Liver tonics: Pottenger’s Liver Cocktail and Raw Liver Drink

Glan Cattle & Calf

Glan Cattle & Calf

by Cat, Dec 2013 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Includes: 1. Pottenger’s Liver Cocktail; 2. Raw Liver Drink

See also: 1. Cabbage Juice Tonic; 2. Beet Kvass

Perhaps one of the more well-known tonics for general health as well as liver health is wheatgrass or barley grass juice; also Cabbage Juice Tonic and Beet Kvass. But not all excellent tonics are vegetarian.  Pottenger’s Liver Cocktail and a Raw Liver Drink are very important for restoring good health – especially to the liver – as long as the liver is from grass-fed cows that have not been routinely treated with antibiotics.

Other tonics that are especially useful during illness and recovery, are mineral broths: Beef BrothChicken BrothFish Stock, and Potato Peel Broth.

Lambs Liver

Lambs Liver

Liver Tonics

(Photo right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Traditional and hunter-gatherer peoples prized the liver of a fresh kill. They immediately removed the liver from the carcass and ate the liver raw. Traditional peoples also believed that consuming a specific organ supports the same organ of the eater: eat heart to strengthen your heart; eat liver to strengthen your liver. Raw is still the best way to eat these foods, and using the raw liver in a tonic beverage is perhaps the tastiest way to consume it.

Caution: use only liver from pastured, grass-fed livestock, as that from commercially raised livestock can be contaminated with undesirable toxins and heavy metals. Calves’ liver is best, because the young animal will not have been exposed to many toxins, and it is also the most tender and flavorful. Baby-Beef liver is also good. OR you can use chicken liver (frozen for at least 14 days).

Be sure the liver has been frozen for at least 14 days to kill off any parasites such as liver flukes. The liver is easy to grate or chop when frozen.

Drink the tonic right away for maximum benefit, as the liver degrades quickly.

Liquid whey is an important ingredient.  Whey is a protein fraction of milk, which separates as a liquid after clabbering of the milk by fermentation.  It is very rich in probiotics, and is easy to make.  Simply strain plain unsweetened yogurt through a fine sieve for several hours at room temperature, collecting the whey that goes through the sieve.  (The solid remaining in the sieve is similar to cream cheese).

Alternately, you can use packaged lacto-fermenting culture.

Pottenger’s Liver Cocktail

Dr. Francis Pottenger recommended this tonic for the health and stamina-building properties of raw liver and used it to treat patients at his sanatorium for TB and other respiratory diseases.

The liver is easy to grate while still frozen.  This recipe makes 1 cup (single serving).

  • 1 small chunk of pasture-fed beef or lamb liver, frozen at least 14 days
  • 4 – 6 oz Organic tomato juice (or freshly juiced tomatoes)
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp liquid whey
  • dash of tabasco sauce
  • pinch Unrefined sea salt (optional)
  • grater
  • blender
  1. Method: Make sure the liver has been frozen at least 14 days, to kill any parasites.
  2. Grate liver finely to obtain about 1 – 2 teaspoons.
  3. Mix with tomato and lime juice, whey and seasonings.  I like to use an immersion (hand-held) blender.
  4. Drink immediately.

Raw Liver Drink

This recipe, very similar to the above recipe, makes 1 cup (single serving), but thaws the liver after at least 14 days of being frozen.

  • 1 small chunk of pasture-fed beef or lamb liver, frozen at least 14 days, then thawed
  • ½ cup cold filtered water
  • pinch Unrefined sea salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp Rapadura sugar or raw honey (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp liquid whey
  • sharp knife
  • cup
  • fine strainer
  1. Method: Make sure the liver has been frozen at least 14 days, to kill any parasites.  Then thaw.
  2. Wash liver, chop finely and soak for 2 hours in water and sea salt.  Press through a fine strainer.
  3. Mix with the remaining ingredients and drink immediately.


  • Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD.


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