Skip to main content

Liver Cleanse: The Good, the Bad, and the Yuck

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
pic of Epsom salt drink

pic of Epsom salt drink

pic of liver, gallbladder, pancreas

pic of liver, gallbladder, pancreas

A liver cleanse is a good way to clean out the liver. The liver is the organ that acts as a filter for the blood that comes from the digestive tract before it goes throughout the body. It is the crucial place for detoxing chemicals. It is critical for one's overall health to have a well-functioning liver. It only makes sense that it would be important to give the liver a chance to reboot.

A liver cleanse is not a gentle cleanse that you can do and be out and about. You definitely need to be in close proximity to a bathroom and should plan on taking it easy. But, it will definitely clean you out.

Most healthy people don't think about doing cleanses or even see the need for them. When you feel good, you just don't consider the need for doing a cleanse. Usually, it's when you're faced with health problems that you try to revamp your lifestyle and dietary choices.

My husband has had some health problems recently and we had figured out that he was having gallbladder attacks. Being the supportive wife that I am, I offered to do a liver cleanse with him so that he wouldn't be suffering alone. It was definitely not fun and was a little yucky, but I am glad that I did it. I do plan on doing it again in addition to other cleanses. But, I have learned some helpful tips from doing this one.

I'm going to tell our experience of doing a liver cleanse and give some helpful tips that I think would help anyone to make the experience a little easier.

pic of Nutritional Healing book

pic of Nutritional Healing book


I followed the cleanse protocol found in the Nutritional Healing book. This book has so many good alternatives to traditional medicine's approach to healing, otherwise known as medicine and surgery.

Make sure to plan on taking two full days for doing the cleanse and recovering. Have all your errands done and be house-bound and close to a toilet. We started ours on a Saturday and finished it on Sunday. On the second day, you will feel weak because you have not been eating. Do not plan on doing much of anything until that evening or the the next day.

Once you drink the Epsom salt drinks, it will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before you start having to go to the bathroom. Before doing the oil/juice drink, make sure to finish going to the bathroom since you'll need to lay down for the night right after the oil/juice drink (at 10 pm).

Don't take any medicines, vitamins, or supplements during the cleanse (unless it is something medically necessary). It could affect the success of the cleanse.

Buy Nutritional Healing book


Before doing the cleanse, you need to do some shopping. Below is a list of things that you need to have on hand.

  • bag of Epsom salts
  • grapefruit
  • olive oil
  • ornithine (purchase online)
  • argenine (purchase online)
  • large plastic straw
  • container with a lid (to shake the oil and juice mixture)
  • piece of gum or hard candy (to chase the drinks with for a few seconds)
  • Tucks wipes (your bottom will thank you)
  • peri bottle (used to rinse off after child birth- again, your bottom will thank you)

Epsom salt mixture- Mix 4 tablespoons of Epsom salts into 3 cups of water and stir it to dissolve the salts. Then, put the container into the fridge so that it will be nice and cool for when you drink it.

pi of Epsom salts

pi of Epsom salts

pic of grapefruit

pic of grapefruit

Cleanse time

The day that you start the cleanse, you want to eat a low fat diet for breakfast and lunch (to help build pressure in the liver to force more stones out).

2:00 pm: Do not have anything to eat or drink past this time. If you break this rule, you may feel sick later on.
6:00 pm: Drink the 1st serving (3/4 cup) of the Epsom salt mixture.
* May want to have a piece of gum or candy to stick in your mouth right after the drink to get rid of the aftertaste. Just have the candy or gum in your mouth long enough to get rid of the aftertaste.
8:00 pm: Drink the 2nd serving (3/4 cup) of the Epsom salt mixture.
* May want to have a piece of gum or candy to stick in your mouth right after the drink to get rid of the aftertaste. Just have the candy or gum in your mouth long enough to get rid of the aftertaste.
9:45 pm: Prep your 10:00 drink. Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into a container with a lid (so you can shake it up). Squeeze the grapefruit into a measuring cup. You need at least 1/2 cup, but 3/4 cup is better. Add the grapefruit to the olive oil, put the lid on the container and shake it up.
*If you suffer from heart burn from acids like grapefruit or lemon, you may want to substitute with apple juice. My husband suffered lots because he gets bad heartburn from acidic drinks and we didn't know about the apple juice substitution. I wish we had. It would've made for a much better experience for him (and therefore me).
10:00 pm: Drink the oil/juice mixture with a large plastic straw (makes it go down easier). Take 4 ornithine capsules (or up to 8 if you suffer from insomnia already) with some of the first sips of the drink. Drink it within 5 minutes and then lie down immediately (the sooner you lie down, the more stones you will get out).
* You can use ketchup, cinnamon, or brown sugar between sips if you need to.
**You may feel a train of stones traveling along the bile ducts like marbles. It won't hurt because the Epsom salts have opened the ducts.
First thing in the morning (no earlier than 6 am): Drink the 3rd serving of Epsom salts. If you have any nausea or upset stomach, wait until it passes before drinking the 3rd serving. You can go back to bed after drinking this serving.
2 hours later: Drink the 4th and last serving of Epsom salts. You may go back to bed.
2 more hours: You can resume drinking and eating. Start with fruit juice, then fruit, and then regular food.

