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Liver Flush


Updated June 20, 2014

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What is a Liver Flush?

A liver flush is a home remedy. Although there are many variations, it typically involves drinking two glasses of organic apple juice every two hours for two days, eating only fruits and vegetables. At the end of the two days, people take one to two tablespoons of Epsom salts dissolved in water, followed by half a cup of olive oil with lemon juice at bedtime.

Why Do People Try the Liver Flush?

Proponents of the liver flush say that it's a detox (detoxification) method and also use it as a natural treatment for gallstones.

Why these ingredients? Apple juice is high in malic acid, so it is thought to act as a solvent to weaken adhesions between solid globules. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are used because it's believed it relaxes smooth muscle and will relax and dilate the bile duct to enable larger solid particles (like gallstones) to exit the gallbladder. Unrefined olive oil is used to stimulate the gallbladder and bile duct to contract and expel gallstones.

People often notice small pellets or balls in their stool, which can range in size and color. Although proponents of the liver flush say that these balls are gallstones, critics of the flush say that the balls are not really gallstones but are soft complexes of mineral, olive oil and lemon juice produced within the digestive tract. Although it's a popular home remedy, there's insufficient evidence to show that it's effective or safe.

Possible Side Effects

Known side effects include nausea and vomiting, explosive diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Theoretically, the liver flush may be unsafe for people who have gallstones. The large amount of oil causes the gallbladder to contract, making it possible for a gallstone to become lodged in the narrow opening of the gallbladder and necessitate emergency gallbladder surgery. Since gallstones are common in North America and many people with gallstones are asymptomatic, the absence of gallbladder-related symptoms does not mean an absence of risk. This procedure should only be done under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.


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