Cleansing the liver and gall bladder
It surprises me that many people who approach the raw food diet with the intention to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate don’t realise that there are two fundamentally different types of cleansing or detoxification which take place in the body.
These two can be referred to as micro level and macro level cleansing. The micro cleansing is what happens at the cellular level and which is rapidly enhanced by a raw diet or juice fasting. The macro cleansing refers to the major organs of elimination, the kidneys, the liver, colon and skin which are continuously working to clean our bodies no matter what we are eating.
In many people the liver becomes weakened over time by longterm eating of acid forming foods such as meat, sugar, white flour, foods cooked in oil etc. and many people believe that more than any other organ, the liver is also affected by negative thoughts and feelings.
In addition to this, some researchers have estimated that 80% of us are carrying around ‘stones’ formed out of hardened cholesterol and calcium which can clog the liver and its neighbour organ, the gall bladder. These stones can seriously impede the effective functioning of the gall and liver. Fortunatly we now have the opportunity to learn about the proper care and maintenance of these organs and hopefully prevent the type of situation that could lead to expensive and painful surgery (eg gall bladder removal) later in life!
Although certain raw foods have an affinity for enhancing the functions of particular organs, it can happen that adopting a detoxifying raw food diet, can actually place a greater stress on these organs, if they are already weak, making them less rather than more efficient. This is because most of the detoxification is happening at the cells with all the old garbage being dumped into the bloodstream. The organs which are already burdened and sluggish from years of less than optimal eating, find they have to work extra hard to keep up with the increased waste and are often not quite up to the job.
However, much can be done to assist the organs to relieve them of their debris and improve their functioning. For the colon this could be colonics or herbal programmes to remove mucoid plaque, or with the liver and gall which are the subject of this article, flushing of stones can often be a very practical and simple way of taking a leap forward towards greater health. Most people that complete a ‘flush’ immediately notice an improvement in their digestion and a general increase in overall energy and well being.
What the liver and gall do
The liver which is the largest organ in the body weighing up to 2 kilos, is situated underneath the bottom of the right ribcage and has many functions, including the manufacturing and converting vitamins into a usable form, producing important enzymes, neutralising poisons, metabolising protein, carbohydrates and fats, storing protein, storing glycogen as well as playing an essential role in red blood cell production.
The gall bladder is a smaller pear shaped organ situated immediately beneath the liver and its main function is to collect and concentrate the bile that the body uses to digest fats. Bile is a substance made in the liver cells consisting of water, electrolytes, cholesterol, phospholipids (lecithin), bile acids and bile pigments (bilirubin). When you eat a meal that contains fat, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine. The bile breaks down the fat so the body’s tissues can absorb it, also enabling absorption of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
Problems can occur with the gall bladder when the liver is producing toxic bile. If the liver is under stress it may also produce inadequate bile or the bile may not flow properly. Too much cholesterol in the bile results in the formation of the stones. These stones, which vary from sand sized gravel to larger pea or thumbnail sized globs and vary in colour from yellow, green to black, can clog up the gall bladder and block the bile ducts causing nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion and inflammation. This situation is created and made worse by an improper diet.
Liver flushing – how to do it
Although different methods exist to purge the liver and gall of stones, the basic principle common to all, is that by consuming a large quantity of oil on an empty stomach the liver and gall are shocked into a spasm which expels the stones. The stones then roll into the colon and end up in the toilet a few or many hours later.
One of the most well known approaches to liver and gall flushing is the method outlined by Hulda Clark who is best known for her research into parasites and frequency medicine (with zappers) and wrote the book “The Cure for all Diseases”. This conventional approach involves drinking epsom salt solution and then olive oil mixed with grapefruit juice.
The epsom salts have a function of opening the bile ducts so stones have an easier passage out and also have a laxative effect to help the whole process along. This method is the most speedy approach that I have come across for getting the job over and done with. There are specific recommendations for every aspect of the cleanse including fasting from 2pm of the day of the flush, and specific times for taking the epsom salts and drinking the oil.
David Jubb who is a well respected raw food (Lifefood) teacher located in New York City, presents a more in depth programme which includes three consecutive liver/gall flushes within a ‘14 day Nutritional Fast’ of blended raw foods and adjuncts such as percussion (tapping the liver with your hand) to loosen the stones, and castor oil packs to soften the stones, as well as a dietary and supplement protocol. Detailed information may be found in the book “Life Food Recipe Book – Living on Life Force” by Annie Padden Jubb and David Jubb PH.D.
