CleanseJoy Editorial Team
Dr. Frank O. McGehee, Jr, MD
Dr. Alan R. Gaby, MD
The gallbladder cleanse (also called a liver or gallbladder flush) is one of the most common home remedies for gallstones. While you may see different versions and recipes, they all claim to dissolve and remove gallstones naturally in less than 24 hours.
To summarize, the liver and gallbladder cleanse is not an easy protocol. But, it is one of the most popular body cleanse.
For best results, and to avoid side effects, educate yourself as much as possible. So, you know the warnings, risks, safety guidelines, and steps you can take.
In this overview, our editorial team breaks down the research, including a step by step flush recipe, diet & supplements, and common problems of the flush and how to prevent/solve them.
The gallbladder cleanse protocol takes a total of six days:
- Day 1-4: you switch to the gallbladder diet with liver cleansing herbs
- Day 5: you drink the olive oil – citrus drink
- Day 6: also known as the flush day, where you start eliminate gallstones.
3 Common Gallbladder Cleanse Problems & How to Fix them
Before we get to the gallbladder cleanse protocol, a quick review of three of the most common problems people run into, and how to solve them.
1: You experience detox symptoms after the gallbladder flush
Hands down, a healing crisis after the flush is the most common side effect, yet, you can easily prevent or minimize it with proper care.
When the flush releases gallstones and other toxins from the liver and gallbladder, the body eliminates them through bowel movements.
If your colon is congested or constipated, however, the toxins and stones my stay in your body longer. Even worse, some of the toxins may re-absorbed back into the circulation.
Dr. Hulda Clark and Andreas Moritz (both known for their liver cleanse protocols) described this exact problem. The intestines are the primary organ of elimination. Thus, it is essential that you regulate your bowels before the gallbladder cleanse.
Solution: Cleanse your colon before & after the flush
Oxy-Powder (Ozonated Magnesium Oxides).
Take: 4 capsules before bedtime on Day 1-4.
6 capsules the morning after the flush.
Oxy-Powder releases natural oxygen in your colon to dissolve colon waste buildup, which is then flushed out through normal bowel movements. As a result, your body can eliminate the gallstones and other toxins quicker after the gallbladder cleanse. Thus, minimize or prevent detox symptoms.
2: You can’t tolerate the apple juice
Earlier gallbladder cleanse protocols advised people to drink 1 liter (32oz) of apple juice every day, for five days before the actual flush. The idea behind this recommendation, is that the malic acid in the apple juice can soften the gallstones, and therefore, help make their passage through the bile ducts easier.
The problem, however, is that apple juice has a strong cleansing effect. Not to mention, one liter of apple juice contains 96 grams of sugars. As a result, many people experienced nausea, bloating, diarrhea and other digestive issues. Even more, the evidence on apple juice effectiveness to dissolve gallstones is very limited.
Solution: Don’t drink apple juice. Use liver & gallbladder cleansing herbs instead.
5ml x 3 times a day for day 1-4 prior the flush.
Livatrex is a blend of organic and wild grown medicinal herbs known for their ability to detoxify and cleanse the liver, dissolve and soften gallbladder stones, and support the repair and regeneration of the liver.[1,2,3,4,5]
Ingredients: milk thistle, chanca piedra (stone breaker), borututu, reishi, yellow dock, dandelion, turmeric, chicory, peppermint.
3: Gallbladder cleanse didn’t work
Certainly, the most exciting part of the gallbladder cleanse is the “flush”.
You drink the famous olive oil – grapefruit drink (see exact recipe below), and go to sleep. If everything works according to plan, you get up in the morning and start to eliminate gallstones. But, what if you get up in the morning and there are no stones? What could possibly went wrong?
Solution: The gallbladder cleanse diet
Surprisingly, many liver cleanse recipes overlook a key step, the gallbladder cleanse diet. What you eat in the four days prior to the flush, and most importantly, what you should not eat, can significantly affect the outcome.
In addition to the obvious processed foods, high sugars, alcohol and other unhealthy foods to avoid (see the complete list below), you also want to limit your protein and fat intake.
Fat and protein trigger the gallbladder to squeeze itself empty. So, when you keep these low, you allow the bile to build up and develop more pressure in the liver, thus, help to eliminate more toxins after you drink the olive oil.
