How to Cleanse & Flush the Liver According to an Endocrinologist

How to Cleanse & Flush the Liver According to an Endocrinologist

We're back at it with the liver here, folks! 

 I know it's a classic thought to think of liver cleansing happening around spring. But here's the thing, ongoing liver upgrades are key to keeping a strong immune system. The liver is like a purification plant for the blood, and the more we rid toxins from it, the more we avoid excess build-up that contributes to classic stressors such as lethargy, depressive moods, SAD (seasonal affective disorder), food allergies, colds and flus, etc.

If you have the time, space and desire to get clear and healthy, this protocol along with liver herbs, can be a very powerful tool to have. If now is not the time, save this for later, and share with those that might need it. Feel free to contact us for any information regarding doctors that can help guide the process. 

The intensive cleanse outlined below by Dr. Irina Matveikova, can (and should!) be done in the comfort of your own home. This allows the very intimate, and potentially emotional process of what cleanses entail, be held in a cozy and sacred space.  You can do a "mellower" version of it by following the 5 essential steps below, or the full version which is the liver flush. But, remember it's always best to consult with your doctor, particularly if you're intaking medication, or anything alike, to avoid  internal injuries. 

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During a liver flush, the liver is gently encouraged to improve its excretory function in order to eliminate old bile trapped inside the bile ducts and to achieve a complete and regular evacuation of the gallbladder. It is a delicate process involving the use of medicinal plants, supplements, mineral salts, oils, and certain foods to properly detoxify the liver.

Liver flushing achieves the following objectives:

+ First, the complete drainage and elimination of accumulated toxins, cholesterol, and other fractions of fat.
+ Second, proper bile flow and improved motility of the gallbladder through dietary measures.

What Happens During the Process of Detoxifying and Cleansing the Liver?

The first phase of learning how to detoxify and cleanse the liver involves several days spent preparing the body, using dietary measures and natural remedies, in order to soften the toxic and fatty materials that need flushed from the liver. This helps them acquire a more liquid consistency, so that they can be expelled afterward and so that the bile ducts can dilate and relax.

At the end of this preparation phase, the gallbladder and liver ducts are encouraged to make strong and rapid muscular contractions to flush their contents by observing a day of fasting accompanied by the taking of certain oils and mineral salts.

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The first phase of learning how to detoxify and cleanse the liver involves several days spent preparing the body, using dietary measures and natural remedies, in order to soften the toxic and fatty materials that need flushed from the liver. This helps them acquire a more liquid consistency, so that they can be expelled afterward and so that the bile ducts can dilate and relax.

At the end of this preparation phase, the gallbladder and liver ducts are encouraged to make strong and rapid muscular contractions to flush their contents by observing a day of fasting accompanied by the taking of certain oils and mineral salts.

This daylong purging is profound and important, and it is not easy. It involves spending literally several hours in the toilet evacuating frequent jets of greenish, warm, foul-smelling liquid. 

This amount of digestive activation can be tiring. It can irritate the anus and lead to a sensation of weakness. This is to be expected, and for this reason it is recommended to carry out a liver flush on a day free of appointments and to dedicate time almost exclusively to this.

The bile expelled during liver flushing days is very dense and greasy, and has the consistency of clay or dark green “butter.” After entering the intestines, it becomes knitted together (gets harder) and acquires various round forms similar to stones, which have to be evacuated and expelled within hours.

There is always a risk of recycling and reabsorbing these mobilized liver toxins; also, the “stones” are very heavy and sticky and often stay in the colon for a while; for this reason it is very important to understand exactly how to detox and cleanse your liver and carry out a good cleansing of the intestine (colonic hydrotherapy being the optimal measure) after the liver flushing.

Sometimes patients observe multiple deposits of green bile in their toilets during their liver flush, and they even take photos of them! I have a gallery of such images on my computer, if only they could be prepared for an artistic exhibition, now that would be very original!

Frequently, worms of all sizes are dragged out by the purge, along with fatty froth with the consistency of whipped cream and much sand. Some surprised patients, who are curious about their inner contents, fish out the little balls of bile during a liver flushing and display them on a porcelain plate or in a sieve, comparing them to a euro coin or other object (all this I have documented, but anonymously, of course); other people tell me that they keep them in the fridge and want to show them to me in their natural form. I insist, however, that a photograph will do!

