Edgar Cayce discussed torpid liver in approximately 182 readings.  Essentially, the liver is underactive or sluggish producing poor eliminations and diverse systemic symptoms.  Torpid liver is an effect produced by a variety of causal factors, especially impaired nerve impulse due to lesion or subluxation of the spinal centers (especially the 8th and 9th thoracic) associated with this organ.  Anxiety and distress were cited as contributing factors in some cases.  Systemic toxicity and digestive system dysfunction were also common etiological factors in cases of torpid liver.

    The Cayce readings consistently recognized the intimate relation between liver and kidney functioning, sometimes referring to them as positive and negative poles of the body's battery.  When one of the poles suffers from torpidity, the other is likely to be affected.  Thus, in cases of torpid liver, kidney functioning was also sometimes noted to be pathological as a compensation for the sluggish liver.

    In some cases of torpid liver in which both the liver and kidneys were involved, the phrase "high hepatic circulation" was used to describe the increased activity of the hepatic system in attempting to deal with the increased toxic load of an underactive liver (e.g., 5434-1, 4619-1, 4282-1, 4232-1, 4127-1, 1323-1, 538-8, 159-1).  A diverse range of symptoms were associated with this condition, such as chronic, low grade fever, increased pulse, kidney and bladder inflammation, systemic hyperacidity and increased toxicity throughout the body.


    To better understand problems with the hepatic circulation, it may be helpful to consider a brief overview of the "hepatic system" and its patterns of circulation.  The organs of the hepatic system are:

  • Liver
    • Positive pole of body's battery,
    • Excretory functioning - emunctory/cleansing through hepatic circulation,
    • Secretive functioning - through gallbladder/bile/intestines,
  • Gallbladder,
  • Kidneys,
    • Negative pole of body's battery,
    • Secretive  functioning (although the readings mention both excretion and secretion from this organ),
  • Pancreas,
  • Spleen.
    Edgar Cayce used the expression "hepatic circulation" in a variety of ways to described circulatory patterns between the organs of the hepatic system listed above.  Here are a few examples of different aspects of the hepatic circulation as discussed in the Cayce readings:
  • The hepatic circulation is the "deep circulation" and corresponds to cerebrospinal nervous system as distinguished from superficial circulation (surface of body - sympathetic nervous system).
  • The hepatic circulation can also be more narrowly defined as circulation between liver and kidneys.
  • The upper hepatic circulation refers to the circulation betwen liver, heart and lungs - the upper body.
  • The lower hepatic circulation refers to the circulation between the kidneys and urinary system - the lower body.
  • The hepatic portal system refers to the circulation from the intestinal tract to the liver.
  • Edgar Cayce also sometimes spoke of a day/night cycles in which the patterns of circulation alternated between the lower and upper hepatic circulation and the deep an superficial circulation.

    The Cayce readings recognize several pathophysiological patters associated with hepatic dysfunction, including:

  • Torpid (sluggish) liver,
  • Cold (low) hepatic circulation,
  • High (hot) hepatic circulation,
  • Incoordination between deep and superficial circulation,

  • Day/night or upper/lower circulation (e.g., nightsweets).



     Colonic irrigation or enemas were recommended in approximately 65 readings in which torpid liver was discussed.  Castor oil packs were recommended in twenty-one readings.


    The violet ray appliance was recommended in twenty readings involving torpid liver making it the most frequently prescribed form of electrotherapy for this condition.  Reading 4815-1 describes a typical application in which the appliance is used over the spine for about one minute and over the abdomen and limbs for two to three minutes.


    Ten readings involving torpid liver recommended medicine containing ragweed.  Five readings for torpid liver recommended that a ragweed formula be concocted.  Another five readings for this condition prescribed Simmon's Liver Regulator (which contained ragweed).  Simmon's Liver Regulator is no longer commercially available.  Tincture of ragweed is sold by some suppliers of Cayce health products.

    Other herbal medicines were also frequently recommended in cases involving torpid liver.  Here is the frequency for some of the most common ingredients:

Tolu Balsam 23
Sarsaparilla 16
Yellow Dock Root 12
Wild Cherry Bark 11
Calisaya 9
Burdock Root 8
Elder Flower 8
Buchu Leaves 7
Oil of Sassafras 7

    At least three products based on the Cayce readings contain some of the herbs listed above.

    Formula 3810 contains:

Tolu Balsam
Yellow Dock Root
Burdock Root
Elder Flower
Buchu Leaves

    Formula 545 contains:

Tolu Balsam
Yellow Dock Root
Wild Cherry Bark
Oil of Sassafras

    Formula 4288 contains:

Tolu Balsam
Wild Cherry Bark
Burdock Root
Buchu Leaves

    Yellow saffron tea and slippery elm bark in water were each recommended in nine readings for torpid liver.


    The basic Cayce diet recommendations were commonly suggested in the readings involving torpid liver.  The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system.  Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food").  Certain food combinations are


    Manual therapy (particularly osteopathic treatment) was recommended in approximately sixty-six readings involving torpid liver.   The early osteopathic physicians were well aware of torpid liver and included treatment recommendations for this condition in many of their treatment manuals (see below).


