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Liver Detox and Cleanse - Natural Options

Updated on April 25, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Natural Cleanses

A liver cleanse is not something to take on lightly or without research. It should be done in stages. Most naturopaths recommend that before the liver is cleansed a person should do a colon cleanse first and then a kidney cleanse. Why is this?

When you go through a liver cleanse the various toxins that have been stored in the liver are dumped in to the body. The colon and the kidneys must then eliminate these toxins rapidly, or as rapidly as possible. If these organs are not at peak function they will not be able to rid the body of toxins quickly and effectively and that could lead to more problems.

Once you have done that then it is time to go on to the liver cleanse.

The Organs Surrounding the Liver
The Organs Surrounding the Liver

The Function of the Liver

With in the human body is an organ that is incredible in the amount of work it does daily.The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and the heaviest weighing in at over 3 lbs. It is a smooth, cone shaped organ that is protected by the rib cage on the upper right of the abdomen. It carries out over five hundred different processes every day involved with filtering and regulating the various chemicals in the body. Some of it's many duties are:

  • Aids in digestion
  • distributes nutrients in the food you eat
  • removes toxins from the blood
  • stores glucose
  • filters chemicals
  • helps to get rid of old blood cells
  • maintains the blood sugar level
  • and many more things

Most amazing of all is that it regenerates itself! Your liver can continue to keep functioning even after losing up to ninety percent (90%) of it's cells.

Because it does so much when it is not functioning properly the whole body can run amok. With as many environmental pollutants as humans are exposed to in modern society the liver is often worked beyond it's ability to cope and over time it ceases to do it's job effectively. As the liver functions less effectively the body begins to have illnesses and begins to break down. Some of the health problems associated with a toxic liver are:

  • constipation
  • bloat
  • headaches
  • acid reflux
  • high cholesterol
  • overweight/obesity
  • underweight
  • PMS
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Skin disorders

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Luckily the liver is resilient and these illnesses and trends toward illnesses can be reversed.

Dr Sandra Cabot : Liver Health Part 1

Dr Sandra Cabot: The Liver Part 2


Liver Detox: Method 1- Fasting

For three days before you start the cleanse fast, drinking nothing but apple juice and pure water. If you must eat then use only raw vegetables and fruits, no sugars proteins or fats and definitely no processed foods. You must drink one quart, at least, of unfiltered, pure apple juice a day.

When you begin the cleanse mix:

1/4 c fresh squeezed organic lemon juice mixed with 1/2 c fresh squeezed organic grapefruit juice

4 Tbs Epsom Salts

3/4 c organic, cold pressed, virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp vitamin C

Plan this for a time when you can be home for a couple of days.

Eat fresh fruit for breakfast, organic and raw. At lunch eat a salad or some fruit or a cereal but no milk or dairy products and no fats. Do not eat or drink after 2 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Mix the epsom salts with 3 cups of water. Drink 3/4 cup of the mixture.

At 8 p.m.Drink another 3/4 c of the mixture

Everything from now on must be exact timing wise. Pay attention.

9:45 Shake 3/4 c of olive oil mixed with 3/4 c of the lemon juice mixture set it by your bed.

Go to the bathroom.

10:00 Drink the mixture standing up. This is important. Now, lie down on your right side for at least an hour. You may then turn to your back and sleep for the night.

Next morning:

Drink 3/4 c of the epsom salt mixture after six a.m. and then the last 3/4 c two hours later.

You an expect loose stools and the release of gall stones with this method. Drink plenty of filtered water and break your fast (after the last epsom salts drink) with juice, followed by fruit, then raw vegetables.

Liver De-Tox Method 2: Diet

Five Day Liver Detox

This is a diet that you follow for five days, eating only certain foods and combinations of foods. There are several listed in the resources section. The foods and schedules vary so it is important to read them carefully and find which seems best suited to your lifestyle.

For example, one particular cleanse is raw vegetable smoothies for meals and lots of purified water.

Dandelion is a good herb for detox
Dandelion is a good herb for detox

Herbs For Liver Detox

There are many herbs that are recommended for detoxifying the liver.Most of these herbs can be found at any health food center or online.

  • Turmeric- increases bile production and helps with the treatment of gall stones Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Milk Thistle- is a strong anti-toxin
  • Yellow Dock-helps to dissolve fat in the liver and is an excellent anti-toxin
  • Dandelion- immune system booster and anti-toxin
  • Licorice Root- Helps neutralize the effects of powerful chemical toxins

These herbs can be used in various combinations to help detoxify the liver and keep it functioning properly.

