New Year, New Liver…

I’ve been woefully slow with the blogging this Christmas and consequently have a whole host of posts in various stages of preparation that are now totally inadequate. Glitter eyeshadow, anyone? Gold-flecked body lotion? Pre-party playlists from a catwalk DJ? Thought not.

But, in a spirit of waste not, want not here’s one I prepared earlier. With a few seamless tweaks it’ll just about make the leap from the other side. Happy New Year…..

We’re old friends, detox and I. Except we’re no longer on speakers. Apart from a six month stint as a raw vegan (which I still maintain was one of the most spiritually illuminating ventures of my life) I can’t think of a single cut-’em-out, flush-’em-out plan that made the blindest bit of difference to my long-term health or happiness, apart from a one-week grape fast that improved my sense of smell for about a day. I also recognise that ‘no wheat for me, thanks’ is Something Purty-speak for ‘I’m not eating cake in public right now but will probably go home and finish off a pot of mayonnaise with a teaspoon later.’

The Organic Pharmacy Liver & Kidney Drops

Which is why I’m surprised to find myself welcoming milk thistle back into my life. The post-detox me usually cures a hangover with a pint of full-fat Ribena and a bag of balsamic vinegar Kettle Chips (for the B vitamins and alkalinising properties, you know?) but last Thursday saw a night in of such epic proportions that the regular remedies seemed not to apply. So I picked up a bottle of The Organic Pharmacy Liver & Kidney Drops (£10.99) and wouldn’t you know, they made me feel better! Like, instantly! And I’ve kept at them ever since, partly in a preemptive strike against the fast-approaching New Year excess next time I can ever face a bottle of cava again but also because I’m getting a nostalgic little kick from that healthy-grassy-hideous taste I once knew so well… like Proust’s madeleine, but without the, er, wheat.

If you’re of a holistic bent you’ll already know that the reason milk thistle works so well is that it gives your liver some love when it’s feeling overloaded. ‘As your body’s second largest organ (your skin is the first) your liver is responsible for keeping energy levels constant, digesting fats, activating hormones and dealing with toxins,’ says The Organic Pharmacy’s very wonderful Margo Marrone. ‘Alcohol is its number one enemy, affecting not only detoxification but the conversion of healthy fats to hormones. While a short binge is unlikely to cause serious damage it will still affect your liver temporarily, leading to symptoms such as headaches, indigestion and fatigue…otherwise known as a hangover.’

And this is where the milk thistle steps in. Along with the artichoke extract also in this particular tincture, it helps to prevent toxic damage by boosting blood flow, reducing inflammation and providing antioxidant protection. And even if you’ve knackered  up to 80% of your liver over the festive period, it’s still totally capable of regenerating itself, given half a chance! ‘Take fifteen drops as a preventative measure before you go out and another fifteen drops twice a day,’ recommends Margo, who also suggests a thrice weekly beetroot, carrot and ginger juice – the beets stimulate liver drainage, the ginger boosts circulation and reduces inflammation, and the carrots are packed with tissue-protective betacarotene. But sip rather than gulp, she adds, making sure you hold the juice in your mouth for a moment before swallowing, to kick-start your digestive process.

I just scarfed another dose now, and damn I’m feeling fine. It’s like New Year never happened. Apart from the bicycle oil all over my pajama bottoms, handbag full of maple syrup and 20 alienated strangers in a country house somewhere in Surrey. But we’ll leave that story for another time, shall we?

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