So, for best results, keep your fats and proteins as low as possible the night before and during the day you plan to drink the olive oil. With that said, there’s no need to go to the extreme and be on a zero fat and protein diet. Just eat light, and avoid high protein and high fat foods.
Gallbladder flush/liver cleanse recipe
Below is a summary of the protocol’s main steps. Keep in mind, there’s no exact recipe that works best for everyone. So, for best results, listen to your body and common sense, and educate yourself as much as possible.
DIY vs. Liver cleanse kit
Some people enjoy to explore all the technical details and steps of the protocol. Others, however, may struggle a bit. For example, serving size, exact timing are common questions we get every day. Especially from people who do the cleanse for the first time.
So, if you are one of the many people who find the typical gallbladder flush protocol a bit too much, you may want to check Dr. Edward Group’s Liver Cleanse Program. Essentially, Dr. Group simplified the approach into a step by steps guide and already pre-packaged the flush ingredients.
Gallbladder flush/liver cleanse recipe
The Night Before
- Limit fat and protein intake.
The Pre-Flush Day
- Eat light during the day. Focus on whole vegetables and fresh fruits. Keep fat and protein intake as low as possible to help build pressure in the liver.
- 12PM: Eat your last meal with only sips of water after.
- 8PM: Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of warm water and drink immediately.
- 10PM: Combine 4 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice or orange juice with 6 oz olive oil. Shake well.
- Stand next to your bed (do not sit down) and drink.
- Immediately after you drink the olive oil-citrus mix, lie on your right side with your knees drawn up to your stomach for 30 minutes. Do not talk. Focus on your breathing and try to sleep.
The Day After
- Morning: take 6 capsules of Oxy-Powder immediately upon waking to help your body flush the toxins that were released during the night. Do not eat for two hours after taking Oxy-Powder.
- Expect to have a series of bowel movements. This is the point where people report eliminating stones.
- Eat light during the day. A good first meal for most people is "hard" fruits such as apples to further stimulate digestion.
Gallbladder Cleanse Side Effects
You should expect diarrhea the day after the olive-citrus drink, a direct result of the epsom salt. Other common side effects may include:
- Difficulty to sleep after the olive oil – citrus drink (very common)
- Pain, especially, abdominal pain and lower back pain
- Flu-like symptoms
- Digestive issues, in particular: bloating, excess gas
Most of these are detox symptoms you can minimize or prevent by cleansing your colon before.
Your First Gallbladder Cleanse
The gallbladder flush is not a simple cleanse. There are several steps you must carefully execute, with timing, serving size and other factors you should consider. Furthermore, since the liver breaks down toxins and chemicals we are exposed to, the flush can release many of these toxic substances in a relatively short time. So, you have to make sure your intestines, the primary organ of elimination, are working properly.
For these reasons, the gallbladder flush is not a good option as a first body cleanse. Most natural health practitioners that practice the gallbladder cleanse, recommend to optimize the bowels, switch to a healthier diet, and in general, gain experience with other more simple cleanses first.
So, if you have never done the gallbladder cleanse, here is a simple protocol to help you transition into it:
How to Safely Start Gallbladder Cleanse in 3 Steps:
Follow the 3 steps:
1: Support your gallbladder and liver
Take 5 ml Livatrex three times a day, on an empty stomach. For example, first thing in the morning, and between meals.
2: Cleanse your colon
- Take 4 capsules of Oxy-Powder before bedtime on an empty stomach.
- Expect the next day to have three to five bowel movements. First time users usually report eliminating large amounts of waste.
- If you had less than three bowel movements, increase by two capsules the next day. The serving size that works for most people is 4-8 capsules.
- Continue for up to five days. By this time, your colon should be completely cleansed, thus, you will no longer purge large amount of waste.
- Proceed to step three.
3: Start with “mini” gallbladder flushes
In her liver cleanse protocol, Dr. Hulda Clark recommend to experiment with low dosage of some of the key ingredients of the flush. In particular, the epsom salt and olive oil. This can help to tailor the ideal serving size you may need. As importantly, this can also give you confidence and peace of mind.
Simply put, go low and slow.
For best results, try to keep the timing of these “mini flushes” as close as possible to the gallbladder flush.
