herbs for liver health

Herbs for Liver Health: A Healing Tea Blend

I create a lot of tea blends. Some of the blends turn out just okay, and admittedly, some aren’t even good enough to be shared. And some, like the Love Your Liver Tea blend (which contains lots of tasty herbs for liver health), turn out to be classic favorites that I both drink and share often. And I am so excited to share the recipe with you below!

But why go to all the trouble to make your own tea blend? As it is, most people in the United States make herbal tea using tea bags, which is seemingly a lot easier.

I agree there’s a time and place for the swift convenience of using tea bags to make herbal teas, but there are several big advantages when you make your own tea blend.

herbs for liver health

#1 The Quality of Herbs

There are a few herbal tea companies that use high quality ingredients in their products, but sadly many do not.

In fact, it’s well known that some of the worst quality herbs go into tea bags. (Are you curious where your herbs come from? My eyes have been opened to the challenges and problems within the global herbal trade industry through Ann Armbrecht’s new book, The Business of Botanicals, which I highly recommend.)

When you make your own tea blends using herbs that you can visibly see (and that you know were well-sourced and are high quality), you can feel more confident that you are drinking exceptional teas with healing qualities.

#2 Ability to Customize Your Own Tea Blend

When you drink tea formulas in tea bags, you aren’t able to customize what you’re drinking to really fit you. What’s in the tea bag is what you get.

When you make your own tea blend, you get the opportunity to create a blend that fits your unique preferences and desires: you can make a tea blend with herbs for liver health, a blend with herbs that nourish the heart, or a blend that supports immune function — the possibilities are truly endless. These infinite options allow you to create tea blends with impeccable flavor and medicinal qualities.

#3 Connection with the herbs

When you use tea bags the medicine is hidden away in a little packet. Your connection to the herbs themselves is that much more separated.

Whether you grow, harvest, or buy the herbs that you use to make your own tea blends, you are able to connect with those plants more strongly when you can see and taste them individually.

For me, the enjoyment and medicine in a cup of tea is not just about dunking a tea bag in water. Instead, it’s about the entire process of connecting to those plants, participating in reciprocity, and recognizing my interdependence with the many beings that help bring this cup of tea into fruition.

herbs for liver health

3 Tips to Make Your Own Tea Blend With Bulk Herbs

Admittedly, when you make your own tea blend the process is not as fast or as convenient as buying tea bags. But with a few simple systems, you can make this process smooth and easy.

#1 Make It a Habit

The first solution is simply to create the habit of making your own tea blends. The more teas you make, the easier it will get.

Through the process of making your own tea blends you’ll naturally create the best systems and gather the best tools. For example, the herbs and tools that I use most often have a special spot in the kitchen where they are easily within reach.

#2 Start Small

When I first start making a new tea formula, I make enough for one cup of tea. I then taste that tea and decide whether the tea blend is good as is or if it needs some more tweaking.

Once I have a formula just the way I like it, I then make it into a bulk blend. This means that instead of measuring out each individual ingredient every time I make a cup of tea, I have an already formulated blend that I can easily scoop out for tea.

Turning a one-cup tea formula into a bulk blend is easy if you know how to measure in parts!

#3 Learn to Measure in Parts

Measuring in parts is a common way to record recipes for tea blends, but unless you know how to do it, it can be very confusing.

So let’s demystify the process of using parts when measuring in volume.

When measuring in parts, you choose one volume measurement to be your “part.” You could use a teaspoon, a tablespoon, a handful, a cup, etc.

For our example, let’s say a teaspoon is our “part.” And the recipe looks like this:

  • 2 teaspoons XYZ herb
  • 1 teaspoon XYZ herb
  • 1 teaspoon XYZ herb
  • 1/2 teaspoon XYZ herb

Since a teaspoon is our “part,” then the recipe can be written like this:

  • 2 parts XYZ herb
  • 1 part XYZ herb
  • 1 part XYZ herb
  • 1/2 part XYZ herb

Now we can translate that recipe to a bulk blend by choosing a larger part. All of the ratios between the herb measurements will stay the same while the overall volume of the blend increases. Let’s use a cup measurement.

