Liver- and Gall Bladder Cleanse
The Liver is one of our key organs for health body, blood, eyes and skin. Clearing the Liver will support the hormonal function and improves the digestive capacity.
We need to take regular care of the Liver by following the guidelines of healthy non-greasy and not-too-spicy meals, no late night eating, and eating in a relaxed and aware manner. Alcohol, coffee and smoking are harsh on the liver, as are the taking of hormonal contraceptives.
Even if we eat clean, since our environment is polluted from air, pesticides and chlorine even in our drinking water, we need to look at regular liver care.
Indications that we may need to do a cleanse of the liver and gallbladder would include poor digestion of fats, low bile production as in a sluggish system, poor eyes sight, hormonal imbalance, pain in the right side under the ribs at the front, skin rashes, anger and irritations.
Herbs such as dandelion and burdock tea are cleansing and nourishing for the liver. Reishi mushroom extract is excellent for flushing toxins out of the liver and is highly recommended before doing a liver cleanse. Our LIVER AID formula is also a long term duo-action cleanser and regenerator and is advisable for all types of Liver conditions for all doshas.
Here’s one recipe you can use as a gentle liver cleanse for yourself at home.
Liver Detox Formula:
1-2 fresh organic lemons
2 cloves fresh garlic
Touch of cayenne
1 tablespoon cold pressed olive oil
4 ounces filtered water (distilled or spring)
Squeeze the lemons and add garlic and olive oil. Blend for 30 seconds. Drink and lie down with awareness on the liver area – under the ribs on the right side of the body.
Wait 15 minutes and follow with a glass of hot water with our herbal DETOX capsules or ELIMIN AID or DIGEST AID, all of which assists in the “flush”.
You may do this 3-5 days in a row for maximum benefit
Alternatively, you may squees the juice of 3 large limes or regular lemons and drink 1st thing in the morning. Rinse the mouth our well afterwards to protect the teeth. Do for 3-5 mornings in a row.
THE FULL LIVER AND GALL BLADDER FLUSH
This is a strong purge of the whole digestive tract as well as the Liver & Gall bladder. So one needs to be in fairly strong ad stable place to undertake it. Allow yourself a full 2 days of quite time at the peak of the cleanse – the last day and the morning after.
There have been both advocates and neigh-sayers of this approach. I personally have felt relief in my liver from such a process. A friend who did it for the 1st time noticed a remarkable improvement in his eyesight the very next day.
Preparing : First 5 Days of the Cleanse
Over five days, eat organic fresh fruits, vegetables and minimal starch (rice and grains). You must avoid meats, sugar and fats. Do eat so that you are satisfied, but not stuffed. Remember, this is a cleanse. For five days, follow the guidelines for maximal benefit . if you are Vata Vikruti it is suggested that you follow the easy cleanse above as this full purge is Vata increasing, or alternatively, follow the guidelines below for only 2-3 days, with the previous 3 days eating a balance of vata pacifying foods such as sprouted whole grain cereals and a little oil, with lots of Vata appropriate vegetables – see Vata for more information.
- Be sure to have regular bowel movements prior this gallstone cleanse. It is hazardous to re-absorb toxins, gall and liver stones, that may lodge in a blocked colon. Take ELIMIN-AID or TRIPHALA in large doses to ensure a movement after each meal to activate the intestines.
- Take Malic Acid. This will soften the gallbladder and liver stones. You may take 1-3 quart of fresh apple juice daily, however this is a lot of sugar for some, so 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water 3 x day is helpful. Malic acid powder is quite harsh but effective -1500-3000mg or ½ tsp in 32 oz over the day. Be sure to rinse your mouth out after each drink as it is corrosive to the enamel of the teeth.
- Avoid chilled foods and drinks. They will chill the liver, thus reducing the effects of the flush. All foods and beverages should be warm or room temperature.
- DO NOT EAT dairy products, fried foods and meat for the week.
- DO EAT salads, fruits and vegetables. Do not over-eat.
- DO NOT EAT sweets, meats or wheat or fatty foods.
