Hemochro­mato­sis Treated With Traditional Chinese Medicine

Good food, massage and detox good for your liver

By Car­olyn Schoner
Doc­tor of Ori­en­tal Medicine

Hemochro­mato­sis is a rare dis­ease of iron metab­o­lism, char­ac­ter­ized by excess iron deposits through­out the body.

Hepatomegaly, skin pig­men­ta­tion, dia­betes mel­li­tus, and car­diac fail­ure may occur.

The dis­ease most often devel­ops as com­pli­ca­tions of some hemolytic ane­mia, such as sickle cell ane­mia; mul­ti­ple trans­fu­sions are required for the treat­ment. Cir­rho­sis also accom­pa­nies meta­bolic dis­or­ders that cause the depo­si­tion of min­er­als in the liver — two of these dis­or­ders are hemochro­mato­sis (iron deposits) and Wilson’s dis­ease (cop­per deposits).

The dis­or­der that inter­feres with the body’s abil­ity to break down iron, and the result is too much iron being absorbed from the gas­troin­testi­nal track. Too much iron build-up (par­tic­u­larly in the liver) causes the liver to swell. This dis­ease can be genetic or can be caused by receiv­ing a large num­ber of trans­fu­sions, which boost the iron levels.

Pri­mary hemochro­mato­sis is the most com­mon genetic dis­or­der in the United States affect­ing one in every 200 to 300 Amer­i­cans. It affects more men than women and is common among Cau­casians of West­ern Euro­pean decent. The ear­lier the con­di­tion is diag­nosed the bet­ter, because this dis­ease will affect other organs.

The treat­ment usu­ally is phle­botomy — a removal of one-half liters of blood from the body each time until the iron lev­els are reduced. This may require months or even years. Less fre­quent phle­botomy is needed after iron lev­els are reduced.

Symp­toms can be fatigue, hair loss, immune dys­func­tion, irri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome, changes in skin color and explo­sive diar­rhea. Nor­mal absorp­tion of iron from food in the intesti­nal tract is 8–10 per­cent. In peo­ple with hemochro­mato­sis the absorp­tion is four times as much as nor­mal lev­els. This iron can­not be excreted and reaches a toxic level in the organs, such as the heart, liver, spleen, pan­creases, skin, joints and glands. The toxic lev­els in tis­sues get so high that the organs cease to function.

There is no known cure at this time.

With that said, there are a few things a per­son can do to the sup­port the liver. I believe every­one should do a liver detox every spring and peo­ple who have had an anti-biotic should do a liver detox after­wards. Peo­ple with hemochro­mato­sis should do a liver detox four times a year at the sol­stice and the equinox, the uni­ver­sal energy at these times of year are strong and we should be take advan­tage of energy. I like a mild liver detox that you can find that in a good health food store; if you can­not find it, con­tact me. We are com­ing up on the autum­nal equinox in a few weeks and it is a good time for liver detox.

Foods that relieve a swollen liver include olive oil, lemons, and limes. Avoid fatty foods, eat less and elim­i­nate foods that dam­age the liver: these include food high in sat­u­rated fats, cheese, eggs, cream, fatty meat, food with addi­tive, processed food, refined foods, and all intoxicants.

Foods that stim­u­late the liver include all mem­bers of the onion fam­ily, mus­tard greens, basil, turmeric, gin­ger, dill, horse­rad­ish, rose­mary, lemon balm and rose­mary. Too many extremely pun­gent foods, such as hot pep­pers, can dam­age the liver. Anti-stagnancy foods are mild: beets, peach, cherry cab­bage, turnip root, kohlrabi, cau­li­flower, broc­coli and Brus­sels sprout, and alfalfa sprouts.

Foods that har­mo­nize the liver include spring­time foods, grains, fruits, and veg­eta­bles. Because the sea­son for the liver is spring, always do a liver cleanse in the spring regard­less how many times you do a cleanse through­out the year. Honey used spar­ingly is help­ful to curb crav­ing, espe­cially if com­bined with apple cider vine­gar. Dur­ing a detox­i­fi­ca­tion stay away from refined sug­ars; use instead, ste­via, unre­fined cane juice gran­ules, whole sugar cane, and licorice, date sugar, molasses, and rice syrup.

Foods that reduce excesses of the liver: the most pow­er­ful com­mon rem­edy for quickly remov­ing liver stag­na­tion and the accom­pa­ny­ing depres­sion and indi­ges­tion is vine­gar. The flavor of vine­gar is both sour and bit­ter and has detox­i­fy­ing, highly active prop­er­ties. Put one tea­spoon of apple vine­gar in a cup of water and add honey. If the vine­gar is too strong replace it with lemon or lime, this com­bi­na­tion will have a cool­ing effect on the liver.

Foods that help in cool­ing the liver: Aloe Vera juice, chlorophyll-rich foods, let­tuce, cucum­ber, water­cress, plum, mil­let, tofu, mush­rooms and rhubarb root.

Foods that accel­er­ate liver reju­ve­na­tion: chlorophyll-rich foods, Aloe Vera juice or gel, wheat grass or bar­ley grass juice, spir­ulina, wild blue green algae and chlorella.

Because peo­ple with hemochro­mato­sis have prob­lems with their red blood cells, foods that stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of red blood cells are good: beets and beet greens. Food that con­tains pro­teins also con­tain large amounts of iron; phy­to­pro­teins are bet­ter but they still have iron. Always eat organic foods. Because the red blood cells are cre­ated in the mar­row of the bone, eat gelatin. I use Knox gelatin found in the gro­cery store because it sup­ports bone mar­row. Another good source is round bones with the mar­row in them, you can find them in meat depart­ment of the gro­cery store (some­times you have ask or order them from the butcher.) There will be a slight cost. I put them in soup or stews; when they are cooked eat the mar­row. It is very impor­tant to main­tain your red blood cell count.

These foods are not cures but they sup­port the liver and help the liver in detox­i­fy­ing the itself, tis­sues and other organs.

A Chi­nese Fable

Chin Ling loved his Rice Wine. After years of abuse he began to have symp­toms of liver prob­lems. When he went to the doc­tor, the doc­tor said, “Chin Ling you stop drink­ing Rice Wine or you die.” “But I love my rice wine, I can not live with­out it.” The doc­tor per­sisted, “You stop or die.”

Chin Ling went home and thought bout his sit­u­a­tion, he said. “I no give up rice wine and I no die.”

Chin Ling every morn­ing mas­saged his liver and said. “I love and honor my liver, you healthy and I can live a long healthy life.” He did this every morn­ing mas­sag­ing his liver in ellip­tic cir­cle one hun­dred times.

Chin Ling lived to be 101 years of age and he never stopped drink­ing his rice wine.

What is going on here? Yes, it is a fable, but there is some truth within its lines.

First — Pos­i­tive Thinking

Sec­ond — Future Intentions

Third — Belief: He never gave up

Fore­most was the mas­sage. Today we call what he did Vis­ceral Manip­u­la­tion. The liver moves or is rotated in oblique or ellip­ti­cal orbit, in moves very slowly in a counter-clockwise motion. Vis­ceral mas­sage is done with a flat hand fol­low­ing the shape of the liver and done very slowly.

Vis­ceral Manip­u­la­tion works to heal and relax the liver when done slow and easy with pos­i­tive inten­tions and a belief. It is part of Energy Medicine.

Some mas­sage ther­a­pist do Vis­ceral Manip­u­la­tion; if you can’t find one con­tact me.

Remem­ber the liver is the most impor­tant organ in the body.