  • 2 cups XYZ herb
  • 1 cup XYZ herb
  • 1 cup XYZ herb
  • 1/2 cup XYZ herb

Now that you’ve gotten a grasp on measuring in parts, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients for one of my favorite tea blends: Love Your Liver Tea.

herbs for liver health

Roasted Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)

When I was a young herbal student I took a class on herbs for liver health. After the teacher was done presenting I couldn’t help but ask why he didn’t include dandelion root. His response was that while dandelion root was one of the best herbs for liver health, it was so common so he wanted to focus on more “exotic” herbs.

In my mind, dandelion is amazing because it’s both powerful and common! Why reach for something more “exotic,” when we have this powerful herb at our feet?!

Herbalists love dandelion because it promotes healthy liver function and overall digestion. The roots are high in inulin, an important prebiotic that helps to support healthy gut bacteria. Roasting the root gives it a delicious, almost caramelized flavor in tea blends (it also slightly decreases the amount of inulin in the drink).

herbs for liver health

Roasted Chicory Root (Cichorium intybus)

Chicory root is a cousin to dandelion root. They are in the same family, and they have similar tastes and growing habits. Herbalists also work with them in very similar ways. Chicory, like dandelion, is slightly bitter and can help promote healthy digestion as well as bile creation and release. As a result, chicory can help our bodies efficiently digest fats, which are broken down by bile. All of these qualities make chicory one of my favorite herbs for liver health.

herbs for liver health

Cacao nibs (Theobroma cacao)

Cacao, often the main ingredient in chocolate, is an antioxidant-rich herb that is well known for protecting the heart. Numerous clinical trials have been performed using isolated constituents of cacao, as well as the whole bean. They have shown that dark chocolate preparations can reduce hypertension, increase beneficial cholesterol (HDL), and increase insulin sensitivity.1,2,3

herbs for liver health

Orange Peel (Citrus x sinensis)

Many people relish the sweet fruits of oranges and then simply discard the peel — oops!

Orange peel is actually a wonderful medicinal herb that is frequently used to improve slow, stagnant, and damp digestion. Signs of slow digestion combined with a white coating on the tongue can be a good indication for orange peel. The bitter tastes of the whole peel (not just the zest) help to stimulate digestion and promote bile production and release. Plus! Orange peel tastes great in a tea blend.

herbs for liver health

Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric root is loved for so many of its gifts! It’s cardioprotective (like cacao), high in antioxidants, and is one of the most popular herbs for liver health.

Reach for turmeric when there are signs of stagnant digestion, such as bloating, gas, or a heavy feeling in the gut after eating. Turmeric can be frequently added to meals as a way to address chronically stagnant digestion or simply to maintain digestive health.

Turmeric is a cholagogue, which is an herb that promotes bile secretion from the gallbladder and liver. It can be used when there are signs of low bile secretion, such as a difficulty digesting fats. Using turmeric regularly may prevent gallstones, although it is recommended by the German Commission E to avoid using turmeric if gallstones are present.

A 2019 systematic review of randomized controlled trials showed strong evidence that turmeric and curcumin (one of the main constituents in turmeric) have a positive effect for people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by significantly reducing ALT and AST blood concentrations (liver enzymes that can be measured to assess liver health).4

herbs for liver health

Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Black pepper has so much to offer a tea blend! But one thing I find really amazing about black pepper is its ability to increase the bioavailability of our herbs and foods. In other words, adding a bit of black pepper to herbal formulas or to our dinner plate means that we are going to more fully extract and digest the nutrients and other constituents in the food or medicine.

An article in the International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharmaceutical Research reports that black pepper acts as a circulatory stimulant by increasing the size of blood vessels, which helps to better transport nutrients around the body. It modulates the physical properties of cell membranes, which helps to transport nutrients through barriers. It also produces a thermogenic (warming) effect in the gastrointestinal tract, which increases blood supply to the area.5

Piperine, a constituent of black pepper, has been shown to dramatically increase the bioavailability of curcumin.6

herbs for liver health

Make Your Own Tea Blend With Herbs for Liver Health

My Love Your Liver Tea blend is one of my favorites in the late winter and spring, which is a traditional time to focus on herbs for liver health. It’s lovely first thing in the morning and also makes a wonderful after-meal tea to help promote healthy digestion.

