Bile Flow: Top 15 Herbs to Support Your Liver
Your liver and your gallbladder are two important organs that are involved with the formation of bile. Bile is a digestive secretion that helps emulsify fat and as a result aids the digestion and detoxification processes. Healthy bile flow is absolutely essential for your overall health. But how to achieve good bile flow? You can use a variety of herbs to support your liver and gallbladder for bile flow.
In this article, I will discuss why good bile flow is so important. You will learn about 15 powerful herbs and foods that support your liver and gallbladder. I will share my favorite supplements for liver and gallbladder health. I will explain how to practice the Biliary Sludge Protocol to support your liver and gallbladder and ensure a good bile flow.
Importance of Good Bile Flow
Before we talk about good bile flow, let’s discuss what bile is. Bile is green-ish brown liquid or digestive juice that emulsifies fats for your small intestine to absorb. It is made up of cholesterol, salts, and bilirubin. It is important that the bile helps the digestion of fat to allow different processes in your body. Bile also contains waste products to be released through bowel movements. When something interferes with good bile flow, a variety of problems may occur.
Poor bile flow may lead to a variety of digestive issues, including poor nutrient absorption, overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, gut inflammation, and leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome happens when due to damage of your gut lining, undigested food particles and toxins are able to cross into your bloodstream through holes on your intestinal barrier.
Leaky gut syndrome may result in digestive problems and autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, Hashimoto’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (1). To understand better the importance of good bile flow, let’s take a look at the 4 major functions of the bile.
Fatty Acid Metabolism
In their unaltered form, fat has little use in your body. Fats must be emulsified and broken down to be absorbed and used for energy. Poor fat emulsification can lead to digestive issues, such as chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This why bile is incredibly important to emulsify them, so emulsified fats can transport fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K around your body to protect your immune system and overall health.
Kill Off Bad Microbes
The bacterial makeup of your microbiome is incredibly important for your overall health. Too much bad bacteria and gut flora imbalance may increase your risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, cancer, mental health issues, and other health problems.
Bile helps to regulate and balance your microbiome by killing off dangerous pathogens, such as bad bacteria (3, 4, 5).
Excretion of Waste Products
Along with urine, sweat, and breath, one of the main ways your body gets rid of waste and toxins is through bowel movements. While water-soluble toxins mainly get released through urine, fat-soluble toxins leave your body through your bowels.
If your body cannot release waste regularly through the bowels, it can lead to bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, weight gain, digestive troubles, and consequent health problems.
Blood Sugar Metabolism
Keeping your blood sugar stable at a healthy level is absolutely essential for maintaining your energy levels, brain performance, and emotional stability. Poor metabolism of fats may lead to blood sugar problems and consequent health issues. Bile helps to stimulate receptors FXR and TGRS that help fat and carbohydrate metabolism and your body’s inflammatory response (6, 7, 8, 9).
Now that you understand why bile is so important for your health, let’s learn about some ways to support healthy bile flow. To learn more about the importance of bile and your liver and gallbladder health, I recommend this article.
Symptoms of Poor Bile Flow
As you can see, proper bile flow regulates many important processes in the body. If it is obstructed for any reason, a number of complications can manifest including:
- Weight Gain
- Low Energy
- Emotional Instability
- Digestive Complications
- Headaches and Migraines
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions (acne, eczema, rashes)
- Chemical Sensitivities (due to toxic build up)
- …and more
The remainder of this article will focus on foods and supplements you can use to improve liver and gallbladder function so that you can improve bile flow and prevent these unwanted side effects.
Top 15 Herbs to Support Your Liver and Gallbladder
One of the best ways to support your liver and gallbladder is by using herbs. Let’s dive in and learn about my favorite herbs for liver and gallbladder health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the most popular types of vinegar that is actively used by the natural living and holistic health community. It has been used by the ancient Babylonians (5,000 B.C.) who created vinegar or “sour wine” stemming from the French origin “vin airgre”. It is fantastic for your health both internally and externally and can be used for cleaning and other household needs.
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral benefits. It is commonly used for gallbladder pain. It may be beneficial for your digestion, liver, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels (10).
ACV provides a tangy-sweet flavor when mixed and combined into various dishes. It is especially good in home-made hummus, guacamole, and quinoa dishes. I also recommend that you add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of clean water and drink it for liver and gallbladder support. To learn about different ways to use apple cider vinegar, I recommend this article.
