Know Your Liver: The Ayurveda Perspective
Updated: Mar 5
Liver is a vital organ for metabolism of consumed food. The liver is a well-known organ for Ayurveda. In Vedas, it is named as “Takima” or “Yakna”. Synonyms like Kalakhanda, Jyotisthana, Raktadhara and Raktashaya are found in the ancient literature for liver.
In general physiology, Liver is known as the engine of body, it is responsible for digestion, metabolism and detoxification of compounds for keeping the body healthy. It also performs the main function of converting clear plasma to blood, and storing them so that toxins don’t enter the body. Ayurveda explains that liver is formed of five bhutaagnis, that is digestive fires. These bhutaagnis correspond to five main elements, which are earth, fire, water, air and space. If the flames of bhutaagnis burn unevenly, either too high or too low, then the plasma in the body will not be converted into blood tissue, allowing toxins to enter the body.
Liver is critical to the digestion of food and nutrition, but it also plays an important role in the digestion of emotions—particularly those that Ayurveda identifies as closely aligned with the liver. The liver is governed by the Pitta “subdosha” known as Ranjaka Pitta, and anger is a Pitta emotion related to Sadhaka Pitta in the mind. With establishment of this link between the Pitta subtypes, anger is directly correlated with the balance of Pitta dosha, and incase of any unprocessed anger will give rise to Pitta and lead to heat, inflammation, and depletion in the liver.
In Ayurvedic science, Liver is known as the seat of anger, hate, and resentment. It is further linked to feelings of irritability, jealousy, frustration, impatience, envy and dissatisfaction. These emotions are referred as imbalance in expressions of Pitta Dosha. Despite being associated with such fiery emotions, the liver is also linked with healthier expressions of Pitta Dosha, such as confidence, contentment, enthusiasm, and courage. Everyone can gain more knowledge about their liver by retrospecting the emotions you encounter daily. Ayurveda helps you understand the functioning of your own body by raising questions like how well is one able to handle and overcome these emotions? Can one keep on resenting and harbouring anger for years? Does one’s emo
tions completely overpower them?
Just like an imbalance in bhutaagnis can harm the liver by causing diseases, it can also cause emotional imbalance, anger and pain, and subsequently cause more damage to the liver.
To overcome the consequences of such imbalances, the liver possesses the ability to heal and rejuvenate itself. This is something that sets the liver apart from other organs as it is the only human organ that can naturally regenerate lost tissue. But if the liver has to heal, it must be given chance to detox by allowing periodic rest. It must also be provided with support by intake of rich, heavier and nourishing foods. Lastly, in order for the liver to recover from such heavy pitta imbalances, a proper lifestyle must be insured by everyone for their own betterment.