    Options for further assessment include:

  • Comprehensive Detoxification Profile
    • Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory
    • 63 Zillicoa Street
    • Asheville, NC
    • (704) 253-0621

Indigestion 5566-1, 4763-1, 4204-1, 3841-1, 623-1, 582-1, 379-1, 372-6
Constipation 4529-1, 3841-1, 3780-1, 911-1, 592-1, 544-1, 576-3, 341-23, 49-1
Dull headaches 5445-1, 4721-1, 4299-2, 3841-1, 2105-1, 1021-1, 639-2, 549-1, 542-1
Pain or heaviness along right side of abdomen 5632-1, 4256-1, 3860-1, 957-2, 829-1, 800-1, 723-1,587-1,  379-19, 379-1
Bad breath or bad taste in mouth not directly due to food or drink 5696-1, 3367-1, 3050-1, 2461-1, 957-2, 829-1, 723-1, 639-2, 549-1, 544-1, 379-13, 379-1, 221-1
General dullness or drowsiness 5445-1, 4767-1, 4760-1, 4721-1, 4452-1, 4334-1, 4232-1, 3780-1, 3239-1, 3107-1, 2461-1, 379-1, 341-23, 221-1, 121-1 
Gallstones or gallbladder problems 5738-1, 4452-1, 4299-2, 899-1, 1079-1, 1010-6, 336-1
Burning or irritation to eyes 5696-1, 5516-1, 5445-1, 4774-1, 4722-1, 4526-1, 4299-2, 4171-1, 1736-4, 719-1, 639-2, 379-1, 341-23, 19-1
Dizziness 5696-1, 5592-1, 4709-1, 3986-1, 3780-1, 3290-1, 3277-1, 2849-1, 1736-4, 1149-1, 1079-1, 821-1, 550-5, 379-16, 361-5, 304-2


[NOTE: The following example comes from Osteopathy Complete by Elmer D. Barber, D.O. which was published in 1898.]

(Excess of uric acid or other metabolic compounds in the blood).

    Furred tongue; nausea; bitter taste; anorexia; slight fever; constipation; headache; stupor;
perspiration, alternating with flashes of heat.

    1.  Place the patient on the side; beginning at the upper cervicals, move the muscles upward and outward, gently but deeply, the entire length of the spinal column, being very particular and thorough in all regions which are in the least sensitive to the touch; endeavoring in these regions to discover muscles in a contracted, cord-like condition, which are obstructing the circulation, and thereby
affecting nerve-centers which control the alimentary canal.  Such muscles must be kneaded and manipulated very thoroughly.  Treat opposite side in a similar manner.
    2.  Place the patient upon the back; the operator grasping the shoulders, an assistant now grasps
the patient's ankles, and a very thorough extension of the spine is given; pull gently at first, gradually
stronger, the patient relaxing all muscles, for two minutes (cut 23).  Care must be exercised, in giving
this extension, to make it no stronger, but just as strong as the patient can conveniently stand.  This
thorough extension of the spine relieves the pressure upon the intervertebral fibro-cartilage, thereby
relieving, in a measure, any undue pressure upon the spinal nerves, and also freeing the circulation to
the cerebro-spinal cord, any obstruction to which means disease in some of its varied forms.
    3.  Place one hand under the chin, the other under the occipital bone (cut 8), and give careful
extension of the neck, pulling gently until the body moves.
    4. Place one hand under the chin and draw the head backward, rotating it from side to side with
the disengaged hand manipulate the muscles immediately over the pneumogastric nerve.  It is also
well to manipulate all the muscles of the sides and front of the neck in a very thorough and careful
manner, as this treatment not only frees and stimulates the pneumogastric, but also frees the
blood-supply to the head.
    5. In all cases where constipation is present, beginning at the cecum, manipulate very deeply and
gently, following the colon its entire length, endeavoring to move any hardened lump of feces toward
the rectum.  Manipulate the small intestine carefully and thoroughly (cut 17).
    It is also well, in constipation, to knead, as much as possible, the gall-bladder, endeavoring to
empty its contents into the duodenum.
    6. Flex the limb against the abdomen strongly; while in this position, move the knee three or four times from side to side, giving quite strong abduction; extend the leg with a light jerk.  This treatment stretches the adductor muscles of the thigh, thereby freeing the circulation to the leg, and assisting to equalize the same.  Treat the opposite limb in a similar manner.
    7. Place the hand upon the ribs over the liver; press gently at first, gradually increasing the
strength, until the ribs are pressed strongly downward upon the liver; relax the pressure gradually.
This operation should be repeated two or three times each treatment, as it assists very materially in
stimulating the liver to correctly perform its allotted task.
    8. Place the fingers of the right hand under the ribs, immediately over the liver (cut 25); with the
left hand grasp patient's right wrist and draw the arm strongly above the head; at the same instant,
with the right hand, raise the ribs as much as possible, off of the liver.
    9. Place the hand lightly over the liver; vibrate gently two or three minutes.
    10.  Place the patient upon a stool; with the thumbs close to the spine, at about the second dorsal, have an assistant raise the arms high above the head, as the patient inhales, filling the lungs to their
utmost capacity; press hard with the thumbs, as the arms are lowered with a backward motion,
patient permitting the elbows to bend (cut 24).  Repeat this operation, moving the thumbs downward each time to the next lower vertebra, until the eighth dorsal vertebra is reached.
    This treatment will occupy about twenty minutes, and should be given each day.  Immediate
results can be expected, and a speedy cure will be effected, if this treatment is given in a correct and
careful manner.

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