A liver cleanse can be a part of a general detoxification diet, such as the one spelled out in Dr. Alejandro Junger's book, Clean.
Or it can be a specific regimen undertaken during a short period of time - say a weekend - when you have time to feel rather nauseated and otherwise weak and sub-normal.
There are various recipes for the short and intense version of the liver cleanse, but they all seem to include the same basic ingredients. The basic ingredients are olive oil, grapefruit juice, and epsom salts.
Our alternative health doctor suggested that Joyce use a liver and gallbladder cleanse - which she did with some difficulty, but with positive results. But her experience included other actions which increased the effectiveness of the cleanse.
The other actions were longer term, and included certain dietary changes.
Also included were some herbal supplements.
It's fascinating that certain web organizations are interested in presenting the truth - their truth - with regard to the liver cleanse.
The quackwatch article says that a liver cleanse is not necessary, and that any products of the cleanse are not actual gallstones, but are clumps of material produced by the ingredients of the cleanse itself.
Quackwatch admits that the liver cleanse might occasionally be successful, but indicates that more gallstones will likely be produced within five years.
The Webmd article tries to walk a thin line between the standard medical establishment position and the alternative health position. Without coming out and blatantly saying that the whole idea of toxins being a cause of illness is bunk, Webmd says there's no evidence that improvement is the result of clearing toxins from the body.
The vast majority of the medical doctors have been trained to believe in the mechanistic, kill-the enemy-approach to treatment - the enemy being the microbial invaders which supposedly cause disease.
Little or no consideration is given to toxicity - except for obvious cases of poisons, such as heavy metals.
In the case gallstones or kidney stones, surgery is the standard treatment.
In fact, the main argument against alternative therapies is that the cleansing procedure might delay the necessary surgery.
Now, though, there are other procedures within medicine for eliminating stones. Use of ultrasound or laser to break up the stones is now fairly common - but not risk free, and not cheap. These procedures work for kidney stones, but not gallstones.
There are certainly situations when surgery is necessary - or at least, I think that this is true. Keep in mind, I'm not a doctor of any kind.
It appears to me that surgery in some circumstances saves lives.
But if you decide to go under the scalpel, you will sign all kinds of waivers which attempt to absolve the surgeon and the hospital of any responsibility for your death or dismemberment. You will also have great insurance and lots of money.
I would try every alternative under the sun before I would submit to surgery. That's not hard for me, though - since I stay healthy using the good old standard approach - diet and exercise.
I've been looking on the web for some specific information for this page - but I've found the best information from two books we've had around the house for a while.
The liver is incredibly important. The word itself gives a strong clue - live with an r tacked on.
As Rhody Lake tells us, the entire word apparently comes from the old English word for life.
Rhody Lake was editor of the Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition - aka alive magazine - for close to ten years. She's also a researcher in the areas of whole food nutrition and medicinal herbs.
Her small book, Liver Cleansing Handbook published by alive books, Vancouver, Canada is a wonderful treasure of information presented concisely in well-written form with lots recipes and colorful pictures of delicious looking foods.
Joyce bought this valuable little book from Vitamin Cottage here in Arvada for about ten bucks.
The other book is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this page - Clean, by Dr. Alejandro Junger.
It's impossible to over-estimate the value of these two books.
Part of the great value of Dr. Junger's book comes from the fact that Dr. Junger is a medical doctor - a cardiologist who discovered first hand the necessity of non-medical modalities of treatment and the additional necessity of individual responsibility for health maintenance.
Clean does not have a separate chapter for a liver cleanse, but there's great information sprinkled throughout the book.
Joyce and I completed the 21-day detox program detailed by Dr. Junger several weeks ago with amazing results. We're still using a lot of the new eating habits we've acquired as a result.
Many of the specific nutritional ideas given by both books are very close to being the same. There's enough variation in the recipes to provide the variety in tastes we all enjoy.
I haven't done a liver flush, but Joyce tried to do it.
About a year or so ago she was going through some very severe pain episodes in which debilitating stabs pain originating in her lower back and upper right portion of her abdomen were causing serious distress.
She attempted a series of liver and gall bladder flushes.
With some variation the ingredients consisted primarily of lemon juice, grapefruit juice and olive oil. One attempt even included some Coca Cola - which shows how desperate for relief she was at the time.
Whatever the combination, she couldn't get it to stay down.
Consulting with our alternative health doctor - a chiropractor who is amazingly capable in dealing with such situations - and her massage technician, she was able to manage the pain and pursue a series of cleansing activities which worked well over a period of time.
The booklet by Rhody Lake referred to above has a recipe for a liver cleanse along with instructions for its use of a period of several hours. The book is only $10.
The author's description of how to successfully do the cleanse is worth many times the price of the book - especially since it helps you to correctly establish the right frame of mind in spite of the pain you might be experiencing.
Juicing as we practice it, along with multitudes of other health nuts, means making your own fresh juice from raw organic fruits and vegetables and drinking it within minutes after it's made.
The juice from raw organically grown celery is especially good for your liver.
An herbal supplement we've found to be very helpful for maintaining liver and kidney health is called Stone Free, by Planatary Herbals, which we get from Vitamin Cottage.
Stone Free is a proprietary blend of Turmeric Root, Gravel Root, Dandelion Root Extract, Ginger Root, Lemon Balm Leaf, Marshmallow Root, Parsley Root, Dandelion Root, and Licorice Root.
I think the liver cleanse is best accomplished as part of a general, complete cleanse such as the one described in Clean.
A chapter near the end of Dr.Junger's book is titled, After the Cleanse, and is loaded with great information which will help continue to improve liver health.Return to Alternative Health Care from Liver Cleanse