Livering Well – Care of the Liver liver
by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LNC

There is an old saying,  “is life worth living? It depends on the liver!”, but perhaps not all of us realize the essential truth contained therein. To a very large extent, the health and well-being of an individual is dependent on the proper functioning of this important detoxifying organ. Liver

Without the good offices of your liver, 3 vital functions would not be performed: Liver

  •  the blood supply would not be filtered, which is your body’s method of removing bacteria, allergens, toxins and other undesirables from circulation,  Liver
  •  bile would not be secreted, which means the absorption of fats and certain vitamins would be inhibited, and  Liver
  •  metabolic functions, such as controlling hormone secretion, extracting toxins and fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins & minerals, together with the regulation of blood sugars through the thyroid hormones and the production of GTF chromium would not take place efficiently. Liver

Some of the symptoms of a “sluggish liver” are fatigue, general malaise, digestive problems, blood sugar regulation disorders (such as hypoglycemia), high cholesterol, psoriasis, allergies and chemical sensitivities and constipation.  Extreme cases of liver problems would be jaundice, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Liver

What causes less than optimal liver function? High on the list are oral contraceptives, synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy,  and exposure to many drugs and chemicals. All drugs are foreign to the liver, and put a great strain on it. Some commonly prescribed drugs which are a particular danger to liver health are: Liver

  • acetaminophen (when used frequently and in high doses) Liver
  • anabolic steroids (used by body builders)
  • anticonvulsants such as phenytoin and valproic acid Liver
  • cancer chemotherapy
  • cardiovascular drugs (especially amiodarone) Liver
  • estrogens
  • halothane (anesthetic) Liver
  • isoniazid (INH)
  • methotrexate (used to treat psoriasis and arthritis) Liver
  • psychiatric medications (not all)
  • statins ( high cholesterol treatment) Liver

The following is a little quiz (with acknowledgment to Dr. Christopher Hobbs at  to help you judge the health of your liver.

If you answer yes to five or more of the following questions, it’s important that you pay more attention to liver health.

1. You suffer from dry, brittle nails and/or chronically painful joints.

2. You have persistent skin problems (especially psoriasis). Liver

3. You have a habitual bitter taste in your mouth.

4. You have constant dry eyes (which are not caused by prescription drugs). Liver

5. You have menstrual problems.

6. You have chronic indigestion when eating fatty foods. Liver

7. You have burning feet.

8. You often have a generalized queasy feeling. Liver

9. Your stools are perpetually light-colored.

10. You have periodic bad dreams or nightmares. Liver

11. You have a history of gallbladder attacks or gallstones.

Lynn: I would add persistent insomnia which nothing seems to help. Liver

If the above represents you, it may be time to start rehabilitating your liver and gallbladder.

Alcohol is very damaging to the liver, and faulty diet also places a strain on it. It is important to take into account that a poor diet, which is effectively a daily insult to the health of the liver, can cause it a great deal of damage: regular consumption of food fried in often rancid oil, high intake of alcohol, foods low in protein and high in carbohydrates and fats, frequently with chemical preservatives, colorings and flavorings not only do not support the liver, but actually add to its workload.

Overeating is also a common cause of liver malfunction, causing it to overwork and become fatigued, no longer able to efficiently filter toxins out of the bloodstream.

Many experts recommend a 3 day juice fast at regular intervals to detoxify the liver, using carrot and beet juices, aloe vera in small amounts and distilled water with a little lemon juice. ( Obviously many people would be wise to consult a health expert before doing anything radical.)

An extension of this approach is to come gently off the fast on a diet of vegetables, fruits and grains to provide high fiber, while at the same time following a course of nutrients for organ support, such as Choline and Inositol,  the amino acid Methionine, herbs such as milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion, and the antioxidant Alpha Lipoic Acid, which has been known to normalize liver enzymes,  sometimes in a matter of days. Liver

The art of Ayurveda, Indian medicine in existence for thousands of years, places great emphasis on liver function, and recommends several major herbs to suport it.

Picrorrhiza Kurroa is one of the important herbs for support not only on an ongoing daily basis , but in cases of severe viral attack: a  study by Vaidya (Ass. Phys. Ind. Conf. Abstracts (1981).) found protection against viral hepatitis, and other studies have demonstrated its helpfulness in protecting against alcohol related liver damage.

Phylanthus Amaris has been researched for its effects on hepatitis, and in 1988 Thyagaran et al. (ibid) reported that 22 of 37 cases of Hepatitis B lost their “carrier” status after using the herb for a month. (Lancet 1988:2:1017–8.) In the placebo control group only 1 person out of 23 had equivalent results! Liver

Outstanding results in people suffering from jaundice have been obtained using a herb called Tinospora Cordifolia:  In 1983, Rege et al. (ibid) used the herb in malignant obstructive jaundice: half of the group received conventional treatment – drugs and drainage – the other half were treated with drainage plus T. Cordifolia. After conclusion of treatment, 50% of the drug-treated group were found to have blood poisoning while none of the herb treated group developed this problem. After surgery, only 40% of the drug-treated group survived, whereas an amazing 92.4% 0f those treated with the herb lived. (Ind. Drugs Sept. 544 (1984). Liver

I very much like the combination of  supercritical extracts in Theraveda’s NIRMAL. Liver

