Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What all is involved in Liver Cleansing?

I'm still in the "almost" phase of my knee recovery (see my Kettlebell Sport blog for that story). Meaning everything feels perfect almost all the time. My primary gauges have been whether the bursa behind my patella are at all swollen, and if I can do all the possible movements with zero sensation. After the Liver Stone Flush I did in Spring both of these markers improved rapidly. My Physical Therapist was very excited with the results and supported my plan to repeat the process. The protocol I've been using is a variation of Dr. Hulda Clark's recommendation as modified by Peter Minke in a pamphlet called "Clarifying Cleansing: Practical Strategies for Cleansing Your Body Holistically." This pamphlet was once available through this website, but it is not available at this site. I will update the post once I have learned where it went.

Emotional Detox Disclaimer
For those who might be interested in following a similar protocol I have this disclosure: it is not only a physical cleanse. Expect to see emotional, mental and spiritual flotsam come to the surface. Or rather, don't be surprised when it shows up. I've been doing yearly fasts, cleanses, flushes and elimination diets for more than 20 years, I'm here to tell you there is always another layer to shed. It is a healing ceremony. 
People may be wondering why I put myself through these intense cleanses. My reasoning first is prevention. Same as the reason people clean out the rain gutters before the rainy season starts. It's easier to flush out toxicity before a crisis. Second, I cleanse for restoration. Of course my most vibrant health was much earlier in life, but have experienced the amazing return of energy and efficient organ functioning after each cleansing process. Additionally, the emotional detoxification of elective healing work may be dramatic, it is far less devastating than what emerges in a state of crisis.

Product Recommendation Disclaimer
The YoungLiving supplements mentioned here are certainly not the only possible options. I have mentioned specific commercially available products if I have experience with them. YoungLiving has one main feature that makes it worth the higher price, they add therapeutic grade essential oils to almost everything they sell. In my experience this both increases it's efficacy on a cellular level and enhances the product's consistency. The only way to get YoungLiving products is to order them online, or physically go to the distributing site (Lehi, UT, in the USA). To order you will need an "upline" as it is a multi-level market structure. If you call a customer service person, he/she will ask if you have a distributor that you'd like to sign up under. If not, you will be assigned to a random upline. If you would like to be in my downline (I'm a very hands-off group leader) use distributor #705744. If you sign-up online put this number in the fields for both Enroller and Sponsor.  
You will also need to choose your membership status. I have been a distributor since 2003, so think that paying retail price is ridiculous.

Large Intestines/Colon
Back to the physical cleanse, when you think about it, there is reason to do a cleanse with specific order. As in the "clean the rain gutters" metaphor above, it makes sense to clear out the lowest point of elimination in preparation for what will come from the upstream organs later. In my experience, colon/large intestine cleansing is the easiest way to start and can be a stand-alone organ refresher.This does not require as much dietary modification as other organs, but necessitates more purified water consumption. Why this is so is that the large intestines, when performing optimally, will re-absorb any remaining nutritional fluid before excreting solid waste. The organ is lined with mucous to facilitate this process, however through the consumption of toxins such as pesticides, preservatives and undigested foods, the mucous becomes dehydrated and begins to hold waste rather than eliminate it. 
A thorough intestinal cleanse will require a few ingredients. You need a mucilaginous fiber to bind with the build-up, something that is bulk-forming and absorbent to create a solid mass, and a laxative substance to increase peristalsis. Most cleansing mixes make use of psyllium husk, bentonite clay and cascara sagrada. Also important are anti-microbial ingredients such as cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger. If you are not an herbal specialist I suggest checking into ready-made mixes rather than trying to make it yourself. 

These two Intestinal Cleanse products are blends I have used with great success:
CorforTone (YoungLiving) ComforTone is very thorough and comes in capsule form. This product also contains diatomaceous earth (said to absorb mercury, pesticides and undigested proteins from the bowels) and YoungLivings patented therapeutic grade essential oils. It can be used in an on-going basis at various doses.

