The liver is the largest organ in the body and it is made up of Left Lobe and Right Lobe and two more smaller lobe namely caudate and quadrate. The liver assists in metabolism and it receive blood from the portal vein and all nutrients from the intestines (except fat which are transported via the lymphatic system) before entering the systemic circulation.
The liver stores glycogen (a form of glucose) and when in need, normally during fasting, coma or hospitalized, the glycogen is broken down to form glucose an energy force required by the body. The liver breaks down many of the plasma proteins including albumin (water-soluble proteins), carrier proteins such as transferrin (a protein transporting iron in blood serum) and caeruloplasmin (a protein transporting copper in blood serum) and most of the proteins involved in blood coagulation ( a process where liquid changes into semi-solid mass). During this process, urea is formed and is filtered in the kidneys and excreted as waste products. The liver also detoxifies many fat-soluble drugs converting it to water-soluble compounds which are excreted in the bile. The liver stores many vitamins and other substances such as Vitamin D and B12, iron and folate.
Fat metabolism - includes VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are processed in the liver cells. Cholesterols are broken down into bile salts and these are excreted in the bile which is important in aiding the proper digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin K, from the gut. Ammonia, which is formed during protein metabolism, is converted into urea which is less toxic and is excreted by the kidneys. Bile pigments derived from the breakdown of old red blood cells. The cells released haemoglobin which is split into a protein part (globin) and haem which contains iron. After iron is removed the haem molecule is converted to bilirubin, which is then transported in the blood stream to liver cells and then excreted into the biliary tract and into the duodenum. In the intestine, bilirubin is broken down by bacteria to stercobilinogen, a pigment that gives the faeces their normal dark brown color, which otherwise would be pale in color if stercobilinogen is absent. Portion of the stercobilinogen is reabsorbed into the blood stream to be excreted in the urine where the name urobilinogen is derived from although it is identical to stercobilinogen.
Diseases that is linked to the liver and causes of liver cell damage includes jaundice, acute and chronic hepatitis. hepatitis A,B,C,D,and E, liver toxins, hypoxia, cell damaged due to bile blockage, viral hepatitis, drugs, cirrhosis, cholangitis, and idiopathic. In modern society, the major causes of cholestasis outside the liver are Gall-stones in the common bile-duct, fibrosis and stricture of the bile duct, obstruction and pressure on the ducts from outside by tumors or enlarged lymph glands.
Gallstones can affect anyone and its danger is that it can block the normal flow of bile when lodged in any of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. Bile trapped in these ducts can cause inflammation in the gallbladder, the ducts, or, rarely, the liver.
If a gallstone blocks the opening to that duct, digestive enzymes can become trapped in the pancreas and cause an extremely painful inflammation called pancreatitis. If any of these ducts remain blocked for a significant period of time, severe possibly fatal damage can occur, affecting the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas and the patient will also suffer from obesity, body poisoning and possible diabetes.
Signs and symptoms related to jaundice - color of skin are greenish yellow. Color of faeces are pale due to the absence of bile and the color of urine is dark brown due to the presence of bilirubin. Bile salts accumulate in the blood causing severe itching of the skin.
Below are some herbs commonly use to invigorate, tone up or assist in treating liver and gall problem.
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