Globe artichokes are commonly categorized as a vegetable. However, they are actually a flower bud. They have been used around Europe for indigestion throughout the centuries.
Artichokes are low in calories, yet high in fiber and nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C. They can help increase bile production and support your liver and gallbladder function (11).
Artichokes are delicious finger food. Just pull the leaf off of each flower bud to find the healthy soft green fresh green inside. They can be enjoyed roasted or steamed, as a side dish or a dip. I recommend that you try my Cleansing Cashew Artichoke Dip my family and I love.
Lemon and limes are two of my favorite fruits. They have a low-glycemic index. They can help to balance your pH levels, are full of vitamin C, and have incredible health benefits.
One of these health benefits is supporting your liver and gallbladder. Lemon juice can support the production of bile and stomach acid. The acidity of lemon or lime juice creates cholagogue, which helps bile discharge and helps bile to digest fats, eliminate cholesterol, and remove toxins. Lemon and lime juice are incredibly detoxifying, no wonder its part of more detox and gallbladder, liver, or kidney cleansing protocol.
You can use lemon or lime in a variety of ways. I recommend starting your day with a big glass of warm lemon water to promote hydration, kickstart your metabolism, and support your digestion, liver, and gallbladder. Add lemon or lime juice to your green juices and smoothies, herbal tea, soups, and dishes. I highly recommend my Lemon Detox Soup. To learn more about how to use lemon to improve your energy levels and health, read this article.
Parsley is a delicious green herb that you probably know as a garnish on your plate. Parsley, however, is much more than a garnish. It is full of antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins.
Parsley has incredible liver detox properties. It helps to stimulate the release of bile and the removal of heavy metals and other toxins from your body. Parsley may lower inflammatory liver enzymes. It may also help to decrease your blood sugar levels that may lead to liver inflammation when too high (12).
You can use parsley as a garnish. You may add it to your salads or green juices. You may also try a soothing parsley tea. Boil one cup of water in a small put then add ¼ cup of chopped, fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons of dried parsley, and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. To learn more about the health benefits of parsley, I recommend this article
Cucumber is one of the most hydrating vegetables out there. They are full of phytonutrients and electrolytes. They have a cooling effect on your organs and detoxifying effect on your body. They support your digestion and liver and are an essential part of a liver, gallbladder, or kidney detox diet. To learn more about the benefits of cucumbers, read this article.
Cucumber is a perfect vegetable to snack on. You may dip it into hummus or guacamole. Add it to your green juices and salads. Try my Cleansing Cucumber Soup for liver and gallbladder benefits.
Celery is another hydrating and fiber-rich vegetable. It is rich in antioxidants and micronutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, folate, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Celery may help to decrease inflammation in your body and help with a number of health issues, including energy levels, acid reflux, ulcers, and digestions. It may help detoxification and cleansing. Celery may help to improve your liver enzyme functions and better your overall liver health (13, 14).
Add celery to your salads and green juices. Snack on celery sticks and dip them into guacamole, salsa, or hummus. Try celery juice for its wonderful benefits. To learn more about the benefits of celery and celery juice, and how to make celery juice, I recommend this article.
Mint is a powerful superfood herb that is used all around the world for its health benefits and delicious taste. It helps to stimulate your digestive system and may help to relieve stomach and intestinal problems. It acts as a natural relaxer that helps to smooth the muscle of your gut wall. It may benefit your liver and gallbladder health.
You may use mint a number of ways. You may add mint to your salads, dips, and dishes. You may try some mint tea or this Lemon Mint Berry Flavored Water. You may learn more about the benefits of mint and peppermint from this article.
Cilantro, also known as coriander, has been used to flavor meals for thousands of years in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia. It is a classic carminative bitter herb that supports the production of digestive juices and blood sugar stabilization.
Cilantro is also wonderful for cleansing the body and getting rid of toxins. It is rich in polyphenols and other nutrients. It may help to protect your liver from toxins and prevent liver damage (15).
You may add cilantro to your salads, salsa, or guacamole. If you are adventurous, you may even add it to your green juices. I also recommend that you try my SuperCharged Cilantro Sauce.
