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Why You Should Never Do a Liver Flush

Liver Flush w/ Olive OilSo you’ve heard of the ever-popular liver flush (aka liver cleanse, gallbladder cleanse, or gallbladder flush), right?

Oh, you haven’t? Really?!

Well, I’m surprised, seeing as so many raw gurus and alternative health educators advocate it as a way to detox the liver and gallbladder.

Lucky for you, I’m not one of those. ;)

And today, I want to talk about why. But first…

What is a Liver Flush?

Similar to the overrated Master Cleanse Diet, a liver flush consists of drinking a nauseating liquid – a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.

The full regimen looks like this:

  1. Drink two glasses of apple juice (organic is recommended) every two hours for two days. Eat nothing but raw fruits and vegetables in between.
  2. At the end of the two days, ingest 1-2 Epsom salt tablets dissolved in water.
  3. Follow the salt water with half a cup of olive oil and lemon juice before bed.


Yes, it is gross! But many people believe that drinking this disgusting concoction has amazing health benefits and is great for detoxing and cleansing the body.

Not only that, but the flush can actually remove harmful stones from your gallbladder and liver…stones that you might not even know are there!

The lemon juice serves to release the stones, the salt relaxes the muscles and allows room for stones to pass, and the oil causes the gallbladder to contract and push out the stones.


No, not really. Didn’t you read the title of this article? ;)

But What About All Those Pictures of Stones People Post on the Internet?!

You mean like these?

These are nothing more than semi-solid balls made up of oil and acid. In other words, they’re nothing but a mixture of the olive oil and lemon juice that you drank the night before!

These “stones” will melt if left out in the heat. True calcified stones from your body will not melt.

This is why many people keep their “stones” from a liver flush in the freezer. Although why you would want to keep them at all is lost on me.

Certainly a conversation starter, I’m sure! :lol:

The Truth About Liver Flushes

The truth is that liver flushes are useless.

Yes, it’s true that many people do suffer from gallstones (it’s estimated that about 10% of US citizens over 40 have them). But many of these stones are small enough to pass on their own and the ones that are too large must be surgically removed.

All the flush really does is inundate your body with salt and fat. And I mean LOTS of fat! We’re talkin’ a full 1/2 cup of olive oil, which is almost 1000 calories of pure 100% fat!

And actually, if you do have gallstones that are too large to pass, a liver flush may be the last thing that you want to do. The large amounts of oil actually does make the gallbladder contract, which can cause a stone to pass. If the stone is large enough, it can get stuck in the narrow cystic duct that leads out of the gallbladder, requiring immediate surgery to remove it.

And as far as detoxing the body, please. You can do that by simply eating a healthy raw vegan diet of fruits and vegetables.

Speaking of fruits and veggies…

How to Have a Healthy and Happy Liver

You don’t have to down nauseating liquids in order to detox, improve the health of your liver and gallbladder, and avoid gallstones. You simply need to do the things that bring about a healthy body and avoid the practices that don’t.

Namely, this means consuming a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and avoiding alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sodas, animal products, and processed foods.

NOTE: If you DO have gallstones and they are too big for your body to pass, please see a doctor immediately! No amount of fresh fruit and veggies will help you here.

Go raw and be fit,



1 Susan { 03.18.11 at 9:48 am }

You are so completely off base with so many of your articles, its unreal. I suggest you actually invest in an education before spouting off advice.

Hanlie Reply:

Oh Susan, I suggest you invest in finishing school so that you can learn some manners. It is incredibly rude to insult someone like this. If you have any constructive criticism, please feel free to share it. Otherwise, be miserable elsewhere.

Lea Reply:

Insulting without arguments is always the best way to convince surely. Maybe I find my way to this and some other websites precisly BECAUSE they don’t go on shouting nonsense theories throught the world but try to actually base opinions on science and facts.

Swayze Reply:


You are welcome to leave anytime. :)

Brian Reply:


Mandi Reply:

I did the oil/grapefruit cleanse and got nothing! I agree that if fat is bad for the liver then how could all that oil be, ok? As far as the stones in the picture above being a result of the concoction we drink, I don’t believe that to be true or why would I have gotten absolutely nothing? From what I understand, the softer stones are cholesterol collected in the body. They have not been calcified, yet…

2 Hanlie { 03.18.11 at 10:08 am }

Swayze, I couldn’t agree with you more regarding liver flushes. I tried two.

The first one was the Epsom salt one and it was horrible – beyond horrible. Needless to say, not a stone passed. But it felt as if I’d passed my intestines!

The second one was a beetroot and apple juice cleanse, which also culminated in the olive oil/grapefruit juice cocktail. It was less horrible, but no more productive.

I started having trouble with my gallbladder in early in 2008 and I had frequent gallbladder attacks. Eventually I learned that they were brought on by a combination of things, including caffeine, sugar and fat. So I managed to control my symptoms through diet, even though I wasn’t always perfect. These days I’m following a low fat raw vegan diet and I haven’t had as much a twinge in many months.

Swayze Reply:

That’s excellent, Hanlie!