Part of the prepatory treatment is that for 3-4 days you drink a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar several times a day (mixed with water or apple juice) and the malic acid in it will soften the stones. You might also use malic acid tablets. On the day of the flushes you drink (for the gallbladder) 240 – 300 ml (8-10 ounces) of straight olive oil, 120-180ml (4-6 ounces) if it’s your first time, alternating with sips from half as much straight lemon juice. For the liver flush it’s 120-180ml (4-6 ounces) of oil. An alternative herbal laxatives or oxy-magnesium is recommended as a substitute for the epsom salts, and then to follow up the flush with a coffee enema. Whilst Hulda advises taking the oil at night, the Jubbs actually say to do it at 3pm because that’s when the gallbladder is most active.
There are also recommendations for nourishment after the fast saying that it is good to consume foods that will act as a broom, clearing oil and debris out of the digestive tract. A blended raw soup with flax crackers or electrolyte lemonade (blended lemon, oil, pear/apple, seasalt and sweetener such as honey) with ground flax also works well. Annie Jubb recommends taking enzymes after the oil which will help it move out of the stomach quickly and help counteract any nausea.
They say that the average person needs to do between 6-14 of the 14 day cleanses to completely clean out and restore the gallbladder and liver. Hulda says it is possible to repeat cleanses 2 weeks apart and that a person may eventually get rid of 2000 stones. When studying your own results be aware that some of the gravel like substance that is released may not be stones, but could be saponified oil which forms little balls when it is hit by the acid that is released from the gall bladder.
Other variations and tips
Many practioners are in agreement that some preparation such as the apple cider vinegar to soften the stones is advisable before flushing, and in some cases softening and reducing the stones over a many month period.
Hulda Clark also recommends completing a parasite cleanse programme prior to flushing, saying the liver (and stones) can harbour ‘nests’ of harmful bacteria, cysts, viruses and parasites.
The most successful flush I have ever done, was on the 4th day of juice fasting, after consuming a lot of vegetable and fruit (including apple) juice. I substituted the epsom salts for a herbal laxative product available in Holland called Groene Poeder which contains Folia Sennae Pulvis, Radix Liquuritiae pulvis and Semen Foeniculii pulvis. I later tried again using the herbs instead of epsom salts, but without the prior juice fast it was probably the least effective cleanse I have done. My experience with Hulda Clark’s method twice was effective but at times during it and afterwards I felt quite rough.
Maintaining healthy liver, bile, gall function
Many dietary factors have an influence on the optimal working of the liver and gall. Without adequate protein, the liver won’t produce enough bile for the body to digest fats and allow nutrient absorption.
Contrary to popular belief, dietary cholesterol (as opposed to cholesterol made by your liver) is not an important risk factor for gallstones. Good quality essential fats are very important to keep the gall bladder in good working order. Although a high fat diet can burden the liver, low or no fat diets are not advisable. Vegetarian unheated (truly cold pressed) oils such as flaxseed are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, healing liver cell membranes and assisting in reducing inflammation.
Detoxifying foods and their juices that are good for the liver include chlorophyll rich wheat and barley grasses, kale, parsley, alfalfa, spinach and cabbage. Vitamin C is protective and healing for the liver and spirulina is a recommended superfood to support liver function.
Lemon features in many juice, smoothie and tea recipes advised for benefitting the liver. This is because it acts as an astringent cleanser and is stimulating to liver function.
Herbs such as dandelion (paardebloem in Dutch) (latin: Taraxacum sp) and milk thistle (maria distel in Dutch) (Latin: Silybum sp) have a regenerating effect on the liver. Dandelion will also help to prevent gallstones and may actually help to dissolve them. Dandelion increases bile production and causes the gallbladder to contract to expel any small stones and gravel. It also increases the amount of cheneoxycholic acid which over time dissolves the stones.
Many people including myself, who are actively creating an optimal life for themselves, are exploring these and other techniques available for deep purification and health creation. The type of methods described above are generally considered safe for someone in a normal condition and therefore useful for someone wishing to implement preventative measures or to maximise a healthy lifestyle. It is my experience that this sort of cleansing is a relatively effortless way to get rid of some of the debris of a previous lifestyle and to reap much greater benefits from a raw and living foods lifestyle. I hope I have provided enough information to help you be better aquainted with your essential liver and gall and given you some inspiration to think about their care and maintenance.
By Diana Store
If you are already in a position of having a problematic gall bladder or liver it is always recommended to find a solution under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. The above information is not intended as medical advice and merely to provide information and to open a window onto what is available and to hopefully inspire you to undertake further research before deciding if this is interesting for you.