Radishes are a wonderful vegetable that you can find all-year-around. They are full of antioxidants and fiber. They help to cleanse your liver, promote liver health, and stimulate bile synthesis. It helps bile to carry toxins into your gallbladder to be eventually released from your body.
Radishes can become a wonderful part of any salad or may serve as a flavorful, crunchy snack. You may try my wonderful wife, Angel’s Colorful Chicken Vegetable Salad with radishes and other nutrient-dense goodness.
Milk thistle plant, also known as Silybum marianum is a prickly plant with white veins and purple flowers. Traditional tales tell us that this plant causes Virgin Mary’s milk to fall on its leaves. Milk thistle has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries.
The active ingredients of milk thistle are called silymarin and provide a number of health benefits to us. It is an incredible antioxidant with benefits for your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. Milk thistle guards the liver’s numerous hepatic cell membranes and slows the rate at which toxins can be absorbed into the liver. Research has shown that it may benefit people with cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis C and B (11, 16, 17).
Milk thistle is most commonly used as a supplement. I recommend Kidney & Liver Support, a supplement made with milk thistle and other beneficial herbs and nutrients to support your liver. Take one capsule three times a day or as advised by your healthcare provider.
Dandelion is a well-known ‘weed’ that you probably have in your background in the spring or summer months. They are free food that grows practically everywhere.
Dandelion greens may help to improve gastric motility allowing food to pass through your stomach easier. They are a fantastic diuretic and may sooth your digestion. They have anti-inflammatory benefits. They may also prevent liver enzyme levels from going too high and improve liver function as a result (18).
You can eat dandelion greens raw or cook. They make a delicious addition to any green salad blend. You may want to gently massage it with some apple cider vinegar for further liver-supporting benefits. You may also use their roots, flowers, and stems as well. You may try a dandelion tea and Coconut Dandelion Coffee.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs that has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years for its health benefits. One of the earliest documented uses and benefits of turmeric dates all the way back to 250 BC in Susruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium to relieve the negative effects of poisoned foods.
Turmeric has gained popularity over the past 30 years in the United States and other Western countries as a supplement and delicious spice. The US National Center of Biotechnology alone has over 6,000 studies on the benefits of turmeric and its active compound, curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric has an incredible ability to lower inflammation and fight bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. It is great for digestive issues and may support your liver and gallbladder function (11, 18, 19, 20).
Turmeric is a popular staple in Indian cuisine and curry dishes. You may use it in your Asian-inspired dishes. You may use it as a spice or as a fresh root. Add it to your salads, smoothies, soups, and dips. For further liver and gallbladder support and anti-inflammatory benefits., I also recommend taking turmeric supplements daily. To learn about different ways to add turmeric into your diet, I recommend this article. Don’t forget to try my Turmeric Fat Burning Coffee.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. It is a close cousin of turmeric as they both belong to the rhizome family. Ginger has been used in India and China for its medicinal properties and as a spice for 5,000 years. It has become a popular spice in Europe during the Roman Empire trade and eventually made its way to the Americas.
Ginger’s active chemical compound, gingerol has powerful benefits. It may reduce inflammation in your body. It is particularly beneficial for colon inflammation and digestive problems. It can also support your liver and gallbladder (22, 23, 24).
Ginger is commonly used in juices, teas, and dishes, for example, my Thai Ginger Coconut Soup with Cauliflower Rice. I recommend adding a knob of ginger to your green juices or smoothies and enjoying a cup of ginger tea to soothe your stomach. For extra benefits, you may use it as a supplement as well. To learn more about the benefits of ginger, read this article.
Sauerkrauts mean sour white cabbage in German. They are common in Germany and around Eastern-Europe but recently became popular in the US for their gut-health benefits. They help to balance your gut flora and soothe your digestion. They support your liver and gallbladder and help to prevent leaky gut syndrome.
You can enjoy sauerkraut along with any of your salads or warm dishes. You may find sauerkraut at farmer’s markets or health food stores or make your own. I highly recommend the Homemade fermented veggies recipe if you are interested in making your own.
Green tea is a potent antioxidant-rich drink with powerful benefits. Green tea is rich in catechin, a polyphenol found in green tea that may help to prevent liver inflammation. It can protect your body from toxic substances and improve liver function (11).
