Essential Oils for Liver Detox: Unveiling Health Benefits

January is Love Your Liver Month. For many of us that will mean cutting out the booze for a few days, or having a bit of lettuce to give the old digestive system a break from holiday-rich foods. But the truth is, our poor old livers have way more to contend with than that, and cleansing and supporting the liver is a vital part of any holistic aromatherapy treatment. Today we are going to think about liver detox benefits, how to use Essential Oils for liver detox, and how to support the liver. 

Liver Detox Benefits May Include

    • Improved digestion 
    • Less bloating
    • Improved lymphatic function
    • Clearer skin 
    • Clearer thinking and memory
    • Less fatigue

Essential Oils for a liver detox include grapefruit, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, chamomile Maroc, and carrot seed Essential Oils. They are best applied over the liver and gallbladder meridians (which are on the legs) as well as over the abdomen and lower back,  and supported by nourishing the liver by taking vitamin B complex and vitamin C. 

We’ll look at all aspects of that advice in this article.

How to Use Essential Oils for Liver Detox

I think the first thing to say is that despite all the hype you see, it seems pretty unlikely to me that Essential Oils are powerful enough on their own to provide the liver detox benefits most of us will be looking for. There certainly are some brilliant Essential Oils for liver detox, but you need to use so much, for so long, then it becomes futile. 

The key to doing it quickly and effectively is to integrate it with other therapies such as acupressure and vitamin therapy to get not only liver detox benefits but also a stronger, more nourished liver. So then, we always use Essential Oils for liver detox topically, and in specific (very odd-seeming places.) To understand why integrating these other therapies is so important for liver detox benefits, we need to think about what the liver does, and how it comes to be in the state it is in (because mark my words, it probably is in a state) and what we can do about that.

The Importance of the Liver

I rather like the idea that the liver is the part of us that lives. Then, because it has this desire to live, potentially it is the part of us that decides whether we thrive. When you think about it like that, then you can imagine it feeling happy, being feisty, robust, and partying. What you’ll very rarely envision is someone sitting behind a desk worried and tired. 

That’s interesting because that is exactly what someone who has a dysfunctional liver looks like and feels like. Only, let’s be clear, it was the worry about money, time, and deadlines that drained the liver, not the other way around. 

The liver sits at the center of the digestive system, and it has oh, so many jobs, but for the most part these are processing cholesterol, making bile, and ensuring that the body extracts the right nutrients from food, as well as detoxifying the system. 

Detoxification, in particular. presents us with a massive challenge. 

Natural Detoxification vs Liver Detox Benefits

The human body has developed over thousands, possibly millions of years. It has adapted and changed to deal with our surroundings and evolution. However, for the most part, it has not yet learned how to assimilate many of the chemicals we put into our bodies that have only been around for the last hundred years or so. 

Artificial flavorings hit the markets in 1851. Food colorings followed quickly in 1856. Around that time, after thousands of years of using salt and oils to preserve food, suddenly artificial preservatives became a thing, although didn’t catch on till the twentieth century. 

So here’s the first thing. Most of what we eat contains stuff that the body does not know how to fully process. Let’s add to that, fertilizers and pesticides used to guarantee a bountiful crop, and air pollutants that we breathe…you are starting to get the picture.  

Add to that now, that the liver also cleans the body of pharmaceuticals. Think antibiotics (we’ll soon be celebrating a hundred years since its discovery in 1928). What about anesthetics? Pain killers? Vaccines? Chemotherapy…?

It’s a lot. 

But what does all that have to do with stress?

Liver Detox Benefits After Long-Term Stress

So here is an interesting thing. 

I was taught this as part of my Advanced Aromatherapy Diploma, way back in 1994, and I spent a good part of 2012 and 2013 trying to disprove it to fact-check my book The Essential Oil Liver Cleanse. Because, when I was taught it, there was very little science to support the idea that emotions affect the physical body. Not only could I not disprove it, but I also came to understand that the poor old liver suffers enormously at the hands of stress.

You’ll often read people talking about adrenal fatigue, and, agreed, that is a huge problem when someone has been stressed.

But what happens when the body starts to suffer adrenal fatigue, is the adrenals can no longer fuel the body with hormones and biochemicals it needs to go on. 

So, what it essentially does is it steals from the pituitary gland and the liver.

The liver gives as much as it can, but then it starts to wane, and what we see then is liver dysfunction.

The Liver Should Be Able To Clean Itself

More than that. Miraculously, if it is damaged, it can even regenerate cells to repair itself. 

But sometimes, if it lacks certain nutrients or becomes overwhelmed by toxins, it doesn't have the strength to do so. 

