Liver and Pitta Dosha : a reason to stay cool!
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Why we should take a good care of the liver.
The liver is one of our most important organs. It filters and detoxifies the blood and it plays a significant role in digestion and metabolism. It also synthesizes protein, produces important enzymes and hormones, breaks down and recycles tired blood cells, and regulates glycogen storage. It is our primary organ of detoxification and its job is to protect the blood from impurities that might otherwise cause harm in our body and health.
On the one hand, Ayurveda describes the liver as a fiery, hot organ. On the other hand, Pitta is composed of the fire and water elements and is the source of all heat in the body. It seems that the fire principle (agni) found in pitta indicates a close relationship between the liver and the pitta dosha. Therefore the liver is connected to fire (agni) and to almost every aspect of pitta dosha. As a result, the liver is very vulnerable to excess heat, and an aggravated pitta is frequently either the cause or the result of some liver imbalances.
Habits that affect the liver:
Excessive amount of toxins in the system such as alcohol, bad quality of food, drugs, environmental pollutants, etc., have the potential to negatively impact the liver. The liver has the ability to heal and rejuvenate itself, but it is our responsibility to keep it healthy, not to overload it with extra work and unnecessary emotions, and offer to it regular and proper rest.
Emotions that affect the liver:
In the same way the liver is important to the digestion of food and nutrition, it also plays an important role in the digestion of emotions, particularly those that are closely related with the liver: The liver is related to anger, hate, resentment, envy, irritability, frustration, impatience, and excessive ambition. All of these emotions are also linked to the pitta dosha. The positive emotions associated with the liver and the pitta dosha are: will power, courage, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, enthusiasm, cooperation, acceptance, and surrender.
Psychosomatics of the liver:
The liver can be affected by intense emotions such as anger, rage, complaining, bitterness, frustration, despair and jealousy. When these emotional states become chronic one may become “emotionally toxic” – non-disease diseases, and then the liver’s ability to process toxins might start to increase and refuse the work that was given to do – disease. The liver because of its filtering and cleansing abilities as an organ can be related to issues of control and responsibility regarding the emotional and mental side in the psyche of a human being. Therefore negative emotions such as anger, bitterness and despear, which are interrelated with the pitta dosha can harmfully affect the functioning of the liver, but in which way? Personally, I was conditioned to think that these emotions are somehow unacceptable, and I had become quite skillful at suppressing them. This can lead to emotional stagnation and the accumulation of emotional toxicity. And this emotional toxicity is firstly experienced in the energetically level. My experience of this toxicity warns me to take action regarding my emotions and feelings in order to destroy the toxic residue of unresolved anger, resentment, and frustration and prevent any negative impact on my liver. On the other hand, underdeveloped capacities for will power, courage, confidence, enthusiasm, contentment, and surrender can also affect the liver and therefore they need to be strengthened for the benefit of my liver. The goal is to find ways to keep all of these emotional energies in balance and flow for the benefit of the liver.
Finally, it is important to feel and acknowledge all of our emotions in order to ensure their complete release. I believe that becoming a passive observer and allow one’s self to witness the emotions that arise in each moment is a way to acknowledge these emotions and then be able to act upon them. Another action that may help this process is to consider addressing any stagnant energy from the past that might need attention and resolution.
Proper state, food, yoga practices and habits for a healthy liver:
If we want the liver to repair itself efficiently, we must offer it periodic rest and support through the following ways:
1. Balance pitta dosha with the proper food (mostly raw).
2. Eka Janu Shirsha Asana positively affects all abdominal organs including the liver.
3. Nadi Shudhi – Nadi Shodhana can calm, ground and soothe the mind, the nervous system, effectively balance pitta and positively affect the liver.
4. Actively surrendering the personal will (located in the solar plexus) to the higher, creative or spiritual will (located in the heart center) can help to keep the solar plexus energetically clear. This may balance pitta and therefore protect the liver.
5. Reducing the water temperature in your shower in order to cool the energetic body is a way to pacify pitta and therefore protect the liver. Another way of cooling is the use of essential oils (like jasmine) during a bath.
6. Dressing in cooling colors (greens, blues, purples and whites) will also help to pacify pitta and therefore the liver.
7. Because of pitta’s intolerance a person of pitta dosha ahould avoid a prolonged sun exposure. The best is to avoid being in the sun during the heat of the day and to prefer being outdoors in the morning and/or evening.
8. Avoid taking different kinds of food at the same time as it forces the liver to do extra work in order to breaks down all kinds of food that have been taken at once.
9. Choose to eat less amount of food because taking excessive amount of food could also be a reason to make the liver overwork.
10. Also choose to eat fewer meals per day (2-3) and avoid eating unconsciously without feeling hungry due to emotional reasons. This might also cause problems to the liver.
11. Prefer the consumption of healthy food (fruits and vegetables) and avoid junk food.
12. One should not eat if he/she is emotionally upset, otherwise the liver needs to make double work in order to support the heart due to the emotional imbalance, and at the same time break down the food one has taken. This may result the malfunction of the liver towards the one of the two issues.
13. Fasting is the best way to heal and give a good rest to the liver and at the same time to work out issues of the pitta dosha.
14. Lemon water helps the liver to miscarry toxins from the system.
15. Stay cool!
The key functions of liver:
Detoxification: liver filters the blood and eliminates toxins from the bloodstream. When we eat, the digestive tract breaks our food down allowed to enter the bloodstream and then travels to the liver to be further refined and filtered. The liver actually removes and eliminates toxins. The liver is also responsible for metabolizing chemical toxins, drugs, and alcohol.
Bile Formation and Secretion: The Sanskrit word pitta means “bile”. Bile is an alkaline fluid that helps to emulsify fats for proper digestion. After bile is produced by the liver is stored in the gallbladder. When food is digested, the gallbladder empties stored bile into the small intestine. Consequently, the health of the liver and gallbladder are closely related.
Digestion and Metabolism: The liver plays essential role in the digestion and metabolism of nutrients. It breaks down complex substances like carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins into biologically useful molecules like glucose, cholesterol, phospholipids, and lipoproteins. The liver also regulates and stores glycogen.
Protein Metabolism and Synthesis: The liver is one of the primary places in the body where proteins are metabolized, synthesized, and later degraded. Most of our bodily tissues are made up of proteins, but they are particularly essential for nourishing the muscle tissue.
Other Important Liver Functions: The liver is also involved in hormone creation and metabolism, the metabolism and storage of fat, the regulation of bodily pH levels, the generation of red blood cells, and the regulation of blood volume and blood pressure.