Hepatica gained its name by the shape of its leaves which resembles that of a liver. Going by other names such as liverwort, kidneywort, and pennywort, this plant is a perrenial herb and has been used as herbal remedy for a long time ago.
Not too surprisingly, the herb is believed to have curative effects on liver diseases. People mostly harvest its leaves, which is the medicinal part of the plant when it is in bloom to dry them in the shade. As is the case with many herbal plants, hepatica has long since gained endangered status.
As the plant itself is a deep-rooted one, it needs good drainage as well as rich soils commonly found in lowland forests. In spite of that fact, people can still find the leaves of the plant in some temperate forests and grasslands all over the world. What makes it interesting is that this plant was often mistaken for other herbal remedies, and there has been mixed opinions regarding this plant’s real health benefits of hepatica.With all that said, there’s no denying that people have been prescribing hepatica for liver ailments.
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1. Traditional Treatment for Gallstones
Many uses have been prescribed to hepatica since a long time ago, one of them is for gallstones. Gallstones are formed in the bile either by excess cholesterol or bilirubin and can cause many complications including chronic pain in the shoulders and abdomen area as well as nausea. It is believed that drinking the extract of hepatica in the form of tincture or the cold extract can crush the gallstones in the bile.
There are practically no scientific explanation as to how the extract of hepatica can achieve this effect. However, the practices have been going on for a long time and people seem to deem it as effective treatment for gallstones. Judging from the chemical compounds contained in the herbs, the anti-inflammatory substances including flavonoids such as anthocyanins and saponins might help in relieving the symptoms and complications of gallstones.
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2. Remedy for Liver Conditions
There are two possible reasons why hepatica is called the way it was. The first is because of its liver-shaped leaves, the other is because it has been used by people of old as herbal remedy for liver diseases. Truth to be told, there are practically many herbs and even some vegetables which are said to improve liver conditions, such as turmeric, ginger, sweet potatoes and raw vegetables in general. Anyway, the practices seemed to went on that people associates hepatica with medicine for liver.
Seeing how the chemicals in hepatica work with each other, it is mostly safe to say that the herb can do great to livers, even the ones with impaired functions. That is because the flavonoids and saponins in hepatica can act as anti-inflammatory as well as detoxifying agents, in return helping the liver in getting rid of harmful substances from our bodies as well as repairing the functions of the liver back to normal.
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3. Relieves Stomach Discomfort
It seems that when it comes to herbal remedies, some of them can be fixes for multiple health problems. Such is the case with hepatica, while its primary use is to cure liver diseases, turns out people have been using it for other purposes too. Being drunk as a herbal drink, hepatica can give mild astringent feeling to the stomach which is believed to be relaxing and soothing to the stomach.
4. Stimulates Appetites
Due to its mild and relatively safe nature, people have been using hepatica as tonic for various purposes. Some use it daily the way they do with tea. Very little does everyone know why and how it works, but people also use hepatica for appetite stimulants. Some considers the taste to be the cause, as is the case with herbal plants in particular, hepatica’s strong scent might induce enhanced appetite.
Judging from its chemical contents, the saponins in the leaves might also be the prime suspects, as saponins also have appetite-boosting properties as is the case with other spices with saponins such as garlics.
5. Helps Regulating Bowel Function
Hepatica’s astringent natures can help stimulating the contractions in the gastrointernal tracts. Consequently, the digestion processes are also sped up. Therefore, drinking hepatica tea might be considered as alternative treatment for digestion problems such as constipations where the functions of the bowel areas aren’t working quite as it should be.
6. Stimulates Pancreas
In order for pancreas to function well, we must take care not to overburden its works with excess lipid and carbohydrates. Thankfully, by consuming hepatica, especially in the form of infused water, we can help easing the burden pancreases have to carry.
That’s because hepatica contains many chemicals whose functions including breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, such as flavonoids. Not only that, some of the chemical compounds in hepatica are also known to have stimulating properties toward many internal organs, which are mostly related to digestive system.
7. Might Help in Reducing Cholesterol
Hepatica can also become an alternative solution to reduce the cholesterol level in the blood. The methods by which hepatica work can seem to stimulate metabolism as well as cleansing the blood from some harmful substances. Although doesn’t work directly at reducing cholesterol, the presence of hepatica as tonic for liver certainly help the work of liver in breaking down cholesterol.
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8. Stimulates Blood Circulations
The astringent nature of hepatica makes it possible for hepatica to contracts many involuntary muscles in our bodies. Consequently, the extra works which the muscles have to bear will signal the brain to supply more blood. In turn, the brain makes the heart to pump more blood and thus increasing blood circulation. Unfortunately, the method of by which hepatica influencing blood circulation is not really well-documented or even ever documented at all.
9. Soothing to the Nerves
Drunk as a tea, hepatica has all the relaxing and soothing benefits that most of herbal tea do. The flavonoids as well as saponins contents in hepatica work wondrously together as both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative agents. As is the case with some herbs and spices that contain saponins, such as garlics and gingers, hepatica can also help relaxing the tensions in the muscles as well as the nerves.
10. For Beauty Tricks
Not only that, the plant can also used externally to treat some skin conditions. Of course, there are more than meets the eye when it comes to hepatica. Therefore, in the following paragraphs we will discuss the health benefits of hepatica.
11. Treats Various Condition
So, those are the health benefits of hepatica. Turns out, this herb offers many benefits more than treating liver conditions. Practices have been going on since long time ago that uses this plant as cures for various conditions, both internal and external.
Unfortunately, many of the perceived benefits aren’t always backed up by scientific evidences, which makes us difficult to discern both the benefits and the dangers of this herbal plant. However, if we were to break down the substances that makes out the medicinal part of the plant, there are some primary substances including flavonoids and saponins.
Flavonoids are basically the chemical groups which serve as pigments for various plants, responsible mainly to give colors to flowers and leaves. Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial properties which prove to be beneficial for preventing certain infections and diseases.
While saponins are amphipathic glycosides which has been used as ingredients in vaccines and immunotoxins for cancer cells. Having those substances in its disposal, cautions has to be taken still.
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Cautions and Recommendation Intake
Refrain from using the fresh plant, because in its unprocessed form, the plant contains ranunculin, which produces protoanemonin when on contact with skin and other mucous membranes. The chemical compounds can cause blisters to the skin, which incidentally are slow to heal. Irritations in the internal organ, such as digestive tract can also happen following the consumption of the raw plant.
Therefore, it’s best to process the plant by drying and rinsing the leaves. In its processed forms, such as dried leaves, oils and fats, hepatica is basically safe to use. Just take care not to exceed the maximum dosage of 3.8 grams or 4 teaspoons of the dried herb.We thank you for reading, hopefully you can gain some insights regarding this herbal remedy. Always take care to find enough information before deciding to pursue traditional methods, as they typically lack objective evidences to back up their claims.
The point is, both traditional and modern methods can be equally beneficial, as long as being done responsibly. Stay healthy and keep learning.
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