Is It Necessary To “Cleanse” the Liver?

“Cleanse the liver” is one of the favorite procedures for healthy lifestyle fans. A wide variety of methods are used, ranging from completely barbaric to near-medical. What are they about and does the liver need to be cleaned at all?

Dr. Nadja


The liver performs many important functions: it neutralizes and removes toxins, promotes blood clotting, breaks down and synthesizes proteins, forms glycogens, participates in the exchange of vitamins and hormones, and forms bile. That’s why it is usually very "polluted" and needs additional purification.

The liver of a healthy person is quite capable of coping with its detoxification and getting rid of harmful substances. It does not need external help. Let’s analyze what methods of "cleansing the liver” exist, and what risks come with such procedures.

Home methods

Very often you can hear tips on how to get rid of toxins, recommendations to take a tablespoon of vegetable oil mixed with the juice of half a lemon on an empty stomach every day. Those who believe in home methods drink olive oil on an empty stomach—some with spoons and some with glasses, they put a hot heating pad on the liver, prepare a cocktail of water and magnesium sulfate. The principle of all home methods of "healing" the liver is the same, only the ingredients are slightly different.

What is the risk? All these procedures activate the release of bile and stimulate intestinal motility. And if the hepatic ducts of the biliary tract contain stones (and a person may not even know about it), then there is a risk of blockage, which may cause acute cholecystitis. Additionally, pointed stones can damage the thin wall of the duct and cause bleeding.


Tubage is a procedure that stimulates the outflow of bile from the gallbladder and bile ducts. It is carried out under the supervision of specialists against the background of fasting or dietary nutrition. For the procedure, they use various infusions of choleretic herbs or an aqueous solution of magnesium sulfate, followed by local heating of the liver. This procedure will not help you get rid of mythical toxins, but it will help a healthy person to clear the gallbladder and bile ducts.

What is the risk? Tubage is categorically contraindicated in patients with cholelithiasis, as stones can block the biliary tract during the procedure, therefore an immediate surgical intervention becomes necessary.

Regular intake of hepatoprotective drugs

Some people believe that the liver still needs to be cleaned, but they are rightly afraid to follow the above methods, so they regularly take what they believe to be safe hepatoprotective drugs.

What is the risk? These drugs can only be prescribed by a doctor after examining the patient. Self-medication is unacceptable since the drug must be selected correctly with a dosage corresponding to the person's condition. Like any medicine, hepatoprotective drugs can have side effects. Moreover, if there is a suspicion of illness or you are feeling unwell, it is necessary to undergo an examination, as taking these drugs in case of a serious problem is simply useless.

How to have a healthy liver

Liver diseases often develop asymptomatically, which is why they are dangerous. If you have reason to believe that something is wrong with your liver, you need to contact a therapist or gastroenterologist and undergo the following examinations:

  • General analysis of blood and urine
  • Biochemical blood test
  • Markers of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, etc.)
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal organs

The liver has the powerful ability to regenerate. Even if 70 percent is damaged, it can still recover. On average, this process takes 4 months. The main thing is to lead a healthy lifestyle during this period and not burden the body. Check the liver at least once a year to keep the situation under control—this way, treatment and "cleansing" will not be needed.

01 July 2021

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