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Health-related information changes frequently and therefore information contained on this blog site may be outdated, incomplete or incorrect. Statements made about products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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In using this blog site you agree that neither Donna Earnest Pravel nor any other party is or will be liable or otherwise responsible for any decision made or any action taken or any action not taken due to your use of any information presented on this blog site.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How to Do a Liver Flush

How to Do a Liver Flush

Hey y'all! Today I am going to teach you how to do a liver flush!

Recipe for a liver flush drink posted below- image by

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article on liver function. You may want to review that article before moving on to this one, just to refresh your memory on what the liver actually does (answer: a lot!).

Because the liver is vital, and can actually keep us alive with only 10-25% of it functioning, it is essential that we keep our livers in optimal condition. 

How to do a liver flush

The first step in keeping the liver clean and functioning well is to perform seasonal liver flushes. If you have a chronic or "incurable" condition, you may elect to do one of these every two weeks, alternating with kidney and bladder flushes.

Caution: Be sure your bowels are moving regularly before you attempt to do a liver flush. If you are in any way constipated, the toxins you will remove from your liver and gallbladder during a liver flush will make you feel very ill. Follow these links for instructions on how to do a colon detox before you attempt to cleanse your liver:

How to Do a Colon Cleanse: Step One

How to Make Your Own Colon Cleanse Recipe

How to Do a Colon Cleanse Step Two

What liver flushes do

The basic premise for doing liver flushes is to remove small gallstones from the gallbladder. While some medical doctors state that gall stones can never leave the gallbladder, the clinical science is there to support the fact that some gall stones do leave the gallbladder and are eliminated through the gastrointestinal tract. 

The location of the liver and gallbladder in the human body- image by ADAM Medical Dictionary

Gall stones and bile stones are the same thing, just located in different places in the body. They are not made of "rocks," but rather are a collection of cholesterol buildup and possibly calcification over time. 

Gallstones revealed in an ultrasound image- image by

Gallstones in a surgically removed gallbladder- image by Urology Laparoscopy

At greatest risk for gall stones are obese females over the age of fifty with high blood serum cholesterol levels who take (or took) birth control pills. Rapid weight loss is another risk factor.

Gall stones can slip into the bile duct, causing a blockage and disease. If this happens, the flow of bile is obstructed, and there is nowhere for the bile to go but "up." This can cause jaundice, since bilirubin from the bile is reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. The entire biliary tree can become infected, or potentially fatal acute pancriatitis can set in.

10-20% of humans have gall stones, according to Virtual Medical Of people with gall stones, 10-15% experience gall stones slipping into the bile duct.

Here is an excellent article by the British Journal of Medicine on gall stones and cholecystitis, commonly referred to as "gallbladder attacks."

What liver flushes do not do

The controversy surrounding liver flushes are mostly due to photos such as this one:

These globs of olive oil found in a person's stool sample after drinking a liver flush drink the night before have been incorrectly identified as "liver stones." -image by

I have done several liver flushes myself, and once believed that the large "stones" I saw were from the gallbladder. They are not. However, I do believe that the gallbladder does release small gall stones into the bile duct and on into the intestines, and liver flushes can assist in this process.

My favorite liver flush recipe

There are several liver flush recipes out there. My favorite one is Dr. Richard Schulze's, because it is mild and contains no potentially unsafe ingredients. It is explained in the video at this link (seen best with Firefox).

This is the liver flush recipe, as described in Dr. Schulze's own Patient Handbook:

Drink a glass of purified water immediately upon rising, as I (Donna) have recommended previously.

Within 1 hour [of rising- ed.] prepare for the following Morning Drink

Morning Drink (Liver & Gallbladder Flush ) (Mix in a Blender) 

(in Spring and Summer ) 8 ounces of fresh orange juice or a citrus juice combination 
(1 lemon or 1 lime and enough orange, grapefruit or tangerine to make 8 ounces) or 

(in Fall and Winter ) 8 ounces of fresh apple and/or grape juice
  • 8 ounces of Distilled Water
  • 1-5 clove(s) of garlic (start with one and increase daily)
  • 1-5 tablespoon(s) of organic virgin cold-pressed olive oil (start with one and increase daily )
  • 1 small piece of fresh Ginger Root (about 1 inch long)
This actually tastes pretty good. Right now, grapefruits are in season and I am enjoying those. Three large grapefruit make about 12 oz. juice. I prefer this amount to the recommended 8 oz juice and 8 oz water in the recipe, because I teach school and am not allowed to leave the classroom to go to the restroom until my lunch break at noon. In my case, it might be a good idea to start the five day flush on a Wednesday and go through Sunday, so I could have two days where I was able to do this "right."

I recommend sipping this drink rather than "chugging" it. Some people have a difficult time  drinking the olive oil and may experience some nausea. If this is the case, I recommend you add more ginger juice. Ginger is fantastic for nausea, as I outline in this Natural article.