- EAT fresh organic foods.
- DO NOT take any supplements for the week, it is important to give the liver as much of a break as possible. Only take necessary medications. The exception to this is the REISHI MUSHROOM EXTRACT which greatly help the liver remove toxins for an easier flush.
The Actual Flush : DAY 6 & 7 of the Cleanse
Morning Of The 6th Day:
Note: this is the actual flush and you will want to stay home today and tomorrow.
- If you are drinking apple juice, drink 32 oz or the raw apple cider vinegar or take half the dose of Malic Acid upon waking.
- If you are hungry, eat a very light breakfast. AVOID any sugar, dairy, oils, fats, nuts or cold foods.
- For lunch, eat plain steamed vegetables, before 1pm.
- Do not eat any protein foods, butter or oil. If you do, you may feel nausea during the flush.
- AFTER 1:30pm, do not eat or drink anything (except water) or you may have difficulty passing stones. Follow this exact schedule.
NOTE: Drink water whenever you are thirsty, except right after drinking the Epsom salts and for the first two hours after drinking the oil mixture.
EVENING OF THE 6TH DAY:
The Classic recipe is to use Epsom Salts. They are considered quite stripping on the digestive tract and an alternative is to use large amounts of the ELIMIN AID. They both have the same action of opening the bile ducts and ensuring that the bowels will purge ( ie give you diarhhea) so the stones will pass easily and not re-absorb into your tract. The dose would vary according to your body weight and sensitivity to herbs, but the following usually suffices : If you have been using these herbs to evacuate the bowels in the preparation time, then triple your dose and take this each time the Epsom salts are mentioned, as a replacement.
6:00pm: Add 4 tablespoons of Epsom Salts to a total of 24 ounces (three 8oz glasses) of filtered water. This will make four 6 oz servings or ¾ of a glass. Drink the first serving (¾ glass) now. If you can not drink Epsom salts, use magnesium citrate – at same dosage (15g max of 1:1 not 3:2). The salts clear out the waste that may obstruct the release of the stones. Or take the ELIMIN AID as a purgative as explained above.
8:00pm: Drink your second ¾ glass of Epsom salt. Or herbs.
9:45pm: Squeeze the grapefruits by hand and remove the pulp. Squeeze enough for 3/4 glass (6oz) of juice. Pour the juice into 1/2 glass of olive oil. Use a pint mason jar and shake hard until solution is watery. Prepare yourself for bed. Use the bathroom if necessary first.
10:00pm: Drink olive oil/Grapefruit mixture standing next to your bed. Do not take more than 5 minutes to do so. A straw is helpful to get the mixture down.
Lay down immediately, your head should be higher than your abdomen. Use pillows to prop your upper body upwards. Lay your hands on your right lower ribs if comfortable to give extra attention to that area.
Lie still for at least 20 minutes, do not speak. Go to sleep if you can. During the night if the need for a bowel movement occurs get up. If nausea occurs during the night, there may be a strong release of stones/toxins. It will pass.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING, of the Cleanse,
6:00-6:30am: Drink your third 3/4 glass of Epsom salts or herbs and a warm glass of water if you’re thirsty. (drink the water before the salts). If you’re sleepy go back to bed, rest in the upright position, allowing the flow of stones downward.
8:00-8:30am: Drink your fourth serving (3/4 glass) Epsom salts or herbs.
During bowl movements, expect to pass bright green pea sized “stones” and/or larger brown, yellow or light colored stones. You may have watery diarrhea – this is to be expected . if you do not have plenty of bowel movements with the stones passing, consider a coffee enema to move them out your body.
10:00-10:30am: Drink freshly squeezed juice if you like. 1/2 hour later eat one or two pieces of fresh fruit. One hour later you may eat regular but light food. Continue to eat light meals for 2-3 days.
Congratulations. You have completed a liver and gall bladder flush.
If you expelled many stones, then consider doing another in 2 or 3 months time, and regularly until nothing passes. This may take some time, but it does clear.
