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Milk Thistle Soothes The Liver

Come the Holidays, at my New York acupuncture clinic I get a question that is as perennial as the Holly Bush:  Is there an herb/supplement I can take when I drink too much? And is Milk Thistle it?  The quest lingers for a sure-fire hangover remedy, a magical mystery elixir that will let a soul drink until drunk, while avoiding self-inflicted brain-cell-icide.

Of course we can all be ‘forgiven’ for a bit of overindulgence in these trying times. And once in a while, going off the deep end without needing an excuse to do it is just fine, too. However, from time immemorial we poor humans have had to pay the piper for our grape-and-grain induced indulgences.

Think death-ray quality hangovers.

‘Call in the Herbalist!’ You yell, writhing on, what feels like, your deathbed. ‘The Naturopath! Someone knows something. Why, I’m almost desperate enough,’ you murmur, ‘to try acupuncture. I want out of this hole.’

Milk Thistle is a wonderful herb for the liver. Will it clear your hangover and make you whole again? Is there a way we can debauch without having to suffer for it? Try clicking your heels three times for that one.

Let’s say you spent the night kicking your beloved dog. The next morning you sit lavishly heaping kisses on Waldo, or Bitty, hoping to atone for your sins. Doggy will still love you, but the emotional bruises will probably remain for some time. And down the road, Waldo will get his.  Your liver is like Waldo. It will take quite a bit of abuse, but eventually it will bite you and bite you hard. Why go there?

The Asian pharmacopeia has a pueraria based herbal hangover decoction that’s taken while drinking. The good news—that you don’t get a hangover–is mitigated by the fact that you also don’t get real drunk. But that’s not what this missive is about.

For now let’s stick with talking about Milk Thistle.  This twiggy, aromatic herb works to soothe your liver in whichever form you take it: as an herb for the purist who likes funky tasting teas, or, for the rest of us, as an easy-to-find supplement. Taking two at a pop for several days will help ease the strain you’ve placed on that hard working organ.

Just remember, so long as you do right by Waldo, he will do right by you.

Daniel Reinaldo Bernstein at Blue Phoenix Wellness

 

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