3 Pam { 03.18.11 at 12:26 pm }

Swayze dearest…I greatly admire you for your knowledge – and especially at such a young age. I do hope and pray that more young people hear your voice about what true health is all about. I have personally never done a liver cleanse or flush, but I know some who have. Some claim “results” but I wonder how much the body must suffer before these “results”?? I agree with you on what you recommend for ‘natural’ cleansing – ie, fruit and vegetables and a few seeds and nuts. I love your work, Swayze – don’t stop! I also highly endorse and recommend Dr. Doug Graham and Frederic Patenaude. YOU, dear Swayze, are ‘right up there’ with these proven advocates of true health! Go, Swayze! May God bless you!!

4 Tera { 03.18.11 at 9:57 pm }

This is disgusting. I would choke and die on that oil. but the diet itself seems fine (except… apple juice?!? every 2 hours?!?) I think someone would gain lots of weight on this “cleanse”. who would do this?

5 hellicat { 03.20.11 at 7:51 pm }

Wow Susan, so much anger. Clearly you need to increase your sweet fruit consumption. ;) chillax, no one’s forcing you to read Swayze’s “misguided” posts lol.

Great post Swayze as always.

6 Yasmin { 05.06.11 at 2:29 pm }

Dear Swayze,

Thankyou for your article :) I’m really glad you are excited about raw foods.

I must say, I find the article actually quite off the mark and very misleading – where are you getting your information from? Are you a trained doctor?
I listen to raw doctors who have chose to buck the system and give out true information to truly help people,individuals who look incredible; such people include long term raw foodists Dr Group and Dr Jubbs. They are trained in biology, physiology and such like and believe that liver flushes are indeed of the utmost importance to true cleansing and health.
I agree with you how alot of liver flushes seem really harsh and can possibly be detrimental – can’t anything without the proper education and implementation?
There are infact, much less harsh flushes one can do, namely created from the names I listd above.
I have conducted 3 liver flushes in all and each time I have felt dramatically healthier, clearer and lighter.
I have never used epsom salts and commit to a procotal that lasts for 4 days of preparation, where I juice wild greens that compliment the cleanse and support the liver, increase bile etc. I only eat blended foods so the body can focus first on cleansing and I take extracts that soften the stones and slowly open up the bile ducts. I also have apple cyder vinegar. I then fast for the flush day, just on yummy green juice and drink a tiny amount of oil late at night. The next morning I have felt like alot I am seriously detoxing and then literally 100s of stones come out, smelling utterly rancid. This is ooold stuff, not new. I find that some of the stones break up, but others are really hard!Usually I have a colonic to flush any out so they don’t lodge in the colon and then by the evening my eyes are even more bright, my skin suddenly glowing and I feel absolutely magic. People give me lots of compliments and this continues after. All of this clearly shows me that flushes are amazing, if done correctly without shocking the body. I actually really enjoy them.
I have eaten 100 percent raw foods for nearly4 years but only in the past year, I have truly focused on cleansing. The difference is remarkable. 2 things cannot fit inside one space. To really get the benefits of raw food, I believe it is vital to clear out the old conscioulsy using safe and time tested protocol.
Of course, this is just my opinion and maybe because I feel positive towards cleansing, it works. Everyone is different also and we must do what resonates with us but there are certain common threads which when aware of can really boost our health.
All the best.
Yasmin x

Swayze Reply:

Hi Yasmin,

From the page I linked to above:

“Microscopic examination of our patient’s stones revealed that they lacked any crystalline structure, melted to an oily green liquid after 10 min at 40°C, and contained no cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium by established wet chemical methods.1 Traditional faecal fat extraction techniques2 indicated that the stones contained fatty acids that required acid hydrolysis to give free fatty acids before extraction into ether. These fatty acids accounted for 75% of the original material.

Experimentation revealed that mixing equal volumes of oleic acid (the major component of olive oil) and lemon juice produced several semi solid white balls after the addition of a small volume of a potassium hydroxide solution. On air drying at room temperature, these balls became quite solid and hard.

We conclude, therefore, that these green “stones” resulted from the action of gastric lipases on the simple and mixed triacylglycerols that make up olive oil, yielding long chain carboxylic acids (mainly oleic acid). This process was followed by saponification into large insoluble micelles of potassium carboxylates (lemon juice contains a high concentration of potassium) or “soap stones”. The cholesterol stones noted on ultrasound were removed by surgery (figure).”

The next time you do a flush, put the “stones” out in the sun and see what happens.

Also, if someone feels the need to cleanse constantly – via liver flush, master cleanse, colonics, what have you – then they are not living a healthy lifestyle. Stones inside the liver or gallbladder are not normal and will not form if one is living healthfully.


7 April { 03.26.12 at 9:50 am }

I’m really glad I found you! My hubby and I are at odds on this subject and I am trying to find more information to prove my point… Its not about being right or wrong, I just want him to stop doing these liver cleanses every month! I’m an ultrasound tech and I know for a fact that my hubby doesn’t have stones but he’s read some book that has him convinced that he has them and needs to flush monthly! No matter how much I try to explain this to him he won’t listen… do u have any recommendations on a website or book that tells the truth about liver cleanses and what he is actually passing when he does them?!

Swayze Reply:

This link is pretty good:


April Reply:

Thank you! I will forward it to him but honestly I seriously doubt it will change his opinion! Any suggestions for hard headed men?! ;)