Liver disease is a broad term which explains varieties of disease caused due to a malfunctioning liver. In simple terms liver disease is any condition which causes inflammation of the liver cells (hepatic cells) or damage to the liver tissue. Ultimately the functions of this master organ is decreased and hence indirectly various Gastro -Intestinal disturbances are resulted.
Liver is responsible for many functions related to different systems, such as fat metabolism, production of proteins for blood plasma, storing and releasing of glucose as and when needed, removing bacteria from the blood stream, providing immunity factors etc. Physical or functional damage to the liver can cause significant hindrance to the related body functions of different systems. Hepatic disease is a broad term that covers all the potential problems that cause the liver to fail to perform its designated functions.
In modern science liver disorders are categorized based upon cause and effect,
Cause for liver disease include –
infections, injury, exposure by toxic compounds, genetic defects etc.
Among the effects, inflammatory changes, fatty changes of liver, obstructions, clotting abnormalities and liver failure are pointed out in majority of the cases.
In Ayurveda, liver disorders are grouped together and termed as Yakrit vikara. Yakrit means liver and vikara refers to disorder or derangement, disfigure or diseased condition.
According to Sushruta, the organ liver is formed from the blood (rakta) during the embryonic stage. It is considered to be the main site of blood. Both the Acharyas Charaka and Sushruta referred 3000 years back itself, as the site of colour responsible –bile variety (ranjaka pitta) even before body dissection and circulatory study in modern medicine.
Causative factors for Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara):
Madyapana (Alcohol intake)
Vegadharana (Suppression of natural urges)
Ushna teekshna ahara (intake of spicy and penetrative food and beverages)
Guru abhishyandi bhojana (heavy and blocking agents)
Diwaswapna (day sleep)
Ratri jagarana (night awakening)
Kshata (injury) etc
In Ayurveda liver disorders are classified mainly under two headings-
Mlana yakrit (decreased functions or improper functions or shrinkage) and
Yakrit vriddhi (enlarged liver)
Depending upon the severity of the affliction the features are exhibited.
There are two main stages explained in
Features of Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara)
Mlana yakrit (Reduced liver functions) –
Shakrit apravritti (constipation)
Pittaalpata (reduced biliary functions)
Atitrushna (excess thirst)
Avila mutrata (turbidity of urine)
Kardanma deha prabha (loss of luster and complexion)
Adhmana(distention of abdomen)
Agnimandya (loss of digestive capacity)
Tiktodgara (bitter regurgitation)
Jihwa liptata (coated tongue)
Udgara bahulya (belching)
Features of Yakrit vikara (enlarged liver)-
Asthi shoola ( pain in bones and joints)
Dakshina skandha shoola ( pain in right shoulder)
Sakthi shoola (pain in the flanks/waist)
Dakshina bahu jadya (numbness in the right shoulder)
Mala vaivarnya (discoloration of the stool)
Tiktasyata (bitterness of the mouth)
Arati (loss of interest)
Lohita mootrata (yellow or red discoloration of the urine)
Bala hani (lethargy)
Peetakshata (yellow discoloration of the eyes)
Vama parshwa shayanashaktata (difficulty to lie down in left sided position)
Nidranasha (loss of sleep)
Bheda (splitting pain)
Daha (burning sensation)
Shotha (edema) etc
According to modern medicine typical features of Liver disorders are –
Jaundice, fatigue, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pain in the right upper abdominal quadrant, abdominal distention and intestinal bleeding in severe cases.
Now a days liver function tests make the diagnosis of liver disorders simple and more accurate. It becomes mandatory to understand the nature of the injury and to rule out in someone who is suspected liver disease due to unknown etiology or secondary to other systemic disorders.
Line of Treatment in liver diseases:
Precipitating factors should be avoided. Patients are advised to avoid exertion and heavy work. Fat restricted food and protein rich food are recommended.
In cases of Hypoglycemia, intermittent administration of glucose is suggested.
Mashodhaka (Laxatives) and
Pittavirechaka (Cholegogues) herbs are recommended.
Vamana and Virechana treatments are used mainly in the treatment of liver disorders. They help to expel out aggravated Kapha and Pitta Dosha.