Not only are bile and toxins moved during the liver cleansing protocol, but also energy and emotions. Oriental philosophers have their reasons for pointing to the liver as the center of the emotions and the passions. Patients “uncover” their accumulated sadness and rage; they also feel very sensitive and very expressive during the day of the cleanse, and for several days afterward. One will start to cry for no apparent reason; another, at last, decides to let go of everything he is thinking. It is normal to feel sad and perceptive, more intuitive, and to begin to have more intense and vivid dreams. Without doubt, it is very useful and a great help to be able to share and talk about these changes with a professional psychotherapist.

One or two days after the liver flush, it is advisable to have a session of colonic hydrotherapy to insure that any liver toxins that may have stayed in the colon are evacuated. I repeat, according to theories of energy medicine, liver flushing means to move, purge and discharge the emotions. After around two or three weeks, the first thing many patients report is an improvement in their digestion but also an intense emotional well-being, a more positive attitude, and a sensation of greater vitality; sincerely, they seem happier.

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MILK THISTLE. is considered the “queen” of detoxifying herbs, making it ideal for a liver cleanse. It helps to eliminate the buildup of heavy metals, prescription medications, environmental pollutants and alcohol in the liver. In addition, it helps to reduce the negative effects on the liver after chemotherapy and radiation. The active ingredient silymarin helps to strengthen the cell walls in the liver, while supporting healthy regeneration. 

TURMERIC. Turmeric reduces joint pain; is an effective antidepressant; aids in digestion; helps to restore a healthy blood sugar balance; and supports healthy liver tissue and liver metabolism. Currently, researchers are studying turmeric for a variety of health benefits for diseases and conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, depression, osteoarthritis, breast health, prostate health and chronic pain.

DANDELION ROOT. Most homeowners hate the dandelion, as it populates yards every spring. But, this flower, and its root, is actually packed with vitamins and minerals. Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to more quickly eliminate toxins. It also helps to strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn, and soothe digestive upset. It can be consumed daily as a supplement or as a tea.

BURDOCK ROOT. THIS is another option in the same plant family as dandelions that can help detox your system by cleansing the blood, therefore helping to support liver function. Burdock root can be taken in both supplement form or as a detox tea.

PAU D'ARCO. A powerful blood detoxifier that has liver protective properties, along with being a renowned immune protector. It's also said to help help eliminate bad bacteria, while protecting good bacteria, in the gut.

*Read more about these precious treasures, on our recent article on Digestive Intelligence.

I strongly advise you to carry out your first liver flush under professional supervision, and, after that, to learn to look after your digestive system and do annual cycles of detoxification (not more frequent). If you are taking any kind of medication, be sure to ask your doctor first before starting the procedure.

A badly managed drainage when learning how to detox your liver can send hard mineralized particles through the narrow bile ducts and provoke colic. It can even manage to block the bile duct, creating an extreme situation that will send you to the emergency room of your local hospital. On the other hand, the toxic discharge of the liver can cause vomiting, strong headaches and fever, owing to rapid reabsorption in the intestine. Make sure you are protected from these complications by being properly guided.

In patients with a history of bile or nephritic (kidney) colics, or a history of these clinical symptoms, I consider it essential to carry out a abdominal ultrasound scan: this helps to dismiss the possibility of (or confirm) the presence of hard calcified stones that cannot possibly flow through the hepatic ducts when mobilized or change their form: these can generate great pain and lead to other complications during liver flushing.

It is also important to consider all other possibilities with a professional.

In recent years, the liver flush has become fashionable, and I have hundreds of patients who come to see me after having done it badly, in an incorrect form, by relying only on popular books or information they have found on the internet. It is not a procedure to be carried out frequently. It is a question of well-being, of your health. Make sure you carry out the first steps with adequate advice, then you will learn how to detoxify your liver and can do it by yourself. I remind you that naturopaths use many effective natural remedies for the liver. Look for the one that is right for you.

Remember, when trying to understand how to detox and cleanse your liver, that the adequate expulsion of bile depends on diet too. Medicinal plants and supplements to activate the liver should be taken just before or during the main meal. The most common natural remedies used for this process are: dandelion root, green artichoke, milk thistle, birch leaf, celery (the root is best), black radish, fumitory, turmeric, burdock, mint, rosemary, ginger, thyme, virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and magnesium sulfate. 

