Diet for Liver Health

The following is a partial list of foods that are used in treating liver symptoms with Traditional Oriental Medicine.

Steamed Vegetables:
Brussel Sprouts
Bok Choy
Dandelion Greens

Afternoon Snacks (Permitted as long as there are no severe digestive symptoms):
Alfalfa Sprouts
Pistachio nuts and other nuts that are not rancid

Sweeteners and Sweet Foods (Always in moderation):
Stevia, Honey, Unrefined can juice, Organic Maple Syrup, Licorice Root, Beets, Strawberry, Peach, Dates, Raisins, Gou Ji Berries

Quinoa, Rye, Millet, Rice, Buckwheat

Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Azuki (aka Aduki) Beans, Mung Beans, Lentils

Herbs and Supplements:
Chinese Formulas such as Xiao Yao Wan, Chai Hu Shu Gan San, Long Dan Xie Gan Wan, Xiao Chai hu Tang, Wen Dan Tang and Er Chen Tang
Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Red Clover, Vitamin C, Spirulina

Things to Consider:
Do not over eat
Do not eat before bed, but rather give yourself 2-3 hours prior to falling asleep
Get plenty of sleep

Saturated fats such as: lard, cream, cheese, eggs (w/cooked yolks), etc.
Hydrogenated fats such as shortening, margarine, refined and rancid oils
Excesses of nuts and seeds
Chemicals in food and water
Pre-packaged foods with preservatives
Intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs
Paint and chemical fumes
Highly processed, refined foods
Spice Foods
Fried Foods

In Summary:
With all of the above suggestions, the best strategy is to begin by including a warm breakfast with some of the above grains and steamed foods. If making a 100% change in your diet is intimidating to you, begin by shifting your breakfast patterns and eat your normal diet throughout the rest of the day. This will begin a new rhythm which will set the stage for a more gentle transition. Do not try too hard to make the change right away just to “fall back” to your old diet in a week or two. We always recommend to not avoiding the foods you love for the whole day at first. Make the change fun, and not restricting. Set reasonable goals and always think first about adding foods in, instead of taking food out. Then, hopefully over time, the bad habits will slowly fall away.

If you have successfully made the breakfast switch, try to refrain from eating after 6:00 pm. This will give your digestive system time to assimilate before bed and allow your body to properly detoxify during the night. Add Milk Thistle Extract in the evening to help protect and rejuvenate the liver, increasing the dosage over time until your reach the desired dosage.

For more information on the topic of Liver and Gallbladder cleansing, we suggest:

The Amazing Liver Gallbladder Flush; Andreas Moritz
Healing with Whole Foods; Paul Pitchford
Prescriptions For Nutritional Healing; Balch MD, & Balch
Healthy Healing; Linda Page, ND

Gallbladder/Liver Flush

What you need:
Epsom Salts 4 Tablespoons or 4 cups of Senna Leaf Tea
Olive Oil ¾ cup
Grapefruit Juice 1 cup FRESH squeezed!
Wide Mouth Pint Jar with Lid (Peanut Butter jar works okay)
Several Packets “Emergen-C” or other Electrolyte drink

The Cleanse

  • AM: No fat breakfast. In fact, no eating fat this day. No fat diet ensures that bile accumulates in preparation for induced purging.
  • Hydrate all morning, and include electrolytes such as “Emergen-C”. Electrolytes keep you strong despite purgation.
  • 1:00pm: Stop all eating and most drinking at this point. Sipping of electrolyte beverage or water is okay if slow, minute amounts which absorb through the stomach and do not pass to the intestines. Sip water if thirsty, slow and steady.
  • 4:45 pm: Mix 4T (Tablespoons) Epsom Salts into 3C (Cups) warm to hottish water. Mix till salts dissolve so much as the water can hold in solution. Probably some will remain as crystals. Alternately, make a 4 cup pot of Senna Leaf tea.
  • 5:00 pm: Drink ¾ of a cup of the Epsom Salts water, or 1 cup of Senna leaf tea.
  • 5:10 pm: Consider doing a warm water enema.
  • 7:00 pm: Repeat the Epsom Salts water ¾ cup ritual. A warm water enema is recommended.
  • 9:45 pm: Pour ¾ cup of extremely good, extra virgin, organic cold expeller pressed Olive Oil into a wide mouth closeable jar. Squeeze a cup of Organic Grapefruit Juice, and pour it in with the olive oil. Cap it and shake, shake, shake! Then put it down a minute while you . . .
  • 9:50 pm: Void bowels if possible for the next 10 minutes. Warm water enema is recommended. Do not be concerned if you haven’t voided bowels.
  • 10:00 pm: Shake the potion again. Think good thoughts. Drink down your 1 ¾ cup LV/GB Flush Elixir.
  • 10:01 pm: Lie down for maximum results. If you don’t lie down, you may not void stones.

Acupuncture Support: This acupuncture prescription will potentiate and optimize your flush results. It can be done any time around the flush. The best time for the treatment is at 10pm after drinking the Grapefruit and Olive Oil, however this can be logistically difficult. Acupuncture can be done anytime before or after the flush. I often use this protocol once in the week before the flush and once during the afternoon the day of the flush.

  • LV3, LI4, S36 with moxa, SP9 w/moxa, SP6 w/moxa, SP4 w/moxa, GB34 w/e-stim, Dannangxue w/e-stim, GN41 w/e-stim, TB5, GB24 w/e-stim, LV14 w/stim, LV13 w/e-stim, Auricular LV w/e-stim, GB w/e-stim, Intestines, Shenmen, Point Zero, Autonomic, Gallbladder, Liver, Liver Yang 1&2 w/e-stim. Replace needles with seeds before patient leaves.