What you’ll need…

  • 2 teaspoons (7 grams) dried roasted dandelion root cut/sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) dried roasted chicory root cut/sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) cacao nibs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) orange peel dried & cut/sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (<1 gram) dried turmeric root cut/sifted
  • Small pinch freshly ground black pepper (coarse)
  • 16 ounces of water
  • Milk or milk substitute (optional)
  • Honey or desired sweetener (optional)
  1. Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan.

herbs for liver health

  1. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15–20 minutes.
  2. Strain.

herbs for liver health

  1. Add milk and honey as desired.

herbs for liver health

Yield: 1 serving

Remember, if you want to make a bigger batch of this tea blend, just use larger measurements or parts: for example, you could substitute teaspoons with cups. If you need a refresher on how to do this, scroll back up to tip #3 for making your own tea blend with bulk herbs.

herbs for liver health

herbs for liver health

When you make your own tea blend in bulk, this will save you the hassle of measuring out the individual herbs each time you want to make this tasty Love Your Liver Tea.

herbs for liver health

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What herbs do you reach for to support your liver?

Do you regularly drink an after-meal tea to support digestion?

Please share in the comments below.

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Shrime, Mark G, Scott R Bauer, Anna C McDonald, Nubaha H Chowdhury, Cordelia E M Coltart, and Eric L Ding. “Flavonoid-rich Cocoa Consumption Affects Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Meta-analysis of Short-term Studies.” The Journal of nutrition 141, no. 11 (2011): doi:10.3945/jn.111.145482.
  2. Sarriá, Beatriz, Sara Martínez-López, José Luis Sierra-Cinos, Luis García-Diz, Raquel Mateos, and Laura Bravo. “Regular Consumption of a Cocoa Product Improves the Cardiometabolic Profile in Healthy and Moderately Hypercholesterolaemic Adults.” The British journal of nutrition 111, no. 1 (2014): doi:10.1017/S000711451300202X.
  3. Grassi, Davide, Cristina Lippi, Stefano Necozione, Giovambattista Desideri, and Claudio Ferri. “Short-term Administration of Dark Chocolate Is Followed by a Significant Increase in Insulin Sensitivity and a Decrease in Blood Pressure in Healthy Persons.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 81, no. 3 (2005): 611-4.
  4. Mansour-Ghanaei, Fariborz, et al. “Efficacy of Curcumin/Turmeric on Liver Enzymes in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Integrative Medicine Research, vol. 8, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 57–61. PubMed, doi:10.1016/j.imr.2018.07.004.
  5. Umesh, Patil, Amrit Singh, and Anup Chakraborty. “Role of Piperine as a Bioavailability Enhancer.” International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharm. Research 1, no. 4 (October 2011): 16–23.
  6. Smilkov, Katarina, et al. “Piperine: Old Spice and New Nutraceutical?” Current Pharmaceutical Design, vol. 25, no. 15, 2019, pp. 1729–39. PubMed, doi:10.2174/1381612825666190701150803.

Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

49 comments
  1. I absolutely love getting these emails. I love this recipe you have shared and I am excited to try it. I am trying to get more into drinking teas over coffee/cappuccino. Thank you So much for your informative letters and on going support for the herbalist community.

    • You’re welcome Dezarae! Thanks for your kind words.

  2. This is a great blend and all the teas I drink are herbal. I know dandelion is excellent for many things but it messes with my hormones and I get night sweats. Bergamot and milk thistle do the same. Any good substitutes for them? Thanks!

    • For this recipe you could omit the dandelion root. The chicory will still give it that yummy roasted flavor.

    • Diana, I am intrigued by this as I had read previously that dandelion was “balancing” to the hormonal system. Can you please tell me more?

  3. I am going to try this today! Never used nibs in a tea, so this sounds enticing. However, I avoid chicory after an episode years ago. Chicory is used in some European coffees – I drank way too much during a family gathering and ended up partly paralyzed for a good 24 hours. Rosalee, if you care to share why that might have happened (constituent of chicory?), I would be grateful.

    • Wow, that is a severe reaction. You could have a rare, previously unheard of allergic reaction to chicory, or that drink was adulterated with another herb. Another option is that it wasn’t the chicory drink at all but something else that effected you. The only way to know it was the chicory for sure would be to try it again, but given the severity of your symptoms I wouldn’t recommend that.