Scroll to Continue
pic of gallstones

pic of gallstones


When you go to the bathroom the first night, you will first be getting rid of food in your colon. In the morning, you will have gallstones come out (most likely after your first Epsom salt drink of the day). If it's floating, it's a gallstone (since cholesterol floats). They may range in color from green to tan. Note: Sometimes you will see a "chaff" floating on the water instead of stones. The ducts can be full of cholesterol that hasn't formed into stones. These tiny crystals are just as important to get rid of as stones.

According to the Nutritional Healing book, you will need to pass about 2,000 stones before the liver is clean enough to rid you of whatever problem was ailing you (allergies, bursitis, gallbladder attacks, etc.). The first cleanse may alleviate the symptoms for a couple days or a week until the stones from the rear travel forward and your symptoms reappear. You can repeat the cleanse at two week intervals (as long as you're otherwise healthy) until you are symptom-free.

The authors of the Nutritional Healing book also recommend doing this cleanse after doing a parasite and kidney rinse program. If you don't, it can make you feel sick during the liver cleanse.

Personal note

We did not do the parasite or kidney cleanse before-hand. I also could not find the ornithine supplement and thought I would be okay because I was very tired. However, after doing the oil/juice mixture, I lay in bed for 20 minutes and was sleepy. But, my husband turned on the TV and I cannot fall asleep with the TV on. I put an eye mask on and earplugs in, but no luck.

After 20 minutes or so, he was feeling kind of bad from heartburn and got up to soak in the tub (how he likes to relax when he's feeling bad). At that point, I was worried about him and could not fall asleep. He eventually got out of the tub, got his pillow, and went to lay on the couch where his head was elevated (to help with the heartburn).

At this point, it was 2 am and he fell asleep immediately. I, on the other hand, was wide awake listening to his snoring. It was as if I'd had shots of espresso.

Besides being wide awake, I became very nauseas. I do not get nauseas easy and found this to be miserable. I started to have to go to the bathroom and visited the bathroom at least 5 times. I actually had gallstones coming out at this point. They were rather large and green (didn't hurt at all).

It wasn't until somewhere around 4:30 or 5 am that I finally fell asleep. Just before I fell asleep, I decided that if I woke up feeling nausea in the morning, I probably would not do the remaining drinks.

My daughter came in at 7 am and was ready for me to get up. I got up and was so relieved that the nausea was gone. I decided to go ahead and do the remaining Epsom salt drinks and am so glad that I did. My husband, on the other hand, did not want to wake up and did not do the remaining drinks when he did finally get up.

I had lots of stones come out that day. The most were in the first trip to the bathroom, but I had a good bit in the next couple of trips until it was like water coming out.

I searched online again and finally found a place where I can buy the ornithine supplement. I also read more about what this supplement does. It is something that occurs naturally in the body and helps to counteract ammonia, which can be produced in the body during a cleanse. The side effect of the ammonia is insomnia.

So, if I had taken ornithine, I would've been able to fall asleep that night. I am definitely ordering some ornithine so that when I do the next cleanse in a couple weeks I will at least be able to fall asleep and most likely feel better.

When I do the cleanse again, I will make sure to let everyone know how it differed from the first. I should see less stones each time that I do it.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician and this hub cannot be considered to be medical advice. Before doing a cleanse, make sure to do your homework and be prepared. You can also find a naturopath doctor who will support you through the process of doing a cleanse.

2nd Liver Cleanse

It was much easier the second time I did the cleanse, mainly because I did things a little differently. Instead of drinking the grapefruit juice, I tried the apple juice instead (along with the olive oil). I didn't mix the oil and apple juice. I just drank the oil first and chased it with the apple juice. I didn't suffer from any nausea the second time and think that the apple juice was a little less harsh and friendlier.

