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Problems due to liver disorder

Liver disease is a term for a collection of conditions, diseases, and infections that affect the cells, tissues, structures, or functions of the liver this results in an increase in the bile pigments and bilurubin in the blood, giving the skin and mucus membrane a yellow tinge. It is called `Kamala' in Ayurveda.

The liver is an important organ located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. It is responsible for:

  • Filtering the blood
  • Making bile, a substance that helps digest fat and excrete certain fatty substances
  • Processing and hooking fats to carriers (including cholesterol), and storing sugars, helping the body transport and save energy.
  • Making important proteins, such as most of those involved in blood clotting
  • Metabolizing many medications, such as barbiturates, sedatives, and amphetamines
  • Storing iron, copper, vitamins A and D, and several of the B vitamins
  • Making important proteins like albumin that regulate fluid transport in the blood and kidneys.
  • Helping break down and recycle red blood cells.
Symptoms :

Symptoms partly depend on the type and the extent of liver disease. In many cases, there may be no symptoms. Signs and symptoms that are common to a number of different types of liver disease include:
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin & darkened urine
  • Nausea & fatigue
  • Loss of appetite & constipation
  • Unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • Vomiting & diarrhea
  • Light-colored stools & Abdominal pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • Malaise, or a vague feeling of illness
  • Possible itching all over the body
  • Varicose veins (enlarged blood vessels)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Low grade fever
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Extreme weakness & depression
  • Severe headaches
  • Yellow discoloration of the eyes, tongue, skin and urine
  • Dull ache in the liver region of stomach.

Root Causes

  • Excess intake of alcohol and junk food.
  • Excessive circulation of pitta (bile pigments) in the blood. Occurs when there is any obstruction in the bile duct or impairment of the functions of the liver or excessive destruction of the red blood cells.
  • Ailments as typhoid, malaria, yellow fever, tuberculosis affect the liver to some extent
  • Viral infections.

Type of liver disorder: 

Hepatitis :

The word hepatitis simply means an inflammation of the liver without pinpointing a specific cause. Someone with hepatitis may:

  • Have one of several disorders, including viral or bacterial infection of the liver
  • Have a liver injury caused by a toxin (poison)
  • Have liver damage caused by interruption of the organ's normal blood supply
  • Be experiencing an attack by his or her own immune system through an autoimmune disorder
  • Have experienced trauma to the abdomen in the area of the liver

Hepatitis is most commonly caused by one of three viruses:

The hepatitis A virus : In children, the most common form of hepatitis is hepatitis A (also called infectious hepatitis). This form is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which lives in the stools (feces or poop) of infected individuals.

The hepatitis B virus : Hepatitis B (also called serum hepatitis) is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms ranging from general malaise to chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.

The hepatitis C virus: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by direct contact with an infected person's blood. The symptoms of the hepatitis C virus can be very similar to those of the hepatitis A and B viruses. However, infection with HCV can lead to chronic liver disease.

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Cirrhosis :

Cirrhosis is a serious disease that changes the structure of the liver so that it cannot function properly. One of the biggest problems with cirrhosis is that less blood flows through the liver, and the toxins that are normally eliminated can now poison the body. About 20 percent of heavy drinkers eventually develop cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis is often a precursor of cirrhosis. This condition can also be caused by poor nutrition (especially too little protein), poisonous substances, or a previous viral or bacterial infection that inflamed and weakened the liver.

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Alcoholic liver disease :

When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach and intestines. All blood from the stomach and intestines first goes through the liver before circulating around the whole body. So, the highest concentration of alcohol is in the blood flowing through the liver. Liver cells contain enzymes (chemicals) which process (metabolise) alcohol. The enzymes break down alcohol into other chemicals which in turn are then broken down into water and carbon dioxide. These are then passed out in the urine and from the lungs. The liver cells can metabolise only a certain amount of alcohol per hour. So, if you drink alcohol faster than your liver can deal with it, the level of alcohol in your bloodstream rises.

Liver and body can usually cope with drinking a small amount of alcohol. Indeed, drinking a small amount of alcohol (1-2 units per day) may help to prevent heart disease and stroke. However, drinking over the recommended limits (detailed below) can be harmful.