This article explains the Ayurvedic concept of Ojas and includes a recipe for our Ojas Delight Drink below.
Ojas, is our life juice, our reserve of energy, and the essential soma that sustains life in our body. It is the pure essence that supports our living tissues and that which gives us luster and deep vitality. Ojas strengthens and integrates the mind, body and spirit and is the unctuousness that soothes and softens, allowing us to experience contentment and joy in the life.
Ojas is our resistance to degeneration of the body and subtle energy underlying the immunity against dis-ease.
When impaired, Ojas causes Vata conditions such as chronic diseases such as fatigue, low libido, various nervous disorders and premature aging, as well as degenerative conditions such as cancers. Hence rebuilding Ojas is a key therapy for the Vata type or condition. Ayurveda focuses on nourishing the essential nectar of “Amrit” to create more Ojas – strength, vitality and longevity. The importance of understanding and improving agni (our digestive fire) is essential to the ability to create Ojas in our bodies, as Ojas may only be created from properly digested and assimilated foods.
We can look at our life as being a candle. We all know the phrase “don’t burn the candle at both ends” and what it implies. Ojas can be likened to the candle wax of our life. Tejas is the heat and light that we radiate and Prana is the awareness that this light sheds upon our subtle selves. If the candle is wide and tall, the life will be strong and withstand the fluctuations of the winds of circumstance. If the candle is thin or small, it is fragile and needs to be protected, as it is easily blown out or drips to a puddle, prematurely extinguishing the light of our life. We need to understand how to build our Ojas so we have the necessary ‘wax of life’ to shine our full potential in this world.
Ojas is decreased when our bodies are exposed to stress, anger, worry, overwork, excessive sexual activity, drugs and stimulants, processed foods, and unnatural lifestyle rhythms. A weak digestive system – Agni – also limits our ability to Ojas. Premature birth and cutting of the umbilical cord also induces a weak original Ojas.
Ojas is increased by:
- Foods – such as tonic foods such as organic ghee, milk, curds, honey, almonds, dates, figs, whole grains, root vegetables, squash, cold pressed oils, seeds/ nuts and sweet fruits.
- Good digestion– Most Ojas-building foods are dense and therefore require digestives, such as our DIGEST AID blend, in order for the body to be able to extract the essential goodness that these foods offer us. Ingesting heavy foods without the ability to digest them properly will not create Ojas – rather it may create ama (toxins). See Agni for more understanding of this central concept.
- Tonic herbs – such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Amalaki, Kapikachu, Praval and Gaduchi. Our STRENGTH formula is designed primarily to rebuild Ojas, and is available in either powder or capsule form, together with sweet herbs to stimulate the digestion of such rich essential nutrition.
- Meditative practices – including alternate nostril breathing and gentle forms of pranayama, as well as toning, chanting, and singing. Developing serenity and equanimity of mind from meditative practices allow for a detachment from the material world so that we do not drain our energy in mundane mental or emotional matters, but live with a clarity and simplicity in all our interactions.
- Physical practices – including gentle, restorative physical exercises such as yoga and tai chi. Bhakti yoga also allows us to channel our emotions and sexuality in a higher way that inspires and opens our hearts.
- A naturally balanced lifestyle – While this is a huge topic, we can begin by looking at:
- Our sleeping cycles and evaluating the importance of rising before dawn and being asleep by 10pm at night (though varies according to climate and season);
- The consumption of whole organic foods and maintaining eating at regular times balances us;
- Aligning with the elements through respecting weather patterns and seasons, with eating seasonal foods and adjusting our activities accordingly without pushing through life under the pressure of the clock and calendar. One can further sync with the elements by using living water to drink, bathe and cook with, turning to fire as our source of heat and nourishment, and acknowledging the fresh air we can gratefully breathe.
- We can also tune in and become more consciously aware of the earth as a living entity while we walk upon her, and acknowledge the spaciousness of being able to be aware of our breath as we pay attention to the nature around us – be it a blossoming tree or autumn leaves on the pavement.