Home remedies for hepatic disorders:
1. Ayurvedic remedy for liver diseases – click to read more
2. 1 – 2 grams of Long pepper powder is boiled in half a cup of milk, filtered and consumed once or twice a day before food
3. Juice of Bhumi Amalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) is consumed daily in the morning, empty stomach, in a dose of 5 – 15 ml
Liver being a master organ of the body when its structure or functions are altered, it produces serious effects. So care should be taken so as to prevent from any kind of liver diseases. Even after the treatment, patients should be well aware regarding the wholesome and unwholesome food and habits and recurrence should be prevented. As occurrence of viral hepatitis are also increasing day by day chances of liver affliction is more than ever before. Alcohol being the threatening enemy of liver should be absolutely avoided once after knowing the infiltration of liver cell damage.
Other classical medicines and home remedies for liver diseases:
- Loha Bhasma (ash of iron) – with honey and ghee
- Shunti churna (ginger powder) with Loha Bhasma
- Loha bhasma with Gomutra (urine of cow)
- Powders of Ela (cardamom), Jeeraka (cumin seeds), Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) and Sita (sugar) – taken in equal quantities and mixed with ghee should be taken early in the morning
- Haridra churnam (turmeric powder) with curds early in the morning
Wholesome diet and habits in Liver disorders (Yalrit vikara):
Red rice (Shasthika shali)
Sugar cane juice (Ikshurasa)
Alabu (Bottle gourd)
Sweet and bitter substances (Madhura tikta bhojana)
Light food (Laghu ahara)
Vishrama (Rest). Make sure to sleep for at least 8 hours /day.
Tendercocnut water (Narikela jala)
Drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
Unwholesome diet and habits in Liver disorders (Yalrit vikara):
Spicy and fried food (Teekshna-Ushna-Tailakta bhojana)
Lavana (Salt intake in excess)
Madyapana (Alcohol intake)
Ratri jagarana (Night awakening)
Avoid – high fat foods, deep fried food stuff, aerated drinks, alcohol.
Good foods for Liver:
Yava – Barley
Godhuma – Wheat
Jangala Mamsa Rasa – Flesh or meat soup of animals living in dry lands
Mudga – Green Gram
Aadhaki – Cajanus cajan (Pigeon pea)
Masura – Red lentils
Bad things for Liver:
Vahnim-aatapam – Exposure to fire, sun,
Ayasa – Excessive / strenuous exercises or activities
Pittalam – Food and activities which increase Pitta
Maithunam – Excessive indulgence in sex
Krodha – Anger and extremes of emotions
Adhwagamanam – Excessive walking
Herbs useful in Liver disorders:
Sharapunkha (Tephrosa purpurea)
Bhoomyamalaki (Phyllanthus neruri)
Katukarohini (Picrorhiza kurroa)
Kumari (Aloe vera)
Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba)
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Neeli (Indigofera tinctoria)
Pippali – Long pepper (Piper longum)
Draksha – raisins (Vitis vinifera)
Guduchi – Giloy (Tinospora cardifolia)
Punarnava (Boerrhavia diffusa)
Nimba – Neem
Patola – pointed gourd
Kiratatikta (Swertia chirata)
Bhoonimba (Andrographis paniculata)
Daruharidra (Berberis aristata)
Ayurvedic medicines for Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara) :
Arogyavardhini Vati – used in the treatment of liver diseases, fever, skin diseases, etc.
Kumaryasava – used in the treatment of gastritis, urinary tract disorders etc.
Rohitakarishtha – used in the treatment of liver and spleen related disorders, digestive problem like sprue, etc.
Pippalyasava – used in the treatment of anemia, piles, digestive complaints, sprue, liver complaints.
Guduchi satwa – used in Ayurvedic treatment of burning sensation of feet, bleeding diseases etc.
Punarnavasava – useful in gastritis, edema, fiver and liver diseases.
Bhoonimbadi khada – used in Ayurvedic treatment of fever, associated diarrhoea, cough, cold, asthma
Patola katurohinyadi kashaya – used in the treatment of anorexia, vomoting, skin diseases etc
Avipattikara choorna – used in the treatment of constipation. Avipattikar churna is a herbal powder mix.
Danti haritaki leham
Drakshadi leham etc