point is in the “V” where the big toe meets the second toe on the top of the foot at the base of the metatarsal bridge. Massage this source point of Liver chi several times a day.

There seems to be some truth to the big ‘fry-up’ as a morning after cure, although a freshly squeezed fruit juice alone would probably be better. The symptoms of the hangover you experience are partly due to your blood sugar levels. By substituting fruit juice which contains fructose for coffee, you speed up your body’s metabolism of the alcohol. Eating high protein foods like eggs helps the body produce serotonin and endorphins, the chemicals which help you feel good.



Even when you feel terrible or lethargic after heavily overdoing it, movement is essential. The twisting postures of yoga are particularly good and a great way to help digestion.

This is how I picture myself meditating...but it is far more likely I will be sitting in my car catching a few brief moments to centre my breathing before plunging back into the chaos of life Lastly sweating helps get the waste products out of your body once they have been processed by the liver. Exercise or saunas every day promotes the excretion of toxins through the skin and optimizes your detoxification systems. And don’t forget to balance out the fluid loss by drinking lots of water.

What are your secrets to overcome the overindulgences of the Holidays naturally?


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 


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