Radically Natural Remedies: Flush Your Liver for Systemic Detox
As discussed in my previous post, a liver cleanse is one of the most important steps in establishing or regaining health. Flushing your liver and gallbladder of stones will reverse numerous maladies and aid systemic healing, including autoimmune and hormonal disorders. It is true that health begins in the gut, which is why the GAPS protocol is so important. But health is maintained by the liver. To be truly well, we must address both. The GAPS program, combined with a liver flushing program, is an effective therapy for "cleaning house," detoxifying, revitalizing immunity, repairing brain chemistry imbalances, and more. And what better time to begin your journey of healing than the coming New Year? I'm not one for "resolutions," but tackling important projects and turning new corners seems apropos at this time.
Whether or not you think you need GAPS (and it is highly likely that you do), a liver flush is an essential key to wellness. If you are already on the GAPS protocol, adding a round of liver flushes will speed your healing and ensure benefits that GAPS alone cannot provide. If you have not yet begun GAPS, but plan to do so, this is the perfect time to introduce the liver flush program. The best news is that a liver flush is neither difficult, nor expensive. First I will describe the flush, then I will propose a GAPS/Flush schedule.
The Liver Flush
The entire program may take many months. You do one flush at a time, but you must do enough flushes to remove all the stones currently housed in your liver. As I mentioned in my previous post , it is disadvantageous to begin a cleanse and not follow through. Most adults need an average of eight flushes to remove all the stones. You will require more or fewer depending upon your health state. Children should need fewer cleanses than do adults.
One flush requires six days, five of those being preparation days. Plan for your sixth day (and the following seventh day) to fall on days where you can relax and be undisturbed for an evening of sleep and a morning of bathroom visits. For example, day one would be Sunday, so that the evening of the "real flush work" lands on Friday, and Saturday morning you flush your results. But the protocol couldn't be simpler.
Days One through Five
- If you cannot tolerate or do not want to drink apple juice (it made me nauseated and gave me the shakes...my body could not tolerate the straight sugar source), use 1 teaspoon natural malic acid powder dissolved into 32 ounces water. The L-Malic Acid is the natural, not synthetic, form. (It is the malic acid in the juice that softens the stones, preparing them to pass.)
- Other alternatives to the apple juice or malic acid include the herb Gold Coin Grass, cranberry juice, and apple cider vinegar. See below for dosing. I have not tried these methods.
- Eat "lightly" throughout the week. Do not become a vegan. But abstain from dairy and try to eat light meals of meats and veggies, not heavy on breads and carbs, and limited or no sugars. Soup is an excellent option. And do try to cut back on fats. That helps the olive oil drink on Day Six to be more effective. (A large ingestion of fats prompts the gallbladder to release stones...but without the proper protocol, such as softening stones with malic acid and opening ducts with epsom salts, you can get stones stuck rather than passed, which can cause discomfort and various symptoms.)
- During this week, it is essential that you clear out the bowels. Even if you have regular movements, you can have impacted fecal matter lining your intestines. You want to use this flush as an opportunity to clean your bowels, and you need to have a clear passageway for flushing out the stones. A daily enema is optimal. Additionally you can use a product called Colosan (a concentrated form of magnesium combined with oxygen that acts by drawing water into the bowels...get the powder, not the capsules), or large doses of magnesium citrate (like Natural Calm...take it until you get runny bowels). Colosan is the better choice. But you must be sure you are having regular very soft to runny stools every day. Doing enemas until your bowel runs clear (you have passed all dark brown and foul smelling matter) is an essential way to ensure that you are clearing your bowels.
- Drink 32 ounces of the apple juice or malic acid solution in the morning before eating anything.
- Eat lightly until 1:30 pm, after which you will fast. Drink water generously.
- Important: The fasting, combined with the enemas, ensures that you do not create feces and that when you flush you will be passing only water, bile and stones. If you have feces in your intestines, this can impede the passing of stones; stones can become lodged in your tract and can cause pain (perhaps even pancreatitis) in the next days or weeks.
At 6 p.m.
- Dissolve 4 tablespoons of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in 24 ounces water. You are making four 6 oz. servings. (The epsom salts dilate the bile ducts, making the stones easier to pass.)
- Drink your first serving (6 oz.) now.
- Do not drink fresh water for 20 minutes before or after consuming the epsom salts.
