Many people have one or more gallstones and don’t even know it. In fact, about 80 percent of gallstones never cause a problem. However, if a gallstone becomes stuck in the bile duct, it can cause sudden severe pain (typically on the right side of the abdomen) that lasts for several minutes or even hours, along with nausea or vomiting, bloating, indigestion, chills, back pain, and clay-colored stools.
Gallstones are crystal-like objects that can range in size from a grain of sand to larger than a golf ball. About 80 percent of them consist primarily of hardened cholesterol, along with calcium and other particles. The remaining ones usually contain a high level of bile or bilirubin. Since the gallbladder normally stores liquids only, the presence of stones can pose a painful problem.
If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of gallstones, you should seek medical assistance immediately so you can get an accurate diagnosis and treatment can be determined. However, rest assured that every case of gallstones does not call for drastic measures like surgery. A number of effective, natural approaches to preventing and treating gallstones are available, and these should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
On that note, here are some natural remedies for the prevention and treatment of gallstones.
1. Apple cider vinegar. We all recognize apple cider vinegar as an acidic substance, which is why it is capable of stopping the liver from producing cholesterol. Apple cider vinegar also can help breakdown and dissolve gallstones.
To reap these benefits, be sure to include at least one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your diet daily. Try mixing it with lemon juice or apple juice and pouring it over ice with a little water, which will make it go down easier, and consume it on an empty stomach. This approach can help ease a gallstone attack as well as help dissolve and prevent gallstone pain.
2. Curcumin. Andrew Weil, MD, recommends taking 300 mg of curcumin (an active ingredient in turmeric) three times daily, which will boost the solubility of bile and enhance gallbladder function.
3. Dandelion. These “weeds” are chock full of nutritional and healing abilities, and that holds true for gallstones. The taraxacin in dandelions assists in excreting bile from the liver, which in turn helps detoxify the organ and eliminate excess fat. A happy liver translates into a better functioning gallbladder.
Enjoy dandelion for your gallbladder by making a tea consisting of one teaspoon of dried dandelion root in eight ounces of boiled water. Steep for five minutes. Try this tea two or three times daily for one to two weeks. For those who like to eat their remedies, add raw dandelion greens to a salad daily or steam them and enjoy with drizzled olive oil and other greens.
4. Lemon juice. We have already mentioned lemon juice (along with apple cider vinegar) as a way to help battle gallstones. Lemon juice is a super source of vitamin C, which helps make cholesterol more water soluble. Lemons also work to prevent the liver from producing cholesterol. A suggestion is to begin each day with a glass of warm water with the juice of four lemons added and consumed on an empty stomach. This will help prevent the formation of gallstones as well as assist in eliminating them from the body.
5. Milk thistle. This herb contains silymarin, a bitter compound that can stimulate production of bile. Milk thistle also is known for its ability to promote and support liver function.
Add one tablespoon of crushed milk thistle seeds in 24 ounces of boiling water and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and drink it two to three times daily for one week. For those who prefer a supplement form, take 420 mg standardized milk thistle extract daily in three divided doses.
6. Peppermint. We are familiar with how peppermint can help with indigestion, but this herb also assists with dissolving gallstones because it contains a substance called terpene. Peppermint stimulates the flow of bile and other digestive fluids as well. To reap the most benefits from peppermint for gallstones, steep one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in 8 ounces of boiled water for five minutes. Drink two cups a day on an empty stomach for four to six weeks.
7. Psyllium. Another way to help eliminate excess cholesterol from the body is to include psyllium, a high-fiber substance. Mix one tablespoon of psyllium powder in 8 ounces of water and drink once or twice daily. This practice can help eliminate gallstones.
Weil A MD. Gallstones
Top 10 Home Remedies. Gallstones