What happens then,  is that toxins get sent to the liver to be cleaned and excreted, but the liver can no longer keep up. When the liver can’t process them fast enough,  toxicity begins to build up and we get a queue backed up at the liver checkout. 

If the liver is only able to work at 90%, what you essentially have is 10% toxicity. 

Working at 50%, 50% toxicity, and so forth.

But, if you think about it, this cycle can only go one way.

The more toxic the liver becomes, the more dysfunctional it gets, which can only lead to more toxicity. 

Liver Detox Benefits Behind The Scenes

When the liver does not work optimally, it has repercussions right through the body, affecting every organ.

Blood Sugar

The liver is instrumental to our sugar relationship. Liver toxicity may lead to hypoglycemia. What we’ll have then, is sugar cravings, naturally. Long term that can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Sugar imbalance can also cause Candida overgrowth which is ten thousand books in its own right, but for sure, think yeast infections, allergies, and skin problems. 


Toxins circulating in your bloodstream trigger immune responses to try to deal with the pathogens to isolate, overcome them, and drive them from the system (through the exception that’s got to go through the liver, of course!). So repeated assaults from toxicity can overwork the immune system.

Blood Pressure, Kidney Balance, and Water Retention

A weakened liver struggles to break down aldosterone which is a hormone from the adrenals.  

One of the aldosterone’s lesser jobs is to contribute to the liver's efforts to metabolize proteins, fats carbohydrates, and proteins. But if it doesn't work properly, we see knock-on effects on its main job, which is to regulate the balance of water in the body. At the surface level that means we have bloating and cellulite, but also this means the kidney no longer processes sodium and potassium properly either. This leads to problems with blood pressure and blood volume. (Think about how long-term stress means long-term adrenal activation and tons of aldosterone being poured into the system.

Hormonal Balance 

Hormones…  Certain components of estrogen should be metabolized by the liver and processed for excretion. If that can’t happen, we see hormonal imbalance, especially estrogen dominance. Consider too that the adrenals are also drawing from the pituitary gland which should be controlling hormonal balance and like the liver may be under way too much pressure too.

From this list, the liver detox benefits should be obvious.

Outward Signs of a Dysfunctional Liver Might be 

    • Weight gain especially around the belly
    • Bloated tummy
    • Poor digestion, indigestion, and heartburn
    • Rashes
    • Headaches
    • Feeling lethargic and fatigued
    • Mood swings and depression
    • Cellulite

The only thing that can stop this is some kind of intervention.  In the worst case situations, that’s surgery. But, stop drinking, so the body has a chance to redeem itself. Give it food that is easier to digest, organic preferably, so it doesn't have such a chemical load to process. Stop taking the meds (which we do not advise you to do without the support of your doctor, incidentally) or….

You integrate some kind of naturopathic agent that can help support and cleanse the liver.

    • Liver Detox Benefits May Include
    • Improved digestion 
    • Less bloating
    • Improved lymphatic function
    • Clearer skin 
    • Clearer thinking and memory
    • Less fatigue 

Essential Oils for a liver detox include grapefruit, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, chamomile Maroc, and carrot seed Essential Oils. They are best applied over the liver and gallbladder meridians (which are on the legs) as well as over the abdomen and lower back,  and supported by nourishing the liver by taking vitamin B complex and vitamin C. 

Let’s be clear though, that using Essential Oils for liver detox benefits is not going to protect you against fatty liver disease.

Easing down on the fatty foods is! That said, fatty liver disease is being found to be implicated in many other illnesses such as eczema for example, so, using Essential Oils for liver detox as an underpinning support to oils that we use for the skin, and perhaps those for the mood is helpful too. 

Using Essential Oils for liver detox is not going to help you lose weight either unless you move more and eat less. They may however help the process go a bit faster. 

Learning how to use Essential Oils for liver detox is as much about supporting other stuff you are doing as it is about clearing the system. 

Essential Oils with Liver Detox Benefits

Proving The Liver Detox Benefits of Rosemary Essential Oil

In 2014 a team of researchers from Serbia tested the long-held belief that rosemary Essential Oil can protect the liver. They pre-treated some rats with rosemary Essential Oil before they harmed their livers (with CCl4, a carbon tetrachloride agent) to compare against some that had not been pretreated with different amounts of rosemary Essential Oil to see what differences might happen with the rodents’ organs

They proved that the anti-oxidant effects of the rosemary oil protected them by measuring two liver enzymes in the blood. 

