Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smile from the Liver!

One of my favorite parts of "Eat Pray Love" was when Ketut Liyer, the Balinese medicine man, tells Elizabeth Gilbert, "Smile from the liver, Liss. You will have pretty power!" He was teaching her a simple smiling meditation, which is really very simple. It is just this: sit and smile. But smile from the liver.

I tried this technique, actually. Once you actually locate your liver, it becomes easier to do, and to imagine a big fat smile emanating from it. We also happen to be studying the liver this month in my Master Herbalist diploma class, and let me tell you, if your liver isn't working properly, you are f***ed. It's probably got the hardest job in your body after the heart. It is the main organ of detoxification, and everything you ingest...EVERYTHING...eventually makes its way to the liver to be cleaned. So for a lot of prescription medications to work, they have to come into your bloodstream in such large amounts that they are able to bypass the liver's natural cleansing mechanisms. Scary, huh?

Well, with all the toxins out there in today's complicated society, the liver works extra hard in all of us. Liver congestion means that the liver can't do its job properly, which means that you can have excess fat in the liver, essentially rendering it ineffective at performing its myriad functions. According to my coursework, signs of liver congestion can include headaches, indigestion, tiredness, apathy, a poor appetite, easy weight gain, and general muscle weakness and pain.

So what to do? A good liver cleanse to flush out that old liver never hurt anybody. And an easy way to do it is to take the juice of half a lemon and combine it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drink it down first thing in the morning before breakfast...and DON'T have breakfast until more than an hour later. Do this for 3 days in a row, then take a break for 4 days, and start again for 3 days, and so on and so forth. Or if you don't like the slimy sensation of oil oozing down your throat, you can also imbibe lots of dandelion tea or coffee (it's called dandelion "coffee" when the "tea" is made with roasted dandelion roots, instead of just regular dandelion roots).

Your liver will say, "Thank you!" Oh yes, and it will also be smiling.

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