Blood Cleansing and Liver Detoxification

There is no consensus as to whether cancer is a local or systemic disease, but the fact that the tumor is highly toxic suggests the need for blood and liver detoxification. There are many products of an herbal nature that assist this cleansing. When successfully carried out, patients will feel clearer.

From my observations, toxicity is attended by a multitude of symptoms. On an emotional level, people may begin by feeling more apathetic and later be irritable and sometimes quite angry. It is tempting to hypothesize that repressed fire inclines people to look backwards rather than ahead. This is often accompanied by a feeling of being lost in time and space. In theory, one could arouse the fire and begin to see ahead. In actuality, most people do not change so quickly.

Toxicity can be caused by chemical irritants, those that are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin; it can also become elevated by die off of the tumor and/or other morbid cells. The primary symptoms of toxicity are itchiness and irritability. We might say that toxicity is red. When the normal eliminatory organs are overburdened by toxicity, the skin becomes a major organ of elimination. It will then tend to exhibit patches of red and sometimes "appearances" that may be either flat or elevated. These may also blister, ulcerate, and exude various substances.

Many people with whom I have contact celebrate these appearances as "healing crises," but in my opinion, these developments are indications that the primary eliminatory channels are at their limit so that the body has to designate secondary ways to rid itself of poisons.


Stages of Toxicity

There are stages of toxicity. When the heat is repressed, people are usually gray. They feel the blahs and their skins are dull or decidedly ashen (as happens to many who have chemotherapy.) Not everyone goes from gray to red and a few people start with the red and never experience the gray. Interestingly, the treatment is essentially the same for both types. They need detoxifying herbal bitters. The difference is that those with redness need to be more careful of foods that aggravate what is called in Ayurveda the pitta dosha. As many people know, both Ayurveda and traditional Oriental systems of medicine use a system of three main pulses. In Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine, these translate to wind, bile, and phlegm. Bile is a "derangement" of the fire energy. It is not healthy. It means that the body is not properly pH balanced and that it favors acidity that in turn will lead to tissue breakdown.

Kitchen Doctor: Taste and the Elements

The Ayurvedic system of taste and the elements is presented in a way that anyone interested can immediately begin applying the ideas so as to further constitutional balance through diet.

Four 90-minute audio cassettes


With a proper program of detoxification, gains are almost immediate. Many people report increased clarity and alertness on the very first day. Some also describe a reduction in pain, increase in energy, and improved digestion and elimination. Philosopher that I am, I would see the toxins as major irritants. While toxins can attack nerve sheaths, it would be too simplistic to attribute improvement solely to a reduction of nerve irritation. Herbal detoxifiers are not nervines much less pain relievers: they are cleansers.

While some improvement is usually evident early on with detoxifiers, there are phases in which progress is more gradual. In my experience, discontinuing use of the herbs or increasing the dosage in an effort to get faster results are neither correct. This is a situation in which slow and steady is preferable to dramatic and urgent. Patients who are frightened or panicky sometimes have difficulty accepting that quantum leaps towards health may be interspersed with duller routines.


Every health foods store carries detoxifying herbal formulae. The common denominator of these products is that most are comprised predominantly of herbal alkaloids, anything from the humble dandelion to seriously anti-infective herbs containing berberines (barberry, Oregon grape root, and goldenseal.) The proper use of each products as well as quality differs considerably as does the capacity of each individual patient to assimilate the herbs. Consultation with an experienced herbalist may be money well spent.

There are some interesting variations on the toxicity issue. Many cancer patients suffer from localized itchiness, often worse at the time of the full moon. There are herbs that can be made into fomentations (a sort of strong tea) that can be applied externally to reduce this itchiness. Coptis (another berberine) is one that most patients report being helpful and pipsissewa, a Native American herb, is another.

Some detoxifying formulae contain liver protective and regenerative herbs such as milk thistle. I have a recipe for a smoothie using this herb. Hildegard of Bingen used yarrow in a manner similar to how some people use milk thistle. She gave some recipes that I reprinted in my book. She said that yarrow prevents metastasis, and I assume she said this on the basis of her astounding clairvoyance rather than science.

To judge a formula correctly, one should look for enhanced acuity and vitality, more often gradual than overnight. Eventually, the skin will look clearer and more radiant. In other words, both grayish and reddish hues will in time turn to what is called "luster" in Ayurveda. Emotionally, people will feel less irritable and angry. Then, on a more subtle level, people will start feeling more oriented in time and space. Finally, they will begin to look ahead and make plans, something many patients deny is possible during the more critical stages of their illness.


