The main physiological functions of the liver
  • Ensure the smooth flow of bodily Qi
  • Stores the Blood
  • Department for the Hun (Ethereal Soul)
  • Controls the tendons
  • Manifests in the Nails
  • Opens into the Eyes

The liver is located in the upper abdomen, under the diaphragm, within the right rib. Wood is the element for liver and it is directly connected to the gallbladder. The emotional state is can affected by the liver's abilities for flowing and spreading the Qi. When Qi flows normally, emotions are exact and easy-going. However, when the spreading of Qi stagnated or the circulation of Qi is restricted, there will be frustration, depression , anger, and other physical symptoms.

The liver is able to regulate blood according to physical activity. When at rest, blood returns to liver (liver contributes to restoring energy). When body is active, blood nourishes muscles to enable them to perform.

Blood regulation function influences energy level: if this function impaired, lack of Blood (= nourishment) where needed, hence easily tired.

If liver blood is deficient, there can be muscle cramps, tics and twitches or tremors/shaking in muscles. (Liver Wind from Blood Deficiency)

The liver has the function of catharsis and blood collection. Because of its catharsis and blood collection function is particularly important for women's reproductive function.

If blood collection function is abnormal, e.g. liver blood is deficient, menstrual problems such as amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea.
If liver is Hot or Excess, menorrhagia or metrorrhagia can occur.
If liver Qi stagnant, liver blood can stagnate (dysmenorrhea, PMS, dark clots).

Blood & liver function simultaneously affect each other. When blood is Deficient or Hot, liver function can be affected. Blood quality can be affected by abnormal liver functions. For example: If liver is Hot, blood can become Hot which cause skin eruptions, eczema, etc

Liver blood moisten and nourish the tendons so they can contract and relax as needed. Deficient in liver blood will leads to lack of nourishment in the tendons, which leads to contractions, spasms, impaired extension/flexion, numbness of limbs, cramps, tremors, muscle weakness, etc.

The finger and toe nails are the outgrowth of the tendons and are influenced by liver blood. The nails can become dark, indented, dry, cracked, brittle when liver blood is deficient.

Liver blood nourishes and moistens eyes and gives capacity to see. When liver blood is in deficient, blurred vision, myopia, "floaters" color blindness, dry "sandy" eyes. If heat in liver, eyes bloodshot, sore and burning.

Hun is related to ability to be plan, resolute to and have creative drive and assertiveness. When the Liver is out of balance in excess for instance, this becomes anger.

The liver is also an important metabolic and detoxification organ in the human body. From the point of view of Chinese medicine, the physiological function of the liver has a close relationship with the circulatory system, digestive system, endocrine system, and eye function.

Food that is healthy for the liver

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that food that is green in color is beneficial for the liver. Green food can reach liver qi, ease mood and fatigue, detoxification and protect the vision.
Liver is the body's vital metabolic detoxification organ which is vulnerable to damage from outside viruses and bacteria or the bodily toxic substances which can cause liver diseases. Therefore, the key to a healthy liver is to increase liver nutrition and improve liver blood supply. A variety of fresh green fruits and vegetables, high moisture content, and rich in nutrients such as chlorophyll, sulfonic acid, resveratrol, organic acids, glucose, a variety of trace elements, vitamins and dietary fiber. These nutrients can improve immunity, accelerate the release of toxins and excess waste in order to reduce the burden of the liver and improve detoxification.

1. Moisture and dietary fiber

Green fruits and vegetables are rich in water, enzymes, alkaloids, dietary fiber (including water-soluble and non-water-soluble fiber) and glucose.

According to the theory of the five elements, water grow wood, there is a lot of
moisture in green fruits and vegetable. Therefore, it can play the role of moisturizing wood, but also to promote the role of smooth gastrointestinal tract, thereby consuming cholesterol in the body to help the liver metabolic cycle.

As for some of the components found in dietary fiber, such as pectin can be combined with cholesterol, lignin can be combined with cholic acid, so that it is directly discharged with the feces, thereby consuming cholesterol in the body, reducing liver load.
Representative food: green leafy vegetables, green fruits, pods, aloe, fresh kelp

2. Glucose

One of the major sources of nutrition for liver is glucose. The liver is the main detoxifying organ. Ranging from metabolic waste to toxic substances, they have to go through its treatment, and this process is completed mainly through the use of glucose.

After glucose is being absorbed, this will increase the liver glycogen, which will lead to higher liver detoxification capacity.
When intrahepatic glycogen content becomes higher, detoxification function is improved and at the same time, it will also improve the protection and repair of liver cells.

Clinically, in acute hepatitis (non-diabetic patients), transaminase index is high, and a large number of cells were damaged, patients were often given with intravenous glucose, accompanied by some liver medicine.

Representative food: green vegetables, green fruits (green grapes better), pods

3. Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is an organic acid rich in iron, which has a large number of vitamin C and inorganic salts, which can help maintain alkalinity in body fluids. Chlorophyll also have an important role in enzyme production.

A study found that chlorophyll can clean up the excess fat in the liver; inhibit the entry of toxic substances into the liver damage to liver cells, but also to promote damage to the liver tissue repair and regeneration.
Cholorphyll also have an auxiliary effect on acute, chronic, persistent hepatitis combined with hepatomegaly, and early liver cirrhosis. The molecular structure of chlorophyll and the molecular structure of the hemoglobin is very similar, the only difference is the core of the respective magnesium atoms and iron atoms. Through the absorption of a large number of chlorophyll, the patients with low blood count saw their blood count increased.

Representative food: green leafy vegetables, blue-green algae(Spirulina).

4. Vitamin and trace elements

Green food contains a variety of beneficial vitamin groups and trace elements that contribute to the repair and regeneration of liver cells to enhance liver function:

Vitamin B1 is in the form of coenzyme in the human body, it involves in carbohydrate catabolism, accelerate the consumption of glycogen.
Representative food: avocado, kiwi, asparagus and spinach.

Vitamin B2 is a protective factor for liver degradation chemicals, it can inhibit certain chemical-induced hepatocellular carcinoma.
Representative food: green leafy vegetables and beans, avocado, kiwi, green eggplant, green grapes.

Folic acid, the vitamin B9, was originally named after extraction and purification from spinach leaves. It is proven to be an indispensable adjuvant enzyme in the process of fat and amino acid metabolism, and its other major function is to assist in the prevention and treatment of erythrocyte variants, to ensure liver function is normally.
Representative food: green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli and so on.

Vitamin C can increase the ability of liver cells to promote its recovery, regeneration and synthesis of glycogen; involved in the transformation of cholesterol in liver cells, and a combination of bacterial endotoxin, to reduce the role of liver damage.
Representative food: kiwi, green peppers, broccoli.

Vitamin E protects the cell membrane from peroxide damage.
Representative food: avocado, kiwi, spinach.

Vitamin K is an indispensable substance in the liver to synthesize four kinds of thromboplastin (prothrombin, transforming accelerator, anti-hemophilia factor and Stuart factor).
Representative food: green leafy vegetables, peas, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, green grapes.