- You may add a squeeze of fresh lemon to the salt water to make it more palatable, and drinking with a straw helps to bypass taste buds. You may rinse your mouth with fresh water after drinking.
At 8 p.m., drink your second serving (6 oz.) of epsom salts.
At 9:30 p.m., do an enema (or two or three or four...) to clean out the bowels.
At 9:45 p.m.
- Juice three or more room temperature grapefruits. You need 3/4 cup grapefruit juice. (Alternatively, you may combine orange and lemon juice.)
- Combine this with 1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
- Add to a pint or quart jar and shake vigorously to mix, about 20 times, or until mixture is watery. (The oil in this mixture prompts the liver to release the stones, the grapefruit juice increases the production of bile secretions.)
At 10 p.m.
- Stand by your bed and drink the entirety of the concoction without stopping (consume within five minutes). After an afternoon of fasting, I found this juice mixture to be delicious. Anyone used to a high fat diet will have no trouble...my son and I agreed that the mixture was like a delicious citrus smoothie.
- Immediately lie down in bed, propping your head up on pillows so that your head is higher than your abdomen. (You may also lie down on your right side with knees pulled up to abdomen.)
- Lie still for the first 20 minutes, no talking, no moving, just resting. Think happy thoughts about how many stones will leave your body.
- Go to sleep. (Don't worry if in your sleep you don't keep your head propped up.)
- Additionally, you may use a castor oil pack over the liver area to help reduce congestion. Wet a flannel cloth with a few spoonfuls of castor oil and lay it over your liver (located under your right lower ribs), cover it with a towel. Have this ready to go by your bed before you drink your grapefruit oil.
to feel nauseated, perhaps even to vomit. You have begun releasing toxins from your liver and it could make you feel ill. Be prepared to begin passing watery stools in the evening, though most people do not pass anything until the morning.
In the morning
Between 6 to 6:30 a.m.
(not before 6 a.m.)
- Drink the third portion (6 oz.) of your epsom salt water. If you feel very thirsty, drink a glass of tepid water before drinking the epsom salts.
- Go back to bed, but try to stay propped up; alternately, stay up and read but be restful!
Between 8 to 8:30 a.m. drink your final glass (6 oz.) of epsom salts.
At 10 a.m. you may drink freshly pressed juice (fruits, carrot).
At 10:30 a.m. you may eat a couple pieces fresh fruit.
At 11 a.m. you may eat light food. Continue to eat lightly throughout the day, as you did the week in preparation for the cleanse. Be sure to hydrate well.
During the morning
(most likely beginning after the final round of epsom salts) and perhaps into the afternoon, you will pass numerous watery bowel movements. These may contain "chaff" or "foam," which is undigested bile, along with stones. Some of your stones may be calcified; these tan or whitish stones will sink. Some will float...these are the pea-green or greenish-black cholesterol/bile stones. Stones may be tiny, they may be larger. Expect anything from smaller than pea-sized to as large as an inch. Light-colored stones are newer, the dark stones are older. You may pass dozens, or even hundreds of stones. (Most of mine were pea sized and blackish; I passed about 200 stones my first flush.) Expect your stones to smell foul. Feel free to spoon out some stones and examine them...it's a fascinating science experiment.
In the days following your cleanse, continue with the Colosan or enemas to ensure bowel flushing. You don't want gallstones to remain in your colon, causing irritation.
It is important to leave a two-week break (from the day you flush to your next "day one" of drinking the malic acid) between liver flushes, to allow the gallbladder and liver to recover. Passing these stones is like mini surgery (without the horrifying side effects) and we want the body to recuperate. But remember, you must continue to flush until you have passed all your stones. You will know you have succeeded when you do two cleanses and you have passed no stones.
In the hours following your cleanse, you will likely feel better, rejuvenated, and experience reduction in your ailments' symptoms. But in a few days, symptoms will return as more stones travel from the back of the liver forward toward the hepatic ducts. So plan to keep cleaning your liver until you find no more stones.
Photo from wikipedia
A note on children
Andreas Moritz, author of The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, recommends that children ages 10 to 16 can do the flush, but should be given a half dose of everything and that the flush should start an hour or two earlier on Day Six. I am comfortable having my younger children do the flush. This protocol is noninvasive, gentle, safe and effective. It is important to reduce the dosages for children, and not require that young children fast completely on the afternoon and evening of Day Six if they are unable to do so. Have them eat lightly and expect that the stones will not release easily on their own on the seventh morning, because they can be caught in feces in the colon. In this case, an enema before ingesting the grapefruit oil and again in the morning after the second dose of epsom salts will remedy the situation.
