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Ginger & Thyme: Protection Against Alcohol Damage

May 22nd, 2009

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Long-term abuse of alcohol wreaks havoc on brain and liver health.

An interesting study suggests that extracts of 2 common kitchen herbs are potent alcohol-detoxifying agents that could protect the liver and brain from the kind of damage that accrues with continuous alcohol abuse. 

The study suggest that water extracts of thyme and ginger were able to offset the alcohol-induced decrease in antioxidant capacity and glutathione levels, as well as the increase in liver enzymes (which is generally indicative of liver stress).

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Thyme for a liver detox?

Alcohol and alcoholism affect the body in many ways, but the liver and brain bear a disproportionate share of their toxic and cumulative effects.  The costs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism to society are enormous (click to download WHO study), both from  alcohol abuse itself, and the medical treatment for its health consequences.  So, any safe, natural and inexpensive agents capable of  minimizing or repairing the damage wrought by alcohol should be welcomed by the medical community.

This animal study used mice, not humans, so more research  is needed before firmer conclusions can be drawn about humans using these same herb extracts and receiving the same benefit, or perhaps general liver and detox support for healthier livers without alcohol damage.

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Ginger already has many other established benefits: inflammation, digestion, cardovascular health.

On the other hand, thyme and ginger have been in the food supply for thousands of years so there’s little doubt left about their safety at this point.  So, it wouldn’t be unsafe to try using  thyme and ginger extracts in your liver health or whole-body detox protocol, whether or not alcohol is involved.  Ginger has already been shown to have a wide-range of other benefits such as moderating inflammation, benefiting digestion and cardiovascular health.  Neither ginger and thyme has been closely associated with detoxification in the past.  But this study and follow ups may see  them join the established liver and detox nutrients like n-acetyl-cysteine, milk thistle, glutathione and SAMe.

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