Alanine transaminase (ALT) is an enzyme mainly found in your liver, although it does exist in other parts of your body

AST (aspartate aminotransferase) is also an enzyme, and is also found mostly in the liver, but is also in muscles and other organs such as your heart, skeletal muscles, and


When cells that contain either of these enzymes are damaged, AST and/or ALT leaks into the blood. Consequently, high levels found in blood tests may indicate liver cells have suffered damage and/or the presence of a liver condition. 

The trial showed that the rosemary improved levels of AST and ALT twofold. (Raskovic, 2014) To a non-scientific brain like mine, that is pretty much-reduced levels of AST and ALT by half.

Moreover, the CCl4 caused a slight drop in levels of triglycerides and cholesterol which was partially recovered after the rats were given another dose of Rosemary Essential Oil.  (Raskovic, 2014)

So the rosemary Essential Oil protected the liver, but it was also proven to have restored renal excretory functions. (Raskovic, 2014)

One of the primary advantages of the liver detox benefits of rosemary is that it prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver. (Madsen, 2023)

A Balancing View Point about The Scientific Data on Liver Detox Benefits of Essential Oils

We should stress at this point that the data cited in these studies are rodent trials, not human ones. Further, the amounts used in Raskovic 2014 (5mg and 10mg) would be undiluted and injected into the creature’s bellies.

So on one hand we should take care to stress that so far, there is no proof that rosemary Essential Oil (or any other Essential Oil for that matter) can be used and licensed as a preventative for liver disease.

Nevertheless, these scientific trials have been done because traditional medicine has always used rosemary as an agent to support the liver. These support the idea that the prescription to do so has always been correct.


We’ve already looked at rosemary Essential Oil’s liver detox benefits. One of the primary reasons for this is that it contains high levels of  1,8 cineole, which is the primary constituent in eucalyptus Essential Oil. Thus we can assume that eucalyptus Essential Oil will also have liver detox benefits and indeed there is evidence that the traditional medicine of the First Nations People of Australia may have used eucalyptus tea as a tonic for liver and kidney function.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD is the most common cause of liver dysfunction. It is characterized by a buildup of triglycerides in hepatocytes (liver cells).

Ordinarily,  chronic alcohol consumption causes this triglyceride build-up, but in this condition, the damage is not down to the booze. 

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe form of NAFLD. It is accompanied by cell damage, inflammation, and fibrosis. 

A study into broiler chickens showed that intraperitoneal injection of 1,8 cineole reversed hepatic steatosis (chronic fat buildup in the liver). (Murata, 2015)

If you, like me, get a little over-involved in the thoughts about what happened to the brave furry ones sacrificed in the quest for immortality, heed my plea. 

Whatever you do, please do not follow the link to (Santos, 2001) who proved that 1,8 cineole was able to protect  100% of the mice treated from “massive hepatic necrosis and lethality” when they were used to simulate and investigate a model of septic shock. 

“I’ll save you the anguish by posting the end of the abstract”. 

The results indicate that 1,8-cineole protects mice against GalN/LPS-induced liver injury through the inhibition of TNF-alpha production, and suggest that 1,8-cineole may be a promising agent to combat septic-shock-associated pathologies.”

Before we move on, please can we just take a moment to offer a small prayer of thanks to all the rodents who have sacrificed themselves in the quest to fully elucidate the liver detox benefits of Essential Oils.


I should send you to read (Bellassoued, 2018) yourself now. This team's rats were injured using CCl4.

Blood was tested for AST and ALT (amongst other things), and since their levels were so much improved they demonstrated that the peppermint Essential Oil had protected both the liver and kidneys against damage. (Bellassoued, 2018)

Chamomile Maroc 

Now to be clear all chamomiles are used for their hepatoprotective natures in aromatherapy and herbalism. 

There is scientific evidence supporting the use of German / Blue chamomile Matricaria. (Sebai, 2015) (Shebbo, 2020). This is both through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions. 

That said, although there is less clinical evidence, personally, I prefer the effects of a lesser-known camomile, called Camomile Maroc. It is a misnomer, because it isn’t a chamomile, since its Latin name is Ormenis multicaulis. People rarely speak of this chamomile, but it's my favorite. 

Penny Price also cites Camomile maroc for liver uses too. (Price, 2022)

Carrot seed 

Again we have evidential difficulties with carrot seed Essential Oil too. 

This time, the problem arises that we can prove the activities of carrot seed extracts, but not specifically the Essential Oil. To clarify, that can sometimes be problematic because there are sometimes different molecules in ethanoic, methanoic, and aqueous extracts as opposed to the Essential Oil. There can be many reasons for this, but usually, certain molecules might be too big to pass through distillation, or they might be watery rather than oily, for example. 

However, again, carrots and their seeds have a tremendous effect on the digestive system, particularly on the liver. 

