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Optimizing Liver Health with Herbs: A Functional Medicine Toronto Guide


Our functional medicine Toronto practitioners educate patients on the importance of nutrition and chronic disease prevention. Some patients are astounded to learn how the liver has profound impacts on both physical and mental health. 

If you’ve never thought about this vital organ, this article may be a game changer in your health journey! The Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) explains why your liver needs some loving and how herbs can be considered for helping improve its function. In fact, our previous blog post discusses how our Toronto functional medicine approach to menopause with the help of herbs is done.

Get to know your liver

Did you know that this organ takes up two percent of your body weight? The liver is fundamental for several reasons, helping to support our immune function, digestion, metabolic functions, and detoxification. Here are some facts to know: 

    • Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized it as a key organ for thousands of years. According to Chinese medicine, this organ is associated with “wood” for helping execute various bodily functions and transforming the food we eat into qi (also known as energy). It’s been thought that if liver health is optimized, it can effectively boost blood flow through the capillaries, helping to provide nutrients and oxygen for cellular health. 
    • The liver plays a role in all body systems. It stockpiles iron, copper, and fat-soluble vitamins for future use and balances cholesterol levels. In fact, metabolism, digestion, circulation, hormones wouldn’t be effective without a strong liver.
    • It produces different amino acids for detoxification and cellular metabolism. These include serine, histidine, alanine, threonine, glycine, glutamate, and others. The Journal of Cancer Prevention reports that “…proper treatment with amino acids in liver disease can have positive effects.”
    • Filters the blood in the human body and helps break down harmful substances, such as drugs. It also creates bile, which is necessary for helping us consume fats and removing waste. 
    • Constituents that can increase your risks for liver disease include: obesity, excessive blood pressure/blood sugar levels, contracting viruses, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and regular alcohol overindulgence.

After reading the points above, you may feel like your liver needs some respect! Read the next section for our herbal recommendations. 

Herbs for improving liver health

If you’re suffering from irregular periods, digestive issues, or inflammatory conditions, we may recommend liver-supporting supplements. These may help with detoxifying free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can trigger chronic symptoms. Below is a chart of herbs we may discuss for improving liver function:

*Note: Please see your health care practitioner prior to using these herbs. Some of them may interact with medications.


What it does for the liver


Studies have shown that artichoke helps recuperate liver detoxification pathways. In one study of 90 participants with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), liver function was enhanced after taking 600mg of a daily artichoke supplement for a few months. 

Bupleurum chinense (Bupleurum)

Popular for its liver-cleansing properties, bupleurum has been recognized for its potential support of immune function and mood, while promoting anti-inflammatory effects. Research has indicated that bupleurum contains anti-viral and anti-tumor properties, but excessive consumption may pose liver risks. Studies also suggest that bupleurum extract may safeguard the liver by regulating cellular calcium levels – further human research is needed to understand its benefits.

Blackjack (Bidens Pilosa)

The blackjack plant is laden with antioxidants and contains 200+ beneficial compounds, including flavonoids, aromatics and terpenoids. It’s admired worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical locations! It may have the potential to promote hepatoprotection and detoxification, especially for liver-related conditions (i.e. cholestatic liver disease). 


Contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, participants with NAFLD consumed turmeric supplements or a placebo for two months. Results showed that liver enzymes significantly declined in participants who consumed turmeric, which is an improvement because these enzymes usually increase with NAFLD.

Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra)

Known as an adaptogen, schisandra can help improve your resilience against emotional and environmental stress. It may also help improve liver function and energy, while potentially aiding physical endurance and coordination. Research has demonstrated that schisandra may promote healthy liver function, offering hepatoprotective effects.

Would you be interested in discovering more about herbal solutions for maintaining optimal liver function?  Seeing a functional medicine practitioner is beneficial prior to using these nutraceuticals, as interactions can occur between herbs and some prescription medications. Read below to learn about our clinic services and how to reach us.

About our integrative and functional medicine services

At the TFMC, we tailor a comprehensive treatment plan that suits your biology. By focusing on your health needs only, we can address your current health issues and improve your wellness for the long term. We have extensive experience customizing therapies for different conditions, including chronic health issues, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular disease, skin disorders, abdominal pain, infertility, sexual health decline, and more. 

Our personalized approach to wellness inspires patients to take control of their wellness with a relaxed clinical experience, helping them adhere to their treatment plan. This motivates patients to apply lifestyle modifications to their daily lives (i.e. diet and exercise). Because we practice integrative medicine – which recognizes mind-body therapies using various treatment modalities – our patients are encouraged to draw from our several therapies, including conventional medicine, naturopathic medicine, functional medicine testing, psychotherapy, holistic nutrition, Chinese medicine, hormone optimization programs, herbal medicine, and other wellness tools. 

We also offer adjunct IV therapy in our IV Lounge to help tackle nutritional deficiencies. When IV therapy is combined with other functional medicine therapies and healthy daily living, optimal wellness can be supported. These drip treatments require an initial consult prior to getting your first IV treatment administered.  

We believe in your innate healing potential to help overcome health obstacles. Functional medicine from Toronto could open the doors to improving the state of your liver, energy levels, chronic pain, and more – so what are you waiting for? Get a head start on your wellness improvements by clicking here. Request your initial session with us today.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. You should always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of information you have read from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre website or other affiliate media. 



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