Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

You Must Flush Your Liver...GAPS Alone Isn't Enough

After years of experimenting and working through various healing protocols, I have found that certain approaches are more efficacious than others.  But I have also learned that we need to combine important aspects of varying approaches.  In my struggles to heal myself and my children from significant allergies, gut dysbiosis and hormonal disruptions, I have discovered what I believe to be effective healing strategies.  As I have shared regularly on this blog, GAPS is an integral part of recovering health.  Numerous ways to modify and enhance GAPS exist, and the program will help you to achieve gut healing.  But to be truly well, most of us need more.  GAPS alone isn't enough, so I have designed what I call GAPS Plus.

GAPS tackles one of the most deleterious health scourges that modern Americans face:  gut dysbiosis.  Health begins in the gut, where 80% of our immune system is housed.  When we suffer from leaky gut and an overgrowth of pathogenic flora, we cannot maintain good health.  We fall prey to numerous auto-immune disorders and brain chemistry imbalances.  GAPS can help you heal your gut, repopulate your body with necessary beneficial flora, and detoxify your system.

But in my opinion, GAPS is missing a key element.  To overcome toxicity and heal liver stagnation and malfunction, we must flush the liver of "stones."  The liver is a crucial organ, second only to the brain in its mechanics of regulating life systems.  Your liver controls the growth and function of every cell in your body.  Additionally, the liver is the largest gland in your body, part of the endocrine system that regulates hormonal functions.

Blockages and obstructions in the body restrict nutrient and oxygen flow to cells, beginning the cascade toward disease, such as autoimmune disorders, even cancer.  Waste matter can accumulate and build up in the organs and ducts of our body.  We see this affecting our health negatively throughout bodily systems, as in constipation (a build up of fecal matter in the intestines) or kidney stones (calcifications obstructing the flow of the kidneys), even "glue ear" or ear infections (sticky mucus combined with toxins and bacteria builds up in eustachian tubes).  The liver can suffer restricted performance through similar obstructions, particularly gallstones in the liver and gallbladder.

These stones...the result of hardened bile salts combining with trapped substances, like undigested cholesterol and toxins...can congest the gallbladder, the liver, and their ducts.  This congestion interferes with crucial health functions like digestion, blood detoxification and elimination of waste, not to mention cellular function and communication within the nervous and endocrine systems.

While about 20% of stones in the gallbladder consist of minerals (bile and calcium salts), the majority of the gallstones that become trapped in the liver are not calcified, and will not show up with imaging technology.  Only when an excessive amount of cholesterol-based stones are housed in the liver, will they appear in an ultrasound...prompting the diagnosis of fatty liver.  When the liver accumulates thousands of these stones (up to 20,000), it can suffocate and cease to function.

Just as modern Americans suffer from gut dysbiosis due to lifestyle and dietary factors, we suffer from these liver and gallbladder stones.  The most common causes of stones are the result of diet (lowfat diets, overeating, industrial foods, commercial salt, dehydration), pharmaceutical use (particularly hormone therapy and birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs), fluoride ingestion, sleep disruptions (ignoring natural sleep/wake cycles) and emotional stress.  

Chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders are directly related to liver function.  And liver function is impaired by hundreds or thousands of stones that you didn't even know you had, that developed over many years...likely starting in childhood.  When the gallbladder fills with stones, surgical removal is often recommended.  How could it not be better to avoid such procedures?!  And gallstones may not house in your gallbladder, but rather move into the liver and accumulate.

This is where a liver and gallbladder flush comes into play, and my tweaking of the GAPS protocol.  As much as I, Herbalistmama, hate to admit it, herbs are not enough.  Juicing isn't enough.  Dietary protocols and nourishing real foods are not enough.  You must move out the stones.  This can be done through a noninvasive, relatively simple process at home.

Conventional medicine is behind the curve yet again in its refusal to acknowledge the simple approach to ridding the liver of these troublesome stones.  In fact, liver stones are not even widely acknowledged in the conventional approach.  While Johns Hopkins at least acknowledges the reality of "intrahepatic gallstones," the myopic approach to their widespread existence and ease of eradication points us once again to self care.

Symptoms of liver stones include:
  • Every symptom of any ailment that you suffer
LOL!  Seriously, the list is rather long, as to be expected.  Remember, stones inhibit the work of the liver.  A malfunctioning liver does cause myriad ailments, minor and major, acute and chronic.  The stones can be the root cause of diseases of the mouth, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, intestines, circulatory system, respiratory system, urinary system, nervous system, reproductive system, bones, joints, skin.  Much crossover exists between ailments caused by gut dysbiosis and liver congestion; disease-producing culprits in both cases include toxicity, intestinal disturbances, inefficient nutrient absorption, and impaired metabolism and brain chemistry.  Additionally, gallstones impair bile production, causing a host of digestive issues.