That’s the point prescription. Do it with intention, e-stim, moxa and generally strong stimulation to the points for 40 minutes. After about 20 minutes, or at any time the patient may be aware of a “jiggling” near the GB (under right ribs), a sensation of stones cascading out or light gurgling feeling upper right abdominal quadrant. These are the indications of massive amounts of stones rolling on out of you!

  • 11:00 pm: Go to sleep on your right side. Massage up under your right rib cage periodically to liberate stones. Massage abdomen clockwise regularly to alleviate nausea and digestive discomfort. Moxa of the abdomen also helps. Do not expect to void stones during the night. They are only leaving the Gallbladder through the night. They will leave the body starting mid-morning the next day.
  • 6:00 am or whatever time you first wake, the next morning, drink ¾ cup of the Epsom Salt brew. Alternately, drink a cup of Senna tea. You’ll probably want to go back to bed. Do so for 2 hours and then . . .
  • 8:00 am: Drink the last ¾ cup dose of Epsom salts, or the last cup of Senna tea.
  • 900 to 10:00 am: Begin to void stones. Consider dedicating a strainer or some cheesecloth for collection of stones and sand from the toilet bowl for examination. Inside each gallstone is some toxic irritant which the body was encasing. It can be fascinating to examine the stones. Continue to massage under the right side ribs to facilitate gallbladder flushing. A warm water enema is strongly recommended.
  • All Day: Pay attention to clearing symptoms such as mental clarity, improved visual acuity, improved hearing, and loss of tinnitus if patient had it, improved mood, clearing of tension and irritability. In upcoming days and weeks look for improved health of hair, skin and nails, improved energy levels, better mental function, improved outlook on life.
  • Following week: Continue mild flushing protocols. Stay hydrated. Drink hot lemon water each morning. Include apple cider, grapefruit, spring mix salads with extra olive oil and an apple cider vinegar dressing in your diet. Continue with all foods recommended in the Diet for Liver Health. Consider using warm water enemas or seeing a colonics therapist for 1 or 2 sessions. It is crucially important to flush all of the sludge and stones which exited the gallbladder completely out of the body.

It’s a remarkable little flush with huge health benefits earned for the minor personal investment considering the relative short, easy and non traumatic protocol. For most individuals it is necessary to do a series of 6 to 12 flushes to cleanse the organs thoroughly. If you are diagnosed with a liver/gallbladder related illness you must expect to complete several flushes to cure symptoms and address root causes of illness.

The Liver/Gallbladder flush is an archetype. There exist many variations on the basic theme. Therefore, I have included two alternate flushes to accommodate different patients’ preferences. Have fun, and good health to you!


This protocol is added to illustrate that there are archetypes and variations on the theme of liver and gall bladder cleansing. This flush is generally less involved than the last. It is also generally less effective.

The Flush

Blend in blender: 4 oz. pineapple juice

2 oz. pure water

2 Tblsp. cold-pressed olive oil

1 clove garlic

Drink mixture the first thing in the morning, one hour before you plan on rising. Stay in bed one hour, resting. Then drink 2 cups of peppermint tea (with very little sweetener). Be sure to DRINK LOTS OF WATER ALL DAY to help flush out everything the liver is expelling during this flushing. Most people don’t drink enough, with the result that the body is not as free from toxins as it could be.

Eat plenty of steamed vegetables during the day; string beans, zucchini, crook-neck squash, beets, broccoli, spinach, chard, etc. These nourish the liver and help push toxins through the colon and out of the body.

You may not notice much of an effect immediately. There is rarely diarrhea or excessive stools. Your stool may be more green than usual. This is just bile being released from the liver and gall bladder.

You may want to follow this flush with 1 Tblsp. cream of tartar and 1 Tblsp. lemon juice in 8 oz. of water before breakfast each morning for a week to assist the cleansing from the liver flush.


Drink a gallon of apple cider (or so much as you can) each day for three days. Eat normally, but concentrate on the foods included in the “Diet For Liver/Gallbladder Health.” On the third evening drink 2 oz olive oil and eat a grapefruit. That’s it.


Instead of an overnight flush, try the following over three weeks:

The basic premise is to combine sour flavors which course and cleanse the liver and gallbladder with oil which promotes expulsion of bile. The combination will course and cleanse the organs without doing a cathartic flush. Sour citrus such as grapefruit and lemon, green apples, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar are the preferred sour flavors. Olive oil is the preferred oil. All should be high quality, organic top food grade for the cleanse. Use the following protocols for three weeks along with appropriate Chinese or Western Liver/Gallbladder herbs prescribed by a qualified herbalist. Diet should rely heavily on the foods listed in the attached Diet for Liver/Gallbladder Health.

* Begin each day with 1/2 lemon in 6 to 8 oz hot water. Drink this before any other food or drink. Consider following the Lemon water with a tablespoon of Olive Oil every other day.

* Shot of Apple Cider vinegar every other day. Consider following this with a tablespoon of Olive Oil.

* Enjoy a grapefruit occasionally along with a spring-mix salad with vinegar and oil dressing. Use extra oil.

* Eat one tart green apple daily.

* Have a tablespoon of olive oil after any of the above.

* Use a Chinese herbal formula as directed on label such as:

Wen Dan Tang – Warm Gallbladder Decoction

Xiao Yao Wan – Free & Easy Wanderer

Long Dan Xiao Granting – Dragon Gall to Cleanse Liver Formula OR

Chai Hu Gan San – Bupleurum formula to soften the liver

In this way, you can cleanse gradually versus doing cathartic purges. The cleanse is also recommended after the flush.

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