- Time in nature and focusing upon expansive views, such as pausing to look up at the clouds which can be done even in the city, are helpful in maintaining the harmony of ourselves as being in balance with nature.
- Honouring Nature also includes honouring our own body’s needs and thus maintaining an ability to work when we have the energy, and to honor ourselves by resting when we need to, allowing time to be alone each day to reflect on our being-ness, and to follow our own schedule.
- A major leak of Ojas in our modern day culture is overstimulation of the senses – since it takes a huge amount of processing to discern and direct ourselves in such a frantic world. Thus, avoiding TV, movies, loud music and too much “screen time” is important in preserving Choosing silence instead of constant busy-ness and socializing is a wonderful way to rebuild Ojas.
- Conscious use of sexual energy – loss of the reproductive fluids is extremely draining for Ojas. There are practices in the tantric and Toaist traditions that allow for sexual activity without losing fluids. Genuine abstinence (not repression) greatly strengthens our Ojas.
- For women, ‘reproductive fluids’ encompass fluids released during menstruation as well as the fluids emitted with orgasm. A heavy menstrual cycle can greatly deplete the body and pulls on the resources that the body could otherwise be using to build Ojas. Moderating this with Ayurvedic therapies can be highly effective. However, a light menstrual cycle shows low or depleted Ojas and thus indicates a vata condition, especially if it is accompanied by cramps. Imbalances in the menstrual cycle show us that we need a deeper relationship with our feminine values. It is an indication to bring awareness and begin unwinding the many unconscious beliefs held on femininity. Living harmoniously with the cycles of the moon is a key to healthy moon cycles – a topic we will be covering soon.
Ojas Delight Drink Recipe
- 10-20 almonds
- 1 quart water
- 3-6 pitted dates
- pinch of saffron
- ½ tsp ghee
- 1 tsp lecithin
- 1 tsp STRENGH powder or Ojas herbs of:
- Mucuna/ kapppikachu
- Optional ingredients:
- Nutmeg / cinnamon / cardomom
- Praval Pishti
- Cooked rice
Presoak about 10 -20 almonds. Skin these if you like a finer texture to your drink- fine ether way. Put in blender with 1 quart room temperature (not cold or ice) water, 3-6 pitted dates, pinch of saffron, ½ tsp of ghee, 1 tsp of lecithin 1 tsp of Shatavari, Cardamom and touch of Cinnamon. Make sure lid is on tightly before blending well. Taste. Add other optional herbs, figs or cooked rice to alter taste and texture for your needs. Enjoy!!
Our Capacity to digest our food is fundamental to our health. Improperly digested food turns to ama or toxins which cause ill health. Digestion is like a fire – Agni – in Sanskrit language, and as such must be treated like that. A well cared for Agni will digest our food, making our meals feel like nectar. Feeling tired or heavy after a meal indicates our Agni is not sufficient and is leading us towards ill health.
Just as we use paraffin or oils to ignite a real campfire, so too we can use a ‘natural paraffin’ to pick up our digestive fires (see Agni under Ayurveda tab for more information). This natural ‘pariffin’ are herbal digestives. We have available ou DIGEST AID formula, but you can also make yourself a home made digestive tonic:
Ginger zinger digestive tonic recipe:
- Handful of ginger, cleaned and chopped.
- Lemon or lime juice (no water added)
- rock salt, pepper and coriander seed powder
- Place chopped ginger into a blender and cover it with lemon or lime juice (no water)
- Blend it until mushy and liquid consistency
- Mix according to your DoshaVata – add rock salt, fennel seed powder and hing
Pitta – add as much coriander seed powder as you like
Kapha – add black pepper and cayenne powder to taste
- Place in a jar in the fridge.
These digestive stimulants will build up the fire and prepare you to receive your food. Take 1/2 to1 teaspoon, half an hour before each meal. If you have an even slower digestive tract, you might need it 40 minutes before the meal.
If you made the mistake of eating too much, or too heavy quality of food you may remedy this with taking the same amount after the meal as well, to prevent the build up toxins from improperly degested foods.