I also ordered the Orninthine supplement and took it just before I went to bed like the directions for the cleanse recommend. I definitely did not suffer from the insomnia that I had the first time and know that it was because of this supplement. I definitely recommend having the Ornithine supplement on hand if doing this cleanse.

Buy Ornithine Here


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 13, 2013:

You have a well-advised hub on cleansing the liver and agree that most people don't care unless they have a problem with their health.

Interesting suggestion thanks for sharing something new to our cleansing of the liver.

fitmom (author) on January 17, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting, Donnah75! Yes, the unknown can be intimidating. Since I trusted the source of information, I felt safe doing the cleanse. Using a reputable source is definitely important. Thanks for voting up! Best ~ fitmom

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on January 17, 2013:

This is a fantastic, honest description of your experience. So many people will not take on such an experience because of the unknown. Relaying your experience will help people feel more comfortable if they want to try this. Voted up.

fitmom (author) on October 05, 2012:

Thanks Peter Geekie for your comments! I researched lots about cleanses and read all about them before I attempted to do one. I also would not have done an article on it if I hadn't also had first-hand experience about the cleanse (not just reading about it). I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and sharing! Best ~ fitmom

Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on October 05, 2012:

Cleansing the colon can be a very traumatic process and you have made it quite clear that if you attempt this yourself the onus is on the patient.

When giving information and suggested advice of this type you cannot possibly know if the patient has existing or underlying conditions and consequently the patient must take responsibly for the procedure. The simple rule is - if you don't know what you are doing - don't do it.

Thank you for an interesting article

kind regards Peter

fitmom (author) on September 25, 2012:

@Larry Wall- For some reason, it won't let me reply to your message now. There's some weird quirk. Yes, I believe I did encourage people to do their homework. Anyone on medicine should check with their pharmacist or doctor to check for problems that they may not be aware of.

I'm guessing that you meant people over 55 are having colonoscopies. Cleansing for a colonoscopy is not quite the same as this cleanse. It does clean out the colon to prep for the colonoscopy.

Whether doing a home remedy or a medicine prescribed by a doctor, both require research to make sure that it is the right treatment for you. Doctors are not always thorough and do not always have the big picture of all that is going on with a patient. The patient ultimately has to be informed.

Best ~ fitmom

Larry Wall on September 25, 2012:

I left a message yesterday and it either got lost or something. I will not repeat the whole thing. However, a problem I have with home cures is that you do not always know the interaction the ingredients you use will have with other medications. One of the ingredients you use is Grapefruit. Grapefruit is counter-indicated with my blood pressure medicine, rendering its effect useless. It also reacts with another of my medications. Also, as a Type II diabetic, I avoid most fruit juices, too high in carbs. So the point is you should at least make is that people using your remedy should make certain that none of the products are counter-indicated with existing medications. Also, since most people over 55 are having colostomies every few years, I cannot see them rushing to do a similar test that yields the same results in the end, so to speak.

Thank you.

fitmom (author) on September 24, 2012:

@Larry Wall- I've gotten some of the best medical advice from non-doctors. Unfortunately, doctors are trained by pharmaceutical companies and their lenses are very narrow.

There are many options for cleanses. This cleanse is one that has helped many people. I do think that cleanses are very helpful for the body. It is a matter of finding the right one. Thank you for reading.

fitmom (author) on September 24, 2012:

I agree completely, healthyannie! I was in pre-med in college originally but switched because I knew that I wanted to stay at home with my children. I have considered at some point doing something in the medical area. However, it would be with a naturopath focus.

I've had many experiences myself where natural medicine helped me when traditional medicine didn't help or actually made my health worse.

Thank you for reading and sharing!

Annie Messeri from Spain on September 24, 2012:

There are plenty of people who are not doctors which give excellent medical advise, some doctors actually give very bad medical advise.

I have a degree in Physiology and I work together with a medical doctor. We work together on helping people get better, and most importantly explaining how the human body works.

Perhaps it is a good idea to remember there is a niche for everybody.

Doctors make mistakes as well, health is very personal experience.

Conventional medicine can cause more problems than alternatives.

Statins cause muscle loss when they are supposed to help the heart.

What is the heart? A muscle . . .

Our bodies detox every day however some people like to detox.

Everybody is responsible for their own bodies, for better or for worse.

All treatments, conventional or otherwise, should be used with caution. Annie

Larry Wall on September 23, 2012:

I am sorry. I do not like people who are not doctors giving medical advice. What you suggested is not for everyone.

Related Articles