      • This plant you describe sounds like mandrake. It looks sort of like ginger root. It has paralyzing effects.

  4. Thank you for this! I love to have tea after dinner. It also helps curb my craving for something sweet, even though I don’t put honey in my tea. It’s usually a blend of relaxing herbs (chamomile, skullcap, valerian, passionflower, etc.)

  5. Thank you for your emails, I look forward to them. Your Tea Course saved my soul. I have been making your tea blends for a couple of years now and have tea with my toddler everyday. I look forward to teaching her how to make her own blends and share my love of herbs with her 🌿. Thank you for the encouragement and inspirations you share ♡.

    • Such sweet sentiments, thank you Rachel! 💚

  6. Thank you Rosalee for the delicious sounding recipe ‘Love your liver ‘. I enjoy reading your articles and recipes.

  7. I also really appreciate your emails and education! I had a serious gall bladder issue at age 21 where my gall bladder was removed. I have had sluggish and sensitive digestion all my life complete with liver enzyme issues. I’m also on RA meds that can damage liver and kidneys. Over the years, I have learned some things. Your emails are very helpful.

  8. Love your emails and the knowledge you share! ….long time ago i heard you speak of making teas in bulk and using parts…was such a gateway to making teas on my own.. I think every one who makes teas needs that information and was great to read it over again!
    This tea sounds perfect to be able to transition away from cappacino which i love to something that will love my body back!
    Question about the orange peels… do you order dried orange peels or use ones from oranges you buy at the store and if show how do you process them to use in this and others teas.
    Thanks! Deborah

    • You can buy orange peels, but I am more likely to dry my own. We often eat a lot of mandarins in December/January. After I peel the mandarin I chop up the whole peel into small pieces and then lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They dry in about a week. I live in a very dry environment, some may need to use a dehydrator to get them fully dried.

      • Thank you so much!, that helps!… I was wondering about possibly using mandarins as well! Great to know those are ok to use as well!

    • Thank you for the kind words too! I love seeing your tea enthusiasm!

  9. Hi,
    I’m completely new to the world of herbs so bear with me here. Do you roast the dandelion root yourself? And what does it mean exactly when it says cut/sifted?

    • Hi Nanci, those are great questions. You can buy roasted dandelion root or you can roast your own. To roast your own see this article: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/dandelion-root/

      Cut and sifted refers to the “cut” of the herbs. Rather than being whole, or not cut, and rather than being powdered, they are “cut and sifted” which means they are in small pieces. Hope that helps!

    • Great questions Nanci, thanks for asking them because I’ll be others are wondering too. You can buy roasted dandelion root or you can roast your own. Instructions for roasting your own can be found in this article: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/dandelion-root/

      Cut and sifted refers to the size of the herb. Rather than being whole or being powdered, cut and sifted herbs are cut into small pieces. Hope that helps!

      • I was wondering the same thing. “Sifted” to me implies a flour-like consistency, so it was confusing. Thank you for answering!

  10. How do you keep a bulk blend from separating, if the parts have different weights/densities?

    • Part of creating a bulk blend includes using plants of similar densities. Otherwise, as you pointed out, they will separate. If someone was set on a formula with herbs of different densities then I would make two bulk blends of similar densities that could then be combined.

      • That is a great idea! I have not made bulk batches because of different densities…but great idea to seperate into similiar densities…and then combine from there!😃

  11. I make and drink a blend of roasted dandelion, chicory, and cocoa nibs nearly every day. It’s my favorite! Adding these other ingredients sounds yummy! I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for all you share!

  12. Hi, I have powdered roasted chicory root and powdered roasted dandelion root. Can I make this blend with all powders (turmeric too)? I do have cacao nibs & orange peel, pepper. Will it be “muddy”?
    Thank you ! I love your writing and recipes!

    • Hi Janet, Thanks for your kind words! Using powders may make your tea muddy. But I would give it a try. Strain it through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Then let it sit for a minute. The powders may fall to the bottom. If you try it let us know how it turned out.

