Artichokes: Your Liver's Best Friend

The spring is a time of regeneration and growth. The spring is also a natural time for the liver to cleanse and detoxify your body. Start your own personal regeneration from within by taking care of your liver. Here's how.

Spring: Season of the Liver
In Chinese nutrition, the therapeutic and energetic properties of food are given a lot of consideration. Specifically, Chinese nutrition seeks to strengthen vulnerable organ systems and maintain balance between energies and organs. Each season of the year corresponds to a particular organ. It is important to eat foods that support the organ of the season and help the body cope with that season's weather conditions.

Spring is the season of the liver. During this time, it is important to eat foods that will cleanse and improve the function of the liver, as well as prepare the body for summer's heat. Sour flavors like lemon and vinegar are helpful to your liver.

Artichokes to Your Liver's Rescue
It goes without saying if we want to live far into the future, we need livers that function properly. Environmental toxins from our water, food, and air are deposited into the body, and our liver plays a critical role of filtering these toxins.

Most people have livers that are overburdened by chemical overload and function slowly. Artichokes can help. This delicious vegetable is a powerful liver protector because it contains a flavonoid called silymarin, a strong antioxidant. Studies on animals have shown that silymarin may be helpful against liver toxicity and cancer. When it's in season, steam and eat a couple of artichoke flowers to keep your liver performing at its optimum.

Lemon Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat or rice flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 jar (10 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped


  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a resealable plastic storage bag. Place one chicken breast at a time in flour mixture, seal bag and shake to coat; transfer to a plate as coated.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about eight minutes. Transfer, as cooked, to a warmed platter. Add broth and lemon juice to same skillet; bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to about one cup. Stir in artichoke, for sauce.
  3. Transfer chicken to four serving plates and pour sauce over top. Serve with brown rice sprinkled with pine nuts and fresh veggies.

I hope you can use this information to enhance your liver's health. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao

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To learn more about Dr. Mao and other natural health tips, go to

To purchase Dr. Mao's book, "Secrets of Longevity," click here.


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