Liver Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies

Liver disease is a broad term which explains varieties of diseases. In simple terms liver disease is any condition which causes inflammation of the liver cells (hepatic cells) or damage to the liver tissue. Ultimately the functions of this master organ is decreased and hence indirectly various Gastro -Intestinal disturbances are resulted.  

Liver is responsible for many functions related to different systems, such as fat metabolism, production of proteins for blood plasma, storing and releasing of glucose as and when needed, removing bacteria from the blood stream, providing immunity factors etc. Physical or functional damage to the liver can cause significant hindrance to the related body functions of different systems. Hepatic disease is a broad term overs all the potential problems that cause the liver to fail to perform its designated functions.

liver gall bladder pancreas
liver gall bladder pancreas

In modern science liver disorders are categorised based upon cause and effect,
Cause for liver disease include –
infections, injury, exposure by toxic compounds, genetic defects etc.

Among the effects, inflammatory changes, fatty changes of liver, obstructions, clotting abnormalities and liver failure are pointed out in majority of the cases.

In Ayurveda, liver disorders are grouped together and termed as Yakrit vikara. Yakrit means liver and vikara refers to disorder or derangement, disfigure or diseased condition.

alcohol abuse on liver

According to Sushruta, the organ liver is formed from the blood (rakta) during the embryonic stage. It is considered to be the main site of blood. Both the Acharyas Charaka and Sushruta referred 3000 years back itself, as the site of colour responsible –bile variety (ranjaka pitta) even before body dissection and circulatory study in modern medicine.

Causative factors

Causative factors for Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara):
Madyapana (Alcohol intake)
Vegadharana (Suppression of natural urges)
Ushna teekshna ahara (intake of spicy and penetrative food and beverages)
Guru abhishyandi bhojana (heavy and blocking agents)
Diwaswapna (day sleep)
Ratri jagarana (night awakening)
Kshata (injury) etc

Liver disorders classification

In Ayurveda liver disorders are classified mainly under two headings-
Mlana yakrit (decreased functions or improper functions or shrinkage) and
Yakrit vriddhi (enlarged liver)
Depending upon the severity of the affliction the features are exhibited.

There are two main stages explained in

Features of Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara) 
Mlana yakrit (Reduced liver functions) –
Shakrit apravritti (constipation)
Pittaalpata (reduced biliary functions)
Atitrushna (excess thirst)
Avila mutrata (turbidity of urine)
Kardanma deha prabha (loss of lustre and complexion)
Panduta (anaemia)
Adhmana(distention of abdomen)
Agnimandya (loss of digestive capacity)
Chardi (vomiting)
Avasada (debility)
Tiktodgara (bitter regurgitation)
Jihwa liptata (coated tongue)
Udgara bahulya (belching)

Features of Yakrit vikara (enlarged liver)-
Asthi shoola ( pain in bones and joints)
Dakshina skandha shoola ( pain in right shoulder)
Sakthi shoola (pain in the flanks/waist)
Dakshina bahu jadya (numbness in the right shoulder)
Kasa (cough)
Mala vaivarnya (discoloration of the stool)
Tiktasyata (bitterness of the mouth)
Arati (loss of interest)
Lohita mootrata (yellow or red discoloration of the urine)
Bala hani (lethargy)
Vid badha(constipation)
Peetakshata (yellow discoloration of the eyes)
Vama parshwa shayanashaktata (difficulty to lie down in left sided position)
Nidranasha (loss of sleep)
Kamala (jaundice)
Toda(pricking sensation)
Bheda (splitting pain)
Daha (burning sensation)
Trishna (thirst)
Shotha (oedema) etc


According to modern medicine typical features of Liver disorders are –
Jaundice, fatigue, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, pain in the right upper abdominal quadrant, abdominal distention and intestinal bleeding in severe cases.
Now a days liver function tests make the diagnosis of liver disorders simple and more accurate. It becomes mandatory to understand the nature of the injury and to rule out in someone who is suspected liver disease due to unknown etiology or secondary to other systemic disorders.

Line of treatment

Line of Treatment in liver diseases:
Precipitating factors should be avoided. Patients are advised to avoid exertion and heavy work. Fat restricted food and protein rich food are recommended.
In cases of Hypoglycemia, intermittent administration of glucose is suggested.

In Ayurveda,
Deepana (Carminatives)
Pachana (Digestives),
Mashodhaka (Laxatives) and
Pittavirechaka (Cholegogues) herbs are recommended.

Vamana and Virechana treatments are used mainly in the treatment of liver disorders. They help to expel out aggravated Kapha and Pitta Dosha.