When life seems to be getting one down, it is easy to imagine that it will never get better. However, the truth is that many people recover from their illnesses, including cancer. One of the more gratifying experiences in my own life is to hear from former patients who are rebuilding their lives. Initially, it may be almost inch by inch, but then it seems very decisive and swift. In my heart of hearts, I know that people are well when they start making plans that they can really fulfill. There is an enormous difference between dreaming and creating a future. Fantasy is a kind of escapism, probably harmless in moderation but challenging when it interferes with one's grip on reality. Building a new life takes vision and it does not occur unless the energy to accomplish one's plans is available. I therefore see decisiveness as positive fire, the opposite of the acidic and threatening pitta.


Though there are many products that are capable of assisting detoxification, they do not all work the same. The Sacred Medicine Sanctuary historic re-creation of the old Eclectic trifolium compound has most of the properties of both an herbal alterative (blood cleanser) and lower intestine stimulant. It is available in a liquid form. One of the more general ones that has been found effective for many people is Planetary Formulas Red Clover Cleanser. It is available in tablet form. Banyan Botanical's formula is new, based on traditional Ayurvedic principles, but I have no clinical experience with it nor feedback from persons who are using it. Rainbow Light's Milk Thistle Plus is somewhat more supportive of the liver than the blood; it is also milder. Longer use is therefore probably advisable. Most such products work better if combined with something that aids elimination.

In general, blood detoxifiers are not needed long-term. However, they may be needed in higher than recommended dosages in the early stages of treatment, perhaps for some weeks or months. Usually, the dosage can be reduced as the symptoms of toxicity subside. If in doubt about how much to take and for how long, consult a health care practitioner.


A word to the wise:

Detoxifying herbs can also be valuable for those suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy as well as die off caused by successful use of a holistic anti-cancer program that works internally. It is extremely important that patients self-prescribing such herbs understand both the actions of the herbs as well as the cytotoxic protocols.

According to some oncologists, chemotherapy is supposed to bring patients close to the edge of death. If there is merit to this strategy, then it has to be factored into choices that may protect the quality of life but perhaps interfere with the drug actions. Since the oncologist is unlikely to understand the correct use of herbs and herbalists are not usually familiar with the specifics of different chemotherapeutic agents, patients are advised to understand the choices they are making and to observe carefully how the different protocols are affecting them.

While most patients benefit from the use of detoxifying herbs for the first two to six months, usage can be tappered off when there is a significant reduction of symptoms. Unlike some prescription drugs for hormone replacement and such, herbs are generally intended to restore balance so there are often diminishing returns or contraindications for use once the problem for which the herbs are taken has been corrected. This said, periodic maintenance, such a Spring and/or Autumn three-week detoxification program, is not a bad idea for most people.



Prolonged use of detoxifying herbs might be compared to dieting beyond one's ideal weight until one is underweight or emaciated. Adapting a protocol to the current need means assessing progress and evaluating what is appropriate at each stage of the healing.

Since the herbal alkaloids in detoxifying formulas can stimulate an increased flow of bile, diarrhea is a potential side effect of exceeding the recommended dosage. Excessive and prolonged use can also result in weight loss and/or debilitation. These symptoms may indicate that

(1) the patient is not really benefiting from the excessive dose (i.e., more is not necessarily better) or that
(2) the need for such herbs no longer exists.
In most cases, reducing the dosage results in almost immediate correction of the symptoms of overstimulation. Do not confuse cachexia with the symptoms of overconsumption of detoxifying formulae.

For more information related to blood purification
and liver cleansing, click here.

Detoxifying Liver Formulas

90 tablets

50 tablets

150 tablets

Nourishing Liver Tonics
15 oz.

90 tablets

Milk Thistle Extract

2 oz.

Lower Intestinal Formulas


90 tablets

100 capsules







Much of the material on this site is historic or ethnobotanical in origin. The information presented is not intended to replace the services of a qualified health care professional. All products discussed on this site are best used under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.

We encourage patients and their friends and family to avail themselves of the information found on the Internet and to share their discoveries with their primary care practitioners. If there are questions about the suitability of a product or strategy, please have your practitioner contact the web hostess.

We are interested in feedback, clinical data, suggestions, and proposals for research and product development. While we naturally hope for the happiest outcome in all situations, the authors of this web site, webmaster, server, publishers, and Sacred Medicine Sanctuary are not responsible for the success, failure, side effects, or outcome of the use of any of the information or healing strategies described on this site.


Sacred Medicine Sanctuary
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2000, 2001, 2005


*The information provided at this site is for informational purposes only. These statements and products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this page and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. They are not intended to replace professional medical care. You should always consult a health professional about specific health problems.