The following article by Peter O’Hara BA Hons Dip. Hom., makes a convincing case for the use of a herb called Tribulus Terrestris in hormone balancing and liver function.Demand has skyrocketed in recent years as women become more aware of natural products that offer relief of PMS and menopausal symptoms. One reason demand has increased is because more women are experiencing hormonal imbalance problems. Why is this so? Several reasons – lack of minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients in the diet, livers stressed by excessive fats and sugars in the diet, higher chemical exposure (further taxing the liver), and day to day stress in our life.Do you notice the references to the liver in the above list of reasons? The liver is not often considered to play a role in hormone balance but its role is critical in the correct functioning of the endocrine system. The liver has an important role in the production of hormones, and when stressed by our modern lifestyle ,hormone production is one function that deteriorates.The good news for people with hormone imbalance problems is the recent listing on the Australian Register of the Therapeutic Goods of Tribulus for relief of menstrual and menopausal symptoms. This is also good news for people whose liver is stressed or congested because Tribulus is especially beneficial for the liver. More information about Tribulus

The liver is a major synthesizer of hormones. They are synthesized from cholesterol, so a herb such as Tribulus that has a stimulating effect on the liver, will have a major influence on cholesterol and other products of the liver.

Aiding the liver in its functions is the gallbladder:  this small organ is more or less attached to the underside of the liver, and concentrates bile, which is essential for the proper digestion of food, particularly fats.  Gallbladder problems caused by stone formation and sludge are very common in the US, by one estimate affecting 15% of the US population.  Vegetarians are less affected than others, and this may be because large amounts of fiber in the diet help to control gallbladder problems. Liver

Very often, there are no symptoms at all connected to the presence of small stones, but if the problem progresses, a  pain in the right side of the abdomen may develop, perhaps even radiating up into the shoulder blade, reaching the level of excruciating. (Of course, this usually happens during the night.) If this situation is not addressed, and dietary changes made, then almost certainly further and worse attacks will follow often accompanied by vomiting. With this disturbed environment, worse may be to come, with pancreatitis, infections and a call for surgical removal of the organ. Liver

Many practitioners advocate a liver/gallbladder flush once a year to head off any problems in this area.

Some people recount their success in avoiding surgery with such an approach, but once stones have formed, one has to consider the possible dangers and weigh them against the problems that accompany a surgical solution. Liver

  1. All surgery carries with it inherent risks
  2. This surgery carries a starting price tag of app. $10,000
  3. Frequently there are stones formed in the liver also which cannot be removed
  4. If surgery is not accompanied by lifestyle changes, stones may continue to form in the pocket left by surgery
  5. Without the gallbladder to concentrate and deliver the bile needed for digestion, you may suffer from indigestion for the rest of your life
  6. Often the pain post surgery (and I don’t mean from the surgery itself) is as bad or worse
  7. The lack of a gallbladder may contribute to diabetes later in life, by increasing the demands on the pancreas.

Here are the instructions for a Liver/Gallbladder flush.  I will just say that there are some experts who say that the “stones” are a reaction between the oil, mineral complexes  and the acid, but I cannot finds that they have had them analyzed to confirm this. 

Liver Gallbladder Flush.  You will need:

4 gallons of apple juice (or you may juice your own apples – make sure they are organic!)
4 gallons of steam distilled water – do not add minerals
1/2 c virgin olive oil
3 lemons (or enough to make 1/4 cup lemon juice)

Set aside a 4 day period to do this properly. Liver

A daily enema is recommended and a saltwater flush is a viable alternative for those who dislike enemas. Liver

Drink  1 gallon of apple juice and 1 gallon of water each day for 3 days. Liver

On the evening of the third night when you are tired and ready for bed, drink 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil Get the good stuff.  Chill the oil – it tastes better cold.  You can use a straw to ingest it:  some people find it easier not to have it touch their lips, others want to get it down as quickly as possible Liver

Immediately drink 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Go directly to bed and lie down on your right side with two pillows under the right hip to help the oil reach the gallbladder more quickly. Liver

You will almost certainly have a miserable night.  I spend it thinking positive thoughts about how much I am doing to promote my body’s health.

On the 4th day, you will see your results.  When you have a bowel movement, be alert for objects floating on the top of the water:  probably green, but possibly black for older stones. It is an amazing and affirming sight, believe me. Liver

It is helpful to continue with the enemas or saltwater flushes for a few more days to complete the cleansing, and you should be rewarded by feelings of well-being and extra energy.  Ease back into your usual diet carefully.  if your “usual diet” is less than optimal, now may be the time to clean it up, too!  Read  my suggestions for healthy eating here.

Give this hard-working and essential part of your body a rest and a tune-up, and you will be rewarded with better health, more energy and higher disease resistance. Liver

Find the recommended supplements here


Fighting for RAW ALMONDS –

Fighting for DHEA –

The Vitamin Lady writes about DHEA

Sustainability in the Inner Cities –

Having Class – sustainability at colleges -

How about them apples? –

Children’s Health Environmental Coalition –

Research trial of Liv 52 (LiverCare) & Hep C –

THE site for liver information – the Liver Doctor.

THE site for liver information – the Liver Doctor.

Official website of the American Liver Foundation –

Hepatitis B and the vaccine –

The CDC and “The New Math”, where 1 + 1  does not equal 2 –

Hepatitis Central –

Real people discuss Gallbladder surgery –

How to do a coffee enema –

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