From my many years’ experience as an herbalist, I know that liver flushing is one of the most effective ways to dramatically improve wellbeing. It has so many benefits for health.
Liver flushing is so effective at helping the body reduce the toxic burden we’re exposed to on a daily basis. I’ve recommended it countless times for improving both liver function and digestion – the poor functioning of which lies at the root of so many health issues.
From personal experience I know that doing a liver flush increases my energy, makes me feel lighter and helps me feel much calmer and more resilient to stress. I frequently teach clients at the clinic to use these simple techniques to dramatically improve their health. People who perform the liver flush report skin complaints clearing up, see menstrual problems vanish, and usually feel the benefit of losing a few pounds.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Liver flushing brings about truly amazing results.
What are the benefits of a liver flush?
Naysayers would have us believe that detoxing is literally “a load of rubbish.”
“Our bodies detox all the time! This is a function our bodies are designed to do! Without the ability to eliminate waste, we would simply die!”
Of course this is 100% true.
However, there’s a catch. What if you’re functioning below par? The stresses and strains of modern day life often put pressure on the pathways of elimination, meaning that your body isn’t always in the best possible shape to do all the jobs it needs to do.
Furthermore, it’s very difficult to argue with the fact that modern life exposes us to a huge number of toxic substances – much more than we had to cope with just 30 years ago. Processed food, stress at work and constant exposure to the soup of chemicals in the air and water of our cities and towns, are just a few of the things our bodies have to deal with on a moment to moment basis. It’s easy to see how the organs of elimination can quickly become overwhelmed.
There’s another problem; many of these chemicals and toxic compounds are fat soluble, which means they can hang around “in storage” in the body’s fat deposits for years. The liver itself can store fats, meaning it can therefore hold on to toxins. Liver flushing prevents the accumulation of these toxic deposits building up in the system and has a huge range of other health benefits including:
• Improved digestion (helpful for people with gallbladder issues who are unable to properly digest fats)
• Reduced cholesterol
• A profound harmonising effect on the menstrual cycle
• Clears up skin conditions. Better elimination means there’s less of a burden on the skin.
• Relieves constipation caused by a lack of bile and digestive juices
• Increased energy
• The releases of old negative emotions such as anger and resentment
Feeling sluggish, heavy and toxic isn’t the way we were designed to feel. Performing a liver flush is a simple way to give your hard working organs a helping hand.
Is it safe to perform a liver flush?
Herbalists and healers have performed cleanses since the year dot. In fact many cultures embrace the idea of cleansing – the concept of giving your body a chance to rest is really nothing new. Native Americans have their sweat lodges, Muslims fast during Ramadan. Here in the West we think nothing of taking a sauna, having a massage, or sweating it out on the sports field. Why would we universally choose to do these things if they didn’t make us feel good?
The difficulty is knowing which cleanse is going to be right for you. As everyone seems to be an armchair expert nowadays it can be difficult to sift through the confusing information we’re bombarded with on the TV shows and online. That’s why I’m going to strip it back to basics and keep things simple. The following cleanse is the one I recommend to clients here in the clinic. It’s the one I’ve used hundreds of times (including on myself) and is based around a traditional, tried and tested method, that’s gentle enough to be tolerated by most people who are in a reasonably good state of health.
Liver flushing; Sensible precautions
Before you go ahead and try the methods described in this post, there are one or two important points to note. Carrying out a liver flush may not be suitable for people who have gallstones or serious conditions such as hepatitis. It goes without saying that the flush should never be performed by pregnant women. It’s also important to remember that the effectiveness of any GP prescribed drugs you may be taking can be impaired by performing a flush. This is because your medication will pass through your system much more quickly than it usually would. All this can have implications if you’re taking medicine for serious conditions. If you’re at all unsure, the general rule is to check with your doctor before carrying out ANY naturopathic cleanse at home. If at all possible, find a practitioner who is experienced in cleansing to work with you and supervise your program.
Remember; when it comes to detoxing, one size does not fit all. The length of time needed will vary from person to person. Factors such as age, your current state of health, and whether or not you’ve done this kind of thing before should all be taken into account.
How to do a master cleanse
The following procedure is often referred to as a master cleanse. If you’re new to detoxing, I suggest you try this one first. The cleanse needs to be done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It’s important to avoid eating for at least half an hour afterwards to give the liquid time to pass through your system.
Try this as part of your regular morning routine for a week. You’re guaranteed to notice a difference!
You will need:
• One lemon
• One lime
• Half a pint of spring water (only use tap water if you have a water filter)
• Cayenne tincture (made from fresh chilli peppers) or fresh cayenne / chilli powder. If you’re using powder, be sure to buy a new pack. Don’t be tempted to use up that ancient jar you’ve had at the back of your cupboard. It will have little to no effect.
• Maple syrup or local organic honey to sweeten (optional)
Note: Cayenne has many healing benefits that make it the perfect herb of choice when you’re doing a cleanse. It improves digestion, helps combat wind and indigestion, clears out toxins, speeds up metabolism and helps your liver to metabolise fats and cholesterol.