Have you ever done a liver flush before?
P.S.: Don't forget about the contest I am hosting on Facebook! Like Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy on Facebook for a chance to win a free herb capsule maker from Mountain Rose Herbs!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is on Facebook!

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is on Facebook!

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is now on Facebook! To celebrate, we are having our first giveaway contest! All you have to do is like Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy on Facebook (here's a link) and you'll be automatically entered to win a cool little capsule maker from Mountain Rose Herbs!

Here's a video explaining everything (with my goofy face):

And here is a little video showing off the capsule maker from Mountain Rose Herbs:


Thank you dear readers, for your continued support. I cherish you all.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Quit Coffee!

I Quit Coffee!

Hey y'all! Get ready for another Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy info bomb! This one is on the benefits of quitting caffeine, getting off coffee, breaking the coffee addiction, any other way you want to quit drinking coffee! I did it, and so can you! On to the good stuff...

As promised, I want to share with you a bundle of information on coffee and caffeine in general, for those who are addicted to Cokes as I once was (Dr. Pepper in my case- I still like it) and energy drinks (oh boy!).

First, some amazing graphics, which are health lectures in themselves:

Image courtesy of

Consumer Reports states that an 8 oz. cup of coffee has roughly 100mg caffeine in it. However, this depends on how the coffee is brewed. Consumer Reports measured 8 oz. Starbucks coffee and discovered their brews average 165mg caffeine.

Now consider that many of us own coffee cups that hold 12 or even 16oz. coffee at once. We call that a "cup of coffee," and we may be drinking two mugs of coffee every morning. I did. So if I had two 12 oz. mugs of coffee every morning with a semi-strong brew, I was most likely ingesting 375mg caffeine in the morning alone. 

I never got a small coffee at Starbucks. The 8 oz. "short" cup at Starbucks has to be ordered by name. Starbucks doesn't even list "short" on the menu. If you want a small coffee off the Starbucks menu, you will get their medium size, a "tall," which is 12 oz. So a tall Starbucks brew delivers closer to 250mg caffeine per "cup."

Consumer Reports sets 400mg as the safe adult limit for caffeine consumption. For pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, it's 200mg, and for children , it's 45-85mg, depending on the weight of the child.

What happens when a person overdoses on caffeine? 

Image by wiki

If you ever experience any of these symptoms, think about how much coffee, black tea, Cokes, and energy drinks you have been consuming.

Even though this post is about breaking a coffee addiction, you may want to inform yourself about the hazards of energy drinks.

Caffeine's effect on mental disorders

In 2010, the Journal of Alzeimer's Disease published an interesting study which questioned the effects of caffeine on people with and without mental disorders. While the benefits of mild caffeine consumption  are scientifically documented to include increased alertness, mood elevation, longer attention spans, and better cognitive function, an overdose of caffeine can induce both psychotic and manic symptoms. In addition, higher doses of caffeine can cause anxiety and panic attacks. patients with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder (SAD) are quite sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Cambridge University strongly suggests that people with anxiety disorders abstain from coffee.

Let me offer you some scientific facts on coffee and caffeine.

  • Caffeine in small, intermittent amounts acts as a pain reliever. However, consuming caffeine/coffee regularly can cause what Current Pain and Headache Reports calls daily "analgesic-overuse" headaches. It also causes a physical dependency, because caffeine is a drug. When people quit coffee and caffeine, the experience withdrawal symptoms with headaches being the dominant symptom. Caffeine, in the doses most people consume acts as a potent nervous system blocker for adenosine receptors. This translates to rapid heart rhythm (tachycardia), decreased dopamine levels (a pleasure or reward-seeking neurotransmitter), increases in Parkinson's disease- like symptoms, an increase in ADHD symptoms, and restless leg syndrome.
  • Caffeine does improve sports performance, but not very significantly, according to several studies, including the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
  • While coffee consumption is linked to a lower risk if certain kinds of cancer,  drinking too much coffee increases the risk for bladder cancer, especially in men.
  • As far as dehydration goes, coffee is dehydrating if a person does not drink it daily However, medical science has proven that coffee is no more dehydrating than water in habitual coffee drinkers.
  • Medline Plus offers an informative list of symptoms of caffeine overdose. Interestingly, the website calls caffeine a "medication," and lists the emergency contact number for Poison Control.
  • While it is virtually impossible to drink enough coffee to acquire a lethal dose of caffeine, patients who are on prescription SSRI antidepressants such as Luvox or fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Levaquin or Tavanic are at risk of feeling the effects of caffeine at five times normal levels, according to Forensic Science International and other resources.
  • There is a link between caffeine consumption and osteoporosis, but not to the extent that some might believe, according to American Family Physician. Vitamin D and calcium therapy (natural, of course) counters the effects of caffeine on bone tissue.

