MILK THISTLE, from a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean, is a traditional liver tonic in herbal medicine. It’s high in silymarin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive properties. Studies show milk thistle is effective in treating alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and can protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and alcohol. Some research also suggests it may even reduce the risk of liver cancer.
BURDOCK ROOT, a vegetable related to the sunflower family that’s native to Asia and Europe, has a long history of use in Chinese medicine as a liver tonic. It’s rich in compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and studies show it can protect the liver from damage caused by toxins, acetaminophen and chronic alcohol consumption.
BETAINE, a compound found in beets and many other foods, is typically used to promote cardiovascular health. Studies show it can also help break down fatty acids in the liver and may help treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Other research shows betaine can protect the liver from inflammation and damage caused by toxins and chronic alcohol consumption.
CURCUMIN, the active compound found in turmeric, protects against inflammation and free-radical damage and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies show curcumin can protect the liver from damage caused by toxins, chronic alcohol intake and a high-fat diet. It’s poorly absorbed, so look for supplements formulated with piperine, a compound in black pepper that dramatically increases absorption.