Ongoing Diet For Liver Detox

To keep the toxicity of the liver at a manageable level it is important to be aware of what you put into your body. Organic foods are an important part of a clean diet because they contain no harmful chemicals or growth hormones.

Lean protein from organic (and hormone free) poultry, beef and fish is a good place to start. At least 4 ounces a day will take care of your protein needs.

Excessive levels of carbohydrates can actually interfere with the liver's natural detoxification processes and only organic, whole grains should be eaten. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower and cabbage are good for the liver and the body in general.

Of course, white flour, sugar, artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives should all be guarded against.

Water should be purified and taken in large amounts to keep the body cleansed and hydrated.

After some time in an ion therapy foot bath
After some time in an ion therapy foot bath

ionSpa Detox Therapy

This is a unique, and somewhat new therapy. An ionSpa delivers an electrical current through the water and generates negatively charged hydrogen ions. To be negatively charged means that the hydrogen has an extra electron, and this renders it one of the most powerful antioxidants currently known.

The ions travel throughout the body, attaching themselves to toxic substances and neutralize the substances' charge. Then the particles are pulled from the skin or processed through the organs to cleanse the body. The water in the tub starts out clear but the toxins are soon drawn out via osmosis.

This process also raises the user's ph to a more alkaline state which is healthier for the human body.

Ion Detox Foot Bath

Reflexology and Other Ways to a Healthy Liver

1. Reflexology is a holistic approach to healing that uses pressure points in the feet and hands. By manipulating certain points on your hands and feet it is believed that the body can be relaxed, healed, and stimulated, reducing stress to other organs and limbs.

2. It is important to remember that stress is toxic to the body. reducing stress by prayer or meditation is helpful in keeping the liver as well as other organs in a healthy state.

3. Hydrotherapy is also a great way to detox. You can do the whole steam sauna thing and sweat it out, or you can do it easily at home by allowing a hot shower to run down your body followed by a cold shower, then be sure to rest.

4. Vitamin C and vitamin B are important to maintaining a healthy liver.

5. Raw, organic fruits and vegetables contain huge amounts of antioxidants. Make them a large part of your diet.

6. Ditch the drugs. Where ever you can deal with your medical problems so that you can get off medications and things like tylenol and advil! Chemicals and toxins!

7.2 quarts of pure water a day should be going through your body.

8.Cut your alcohol consumption. Booze is hard on the liver.

9. Research and read to keep up wit the latest information.

10. Exercise

What To Expect

Many people think that because they are getting healthy they should immediately feel wonderful. This is not so.During a liver cleanse many toxins are being released in large amounts into your bloodstream. Your kidneys will filter it out but it can take time. Especially if you have followed an unhealthy, non-organic diets and been subjected to many hormones and harmful chemicals your body may feel sick.

For the first few days you could experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Allergy / flu-like symptoms
  • Acne
  • Arthritis like joint pain
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Yeast infection
  • Swollen lymph nodes

These symptoms are normal and will pass in a few days as the body gets rid of the toxins. It is important during this time that you follow the cleansing plan and drink large amounts of pure water to help the body rid itself of the toxins. It is also important not to subject yourself to other toxins or ill people because your body will be working hard and your immune system may be compromised.

When Should You Not Detox?

There are certain conditions which make it unwise to follow a detoxification program. You should always do your research and check carefully with your health care provider before attempting a detox program.

Some of the reasons that detoxing can be dangerous are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Children or Teens should not detox because they are growing
  • Elderly
  • Underweight
  • Getting over an illness
  • Anemia
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Problems
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic illness


You can also use prepared supplements to help with detoxing the liver. Several companies make herbal combinations that work to detoxify and subsequently strengthen the liver and surrounding organs. Usually it is best to take these supplements in conjunction with a dietary change, or after a more in depth liver cleanse, but read instructions carefully and always check with your health care provider.

Use a brand, like NOW, or Solaray that has been around for a long time. You may pay a little more but in the long run a company that has been serving the public for many years and has a good reputation is what you want.

A Life Style of Health

By doing a liver detox and then following a healthy eating plan for life which includes organic and hormone free foods, and by taking supplements that have been formulated to strengthen your organs, you can maintain an energetic and healthy life-style well in to your retirement years.

Modern man has come a long way from farming and his previous active lifestyle. The foods we eat, the air we breathe, and the activity that we indulge in are all far removed from our ancestors. Because of that we need to spend more time educating ourselves and helping our bodies be the best they can be.

Be sure to check with your health care provider before going on any detox program!


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The more I have learned about detox, the more blown away I have been! There is so much we can do for our bodies, without the help (or cost!) of “conventional” medicine. Rather than masking the problems, as conventional medicine does, the right detox products and processes make our bodies truly healthier and “younger.” Definitely amazing stuff. The link is not my website, but I have learned a lot about detox from the site; they have some really amazing information from their own personal experiences!