Ayurvedic home remedies

Home remedies for hepatic disorders:
1. Ayurvedic remedy for liver diseases –
click to read more

2. 1 – 2 grams of Long pepper powder is boiled in half a cup of milk, filtered and consumed once or twice a day before food
3. Juice of Bhumi Amalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) is consumed daily in the morning, empty stomach, in a dose of 5 – 15 ml

Liver being a master organ of the body when its structure or functions are altered, it produces serious effects. So care should be taken so as to prevent from any kind of liver diseases. Even after the treatment, patients should be well aware regarding the wholesome and unwholesome food and habits and recurrence should be prevented. As occurrence of viral hepatitis are also increasing day by day chances of liver affliction is more than ever before. Alcohol being the threatening enemy of liver should be absolutely avoided once after knowing the infiltration of liver cell damage.

Other classical medicines and home remedies for liver diseases:

  • Loha Bhasma (ash of iron) – with honey and ghee
  • Shunti churna (ginger powder) with Loha Bhasma
  • Loha bhasma with Gomutra (urine of cow)
  • Powders of Ela (cardamom), Jeeraka (cumin seeds), Bhumyamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri) and Sita (sugar) – taken in equal quantities and mixed with ghee should be taken early in the morning
  • Haridra churnam (turmeric powder) with curds early in the morning

Wholesome diet and habits

Wholesome diet and habits in Liver disorders (Yalrit vikara):
Red rice (Shasthika shali)
Sugar cane juice (Ikshurasa)
Alabu (Bottle gourd)
Sweet and bitter substances (Madhura tikta bhojana)
Light food (Laghu ahara)
Vishrama (Rest). Make sure to sleep for at least 8 hours /day.
Tendercocnut water (Narikela jala)
Raisins (Draksha)
Drink at least 2 litres of water per day.

Unwholesome diet and habits

Unwholesome diet and habits in Liver disorders (Yalrit vikara):
Spicy and fried food (Teekshna-Ushna-Tailakta bhojana)
Lavana (Salt intake in excess)
Sarshapa (Mustard)
Madyapana (Alcohol intake)
Ratri jagarana (Night awakening)
Avoid – high fat foods, deep fried food stuff, aerated drinks, alcohol.

Good foods for Liver:
Yava – Barley
Godhuma – Wheat
Jangala Mamsa Rasa – Flesh or meat soup of animals living in dry lands
Mudga – Green Gram
Aadhaki – Cajanus cajan (Pigeon pea)
Masura – Red lentils

Bad things for Liver:
Vahnim-aatapam – Exposure to fire, sun,
Ayasa – Excessive / strenuous exercises or activities
Pittalam – Food and activities which increase Pitta
Maithunam – Excessive indulgence in sex
Krodha – Anger and extremes of emotions
Adhwagamanam – Excessive walking

Herbs used

Herbs useful in Liver disorders:
Sharapunkha (Tephrosa purpurea)
Bhoomyamalaki (Phyllanthus neruri)
Katukarohini (Picrorhiza kurroa)
Kumari (Aloe vera)
Aragwadha(Cassia fistula)
Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba)
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Neeli (Indigofera tinctoria)
Rohitaka(Tecoma undulata)
Pippali  – Long pepper (Piper longum)
Draksha – raisins (Vitis vinifera)
Guduchi – Giloy (Tinospora cardifolia)
Punarnava (Boerrhavia diffusa)
Nimba – Neem 
Patola  – pointed gourd
Parpataka(Pumaria parviflora)
Kiratatikta (Swertia chirata)
Bhoonimba (Andrographis paniculata)
Daruharidra (Berberis aristata)

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines for Liver disorders (Yakrit vikara) :
Arogyavardhini Vati – used in the treatment of liver diseases, fever, skin diseases, etc.
Kumaryasava – used in the treatment of gastritis, urinary tract disorders etc.
Tamalaki choorna
Pathyakatphaladi kashaya
Rohitakarishtha – used in the treatment of liver and spleen related disorders, digestive problem like sprue, etc.
Pippalyasava – used in the treatment of anemone, piles, digestive complaints, sprue, liver complaints.
Guduchi satwa – used in Ayurvedic treatment of burning sensation of feet, bleeding diseases etc.
Punarnavasava – useful in gastritis, oedema, fiver and liver diseases.
Paripathadi khada
Bhoonimbadi khada – used in Ayurvedic treatment of fever, associated diarrhoea, cough, cold, asthma
Patola katurohinyadi kashaya –  used in the treatment of anorexia, vomiting, skin diseases etc
Avipattikara choorna – used in the treatment of constipation. Avipattikar churna is a herbal powder mix.

Trailokyanatha Rasa
Chandraprabha Vati
Giloy Satwa
Patolakaturohinyadi Kashayam
Punarnavadi Kashayam
Mahatiktakam Kashayam
Vasaguluchyadi Kashayam
Loha bhasma
Mandura Bhasma
Punarnava Mandura
Loha Mandura
Mandura Vataka
Chinchadi leham
Danti haritaki leham
Drakshadi leham etc

Diclofenac gel and liver disorders

Treatment with a product containing diclofenac sodium as topical applications is now linked with liver dysfunction, resulting in severe hepatic reactions, leading to a need for liver transplantation or death, according to USFDA and Novartis.