"Caffeinism" and the road to adrenal exhaustion

"Caffeinism" is a term coined by Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine Blues. Cherniske explains how caffeine is a drug which causes neurons in your brain to begin firing, which triggers your pituitary gland to secrete the hormone which causes your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin. Adrenalin is the source of the "fight or flight response." Once the adrenalin high wears off, you feel exhausted, irritable, confused, and you get a headache. The more coffee sodas, or energy drinks you consume the more you keep your body in a constant state of unnecessary stress. It's like being on call for a fire emergency as a fireman or a soldier ready to be called to front line duty.

You can actually burn out your adrenal glands doing this. This is why people drink pots of coffee and six packs of sodas every day. Because caffeine is a physically addicting drug, it takes more and more caffeine for them to feel the stimulation they used to feel when they first started drinking coffee. Eventually, to be without this drug for even a small amount of time causes withdrawal symptoms. 

How to quit coffee naturally

I quit coffee cold turkey. I just said, "I'm quitting now," and I have not had a drop since. I drank copious amounts of distilled water for a couple of days, either plain or in an organic herbal tea which did not contain any caffeine at all.

The first day was the roughest. I noticed a slight headache, but my primary symptom was fatigue. I fell asleep at my computer multiple times, and finally took an hour-long nap. I went to bed early, sleeping for nine hours.

My bowel elimination schedule was off, since coffee stimulates bowel activity. It took a few days to get back on a regular schedule.

On the second day,  I felt much better, but I became irritable over minor issues. I told my family I was getting of coffee, and asked them to forgive me when I got crabby.

On the third day, all physical symptoms were gone. I just felt an ill-defined sense of loss or lack of fulfillment, like a flat Coke. It felt strange to let go of something that has been a part of my signature for decades.

By the fourth day, I really did not miss coffee. I did notice an increase in appetite, especially in the morning when I woke up. Since this is a normal neurotransmitter response, I knew this was a good thing. I also knew I would most likely need to either increase my plant fiber intake or take an herbal supplement to retrain my intestines in how to function properly without coffee. I also think I will do a really good kidney cleanse a few times to get the residual coffee out of my kidneys and bladder.

Other ways to get off coffee naturally

  • Kola nut- if you prefer to wean slowly off caffeine, kola nut contains some caffeine but is not addictive the way coffee is
  • Cayenne- stimulates the cardiovascular system in healthy ways
  • Ashwangandha- the primary herb for restoring adrenal function
  • St. John's Wort- the famous herbal antidepressant may help to keep your mood elevated until your body restores its own brain chemicals
I would love to hear your own stories about coming off coffee! Please leave any helpful comments below!

P.S.: Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is now on Facebook! Be sure to like us!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What is the Function of the Liver?

What is the Function of the Liver?

Hey y'all!

Let's just dig right into the good stuff, and begin learning how our bodies' organs work and how to care for each one! I have talked about colon health and how to perform a great herbal colon cleanse here and here.Today I want to begin a series on liver health, beginning with the answer to a question many people have. What is the function of the liver?

First, let's look at some images of the liver, and note where the liver s located in the human body.

A sheep's liver. Indexed numerically, we see: 1) the right lobe, 2) the left lobe, 3) the caudate lobe, 4) the quadrate lobe, 5) the hepatic artery and portal vein, 6) the hepatic lymph nodes, and 7) the gall bladder- image by wiki

In the human body the liver is located on the right side, right under the right breast. It is parallel to the stomach and spleen in the upper abdomen.

Location of the liver in humans- image by Functions of the

The liver has many functions, including the synthesis (creation) of protein, detoxification, creating chemicals for digestion, storing glycogen, producing hormones, and decomposing red blood cells. The liver also helps to build and break down small molecules, and helps in the digestive process by producing bile which alkalizes acids. Bile also helps to emulsify fats and absorb vitamin K. The liver is believed to carry out over 500 different functions. Many diseases are associated with some form of malfunction in the liver.

The liver plays a role in the following biological functions:
  • Amino acid synthesis
  • Glucose genesis, known as gluconeogenesis
  • Breaking glycogen down into glucose, called glycogenolysis
  • Turning glucose into glycogen, known as glycogenesis
  • Metabolizing protein
  • Producing fats (lipids), including cholesterol
  • Produces the factors which cause blood to clot (coagulate)
  • Produces red blood cells in unborn babies until the bone marrow is mature enough to take over the task
  • Produces growth hormones
  • Regulates the bone marrow's production of blood platelets
  • Breaks down insulin
  • Changes ammonia (NH3) into urea
  • Breaks down toxins, including drugs, and moves them to the kidneys or bile to be eliminated
  • Stores a number of vitamins and minerals
  • Plays a major role in immune system support
  • Stabilizes blood pressure
Can you think of other functions of the liver? Please comment below.