    • blotchyskin profile image


      6 years ago

      My brother who did one of these liver cleanses experienced 100% even skin tone about 2 weeks after the cleanse. Him knowing about how on I'm a journey to clear mine he told me about it, I just never gave it a try. This is very convincing and is making me think about giving it a try.

    • kellyteam profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      ok this is a great hub. I plan to make sure my colon cleanse is done first though. Then not sure if method one or method two works for me. I have time to figure it out. But Thanks, Thumbs up!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      I am going to try this. Great hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for this Information ... I was told by my Health Practitioner to start a Liver Detox, and I'm on Day 1 now, but already started feeling sickish... Your article gave me a much better idea of what to expect for the next few days.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have become a type 2 diabetic now i am wondering if I do a detox would this relieve my siptoms? and if i change my diet could i get off this awful medication. could i return back to a normal life. can any one shine some light on this topic?

    • wendi_w profile image


      7 years ago from Midwest

      thank you for this informative hub, I am unsure whether to try it or not, but at this point am becoming almost desperate to regain some measure of control over my health.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for this very informative video.

      This message is for Lina Machmouchi. My child was having similar problems. The following greatly helped her.

      First thing first: Stay away of refined sugars. If she craves sweets then try to supplement with carefully prepared foods made out of fruits, honey, molasses etc.

      The cravings, constipation etc...could be parasites. Try getting her to do a mild parasite cleanse and also make sure she eats lots of foods with natural fiber for her constipation. This should take a load of the liver. Also a nice tasting herbal tea with while adding little milk thistle can help improve liver function. The above is what I did for my daughter and her symptoms went away.

    • profile image

      Lina Machmouchi 

      7 years ago

      Hello! Thanks for the good info. I had a question about what can be done for children with an apparently somewhat compromised liver. She's having constipation, headaches, craves on sweets, esp.chocolate, and drinks very little water. She's 8,5 years. Thanks in advance for any advice on this subject.

    • profile image

      Daniel Avino 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for that information. Really informative video also.

      I also find that it is important to find ways to soften gallstones using certain herbs and things like malic acid or chanca piedra before doing a gallbladder or liver cleanse. THis especially helps for calcified stones when someone is have much pain. Also doing an enema before and after the liver cleanse is very helpful.

    • profile image

      renee d 

      7 years ago

      Hi so glad to have found this hub! I have been diagnosed w/ gall bladder disease and have at least one stone. could be more but haven't had sono due to no insurance. I have had surgery scheduled 2x's and cancelled both. I just started eating organic and have become extremely interested in cleansing. My concern is gallstones getting stuck in bile duct then either dieing or ending up in hospital! Help can anyone shed any light on this for me please?!

    • profile image 

      8 years ago

      Thank You for taking the time to put this information on and free to anyone who cares to help themselves. The questions I had about the liver you covered. I realized recently the liver is why I had anemia. Now that seems to be under control but I have a little middle age spread. The liver roll I have now too. I am only @ 6 lbs above my weight but it is settling there. I have made many changes and feel the detox I have done wasn't enough. I would prefer to do it with food only if this is possible. I see your recipe and feel epsom salts is scary to me?

    • Dmitriy bestlife profile image

      Dmitriy bestlife 

      8 years ago from Moscow

      Completely new alternative approach is created by Russian scientists. It is based on the information stored in the memory of water. Detoxication and even complete liver sells regeneration could be achieved in a couple of month.The common drinking water could be preliminary structured with the aim to start desired self regulatingprocesses in a human organism. As simple as that!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this informative post. What is your opinion on Liver Protection with alternative medicines.I found some case studies on himalaya liv52

    • detoxexpert profile image


      8 years ago from oxfordshire

      Really interesting Hub on what is a key area of health. Check out our Hub on liver and kidney detox with Chanca Piedra, I've found it works really well.



    • HealthyHanna profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      Interesting Hub. I have done the ionic foot bath and it was amazing what comes out from your feet!

      But, I just want to add my AMEN to the importance of keeping the liver clean. Poor thing... we really abuse our livers today.

      Liver cleansing doesn't have to be hard. I use a product that I hardly know I am taking...except I feel better.

      It is important to understand, like was pointed out in this Hub, that, especially the first time, you might go through a healing crisis, depending on the condition of your liver. If it is sever, it just shows how much your liver needed it.