Perfect 7 (Agape Health Products)   Perfect 7 is the product I've used most and recommend to clients who do want something easily available. It is found in well-stocked natural food stores, also by mail-order, and comes in capsule or powder form. This is the first colon cleansing product I used and remains my go-to for deep cleansing of the bowels. The biggest trick of Perfect 7, aside the extra water, is to take it two hours after a meal and at least 30 minutes before eating. When I first came to Perfect 7 it was suggested to start with a smaller amount and move up to 2 teaspoons/dose as the bowels gained bulk and began to eliminate toxins. There was no recommendation on how long to take the stuff, so I took a whole bottle over the course of 2 months. Now the recommendation is one heaping teaspoon, take 5 - 7 days and repeat each season. I personally feel it is a question of need. For a first ever colon cleanse it's a good product to start with because after the initial bloating (some constipation may happen if your system is dehydrated to begin with) it is quite comfortable. Mass will come out that you don't remember eating... plus you may actually notice less mucous in general. I have not tried Perfect 7 in capsule form.

The next organ system to cleanse is the kidney. The kidneys provide fluid filtration, purification and fluid waste elimination functions. All of our blood gets filtered through the kidneys, so you can imagine what might get stuck in the glomeruli and eventually become stones.
A safe strategy to cleanse out the kidneys is to ingest blood cleansing agents and substances that gently dissolve the hard debris.
Simple blood and kidney cleansing methods of the ages: stop consuming preservatives or additives; dramatically increase pure water intake; add fresh lemon juice to some or all of your water; drink diuretic juices, specifically unsweetened cranberry juice (tart!!); consume high amounts of celery, beets and other anti-oxidant foods such as tart cherries, blueberries and spinach. Herbal supports include nettle, burdock, juniper, uva ursi, parsley and dandelion root. (People in near-crisis state may be advised to drink only distilled water, as hard water contains minerals that may clog up the kidneys.) As with all organ cleansing, if you are not well-versed in herbal medicine or natural healing, I suggest either keeping it simple with nutritional support only and/or using pre-made herbal products.

The one product I've used with success is YoungLiving's K&B Tincture This is another high-quality product that includes essential oils. The dosage is measured in droppers-full, so I recommend getting two bottles at once if you feel that your kidneys need a good flushing out. A full dose (3 droppers 3 times daily) will run you through the first bottle in about 2 weeks. 

I know there are great pre-mixed herbal teas and supplements available at health food stores, but I haven't tried them. My main practice has been to take at least one bottle of K&B in the winter. More recently I have been creating my own "kidney hooch" with a blend of essential oils with glycerine based tinctures. I am not fond of the grain alcohol content of tinctures, perhaps my liver cleanses have soured me on using alcohol as a cure. The effect of a thorough kidney cleanse (once you've gotten used to plenty of extra trips to the bathroom) is an ease in low/mid-back discomfort, reduced swelling around the ankles and increase in energy overall. Because the adrenal glands are closely related with kidney functioning, you may also notice a drop in your stress-response and more restful sleep.

If you're going to be thorough with physical systems cleansing, the next step is parasite cleansing. I'm not saying you want to scrub those little buggers up so they are nice and shiny, I'm talking about killing them off. Once you've got a good intestinal cleanse underway parasite genocide can be done simultaneously. Some signs that the guts are overloaded with parasites include unexplained IBS symptoms (constipation or diarrhea), unexplained skin disorders such as rashes or hives, weak immunity, inability to recover from a food poisoning episode, unusually voracious appetite and lethargy. Parasites come from undercooked meat, contaminated water and contaminated fruits/vegetables. It is said that anyone who travels through an undeveloped country is going to pick up parasites.

