Chlorogenic Acid for Healthy Liver and Gall Bladder Function

One of the functions an herb may have is designated cholagogue, meaning, to promote the flow of bile (Latin: chole). Herbs reputed to be cholagogues have several indications for use, but have been primarily given for alleviating diseases of the liver and gallbladder. Today, we have some additional information about how the flow of bile affects health, so that we can better appreciate the action of cholagogues.

Chlorogenic acids are cholegogues; their regular ingestion helps the flow of bile and thus reduces the adverse effects of bile stagnation. Chlorogenic acids (see basic structure, below) are found in all higher plants and are understood to have a role in the plant’s response to stress, particularly to damage such as breaking of leaves and flowers or nicking the skin of fruits (1). The quantities present in most plants are miniscule, and thus they do not play an important part in human diet or herbal medicines. However, a few plants accumulate chlorogenic acids in quantities sufficient to have a physiological effect. The primary dietary source of chlorogenic acid is coffee; the green coffee beans typically contain 6-7% of this component (range: 4-10%); roasted coffee beans contain somewhat less, as the roasting transforms chlorogenic acids into other molecules, which may still retain the same functions.

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