- Switch to a gallbladder cleanse diet. Eat light, and do not eat after 6PM. Even better, try to have your last meal by 4PM.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of epsom salt in ¾ cup warm water.
- 8PM: Drink on an empty stomach, at least two hours after your last meal.
- Increase daily, by no more than 1 teaspoon until you reach 3 teaspoons. This is the amount you take during the gallbladder flush.
- 10PM: Similarly, follow the same protocol for the olive oil with the citrus juice.
Start with 1 tbsp. of oil and 1 tbsp. of juice, right before bedtime. Then, increase daily, by no more than 1 tbsp of each oil and juice, until you reach 4 tbsp. of oil and 4 tbsp. of juice.
- Take 6 capsules of Oxy-Powder immediately after you wake up.
Do not eat for two hours after taking Oxy-Powder.
Gallbladder Cleanse Diet
As we mentioned, what you eat in the four days prior to the flush, and most importantly, the foods you avoid, can significantly affect the outcome.
So, while there’s no diet that works best for everyone, follow these basic guidelines:
Avoid processed & inflammatory foods, especially:
- Refined sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup
- Fried foods
- Dairy, soy, gluten and wheat
- Artificial sweeteners
Limit high protein and fat foods, in particular:
- High protein foods such as meat and eggs and dairy products
- High fat foods such as oils and butter
As a reminder, fat and protein trigger the gallbladder to empty itself. So, when you keep these low, you allow the bile to build up and develop more pressure in the liver, thus, help to eliminate more toxins after you drink the olive oil.
Also, try to eat light and avoid large meals and overeating. Keep in mind, the gallbladder cleanse diet is a short term eating plan to support the cleanse, not a plan you should follow long term.
Eat the following foods:
- Fruits. In particular, apples, lemon and other citrus, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. (Always on an empty stomach).
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts.
- Other liver cleansing veggies include beetroot, asparagus, and carrots.
- Greens such as spinach and all leafy greens. Especially, dark leafy greens.
- Plant based fats & protein in moderation. Stop to eat the night before the pre-flush day. Good sources of fats include avocado, and fresh raw sprouted raw nuts & seeds. Beans, legumes (soak or sprout them before) and also pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds are great sources of protein.
- Spices such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon.
- Vinegar. (if you like), raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
Example of recipes you can make for the liver and gallbladder cleanse:
- Liver cleansing juice with celery, spinach, carrots, beetroot, ginger root, lemon, apple, cucumbers, stevia, cinnamon.
- Liver detox tea with ginger, lemon, clove, cinnamon, stevia and honey.
To learn more about additional tips for the gallbladder cleanse diet, including are famous liver cleanse salad dressing recipe, see: Liver cleanse recipes.
Does The Gallbladder Cleanse Work?
Most people typically pass multiple semi solid green or brown stones. But, are these gallstones? The majority of the evidence on the gallbladder flush comes from anecdotal reports. Thus, the data is limited, with very few cases where medical professionals actually tested the “stones” and the patients.
So, what evidence do we have?
- Chemical analysis of the stones. A few medical professionals that analyzed the stones, concluded they were “soap stones”. In other words, the stones were created by the interaction of digestive enzymes with certain components of olive oil and lemon juice.
- Ultrasound. On the other hand, using an ultrasound, a few practitioners reported that they saw a reduction in the number of gallstones after their patients ingested the olive oil and citrus drink.
- Benefits. Most people report that they feel much better after the flush. In particular, more energy, better digestion, and improved clarity.
Keep in mind, most natural health experts that promote the gallbladder flush also recommend to do multiple flushes. After all, we are trying to eliminate decades of toxins. So, one flush may be just “scratching the surface”.
- Liver immunology and herbal treatment
- Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) for the Therapy of Liver Disease
- The Use of Silymarin in the Treatment of Liver Diseases
- Milk Thistle Extract and Silymarin Inhibit Lipopolysaccharide Induced Lamellar Separation of Hoof Explants in Vitro
- Phyllanthus Niruri Standardized Extract Alleviates the Progression of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Decreases Atherosclerotic Risk in Sprague–Dawley Rats
- Nutritional Approaches to Prevention and Treatment of Gallstones, Dr. Alan R. Gaby, MD
- The Amazing Liver Cleanse – a Powerful Tool to Improve Your Health, Dr. Frank O. McGehee, Jr, MD, CCN