    • milleredkarla profile image


      8 years ago

      I have tried Herbal Detox's before and they do seem to work, but are more expensive. I am leaning towards a juicing detox. Or will try one of the one's you posted. Great Hub

    • Joshua Miguel profile image

      Joshua Miguel 

      8 years ago

      is ionSpa Detox Therapy really works?

    • mecheshier profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi I am new on the block here... Love the article.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hey there:) For what its worth to anyone who wants to know, I have successfully avoided surgery to remove my gall bladder. The gall bladder and liver cleansing worked for me and my doctor says, "No signs of gall bladder disease anymore!"

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      9 years ago

      Hi I have tried these detox methods before and ,while they not fun to do , will make you feel much better in the end.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Not sure how recent your post is. I definitely would not have it romoved.

      My brother inlaw had his removed and it didn't solve his pain. It has only gotten worse.

      There is a book called All your health questions naturally by Maurinne Sulliman (sp?). In it there is what she calles the royal gallbladder cleanse. It is either in the liver or gallbladder chapter. AMAZING!!

      If you are in the middle of an attack before you have done a flush take a tablespoon of epsom salt in a 12oz. glass of very warm water right away. this will relax the sphincter muscle of the gallbladder to let out a stone. (could have some diarrhea though.)

      It is best to do a colon parasite cleanse first though if you can wait a little longer before doing the flush. Otherwise do it in a few more weeks after you do the first flush.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i have been all over the webs and i have not read 1 person say it helped avoid surgery. they want to remove my gallbladder and i do not want to, but i do not read any successes to avoid surgery. if you are out there, please comment. thanks

    • michellemoseley profile image


      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      I am completely convinced that everyone should cleanse. I've done a colon and liver cleanse and do one each year. I try to eat healthy, but do have a weakness for chocolate. I've eliminated most unhealthy things from my diet and I'll tell you, my joints thank me.

      I did a total detox cleanse once and by the end of two weeks, I felt amazing. I was going to stay on it, but the coffee was calling. Since, I have stoped drinking that as well. I've heard that there are 40 toxins in coffee. I'm not chancing it.

      I think I'll write about my experience with cleansing and allergies. Maybe you can read it when I do and let me know what you think.

      Michelle Moseley

    • ninaredza profile image


      10 years ago from Malaysia

      I haven't studied the details about liver and kidney detox yet. I'm still fascinated with colon hydrotherapy cleansing. I think we all need to consider doing it at least once!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      MOST of the discoloration in the ionspa water comes from the breakdown of the stainless steel anode that sends the ions into the foot bath in the first place. This is a normal part of the process and is mentioned on at least one of the websites for this type of machine.

      Or maybe it's the cathode, I never can seem to keep them straight.


    • stevemark122000 profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California

      Very Infomative Hub, Thanks

    • profile image

      The PooP Doc 

      10 years ago

      This is a great Hub.

      The information is outstanding.

      I will bookmark this one and keep it handy to refer back to.

      Thanks for doing this.

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Wow...thanks for all the comments y'all. :)

      Jim- I understand your skepticism completely. I have seen this work first hand.

      compu- you and your liver are very welcome!

      thoo- yeah I thought it was a bit gross too.

      Apothecary- great insight! I would NOT have thought of that.

    • ApothecaryJeri profile image


      10 years ago from Maryland

      Hi Jim.sheng,

      I understand your skeptism.......I know a few people, and they were very sick, that it has helped a lot......there's no way you could tell them otherwise.........but that device is just like anything else ......some are better than others, and they're all not equal.

      and another thing to think about or perhaps ask "Consumer Watchdog".....just how MANY toxins and junk are in plastic???

      Just look at all the recalls regarding toys.......particularly from China and Mattel......most importantly Barbie dolls aren't people.

      It's a really great visual effect in my opinion, genius actually.......I can see why it worked.

      I guess Barbie needs a detox too!!

      Have a great day.

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 

      10 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Interesting and informative.

      The picture of gallstones made me a little sick inside :)

      I'm a little unsure about how eligible I am due to certain compications, but a compromise of sorts could be arranged ;)

    • compu-smart profile image


      10 years ago from London UK

      Me and my liver thanks you for this very informative hub!! I am much wiser now


    • jim.sheng profile image

      Dalriada Books Ltd 

      10 years ago from UK

      I have watched a TV program "Consumer Watchdog", I am not sure if that fake product is ionSpa Detox Therapy machine, the presenter said, he let a Barbie Doll use this therapy, after some time the water in that therapy foot bath become as dirty as it does for real person. Even if nothing in the bath except for water, turn on the machine, the water still become very "filthy" after some time.

      I haven't finish your long hub, only my eyeballs were attracted by the astonishingly brown filthy bath photo, so I read that chapter.


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