Hepatics - Liver Support


A hepatic is a substance that improves the tone, vigor, and function of the liver.

How Hepatics Work

Hepatics enhance liver function by toning, strengthening and supporting its actions.  Enhancing liver function is a fundamental concept in herbal medicine, which views hepatic impairment as a major contributor to poor health.

The liver is continually bombarded with toxic chemicals: both those produced internally and those coming from the environment.  The liver filters the blood to remove these toxins.  It also breaks down used hormones, synthesises and secretes bile, and disassembles unwanted chemicals.

The liver has a number of other functions including storage of glucose as glycogen, breaking down of proteins into amino acids and storage of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Hepatics Classification

Hepatics may be further broken down into:

  • Cholagogues

Stimulate the flow or aid the release of stored bile from the gallbladder. Examples: Barberry, Gentian, Globe artichoke, Greater celandine, Peppermint, Yellow dock

  • Choleretics

Stimulate the production of bile by the liver. Examples: Andrographis, Barberry, Dandelion, Globe artichoke, Golden seal, Greater celandine, Milk thistle, Turmeric

  • Hepatoprotective

An agent that protects the liver cells (hepatocytes) against toxic damage. Examples: Andrographis, Bupleurum, Globe artichoke, Milk thistle, Rosemary, Schisandra

  • Hepatotrophorestorative

An agent that helps repair and restore the integrity of liver tissue. Examples: Globe artichoke, Milk thistle

Bile enhances fat digestion, helps cleanse the liver and enhances bowel function. Many hepatics work as both choleretics and cholagogues.

Health Conditions

Conditions associated with poor liver function include:

  • Hepatitis

  • Gallstones

  • Poor digestion

Poor function of the liver often leads to secondary health problems such as skin problems, e.g., acne and eczema, fatigue, bloating, flatulence, constipation, sensitivity to chemicals, headaches and general debility or flu-like symptoms.


Conditions where hepatics are contraindicated:

  • Painful gallstones: the increased contractile activity may aggravate pain.

  • Bile duct occlusion and acute cholecystitis

  • Acute viral hepatitis

  • Intestinal obstruction



  1. Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone
  2. Buhner, S.H. (2000).Herbs for hepatitis C and the liver.Pownal, Vt. : Storey Books
  3. Oyakhire, P.I. (2010).Healing hepatitis & liver disease naturally : how to achieve sustained viral clearance with natural remedies, Bloomington, IN : Authorhouse

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