You can enjoy green tea as a morning energizer or to warm you up on a cold day. You may add it to your green smoothies or shakes instead of water. Since green tea includes caffeine, to avoid overstimulation, I recommend that you drink green tea earlier in the day instead of in the evening. If you have trouble sleeping, choose one of the other amazing liver- and gallbladder-supporting herbs. If you tolerate green tea well, you may also benefit from green tea extract. To learn about the benefits of green tea, I recommend this article.
Bonus Supplements to Support Your Liver and Gallbladder
If you want to further support your liver and gallbladder for healthy bile flow, there are a few supplements that you may benefit from along with these 15 herbs. These are the top 3 supplements I recommend to my patients all the time.
TUDCA Complete is a bioactive carbon product that is designed to promote healthy bile production and assist in drainage and provide immune support throughout the kidney and liver. This blend of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), bioactive carbons in fulvic acid, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and six botanicals — including beetroot, marshmallow root, gynostemma, milk thistle, stoneroot and parsley — is designed to support the kidneys and liver bile duct system as the body performs its natural detoxification processes.
Besides detoxification and immune support, these herbs and compounds play a key role in improving kidney and liver function. I recommend this product to help improve kidney and liver function and support the immune system and drainage pathways in your body. For the best results, take two capsules, two times a day.
Bile Flow Support or TUDCA
Bile Flow Support™ is a liver support formula that provides your body with nutrients involved in bile flow and fat metabolism, including the bile salts choline, taurine, and methionine. The bitter herbs dandelion and celandine are added to allow optimal bile flow and healthy liver function.
With the addition of guggul extract and inositol hexanicotinate, it supports healthy blood lipid levels already within the normal range. This product increases the flow of bile so toxins aren’t remaining stagnant in the liver where they can cause damage. Take two capsules twice daily after meals for optimal benefits.
I recommend Activated Coconut Charcoal to support your liver and gallbladder. Activated charcoal is one of the world’s oldest detoxifying remedies with a history going back over 3000 years and has been used in Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and western medicine. It is a fantastic absorbent agent that binds and eliminates toxic bile and toxic substances.
Use it when consuming food of unknown quality, eating out at restaurants, or drinking alcohol, or feeling moody or suddenly tired. I recommend taking charcoal away from other supplements or medications (at least an hour or two) so that it doesn’t interfere with the absorption of the active ingredients in the supplement or medication.
Biliary Sludge Protocol
If you have been diagnosed with biliary sludge or simply want to optimize your bile flow and support your liver and gallbladder, the Biliary Sludge Protocol may be beneficial for your goals. This protocol is created to stimulate bile flow while binding up and eliminating toxins without side effects.
While following this protocol, it is particularly critical that you hydrate well drinking a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. Continue to follow a nutrient-dense diet with liver-, gallbladder-, and bile flow-supporting herbs you’ve just learned about in this article.
Follow this Biliary Sludge Protocol for 30 days:
Activated Coconut Charcoal: Take 2–4 capsules (around 500–1000 mg) about one hour before meals to help bind to the toxic biliary sludge. Do 2 capsules (around 500 mg) if you are under 125 lbs. or have lots of trouble with constipation.
TUDCA Complete: Take 2 caps in the AM upon rising and 2 caps at night before bed to thin the bile and open up the bile ducts in the liver and gallbladder.
Bile Flow Support: Take 2 capsules twice a day with meals to help improve bile flow from liver and gallbladder.
CalMag Support or Brain Calm Magnesium: Take 1 scoop one to two hours after meals to help improve peristaltic action and bowel elimination. This is especially important if you have issues with constipation. These magnesium supplements also help your neurologic function, stress levels, energy levels, mood and brain health, bone and muscle health, blood sugar levels, and sleep patterns.
Your liver and your gallbladder are two organs that are involved with the formation of bile. Bile is a digestive juice that helps emulsify fat in your bad and as a result aid digestion and detoxification processes. Good bile flow is essential for optimal digestion, detoxification, and overall health.
To support your liver and gallbladder and ensure good bile flow, incorporate the herbs you’ve learned about in this article, try the supplements I suggested, and try the Biliary Sludge Protocol I outlined. Following these tips, you may notice a significant difference in your health and well-being. If you follow my recommendations here and are still struggling, it would be wise to hire a functional health coach. You can reach out to my team of fantastic coaches who are here to support your journey.