The report says that drug-induced hepatotoxicity is reported within the first month of treatment with diclofenac but can occur at any time during treatment.

According to an alert sent last night by MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program, “Post marketing surveillance has reported cases of severe hepatic reactions, including liver necrosis, jaundice, fulminant hepatitis with and without jaundice, and liver failure.Some of these reported cases resulted in fatalities or liver transplantation.”

22 comments on “Liver Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies

  • Priya

    18/05/2015 - 10:03 am

    Thank you for your incisive articles. Please illuminate further the concept of abhishyandi bhojana.

    I have come across this term often but do not understand it.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      18/05/2015 - 11:23 am

      Hi, I will cover this topic in future. In general, whichever is sticky, like pizza can be termed as Abhishyandi food.

      Reply to comment
      • C.G.Venkataramanan

        07/11/2015 - 9:49 am

        I see a parallel between sticky food and sticky cholestrol (VLDL?). I should then love “Thili Saar” (Rasam).

        Reply to comment
  • Shivanand

    18/05/2015 - 10:18 pm

    Hi Dr.i am very happy with this article . Your each&every articls are very valuable informations available. I am very thankful to your public service

    Reply to comment
  • Dr Aitha KS

    02/06/2015 - 4:27 pm

    dear Dr. very valuable information to evoke the interest and well beeing of public. Your service to humanity is appreciable

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    16/07/2015 - 6:46 pm

    Hi, you can eat 5 – 6 times itself, with less quantities of meals, so that you feel hunger before next meal time. If you are averse to lean meat, you can have legumes.

    Reply to comment
  • Vinay S Gouri

    11/03/2016 - 10:13 am

    Dear Dr. Hebbar,

    It is almost evident now that you seem the provide the richest and finest source of unbiased information on Ayurveda in this planet!! Kudos and hats off to your service.

    I have a small question. Lagenaria siceraria/Lauki/Bottle gourd/Sorekai seems to be so beneficial from vatta and pitta balancing point of view. Arent there any kashayams or other oral medications which contain this bottle gourd as a primary ingredient?


    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      11/03/2016 - 10:25 pm

      Hi, thanks. I will write about Lauki soon. Please subscribe and watch out for emails. More and more interesting stuffs are on the way. Cheers!

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    30/08/2016 - 10:31 pm

    Hi, the said combination can be taken for 2 months time.

    Reply to comment
  • Shrish Jain

    13/12/2016 - 10:29 am

    Loha bhasma with Gomutra : How much quantity of loha bhasma and gomutra to be taken? Can one take gomutra ark instead? Also can one take saptamrut loha bhasma instead?

    Reply to comment
  • Sai

    06/03/2017 - 9:34 pm

    what will be your treatment through ayurveda for lax in the LES which causes GERD…..Modern medicine has no answer to this problem. your answer will benefit Millions of GERD sufferers …

    Reply to comment
    • Rameshkumar S

      11/04/2017 - 6:53 am

      Which juice to be taken urgent.liver gastrititis

      Reply to comment
  • aman

    10/08/2017 - 7:46 am

    Hello thr any medicine specifically to increase bile flow in the gallbladder except arogyvardhini vati which doesnt include heavy metal ingredients

    Reply to comment
  • Caroline Barongo

    15/10/2017 - 3:01 am

    In my research, I realise ensuring overall health is the right way to avoid all these problems. The same remedies work for different ailments, so why not just live a healthy lifestyle? I love the tips in this blog, and I will include them in my regime. I am currently using the blessed back seed oil, and i hope these options will further my progress towards healthful living

    Reply to comment
  • Raghavendra

    16/10/2017 - 9:43 am

    Hi Doctor,any medicine for bile production in liver.

    Reply to comment
  • Vidhi Gautam

    09/04/2018 - 12:15 pm

    Sir please suggest which ayurvedic medicine is beneficial for gall stone

    Reply to comment
  • Padma

    18/10/2020 - 5:34 am

    Could you suggest a genuine ayurvedic treatment hospital inpatient gi liver cirrhosis treatment in Bangalore or any Indian state

    Reply to comment
  • Mohammad Sahil

    25/09/2021 - 9:02 am

    Sir , can u plz explain the mode of action of shivakshar pachak churan in yakrti mandhya.If yakrit mandhya is caused due tu pitta prkopa how does it provied strength to liver and promotes colagauge activity of liver? Read it from ras tantr sar avum siddha pryog.Wouldnt it aggeravate the pitta further causing more yakrit mandhya? Or will it first aggravate the piita and the in combination with pitta virechak drugs remove the dosha

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      27/09/2021 - 2:18 pm

      It is useful to stimulate liver by stimulating Pitta Dosha, in cases such as fatty liver disorder or sluggish liver functions. In these conditions, Pitta increase leads to agni correction, leading to restoration of healthy liver functions.

      Reply to comment

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