To clear them out you will need anti-parasitic herbs at the least. To be more thorough, combine the herbs with a mild electrical charge. 
The three herbs suggested by Dr. Hulda Clark are cloves, wormwood and black walnut hull tincture. I have not tried this protocol, but trust that anyone with clear signs of parasite overgrowth will benefit from it. 

My experience has been with another quality product from YoungLiving for this purpose, ParaFree, which is loaded with powerful essential oils, sesame seed and olive oil leaf extract. This one can be self-regulated in dosage, but is recommended for only 21 consecutive days per month.

The above-mentioned electric charge is in the form of the Zapper.
The one I've used is a 9-volt unit with an on-off switch and metal leads to hold. The specific directions are to hold the leads, covered with wet paper towel, for 7 minutes, set them down for 21 - 40 minutes, and repeat twice (for a total of three 7-minute "zapping" sessions). In Peter Minke's "Clarifying Cleansing" protocol it is recommended to start Zapping once daily on the second week (after one week of taking ParaFree, intestinal cleansing and enzymatic support) and continue along with the parasite cleanse supplement for the next two weeks leading up to the liver stone flush. He recommends to continue taking ParaFree for the week after liver cleanse without zapping.

Digestive System
Part of the lead up to the liver stone flush in Minke's protocol is a product from YoungLiving called Detoxzyme  This is a digestive enzyme supplement. As part of the cleanse it will make available starches, proteins, fats and minerals that may be siting in the guts in non-assimilable form. I note it here to be thorough in my description of the complete systems cleanse and will pick up the subject again after liver stone flush.

Why all this work to get to the liver? The liver detoxifies our blood. If it cannot expel toxicity the liver will neutralize and stored it. If it purges this stored toxicity while the down-stream organs are still clogged chances of a miserable "toxic rebound" are high. Meaning when the liver is stimulated to release toxic build-up it needs to be eliminated immediately. If the lower bowels are not prepared to do this the small and large intestines will function as usual, attempting to assimilate and re-absorb any nutrient to be found while the kidneys filter the fluid dross. The result is re-toxification of the entire digestive and eliminatory systems. The blood then carries the remaining toxic waste that can't be eliminated the second time back to the liver to be neutralized and stored again. It's a hangover lasting 3 to 7 days. I strongly encourage anyone who wants to do a thorough liver cleanse to prepare the lower organs to release immediately! 

Here's the "elephant gun" of liver stone cleanses and the one I've used with great results.  This requires two full days to complete. It must be planned into your schedule. The first day you will eat only fat-free food for breakfast and lunch, finishing with all food and water in the early afternoon. This begins the 20- to 24-hour fast, which allows the stomach to empty and all gastric process to move into lower digestion. In the early evening you will prepare your intestines for the above-mentioned quick release with two doses of a strong epsom salt water solution, taken in two-hour increments. Preparation of the cleansing catalyst, a mix of olive oil and citrus juice (fresh squeezed from lemon/lime or grapefruit) happens just before bed. Drink the mix with additional sleep and purgative aids if needed (refer to Dr. Clark's time line instructions for more details), and lay down. First thing in the morning of day 2 follow-up with more epsom salt water, figure out what happens when gravity is applied to your system, and take a second follow-up dose of epsom salt water to fully flush out the liver stones and chaff that was released (four epsom salt water doses total). Fresh water never tasted so good as it does after all that epsom salt. In a few hours you can drink juices, then some fruits. Perhaps broth or a soup later in the day and a meal at night. 

Peter Minke suggests a coffee enema after the majority of brown/green/blue bile blobs and other liver discharge seems to be out. This is an attempt to clear all bile stones out of the colon before regular digestion resumes. I've done this a few times but found that the coffee caused a detox headache, so have skipped it on recent cleanses with no ill-effects and no headache. Perhaps this would be a good idea for someone who is already familiar with coffee enemas as a detox stimulant.