Stone-related disorders include eczema, acne, psoriasis, poor lymphatic drainage leading to numerous reproductive ailments and inflammation, thyroid disorders, other hormonal imbalances, lymphatic obstruction and its varying effects, arthritis, hemorrhagic disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rickets, tumors, back pain, hypertension, edema, kidney infection, allergies, respiratory ailments, "high" cholesterol, all gastrointestinal disorders, impaired saliva production leading to tooth and gum disease, chronic headaches, and more.  If you suffer from any such ailments, consider flushing your liver.  If you do not feel vibrant, thriving and robust, consider flushing your liver.  If you are currently breathing, consider flushing your liver.  (LOL...but I am serious...I can't imagine anyone who would not benefit from a liver flush.)

Here is a quick self test for liver congestion:  Stand up and relax, breathe deeply a few times.  Place the fingers of your right hand along your lowest right rib and try to insert your fingers up under the ribs.  (This is where your liver lives.)  You should be able to have enough wiggle room to get your fingers in upwards to the second knuckle.  If you cannot, or if you feel pain upon moving your fingers up under your rib, you are probably congested.  Although, being able to get your fingers up under your ribs doesn't guarantee lack of stones, so assess your physical and health symptoms for your overall picture. 

According to Andreas Moritz, naturopathic physician and author of The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, additional physical signs of gallstones in the liver and gallbladder include:
  • Brown patches on skin ("liver" spots)
  • Pimples or hair growth between eyebrows
  • Oily forehead, excess perspiration on forehead
  • Yellow tinge to facial skin
  • Premature graying hair, hair loss in center of the head
  • Yellowish or dark circles under the eyes ("allergy shiners"), puffy bags under eyes
  • Redness in whites of eyes, eyes appear "dull"
  • Red nose, indentation in tip of nose
  • White- or yellow-coated tongue, pimples or cracks on tongue
  • Bad breath, frequent burping, mucus discharge into throat and mouth
  • Crust formations at corners of mouth, ulcers in mouth
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Tonsillitis
  • Yellowish teeth, especially canines
  • Vertical ridges on fingernails, white spots on nails
  • Yellow color of feet
  • Dry, hard stools
  • Sharp, sour odor of stools
  • Pale colored stools, floating stools
  • Difficulty digesting fats (feeling nauseated after a high-fat meal)
I first learned about liver flushing many moons ago when I read Hulda Clark's The Cure for All Diseases.  Since then, I have read various similar recommendations.  Somehow I kept pushing the flush to the back corners of my "to do" list, thinking that juicing and herbs would adequately clean my liver.  After struggling with my most sensitive child's plateau on the GAPS protocol, and praying for clarity on how to better heal him, I turned again to the liver flush material.  I saw that my symptoms for the last decade pointed heavily to a stone-congested liver, as did my son's.  I decided to hesitate and procrastinate no longer, and to do my first round of liver flushing.

The bad news is that we can be riddled with thousands of stones and that it can take many months to rid ourselves of these stones.  And we must be diligent to finish the course once we begin, because if we start to move toxins out of our organs and body but do not finish the job, we can feel quite icky...not to mention remain miserably in our ailments.  But the good news, the most excellent news, is that this process works and it is not expensive, time consuming, nor painful!  (OK, there is some nausea potentially involved for one evening, and some runny stools...but what is that compared to being freed from real health maladies?!)  For my first cleanse, I passed about 150 small stones, most pea-sized, some smaller, a few a bit larger.  For anyone who doesn't think this stuff is really cool (like I do), forgive the "graphic" photo showing a sample of my stones.  The most interesting part to me was the stones' odor...it was quite unpleasant and had a strong tone of tar/motor oil/burnt rubber, which I attribute to trapped environmental toxins.

I want to emphasize that I believe the GAPS protocol is still essential to regaining health.  A liver flush complements this healing.  With GAPS, you will seal your impaired intestinal lining and eliminate your malevolent pathogenic flora.  You will begin to rebuild your necessary beneficial flora and detoxify.  A liver flush cannot accomplish the necessary goals of gut repair.  But the flush will remove the stones from your gallbladder, liver, and ducts, achieving an even greater and fuller systemic healing.  The two protocols work in concert.

I will continue next post by describing the flush and my GAPS Plus protocol.  After that, I will be giving away a copy of Andreas Moritz's guide, The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse.  In the meantime, I recommend that you read his book and become familiar with why you need to flush your liver and how to do it.  (Disclaimer:  I do not agree with Moritz's recommendation to vegetarianism/veganism.  It is not necessary to avoid gallstones, but a diet of nourishing Real Food is.  For the cleanse, however, it is important to avoid dairy and many heavy fats.  But more on that soon...)

For More Information

The Importance of Liver Flushing
Hulda Clark Information Center
Healing Your Gall Bladder

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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