So for children, the doses would be:
- 1/2 tsp. malic acid in 16 to 32 oz. water for days one through six (alternatively 16 oz. apple juice)
- 2 Tb. epsom salts in 24 oz. water on evening six (start at 4 p.m., rather than 6)
- 1/2 cup grapefruit juice mixed with 1/4 cup olive oil
[Again, a disclaimer. I appreciate much of Moritz's experience and knowledge as shared in his book. But I do not agree with his perspective on, nor his advice of, a vegetarian diet. Additionally, children can have stones who have not been fed a toxic diet or given antibiotics and vaccines. My children are not in that category and my children flushed dozens of stones in their first cleanses. Various factors can contribute to stones, including environmental toxins, stress, propensity to autoimmune disorders (in our case, allergies), gut dysbiosis, and consumption of foods to which one is allergic or sensitive. But past consumption of less-than-stellar foods could have contributed to the formation of stones. Even once you switched to a nourishing diet, the stones are likely still housed in the liver and need to be removed.]
My 4-yr-old's stones (color lighter)
My four-year-old daughter passed the largest, but newest, stones of our family. (The photo doesn't show the color accurately...her stones were lighter and brighter green, not the dark brownish green that I, my husband, and my sons had.) I did need to administer an enema the morning of her stone release (the morning after Day 6), because she did not fast on Day 6. I don't expect young children to be able to fast. The body will produce feces from that afternoon and evening meal, so the stones can get "caught" in the feces. She did not easily pass the water and bile with stones that the rest of us did. But I administered a small water enema, and her stones came right out with the feces from the previous evening's meal. So if you feed your young children the afternoon of Day 6, be prepared to administer an enema the next morning to help release the stones.
I want to emphasize that my daughter was exclusively breastfed for her first year, after which she never ate processed foods, nor refined sugars. As with all my children, she has never been vaccinated, and she has never received any drugs (even OTC). She is the healthiest of my children, but still had some food sensitivities. Her stones smelled of petroleum, as did all of ours. I share this to emphasize that even young, healthy children raised on a WAPF diet are subject to environmental toxins that can affect their organs.
Alternatives to apple juice/malic acid powder
- Gold Coin Grass tincture: 1 tablespoon on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast. This method must be used for eight days before the day of the actual flush.
- Cranberry juice: 4 ounces of juice + 4 ounces of water, four times a day for six days.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 tablespoons in a glass of water, four times a day for six days.
The GAPS/Flush Schedule
The first schedule is for those of you who have not yet begun the GAPS protocol. You will be gearing up to begin Intro, hopefully by using the excellent preparation schedule laid out by Baden Lashkov in the GAPS Guide. (See below for purchase options. As with the other links on this page, if you purchase through one of these links, I could accumulate a small commission. Thank you!)
[Yes, technically citrus fruits are GAPS illegal during Intro. So test yourself on a bit of grapefruit juice before doing the cleanse. A mixture of orange and lemon juices can be substituted for the grapefruit juice. If you are highly reactive to these fruits, don't use this protocol until you move to Full GAPS and can tolerate them.]
- Before beginning Intro, do one round of the liver cleanse.
- Begin Intro.
- When you have reached Stage Five of Intro, do a liver cleanse using the L-Malic Acid powder.
- Continue finishing Intro.
- When you have begun to merge onto Full GAPS (or three weeks after your previous cleanse), do another flush.
- Continue the flush protocol every two to three weeks until you no longer pass stones.
- Finish GAPS.
- Enjoy greater success and renewed health!
- Do a liver flush every six months for the next few years, then move to once a year.
- Go back and do the liver flush protocol from start to finish if you experience major illness or "flubs" in your diet and your health becomes impaired. Also go back to GAPS Intro for a few weeks in this case.
If you are already on the GAPS protocol, doing Intro, just begin your liver flush program once you reach Stage Five.
If you are already on the GAPS protocol, doing Full GAPS, begin your flush program now and follow it to completion.
In a future post I will address herbs and nutrients that help to regain and maintain liver health, which you can add to this protocol. For now, keep it simple and just begin to flush out those stones.
For More Information
GAPS Guide 2nd ed. paperback
GAPS Guide 2nd ed. epub file (most versatile file type)
GAPS Guide 2nd ed. mobi file (Kindle)