I hadn't read Dr. Clark's full protocol until researching this article, so haven't know about the black walnut hull tincture or follow-up zapping. She advises a thorough parasite cleanse, which you can find on the right hand side bar on the website linked above, or the link at the end of the second paragraph in "Parasites" section above.

For the most recent two liver stone flushes I've included the 7-day malic acid preparation as recommended in this blog post by Gillian B:  Malic acid is found in apples, apple juice and apple cider vinegar (the strongest concentration per ounce). Rather than drinking a liter of apple juice each day for the week, I opted for the 4 oz (half cup) of raw apple cider vinegar each day. This lasted about two days, then I started combining the vinegar dose with 16 oz (2 cups) of apple juice and 16 oz of water. Even at that dilution raw apple cider vinegar hits the stomach hard! This was the most difficult part of my last two cleanses.

People have asked me how to do a liver cleanse without the intensity of apple cider vinegar or the epsom salt + olive oil/juice experience. So far I have not found anything that doesn't require at least a few days of diet modification and the specific olive oil/juice intensity, but here are some ideas for those who want to explore other options. The last link leads to a 14-day cleanse, which may be the easiest.

I found quite a bit of information from Dr. Josh Axe, who is an abundant resource for those who learn from video.  He talks about it in multiple steps: go through a dietary clean up; then add foods that will support the liver; work through the emotional detoxification process; supplements and diet additions to rejuvenate the liver; but ultimately advises doing a full out liver flush with the olive oil and citrus juice. Rather than the full intestinal cleanse, kidney prep and parasite eradication, he advises to eat only apples and raw vegetables, and drink apple juice for 1 - 3 days before the liver stone flush. I haven't tried it, but imagine it is an adequate shortcut if you don't plan to lift anything heavier than a two gallon jug of juice on day three. Anyone who has an active lifestyle will certainly notice the loss of power after two days of eating only apples. Dr. Axe's liver flush does not include the epsom salts, but I'm guessing all the lower digestive organs will be pure liquid by that time anyway.

Dr. Edward Group has his own 5-day cleansing protocol. This plan may work well for anyone who wants to follow a recipe for the whole 5 days. His method makes use of apple cider vinegar and a dose of epsom salt water, but both are very diluted. 
The lower link is to his special liver cleansing products, which seems reasonably priced compared with the investment in a YoungLiving product cleanse. The full protocol culminates in the olive oil thing. 

This link offers a "gentle" 14 day complete package. I found it by following this link: I do not know what is in her kit, but it includes all the supplementation, a grocery list and 2 consultations. It seems reasonably priced considering there is a bit of personal guidance. If anyone who reads this post explores this option, will you please let us all know more about it in the comment lines? 

Post-Flush follow-up
The first few times I did this cleanse I returned to food with total abandon. After all, I figured, I was doing the supplementation so why not take advantage of the heightened sense of taste and smell that comes with a well-flowing liver. Coffee was more rich, ice cream more sensational, chocolate more exciting and salt added more pizzaz! And I could catch a buzz on a shot of beer. 
At this point in my self-healing work the party of the senses no longer appeals to me. The more times I've flushed my liver the more I crave foods that digest well, and feel supportive of my life. Now it's exciting how much better my supplements work, and how my emotions affect my physical comfort. Several cleanses ago all of my typical seasonal allergies went away, and I've noticed the effect of essential oils to be more potent.

Using food as dietary support, the liver responds well to broccoli (the crucifor vegetables), lemons, apples, dark leafy greens, artichokes, garlic and turmeric. By all accounts meat protein is good if it comes from clean sources. Of course the main rule of healthy eating is minimize sugars, preservatives, flavor enhancers and pesticides/herbicides. Foods made at home are generally healthier as long as the ingredients are "clean" and not overcooked. Here is a link for Dr. Group's top 14 recommendations for liver healthy foods. 