Put the whole lemon and lime through a juicer. Using the whole fruit (including the skin and the pith) is particularly beneficial as some people can experience an acidic stomach and this can help to counteract any discomfort. If citrus fruit is a problem for you, substitute the juice for apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have a juicer, simply squeeze out the juice by hand and use that instead.
Next, add the juice to water, and then add 6 drops of cayenne tincture or a small pinch of cayenne powder and sweeten with the honey or syrup.
How to do a liver flush
If you’d like to go one step further, this short naturopathic liver cleanse will give this hard working organ a well-earned break. For best results, try the master cleanse for two days before going on to complete the liver flush.
You will need:
• 1 whole lemon
• Half a pint (250 ml) of fresh pressed, organic apple juice
• 1 tablespoon of cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
• 1 clove of garlic
• A small piece of fresh ginger root
• A teaspoon of organic turmeric powder
In addition to the above ingredients you’ll also need some herbal detox tea to drink after you consume the flush. Yogi detox tea is perfect for this and can easily be picked up in most supermarkets or health shops. Alternatively look for products that contain herbs like fennel, nettle, dandelion, liquorice, cinnamon and cardamom. As with the master cleanse, the liver flush should be performed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and you should leave at least one hour before eating in order to allow the flush to work its way through the digestive tract unimpeded.
How does a liver flush work?
The liver flush increases the flow of bile, allowing the body to dump stored toxins from the liver into the digestive tract ready to be eliminated via the gut.
Each of the ingredients is chosen for a very specific reason;
Apple juice (malic acid)
Renders toxic metals inert and increase cellular energy. It also makes the drink taste nice which is quite important if you plan to do the flush over a few weeks!
When the liver encounters oil it reacts by producing bile (an emulsifier that breaks down fats. Taking the oil stimulates the body to produce large amounts of bile which then pass into the small intestine.
The sour taste activates digestive enzymes
Although very anti-social this is a crucial ingredient in the flush so please don’t be tempted to omit it! Garlic contains sulphur compounds which are very important for the detoxification process.
Settles the stomach and prevents nausea which can sometimes occur when you first do the flush.
In addition, ginger also contains gingerol, a chemical which is known to counteract liver toxicity by stimulating bile excretion.
A powerful detoxifier and one of the most anti-inflammatory substances found in nature.
Method: How to perform the liver flush
• Put the lemon through your juicer, or squeeze out the juice by hand
• Crush the garlic and finely chop or grate the ginger
• Place all of the ingredients (minus the detox tea!) into a blender and liquidize
• Drink the whole thing down in one go!
Next prepare your herbal tea. Over the next two hours, sip at least 2 mugs, more if you can face it. Don’t eat anything at all during that time. This is to allow the liquid to pass through your digestive system and liver unimpeded.
After the 2 hours have passed, eat a light meal such as soup or stew. You may find that once you sit down to eat, you’ll want to have a bowel movement so be ready!
Many people find that the bowel movement consists mostly of water. But if this doesn’t happen – don’t worry! It may just be that your bowel is slightly dehydrated and it can sometimes take a little bit longer to work its way through. Other people have a lot of stuck material that will find its way out. Everyone is different, so whatever happens will be right for you.
Liver flushing; What to expect
The first time you perform the liver flush you may feel quite tired. This is completely normal, and a sign that the flush is working. For this reason it’s best to do the cleanse on a day where you’re able to rest. The tired feeling usually passes after you move your bowel, after which, you’ll feel noticeably lighter and have much more energy.
If you have a high level of congestion you may feel slightly nauseous to begin with. Drinking ginger tea can help with any queasiness. There may also be some healing reactions such as spots while the toxins move back into the tissues ready to be eliminated. A small number of people experience loose stools. In this case try doing one day on one day off until the bowels normalise. Many people also report a release of pent up emotions such as anger and frustration. This is very common when doing the liver flush, and so a few minutes of gentle meditation each day may be helpful in counteracting any old emotions that may come up.
If this topic is of interest and you’d like to take your knowledge to the next level, check out my Herbs For Liver Health short course. Here you’ll find a video walk through of how to prepare and take the liver flush, along with detailed information about a whole range of herbs, foods and herbal protocols to support liver health.
You can access my Herbs for Liver Health course here.
If you’re interested in going one step further and working with an experienced practitioner, my 10 day herbal detox and rejuvenation programme might be right for you.
This bespoke herbal programme comes with everything you need to undertake a gentle, yet powerful naturopathic cleanse in the comfort of your own home. Complete with herbal supplements, inspiring recipes, and most importantly, individualised personal support, the cleanse is tailored to your specific needs, ensuring you’re nurtured and supported from start to finish.
More information about the 10 day herbal detox and rejuvenation programme can be found by clicking here:
Got a question? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my very best to answer all your queries.
Herbs for Liver Health by Sarah Murphy
The amazing liver and gallbladder flush by Andreas Moritz