If you drink heavily you have an increased risk of developing Serious liver problems (alcoholic liver disease). There are three main stages of ALD, although the progression through these stages is variable. Examining a sample of the liver under the microscope from a biopsy gives the most accurate measure of the degree of liver damage.

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Pancreatitis (severe inflammation of the pancreas) :

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum—the first part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive juices, or enzymes, into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with bile—a liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder—to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy.

Normally, digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas do not become active until they reach the small intestine. But when the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes inside it attack and damage the tissues that produce them.

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Either form is serious and can lead to complications. In severe cases, bleeding, infection, and permanent tissue damage may occur.

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Hemochromatosis :

Excess deposits of iron in the body, especially in regions like liver, and pancreas can lead to a medical problem termed as hemochromatosis.
This is a serious medical problem and needs proper detection and treatment because if left untreated, this problem can be life-threatening. Hemochromatosis is basically a metabolic disorder and occurs in people who have a tendency to absorb and store more than required iron in the body. Too much iron overload in the body can affect your heart, liver and pancreas and even lead to their failure.

People with this problem commonly complain of joint pain. Excessive iron deposition in the body can also lead to problems like arthritis, and liver problems like enlarged liver, liver failure and even cancer. People with this problem are also easily affected by arthritis. Other symptoms of hemochromatosis include fatigue and general body weakness; abdominal pain; loss of sex drive and others. Early onset of menopause, thyroid deficiency and some abnormal or unusual pigmentation of skin are also some of the symptoms of hemochromatosis.

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Autoimmune Disorder :

An autoimmune disorder is any reaction or attack of a person's immune system against its own organs and tissues. In the liver, the immune system can destroy liver cells and damage bile ducts. Chronic active hepatitis can be caused by an autoimmune disorder.

In autoimmune hepatitis, the body's own immune system destroys the cells of the liver. It may be classified as type 1 or type 2. Type 1 (classic) is the most common form. It may occur at any age, but usually affects young women more than men. Also, other autoimmune disorders can be associated with type 1 such as thyroiditis, Grave's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Type 2 autoimmune hepatitis generally affects girls between the ages of two and 14, but does occur in adults.

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Metabolic Liver Disorder :

Two main metabolic disorders affect the liver:

  • Hemochromatosis (Also called iron overload disease.) - characterized by the absorption of too much iron from food. Instead of secreting the excess iron, the iron is stored throughout the body, including the liver and pancreas. The excess iron can damage these organs. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that can lead to liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Wilson's disease - characterized by the retention of too much copper in the liver. Instead of releasing the copper into the bile, the liver retains the copper. Eventually, the damaged liver releases copper into the bloodstream. This hereditary disease can cause damage to the kidneys, brain, and eyes, and can lead to severe brain damage, liver failure, and death.

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Herbs that are useful in Liver Problem:

Bhumiamla (Phyllanthus niruri)

It is very much useful in chronic constipation. Charaka mentions the plant. In ayurveda the expressed juice of the fresh plant is given for a sluggish liver and also for chronic liver diseases. It is commonly and widely used for dysentery and intestinal colic.

It is safe lipotropic drug and its primary action is on the liver.

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Ghritkumari (Aloe vera) :

  • Used for liver & spleen disorder.

  • Promotes & regulates menstrual period.

  • Hair vitaliser.

Indian aloe is a form of cactus. After peeling the hard skin, the pulp to be cored from inside. Take a leaf from the pulp with black salt and ginger juice every morning for 10 days.

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Kakmachi (Solanum nigrum)

Solanum nigrum is most effective for liver disorders such as chronic enlargement of the liver and associated symptons, eg. haemoptesis (blood from the mouth, mucoid stools, and other skin manifestations). The juice of the plant can be taken for this.

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Diet :

  • Go for the boiled & spice less diet. With vegetables- radish leaves, tomato, lemon . And dry fruits- dried dates with almonds & Cardamoms

  • Have plenty of sugarcane juice, orange juice, bitter Luffa and barley water. This enhances urination which helps eliminate excess bile pigments in the blood.

Yoga :

Ayurvedic Supplements for Liver Disorder:

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