A couple of examples of trials that have shown liver detox benefits and hepatoprotective properties of carrot seed extracts are: (Shebaby, 2015) and (Biyashee, 1995)

Carrot seed Essential Oil is cleansing and supportive by nature and has the added benefit of having a different fragrance profile to the clinical smelling herbs, and is not as stimulating as the others. This means it can be added to blends for stress more easily than the rest of the Essential Oils with liver detox benefits on this list… 

How to Apply Essential Oils With Liver Detox Benefits 

This is where we get a bit more technical because the oils themselves can only do so much. They have liver detox benefits, but in the scheme of how severe some people’s toxicity is, it’s probably not enough.

What is useful is that the body has its built-in reset system, which is acupressure points. 

So let’s just talk about those for a moment in case anyone does not know what they are. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine relies on the idea that energy (qi…pronounced tchee ) flows through the body in channels. These channels are called meridians and they mostly flow up and down the body, although there are a couple of horizontal ones which bring them all together. 

The liver has its meridian. 

The organs work in pairs. 

The partner of the liver is the gallbladder. 

Qi should be able to flow unimpeded through the meridians however, sometimes energy gets blocked. Acupressure points along these points act a little like gateways or switches, re-energizing the flow of energy. 

The liver meridian runs from the inside of the big toe, up the inside of the leg. It branches to go either side of the genitals and up the torso, then branches again to end a little below the two nipples.  

The gall bladder meridian runs on the outside of the leg. Beginning at the outside of the little toe, it runs along the outside of the foot to the side of the heel. It then heads up the outside of the leg, zig-zags back and forth up the side of the body, and then has several points over the head. 

Using the Meridians to Use Essential Oils for Liver Detox Benefits

So, the very easiest way to stimulate the liver and gallbladder meridians is to imagine where the seams of your trouser legs would go, then rub your preparation in, up and down the sides of your legs between the ankle and the knee. 

I would prepare a 3% dilution and try to use it three times a day. 

Remembering that the oils are simply supporting the meridians, focus your attention on the rubbing. 

It is worth paying attention to any strange sensations. You might notice some points seem painful for no reason. This is symptomatic of a blocked acupressure point. Simply apply gentle pressure for around two minutes, then move on. Be clear that you are already using a strong healing modality using these points, then you are further adding Essential Oils for their liver detox benefits, so be cautious not to over-stimulate them. 

Far better to do a couple of minutes at a time, and then come back later. 

Also, know that it is common for acupressure points to become relocked again quite quickly. Be patient and resilient. Get to know the point. Expect it to need care. Get curious about it. Maybe even try to identify the point. There are huge amounts of wisdom at your fingertips, just from identifying where the energy is getting stuck. 

Finally, as you do the work, remember that you are asking the body to process waste. Make sure you drink lots of water to help move it out of the system quicker. 

Liver Detox Benefits Essential Oil Recipes

I have included two, because I am a big believer in changing up your protocol every week or so, to give the liver a bit of a jolt.

Method of use: Apply three times a day over the abdomen and lower back, as well as using it to stimulate liver and gallbladder meridians. Use for one month.

Safety: Not suitable for use on children under the age of six. 

Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Rosemary may make it problematic for people who live with epilepsy or any kind of delusory condition like schizophrenia or psychosis. 

Essential Oils Recipe 2 for Liver Detox Benefits

Method of use: Apply three times a day over the abdomen and lower back, as well as using it to stimulate liver and gallbladder meridians. Use for one month.

Safety: Not suitable for use on children under the age of six. 

Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

If you want to give a really good start to the treatments, why not try making a castor oil pack with your Essential Oils with liver detox benefits, and applying it over the liver? 

Nourishing the Body to Make the Best of Liver Detox Benefits 

The liver needs Vitamin B to function. It needs vitamin C to absorb vitamin B. The science behind vitamin B and the liver is complex, not least because there are eight different B vitamins. This poster does a good job of explaining which saves me a job. 

When I am seeing a patient, I usually recommend supplementation of 100m daily for a month. 

A Final Word on Using the Liver Detox Benefits of Essential Oils

Anyone who has been under stress for a long time, or who has been eating a junk food diet full of flavor enhancers and preservatives, or who has had to take prescription drugs (or I guess no prescription drugs too) is likely to feel better after using a protocol of oils for liver detox benefits 

Remember it is unlikely that Essential Oils will be able to do the job very well on their own but if you combine them with acupressure points and then vitamin therapy, you have an excellent protocol for liver detox benefits. I tend to do my protocol three times yearly. Once in January, once in April, once in September, and work at it morning and evening for about three weeks to a month at a time. Don’t forget for the very best liver detox benefits, drink lots of water.

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