  13. Thank you for this recipe. I have been drinking a product called Dandy Blend every morning and have come to enjoy it almost more than coffee. But your recipe sounds like it might be even better and it would be homemade! I have 1 question – is it safe to drink a tea like this every day, or is it better to take an occasional break from drinking it? If so, how often would you need to take a break and for how long? Thanks so much for all your great recipes and educational material.

    • I also love dandy blend, especially when I want something super fast and easy. There’s no need to take a break from this blend but I would listen to your palate and take a break if you weren’t feeling as into it.

      • Thanks for the quick reply, Rosalee! Good to know!

  14. Dear Rosalee
    Thanks so much for this. I was looking for a liver support recipe. Question: how often should I drink the tea and for how long?
    With gratitude,
    Anne

    • Hi Anne, I like to drink this tea daily or as inspired. For particular health concerns I recommend working with an herbal practitioner who can create a personalized health plan with you.

  15. Greetings!
    I’ve had a concern about using orange peel.
    Most local stores don’t carry organic produce & I wonder about pesticide use. I’ve been worried about chemicals being present in the peel.
    I would appreciate any thoughts on this.
    I’m so thankful you are here to help those who seek help from herbs. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    • I recommend using organic oranges. You can buy organic dried orange peel from online apothecaries like Mountain Rose Herbs.

  16. I’ve been drinking dandelion and chicory tea for some years now, even harvested my own dandelion roots and roasting them one year. It’s hard work digging those roots out of our rocky soil! (Which is why I’ve only done it once ~ my back gave me a good scolding). Do you have a favorite tool that might make the job easier?
    Also, I love the roasted granules but I often wonder: is there anything of medicinal or nourishment left in these dark roasted granules?

    • I hear ya! Digging roots can be hard. I like to use a hori hori tool for harvesting roots. I also like to dig up roots in my garden where the soil is not super compacted. I also love roasted granules and I also wonder about the medicinal quality after all that processing. I’m honestly not sure. Reaching for herbs in many different forms is always a good idea.

  17. I use dandelion that I harvested from my own yard, turmeric, orange peels (if I have them), and pepper in my daily chai. If chicory does much the same as dandelion, is there any real benefit to searching it out, or would just using the readily-available dandelion root be just as good? Also, the extra work of roasting dandelion roots means I haven’t yet. Is it just a taste benefit, or are there medicinal benefits to roasting, too? (Basically, I’m asking for permission to continue my lazy, non-roasting ways.) Thanks!

    • Roasting dandelion and chicory roots dramatically changes the taste. I would give it a try at least once to see what you think. Dandelion and chicory are both similar and different. If you aren’t interested in trying chicory you can omit it from the recipe.

  18. i drink this love your liver tea every morning! i didn’t have all the roots, so i just mix some powders in–raw cacao powder and turmeric powder work just fine, but it means i can’t premix because the powders would sift to the bottom, so it’s part of my morning ritual to put all the herbs separately into the pot. i don’t add anything else–no sweetener, no milk–it’s SO yummy just as it is!

    • Happy to hear you are already enjoying this blend Katy! It’s been a long time favorite in my house too so I was inspired to create an article all about it.

  19. This recipe came right on time as I was told my lymph is congested which could be due to a congested liver. So I’m working overtime to clear my liver. Thank you!

  20. Hi, Rosalee.
    I enjoyed your article and look forward to trying this blend in the future. Are any of these herbs contraindicated during pregnancy? Thanks!

    • Hi Becky, some of the herbs’ safety during pregnancy has not been established yet (dandelion root and chicory), while there are differences of opinions about other herbs (turmeric).

  21. This tea was absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe and looking forward to many more.

    • We’re so glad you liked it! :)

  22. Can anyone tell me how sow thistle compares to dandelion? In Arizona we don’t have true dandelion but sow thistle is abundant. Can one be a substitute for the other?

    • Hi Diane, thank you for asking about sow thistle (Sonchus spp.). I know that some of the Sonchus spp. are edible, but I am not sure about their uses.

  23. Would there be any problem with brewing a batch large enough to last 3-4 days, storing in the fridge?

    • Hi Mageda, thank you for asking! I tend to store my tea in an airtight container in the fridge for only 2–3 days maximum, and I make sure to check that it’s still good before I ingest it. Signs that it may be off include a change in smell, taste, and/or appearance.

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