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Days 1–5


+ Animal proteins: meat, sausages (and all processed meat products), poultry, fish, seafood, eggs

+ Dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter (but you can eat fermented, or cultured, milk products, such as cottage cheese, quark, yogurt, kefir (better if they are made from goat’s milk or sheep’s milk)

+ Fried and battered food, spicy food, sauces, mayonnaise

+ Coffee (but decaffeinated is permitted), alcohol (all types), and tobacco

+ Processed foods, including cakes and pastries, soft drinks, and chocolates

+ Cold or frozen food and drinks

Eat and Drink:

+ Whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and pulses (legumes). All of these could be eaten boiled, raw, steamed, grilled, or cooked in the oven. Preferably creamed or pureed, not fried!

+ Quark, raw yogurt/curd, kefir made from goat’s milk

+ Natural fruit and nuts, honey

+ Water, tea, decaffeinated coffee, liver protecting herbal teas, natural juices, vegetable milks (made from oat, soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, etc.)


+ Drink at least 2 liters of liquid a day while liver flushing.

+ Eat small quantities of food (150−200 g) every 4 hours, or 5 meals per day.

+ Eat slowly, chew well.

Snacks are essential mid-morning and in the late afternoon. They can consist of fruits, juices, fruit and nuts, yogurt, wholewheat biscuits, fresh cheese with sugar-free jam or honey, a mini-sandwich of wholewheat bread (with cottage cheese, mozzarella, tomato, avocado, and so on). These rules may seem tricky, but understanding how to detox your liver is all about knowing how to do it properly.

Natural Food Supplements

(take for 5 days continuously)

+ One liter of natural apple juice without sugar or preservatives (this can be bought in supermarkets or health food shops). Or alternatively: 1 capsule (600 – 1000mg) malic acid a day, with breakfast.

+ Celery and lemon juice (300ml). Dice 3 large celery stalks (preferably organic). Liquidize with the squeezed juice of one lemon, and add 200ml of mineral water. Alternatively: 2 capsules celery root extract a day, with breakfast.

+ Epsom salts (powdered magnesium sulfate). Dilute 1 heaped tablespoonful in a glass of water (200ml). Drink in one go, after dinner. To disguise the bitter taste you can put a little honey or half a slice of lemon on your tongue before you take the Epsom salts.

+ Powdered pysllium seed husks (plantago ovata) (one heaped tablespoonful) or a single-dose sachet. Dilute in 250ml of water (or apple juice). Drink immediately after the Epsom salts or a bit later at night, before going to bed. Keep the intake of this fiber supplement separate from your nighttime medication (one hour before or after).

On Day 6 

7 A.M. On an empty stomach, take a heaped tablespoonful of Epsom salts diluted in a glass of water (200 ml) at room temperature. I recommend that you prepare this the night before. After this part of the liver flush, you can drink all the water you want.

7:30 A.M. Still on an empty stomach, mix 150ml of good-quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil with the squeezed juice of two lemons (or the juice of one grapefruit).

To mix it well put it in a jar with a lid and shake. Drink it straight away. To take away the taste of the oil in the mouth and throat, you can take sips of warm mint tea. Go back to bed immediately, lying on the right side and placing a warm blanket or pillow in the area of the liver. Sleep, or at least rest with your eyes closed, for 1−2 hours.

9:30 A.M. Still without eating, take a last tablespoonful of Epsom salts diluted in a glass of warm water (200ml).

10:30 A.M. You can now have breakfast (if you want). Continue with the vegetarian liver flushing diet described above.

After dinner in the evening, take a tablespoon of the same fiber that you have been taking the previous nights: powdered psyllium seed husks (plantago ovate) diluted in 250mg of water or apple juice. It is important that you keep taking this fiber supplement every night for a week after the liver flushing.

From day 7 on, you can eat a healthy, varied diet, as long as you care to eat high-quality foods and to respect your digestive system.

Within 2−3 days after the liver flush, it is highly recommended that you have a session of colonic hydrotherapy to eliminate any toxic and bile residues that remain in the walls of the intestine. It is also recommended that you take probiotics for a month after cleansing your liver and colon.

This article on how to detox and cleanse your liver is excerpted from the book

 Digestive Intelligence: A Holistic Vision of Your Second Brain: The Liver and Gallbladder by Dr. Irina Matveikova. 

About The Author

Dr. Irina Matveikova specializes in Endocrinology and Clinical Nutrition and is a certified expert in Eating Disorder Behaviors. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Matveikova undertook postgraduate professional studies (as well as studies in natural and holistic medications) in many different parts of the world, including France, the United States, Argentina, Spain, and the Czech Republic. As a result of her postgraduate experiences, Dr. Matveikova became a staunch believer in harmoniously combining natural and conventional medical approaches to health and is now at the forefront of this field. Visit her website:


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