Peter Minke's cleansing pamphlet recommendation is JuvaTone , which I used on multiple occasions. I do remember enjoying the benefit of these chewable tablets. The part I didn't care for was the yucky tasting breath it left. The main thing it has that you cannot find anywhere else is a proprietary essential oil blend. There are two companion products: JuvaSpice and JuvaFlex, which I have not experienced enough to draw an opinion.

For my current liver support I've been using Jarrow Formulas' Liver Optimizer:
I determined this by muscle-testing (a.k.a. applied kinesiology) the liver support products at my well-stocked natural foods store. Muscle-testing is certainly not a scientist-approved method of selecting nutritional support. Some people are certain they can rig the results, and so they can. Having said that, I've seen some very smart people use much less informed methods for selecting supplements. To each his own. It works for me because I am open to the energetic awareness of what my body wants to experience. Suffice it to say that the Liver Optimizer formula seems to support my need for additional detoxification as my PT has been rubbing hydrocortisone into my knees.

Thyroid Support
Much can be said about the thyroid and its vital function in our health that I'm not going to say here. For anyone who has symptoms of thyroid imbalance, (difficulty waking, dehydration symptoms, lack of appetite, swelling in the throat or throat pain, brain fog, symptoms of hormone imbalance, cold extremities, it's quite an inclusive list as the thyroid interacts with all the body's functions) I recommend becoming more informed about how to correctly supplement. Most of what I've seen contains thyroid and glandular extract from animal sources.
The thyroid support product from YoungLiving Thyromin  contains porcine pituitary and adrenal extract. I used Thyromin for the first two or three cleanses but was not overly taken with it's effects. The main ingredient I've noticed fitting into my health needs is iodine, so I've incorporated more seaweed into my diet and use only sea salt for recipes. My favorite sea veggies are dulse, kelp and wakame. When my thyroid function seems taxed I notice a craving for these foods. 

Digestive Support
In response to my long-term healing experience I have recently taken up the study of unlocking the vital nutrients in my food. My primary source of information has been Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. I learned volumes from the Introduction. One sentence of consequence: "Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body." (p. 46, Revised Second Edition, 2001) An important factoid that I adopted immediately is that most of our grain foods are prepared incorrectly. Grains and seeds contain an enzyme-inhibitor to prevent being eaten out of existence by potential natural predators (such as birds, insects, etc.). Indigenous humans learned how to unlock the nutrition in grains and seeds by a simple method: soaking it in purified water for up to 24 hours before cooking. The soak time can be shortened to 7 hours by adding vinegar, whey or lemon juice to the water. Slightly more high-tech is sprouting then roasting. I started soaking my rice, oats, amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat and noticed two things right away; first, my digestion was much easier, and second, I didn't want to eat as much as I had in the past.

Another revelation in my study is that our pancreas get worn-out by the demands of digestion. Including enzyme-rich foods into the diet will take some of the load off. The inclusion of cultured foods (such as sauerkraut, pickles, preserved vegetables, cultured dairy products, fermented fish and aged meats) as part of the cuisine is a natural adaptation made by indigenous groups. These foods, at least the vegetable and dairy variety, are now being marketed for their "probiotic" content. With a bit of education, time and a few special tools, cultured foods can be made at home. Naturally occurring enzymes have been my preference, as unadulterated krauts are not available in every store. Mangos, papayas, apples, figs and red meat cooked rare to med-rare are some of my top picks, though the list is far more extensive than this.  

So there you have it, the full story of cleansing, follow-up supplementation and dietary support as I know it. This is by no means the only way to care for the organs. The post was inspired by the number of people who have asked me "What all is included in a liver cleanse?" As you can see it is not a short answer. There is not an instant fix for liver congestion nor a handful of pills that will make it go away. Because I'm adapted to the routine of cleanses after 14 years of doing them, the whole liver stone flush routine does not daunt me, but it does require some planning  and a special focus on the diet for at least a month month.

I certainly hope this helps you, thank you for reading all the way to the bottom.
Wishing you abundant health!


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