The liver is capable of regenerating itself. With even as little as 1/4 of a liver, a whole one can be grown again.

Click on the link to enjoy an interactive site provided by Toronto General Hospital Department of Anesthesia depicting a virtual liver.

With so many important functions of the liver, can you see why it is important to maintain excellent liver health? Next week I will describe how to do this naturally.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blog Posts for 2013: Happy New Year and Thank You, Readers!

Blog Posts for 2013: Happy New Year and Thank You, Readers!

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is having its first birthday celebration!- image by We Take the

Hey y'all!

I am so excited because Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy is one year old! I launched this blog a year ago on a hope and a promise, not knowing how it would be received, or really, what the direction would be. I started the blog as a showcase for my writing talents as a search engine optimized (SEO) copy writer and owner of Heart of Texas Copy Writing (currently under a massive site revision). 

I was soon blessed to receive visitors from all over the planet. My jaw just drops in humility when I realize I have had over 67,000 unique visits to Bluebonnet in a year and I am currently getting over 10,000 hits a month. This is for a little natural health blog which is only one year old and only posts new content once a week! 

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy was named a "Top Health Blog" by Wellsphere last year, and is proud to offer several affiliate products from some amazing vendors such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Natural News (where I am a feature writer), and Raw for 30 Days. This year I am going to add a ton of new vendors, products, rave reviews, and maybe even launch my own line of herbal goodies for you to enjoy. 

I am in the process of designing a really cool Facebook page for Bluebonnet, so y'all can meet each other, hang out, ask questions, or post links to your own businesses. Since I am a SEO copy writer, I will be learning social media management this year. I want to be able to offer this service to my business clients, so both my Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy and my Heart of Texas Copy Writing Solutions pages on Facebook will be my laboratories for learning social media management. You guys can be my guinea pigs, and help me make these pages interesting and fun. 

Before I move on to what's cooking for 2013, I want to say a very special thank you to all of my readers who have left the most heartwarming and encouraging comments either here, on Facebook, or on Google+. You guys are amazing, and I love every one of you.

I even got two phone calls from readers who wanted to thank me personally for my work. One reader was a single guy who reached out to me, telling me how hard it was to be the only high raw vegan in a very small, country town. How many of you can relate?

Another reader called a week or so ago and just blessed my heart to pieces. Her name is Katherine.  I know her in real life. Katherine is a diabetic. She told me she had reduced her prescription medications from 33 to TEN, with the help of her doctor, by reading this blog. 

This is why I write. This is why I do what I do. I've got muscular dystrophy myself, and I know what it's like to have something and go all over the Internet doing research, trying to figure out a way to get better.

What's in store for 2013? Here's what I have planned:

Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapy 2013 Blog Posts

  1. Liver Function
  2. Mild Liver Flush
  3. The Controversial Big Liver Flush
  4. Liver Herbs and Tea
  5. Liver and Gallbladder Tincture
  6. Kidney Function
  7. Kidney Flush
  8. Kidney Herbs and Tea
  9. Kidney and Bladder Tincture
  10. Morning Citrus Juice for Vitamin C
  11. Yoga
  12. Superfoods
  13. Green Smoothies
  14. Bananas
  15. Good Fats v. Bad Fats
  16. Where Do You Get Your Protein?
  17. Echinacea: My Number One Herb
  18. Hot and Cold Showers
  19. Makeup for the Health Conscious Woman
  20. Laundry and Clothing
  21. What is a Mono Meal?
  22. A Healthy Mind
  23. Blood Detox Herbs
  24. More Green Smoothie Recipes
  25. Juicers
  26. Blenders
  27. Brain Function
  28. Brain Herbs
  29. Adrenal Function
  30. Adrenal Herbs
  31. Bone Function
  32. Muscle Function
  33. Joint Function
  34. Herbs for Bones, Muscles, and Joints
  35. What’s For Dinner?
  36. Raw Food Recipe Books
  37. Kitchen Equipment
  38. Why No Plastic?
  39. Keeping an Orderly Home
  40. Decluttering and Trashing
  41. Enemas
  42. The Lymphatic System
  43. Fun Exercises for Cardio and Lymph
  44. Skin Brushing
  45. Shampoos, Conditioners, and Body Wash
  46. Skin Oils, Moisturizers, and Essential Oils
  47. Foot Reflexology
  48. Female Health and Herbs
  49. Male Health and Herbs
  50. Positive Affirmations, Intentions, and Goal Setting

If you would like me to write about something specific, leave a comment and I'll be happy to add it to the list!

Thank you, so much, every one of you, for making *our* first year together a success. Please know I love and care about every one of you. I leave you with special blessings of love, prosperity, and of course, wonderful health in the coming year.

With much love,