The liver is probably one of the most under-appreciated organs in the body. Located on the right side of your body just under the rib cage and weighing up to 3 lbs, the liver is involved in over 500 bodily functions including metabolism, regulation of glycogen storage, hormone production, recycling red blood cells, synthesizing plasma protein, and general detoxification. And did you know that your liver is the only organ that can actually grow back? Liver donors only donate part of their liver, then grow that part back!
The liver also produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder directly under the liver. Bile is needed to help the body digest and absorb fats along with eliminate certain waste products. Bile is also a natural laxative and helps keep the bowels moving. It’s no surprise that those who have their gallbladders removed often suffer digestive and intestinal elimination difficulties.
While your tongue may love sweetness, your liver loves bitter. Foods such as beets, lemons and limes, dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are especially good for the liver. Herbs such as Milk Thistle, Burdock Root and Dandelion are also very powerful liver supporters and cleansers.
Dr. Christopher’s Liver and Gallbladder Formula not only supports the liver, but also helps clean the blood and contains the herbs Barberry, Wild yam, Cramp bark, Fennel seed, Ginger, Catnip and Peppermint. Why these herbs? Let me break it down for you so you know what you are taking and why.
Barberry Bark is an excellent liver tonic and has been used to help treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (1). The main constituent of Barberry is Berberine (a bitter alkaloid). Berberine is not only responsible for supporting healthy liver function and bile secretion, but also a multitude of other health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels, weight loss, boosting the immune system and reducing inflamation (2).
Wild Yam Root
Wild Yam is most known for its antispasmodic properties, relaxing muscles, relieving abdominal and intestinal cramps and helping many women through painful menstruations and pregnancies. In fact, Wild Yam is a powerful emmenagogue, Wild Yam also stimulates the gallbladder and increases bile flow, helping treat hepatic congestion, bilious colic and gallstones. Wild Yam also has diaphoretic, diuretic, hepatic, stomachic, tonic, anti-emetic, anti-rheumatic and anti-asthmatic properties (3).
Cramp Bark, like Wild Yam, is an excellent antispasmodic and one of the best herbs at relaxing the ovaries, uterus and abdomin. It also aids in female regulation as well. In addition to its antispasmodic, emmenagogue and relaxant properties, Cramp Bark also acts as a nervine, tonic, diuretic, astringent and sedative (4).
Fennel is most known for its carminative properties, great for treating cases of flatulence, colic and indigestion. Fennel’s presence in the Liver and Gallbladder formula however is due to its ability to help break up obstructions in the liver, spleen and gallbladder (Back to Eden, 239). Fennel can also be used to help increase the flow of breastmilk.
Ginger is mostly used as a spice in many cuisines, but also possesses various medicinal benefits as well. Ginger is a great carminative. As the liver and gallbladder are strengthened and supported, bile will flow more freely into the intestines. This influx of bile has a tendancy to form pockets of gas when mixed with old fecal matter, and ginger will help treat this condition. Ginger also contains high amounts of antioxidants and enzymes that help with inflamation and digestion. Ginger is a mild stimulant as compared to cayenne, and can also act as an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, sternutatory, rubefacient, anodyne, sialagogue, pungent, condiment, aphrodisiac (5).
Catnip is most renowned for its ability to relieve colic and is very gentle acting, thus very suitable for children. Catnip is an excellent relaxant and can help the liver and its bile ducts to relax. Due to its name, its no surprise that the herb greatly affects cats, displaying a drug-like effect. Google catnip and cats and you’ll find some hilarious photos and videos. Catnip, along with its relaxant properties, can also act as an aromatic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine and sedative (6)
Peppermint is probably one of the most common herbs used and well known for its relaxant and antispasmodic properties. It must have been popular long ago as well, as some Egyptian manuscripts contain distilling instructions for the herb! (7) Peppermint can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines. It is also a powerful aromatic; there is nothing quite like the sweet, intense scent of peppermint! And unlike many other herbs, peppermint actually tastes good 🙂
For more information on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, click here!
This internal herbal cleanse combines both Dr. Christopher’s Extended Herbal Cleanse and Dr. Christophers’s Mucousless Diet. Dr. Christopher was a pioneering master herbalist in Utah and developed an herbal cleanse and diet to help treat more chronic conditions that short three day cleansing routines have difficulty addressing. The Extended Herbal Cleanse is especially suited for anyone with longstanding health issues and is new to cleansing. This herbal cleanse is less drastic and easier to follow than many other detox programs, such as the Master Cleanse (lemons, maple syrup and cayenne pepper), juice or water fasting. We want you to know however, that we are definite advocates of periodic fasting, whether it be a water or juice fast.
Extended Herbal Cleanse Pro’s
- Solid food is eaten throughout the cleanse
- Herbs not only help detoxify, but also help build and strengthen digestive organs
- Specifically targets the bowels, kidneys, liver, gall bladder and blood stream.