We can also help our digestion by adding herbs to our food when cooking:
- Mediterranean herbs – rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, dill, sage, garlic.
- Indian herbs – turmeric, curry leaf, fennel, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds,ginger, anise, hing, fenugreek seed, garlic, onions,
- Thai herbs – turmeric, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, chilli, ginger, galangal, pepper, basil
- Japanese herbs – Miso, ginger & wasabi
- Western – raw apple cider vinegar, horseradish sauce, sauerkraut, mustard, Worcestershire sauce.
There are many things we can do in Ayurveda to ensure maintenance of our Health.
Living in harmony with the cycles of nature are one of the key components to a healthy metabolic activity. Rising at dawn and sleeping early are beyond measure for a wellness routine. We all know those wonderful times when we have witnessed the sun arising – it brings an awakening of light to the heart. Imagine if we could start each day with this feeling. Even if you do not have view of the actual sunrise, the energy in the atmosphere is still charged at this time of day, and is ideal for our meditations and our inspirations. If you are suffering from low metabolic activity or depression, this is an important measure to recover your health.If getting up at dawn tomorrow feels too much of a sudden change to you, try setting your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier each week and gradually start enjoying the spaciousness of the morning before the duties of the day descend upon us.
Awakening into the body : A few stretches even under the blankets is an important start to the day. Enjoy being in your body- particularly important for the Vata. The cat is the fasted animal on the planet and its key is stretching upon awakening in a relaxed manner. Long slow spinal twists are fundamentals well as the cobra and child’s pose, before getting out of bed and doing 1 minute of shaking to awaken the cells of the body and detoxify. Better than a coffee – try it !
Awakening our digestive tract : Before we ingest anything , we must clean our mouth thoroughly. This ensures a good start to cleanliness of mind body and soul. The mouth is not only an organ of ingestion , it is our organ of communication. Clean fresh breath is important for our interactions with others. If our breath smells bad upon awakening, it indicates an accumulation of toxins in our body. Consider using our DETOX formula for a period until the symptom disappears. However, use in conjunction with the following advice.
Tongue scraping and oil pulling are two daily morning practices that we can incorporate in order to get rid of the toxins in our mouth and salivary glands.
In Ayurveda, we clean out the mouth in these two ways before ingesting even water. Upon waking in the morning, before brushing our teeth, take notice of your breath’s smell and your tongue in the mirror. Before brushing your teeth or scraping your tongue, you can do oil pulling. This is an amazing easy therapy for pulling out congestion in the salivary glands, the lymph nodes in the throat area, poisons out of the brain and heavy metals from the body.
Oil Pulling :Take a tablespoon of cold pressed sesame seed oil and swish it in your mouth – without swallowing. Spit it out after the appropriate time and rinse well with warm water if possible. Start with 5 minutes every morning and then work up to ten and then twenty.
Sesame oil has several beneficial properties, one of which is pulling out toxins. it also has a high mineral content of calcium which helps with healing receding gums and strengthening the teeth.Not only that, but the action of swishing strengthens and tones the facial muscles – making us look younger and more radient.
Next, prepare for tongue scraping by looking at your tongue in the mirror. Notice where and how dis/colouration has occurred and where the alma (toxic glue) is. Then, with a tongue scraper, scrape off the toxins from your tongue with firm movements from the back of the tongue and off the tip. Check your tongue scraper each time to note the quality of what is coming off. the thicker it is – the more ama has accumulated. the colour willl indicate which dosha is out of balance. thick white indicates Kapha, yellowish colour indicates Pitta and brown or grey indicates Vata. Notice that the tongue holds toxins, or Ama, in two layers. The first layer, which is easily scraped off, is ama that is produced within the digestive tract due to undigested foods within that 24 hour period since you last scraped. The second layer, which remains on the tongue despite scraping, is ama that is in our deeper tissues. Notice that when you have eaten well and appropriately for your dosha the day before, less ama tends to collect on your tongue, while days where dietary intake has not been appropriate for your body, or you have not been attentive to your agni – digestive fire, there is more ama– toxins. This gives us an immediate feedback of how we are improving our digestion and how we are re-balancing our health. See Agni for more understanding of ayurvedas’ key concept of maintaining health.
