Liver flushing

March 22, 2017


Liver flushing

Natural Standard Monograph, Copyright © 2013 ( Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

Related Terms

  • Epsom salts, gallbladder cleanse, gallbladder flushing, gallbladder stones, gallstones, liver cleanse, olive oil.


  • Liver flushing is a method purported to remove gallstones, which accumulate in the gallbladder and/or liver. Advocates claim that parasites and/or bacteria may create gallstones too small to show up on X-rays, and that these stones interfere with the healthy functioning of the gallbladder and liver. It is thought that excessive gallstones may account for a variety of symptoms, including bursitis and a sluggish metabolism. In addition, the toxins of an unhealthy diet may accumulate in these organs, resulting in a variety of health problems, including cancer. The "flushing" involves drinking a concoction of olive oil, Epsom salts, soda, and juice at night at a series of intervals. The diarrhea produced the next morning is said to force out as many as 2,000 gallstones.

  • Liver flushing may be considered a subset of detoxification therapies. Detoxification is a broad concept that encompasses many different modalities and substances used in cleansing the body's systems and organs. It is one of the oldest known practices of health promotion and has roots in some form or another in all ancient cultures.

  • Detoxification is not commonly used in conventional Western medicine but is a mainstay of naturopathic medicine and other traditions such as Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and Western herbal medicine.

  • Detoxification regimes primarily target heavy metals, chemical toxins, microbial compounds, and by-products of protein metabolism.

  • At this time laboratory research documents some natural detoxification processes in the body and strategies for stimulating those processes, but there has been little clinical research on clinical outcomes of most detoxification regimes.


  • Avoid in patients with a history of gallstones and/or gallbladder problems.

  • The liver cleanse is not recommended for young children, the very ill, or the elderly.

  • A liver cleanse should not be used as a substitution for seeing a medical doctor.

  • May cause extreme discomfort and cause violent illness in some individuals.

Author Information

  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (


Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

  1. American Cancer Society: Liver Flush. 10 May 2006.

  2. Cabot, S. The Liver-Cleansing Diet. Scottsdale, AZ: Celestial Arts, 1998.

Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.


March 22, 2017