- Slip ups are more easily tolerated
- All common allergenic foods are eliminated
- No calorie restriction or counting
- Healthy weight loss is typical
- Cravings tend to disappear
- Increased bowel elimination
- Better moods
Extended Herbal Cleanse Con’s
- Requires minimum of 6 weeks
- Difficult to coordinate the timing of all the herbs taken during the day
- Possibly more expensive than other cleanses (~$140)
The Extended Herbal Cleanse uses four herbal formulas created by Dr. Christopher. The Lower Bowel formula, the Liver and Gallbladder formula, the Kidney formula and the Blood Stream formula. Each formula should be taken on an empty stomach.
First thing in the morning take 2 capsules of the Lower Bowel Formula along with a glass of warm lemon water. Take 2 capsules again one hour before lunch. Take another 2 capsules prior to going to bed. Sometimes we like to take the capsules along with a Slippery Elm Latte, especially recommended if you suffer from digestive upset. Increase your Lower Bowel dosage by 1 capsule per day until you are having three regular bowel movements a day.
Also, at mid-morning and mid afternoon 3 capsules of the Kidney Formula should be taken. Continue taking lower bowel and kidney for six days, then rest on the seventh.
On the second week, continue with the lower bowel and kidney while also adding 2 capsules of Liver and Gallbladder formula 30 minutes before each meal (assuming you eat three meals a day. If you only eat two meals a day, then take three capsules before meals). Continue taking these three cleansing herbs for all of week 2 and 3, always resting on the seventh day.
On the fourth week add 2 capsules of the Blood Stream Formula one hour after each meal (assuming you eat three meals per day. If you only eat two meals per day, then take 3 capsules. Continue taking all four herbal formulas all of week 4, 5 and 6, always resting on the seventh day.
**Below are links to calendars for weeks 1-6 outlining what herbs to take and when throughout the day.
Week 1 Schedule [click here]
Week 2-3 Schedule [click here]
Week 4-6 Schedule [click here]
We strongly believe that health and vitality comes mainly from eating whole and living plant food. Animal products should be strictly avoided while on the Extended Herbal Cleanse (and by all means after the cleanse too if vegan eating resonates with you) . While some cooked food is okay, strive to eat at least 80% raw and 20% cooked. This not only applies while on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, but should potentially become the “norm” for you.
- Eat mostly vegetables, along with some fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and pseudo grains (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.)
- If you want to eat grains, eat only SPROUTED, WHOLE grains in limited quantities.
- NO DAIRY
- NO PROCESSED FOODS
- NO MEAT
- NO EGGS
- NO SALT
- NO SUGAR
“But where will I get my protein?” you may ask. Society’s concern for protein intake has really developed almost entirely as a result of marketing and advertisements. We’ve been convinced by diet fads, the meat and dairy industry and supplement companies that we need to increase our protein intake and choose high-protein containing foods. Have you stopped and considered that the USDA recommended daily amount of protein is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight? That’s it. Compare that to the 1.0 gram per pound recommended by many high-protein diets and supplement companies. An individual weighing 150 lbs only needs 55 grams of protein to grow and function and maintain health, not 150 grams! Getting 55 grams of protein per day from vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and pseudo grains is easy.
Also, on day seven of each week, we suggest you do a water fast or a fresh juice fast. If you choose to water fast, then after dinner on day six, you will continue to only drink water for approximately 24 hours, ending the water fast with dinner on day seven. If you choose to juice fast, then day seven for breakfast, lunch and dinner you will only have fresh vegetable/fruit juice. And please do your body a favor and don’t “stock up” on calories the night before the fast. The whole purpose of the fast is to give your body a brief break from digesting solid food.
Our bodies were meant to move! Sitting at a desk and driving in a car all day is not normal. For good health and especially while following the Extended Herbal Cleanse, everyone should move their bodies continuously for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day. This could be as simple as walking or gardening, to more intense exercises like yoga, running, swimming, weight-lifting or hiking. The point is to MOVE. We strongly suggest incorporating yoga into your life, and practice it at least once per week, as yoga not only helps strengthen and lengthen muscles, but also helps relieve stress and detoxify through deep breathing and meditation.
Ever heard of a “slant board routine.”? As humans we are always walking, sitting or laying down. We are never inverted. Over time our bowels fill with fecal matter and droop and our other organs start to “sag” as well. Give those organs of yours a lift and put them back in there place at least once a day by either using an inversion table or the more economical way of putting 2 folded pillows under your hips. Your hips should be higher than your head and your feet higher than your hips, possibly up against the wall. Deep breath in the position for 5-10 minutes and feel your organs start to shift and the fresh blood rush to your head.
Also, our bodies were meant to be outside! Seeing the sun only on our way from our car to the office is not normal. Most of us are completely disconnected from nature. While on the Extended Herbal Cleanse, strive to be outside for at least 30 minutes each day. And don’t be afraid of the sun! A little sunlight each day is paramount to one’s health, helping the body produce vitamin D and release the mood elevating hormone serotonin.
After 6 weeks
After 6 weeks on the program you will rest for one entire week. It is advised to repeat the 6-week program at least once more and even better would be to repeat the 6-week program a total of four times (6 months in total of days taking the herbs). After which you would rest for an entire month. Typically, for most people, 6 months on the program is sufficient to thoroughly cleanse the body from the inside out. Many of the ills, pains and symptoms experienced prior to starting the Extended Herbal Cleanse will be greatly diminished if not entirely eliminated!