Nasya : cleansing our nasal passages. Breath is life force, and a clear passageway of this prana to our brain is essential for clear thinking and vitality of the brain. An oxygen deprived brain is foggy, cloudy, dull and unresponsive. Breath into the brain on the other hand improves blood circulation there and rejuvenates the mind. This practice has been performed by yogis for thousands of years as part of their morning routine for very good reason. In todays polluted environment, this is ever more essential for our well being.
Obtaining a neti pot is helpful as it is a small teapot with a spout that can direct the water directly into the nostril. However not having one is not an excuse not to do the practice, as a cup will suffice ! Make a solution of approx 1/2 teaspoon of quality non-processed sea salt or Himalayan rock salt in 1 cup of warm clean water in your neti pot or cup. Either outdoors or over the sink, lean forwards with your head tilted to the side and gently pour the liquid in one nostril whilst breathing in and blocking the other nostril. Stop pouring on the exhalation, tilt the head the other direction and breath out the other nostril, blocking the one you just poured the solution into. The idea is to wash between the two nostril. Repeat a few times on each side, then tilt the head backwards and forwards to remove any excess water out the sinuses. Blow the nose is necessary, and notice the clean fresh breath.
You may need to follow up with a Nasya therapy about an hour later if you are a Vata Dosha. Nasya is an oil treatment in the nasal passages which soothe and ease irritated mucous membranes and can be highly effective in reducing airborne allergies and even asthma attacks. More information about this later.
These three therapies do wonders to clean the initial stages of our digestive tract. Our sense of smell is heightened with these practices and this is the first stage of activating the digestive juices. Our saliva is activated from the smell of good food and we swallow these juices which in turn stimulate the stomachs juices – igniting the agni. The juices in our salivary gland need to be free flowing so we can stimulate the fire and digest our food through proper chewing. Vata tend to be to dry in the mouth, impairing this stage of digestion, and Kapha tend to be congested. The Oil Pulling remedies both of these dysfunctions igniting a good digestive fire – agni.
The taste of our food is also fundamental to our health. Cleansing the tongue provides us with clean taste buds to truly enjoy our food. We derive much more than pleasure from the sense of taste, as an experiment shows us that when rats were deprived of taste, even though they ate a regular diet, within a few weeks they died from malnutrition. They weren’t able to digest their food properly without this important function.
Water Of Life : We need to re-hydrate the body from the night rest and flush out any toxins that may have accumulated over the night rest. A warm drink of lemon, salt and a touch of honey can be appropriate for you – adding tumeric, spirulina or cayenne appropriate to your dosha. Depending upon your constitution and season, Chai spices (without the caffeine) may be ideal for you to stimulate circulation and appetite as well as digest toxins. Refer to our Recipies and Dosha Vata, Pitta, & Kapha for other appropriate drinks ideas.
Preparing the agni – digestive fire is of key importance, so a little exercise before eating is important to stimulate this fire after having drank water which tends to take out the fire. Time your mornings so you can have the drink, then have another 1/2 hour before taking the Digestive Aid or Ginger Zinger and then another 1/2 hour before eating your breakfast.
Break-Fast : Is exactly that – breaking a fast. be gentle upon your body with this meal. It is ideal to have allowed the body to fast at least 12 hours over night so the body can do its daily detox. This means eating dinner early in the evening is ideal for many reasons. Breakfast menu advise varies greatly upon your Dosha and season. Be aware of food combining – never mix fruit with anything other than perhaps some yogurt or seeds, or have a meat protein with a carbohydrate etc. Sprouting the grains for cereal porridge is wonderfully nutritious as is adding ground sesame seeds and flax. look up your Dosha for more guidelines.
Incorporating these routines into your morning provides you with a health-aware start to the day, which will bring more vitality and life into your everyday world.