Detoxifying the liver is an important way to help maintain the health of the body. Though there are several liver detoxes available, one that has become popular over the past several years is the olive oil and Epsom salts cleanse. This cleanse is believed by some, including natural health practitioner Andreas Moritz, Julia Chang, M.Sc., and Dr. Hulda Clark, to remove gallstones formed both in the liver and gallbladder. Other experts disagree, noting what is expelled during the cleanse comes from a mixture of olive oil and lemon. The cleanse is easy to follow and takes three days of preparation and a day and a half to complete. It also contains simple ingredients easily found at home or the store.
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The liver detoxifies every single food, drink, chemical, and pollutant that enters the body. Remnants of toxic properties from these substances can build up over time, causing the formation of gallstones in the liver, according to Moritz in "The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush." A liver cleanse once or twice a year helps remove gallstones and allows for proper liver function, he says. This liver cleanse uses the components of apple juice, high in malic acid, which Moritz says breaks down gallstones for easier passage; Epsom salts, which relax and dilate the gallbladder to allow for release of gallstones; and olive oil, which stimulates the gallbladder to expel stored stones.
To prepare for the cleanse, purchase enough apple juice or apple cider to drink a glass every two hours for three days. The detox ingredients include 1/2 cup olive oil, four tbsp. of Epsom salts and 1/2 cup of lemon or grapefruit juice.
For three days leading up to the cleanse, drink a glass of apple juice every two hours. The day of the cleanse, eat a light, low-fat breakfast and lunch. Eating high fat foods triggers the release of bile from the liver into the gallbladder, which helps in the digestion of fat. Eating low or no fat allows bile to build up in the liver and gallbladder throughout the day, which Moritz says forces a release of gallstones upon ingesting the olive oil in the evening.
Do not eat or drink anything after 2 p.m. Mix the four tbsp. Epsom salt in three cups of water or, at 6 p.m., one tbsp. of Epsom salt in 3/4 cup water. Wait two hours and take a second dose of Epsom salt in water. Prepare for bed around 9:30 p.m. At 10 p.m., mix a half cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup of lemon or grapefruit juice and drink at a moderate to rapid pace. A straw can often help with consuming the mixture quickly. After finishing the drink, go to bed and lay on your back or, if that is uncomfortable, on your right side, which Moritz notes is "essential for helping to release the gallstones."
What to Expect
According to Chang, this "traditional European folk remedy" should cause the body to expel pea-sized greenish-brown stones upon rising the next morning. The amount of stones can range from just a few to many. Clark says these stones are gallstones with "cholesterol crystals" that come from the liver and gallbladder. Critics, however, maintain they are simply a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Moritz, Chang and Clark assert the olive oil and Epsom salt liver cleanse will help to increase energy, clear skin and reduce food allergies.
Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting may occur during the flush. Those sick or menstruating should not do a liver cleanse. Children should not participate. Some experts believe those with gallstones should not do this liver cleanse because stones may become lodged in the bile duct. The American Cancer Society says "available scientific evidence does not support claims that liver flushes are useful for preventing or treating cancer or any other diseases."
- "The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush: A Powerful Do-It-Yourself Tool To Optimize Your Health And Wellbeing"; Andreas Moritz; 2005
- Sensible Health: Gallbladder Flush and Gallstone Treatment--Alternatives to Gallbladder Surgery, Problems with Gallbladder Removed
- American Cancer Society: Liver Flush