Natural Ways to Treat Gallstones

Gallstones are hard deposits that form in your gallbladder.

Updated: June 16, 2020

Gallstones are hard deposits that form in your gallbladder. There are two types of gallstones. These include:

  • Cholesterol gallstones, which are most common and made up of excess cholesterol
  • Pigment gallstones, which are made up of excess bilirubin

Surgery is the most common treatment for gallstones, but you may be able to treat them with natural remedies. Gallstones can cause sharp, intense pain in the upper right part of the abdomen which may radiate to your back and up to your shoulder blade. Nausea, vomiting, light colored or gray stool and diarrhea are some of the other symptoms of gallstone. Seek medical care immediately if you have yellowing of the eyes, fever or chills, and intense abdominal pain.
The formation of gallstones are may be due to the following reasons.

  • Your liver may secrete more bile than it can dissolve.
  • Your body may have excess pigment called bilirubin, which cannot be dissolved.
  • The gallbladder might not empty completely or as frequently as it needs to.

Gallbladder cleanse:

Although your body is able to cleanse and flush itself, consuming a combination of olive oil, juice, and herbs for two or more days may cleanse the gallbladder.
During this time, you are not supposed to consume anything other than the oil mixture. This mixture is not safe for many people such as people with diabetes, or those who experience low blood sugar. Talk to your doctor before beginning any type of cleanse. It may not be safe for all people

Apple juice for Gallstones:

It is believed that apple juice may soften gallstones and can help you pass the stones. However, there are no scientific studies that support this claim. Drinking lots of fruit juice may not be healthy for you if you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, stomach ulcers, and other conditions.

Apple cider vinegar for Gallstones:

It is a popular health supplement that is often included in cleanses. Due to its antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar plays the important role in keeping the gallbladder healthy and protecting it from infections and damages. Apple cider vinegar contains anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful in relieving gallbladder pain. Dissolve two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm water and sip this tonic until the pain subsides. Avoid drinking apple cider vinegar straight, as the acid can damage your teeth.

Peppermint tea for Gallstones:

Peppermint contains menthol, a soothing compound that promotes pain relief. It can be used to ease stomach pain, improve digestion, and relieve nausea. Peppermint helps in digestion by stimulating the flow of bile and other digestive tract juices. It also contains a natural compound called terpene that can dilute gallstones. Regular intake of a cup of peppermint tea can also help cure all gallbladder problems.
Drink this tea regularly to ease gallbladder pain and improve gallbladder health.

Turmeric for Gallstones:

The substance curcumin present in turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. Turmeric can stimulate bile formation to ease gallbladder emptying which helps improving gallbladder health. Incorporating turmeric into your diet can also reduce inflammation and gallbladder pain. You can drink turmeric with milk daily to show the effect. Curcumin is also available as an oral supplement. However, discuss proper dosages and risks with your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.

Magnesium for Gallstones:

Magnesium is a helpful component for gallbladder emptying. It can also ease gallbladder spasms and pain. Magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of gallstone formation
Mix a teaspoon of magnesium powder in warm water to drink every few hours to ease pain symptoms. Magnesium is also available as an oral supplement. But discuss appropriate dosages and its side effects for your health with your doctor before starting it. 

Gold coin grass for Gallstones:

It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat gallstones. Consuming gold coin grass can help reduce gallstone formation. It is recommended to take gold coin grass before beginning a gallstone cleanse to help soften the stones. Gold coin grass is available both in powder or liquid form.

Artichoke for Gallstones:

It helps stimulate bile and is also beneficial for the liver. Artichoke can be steamed, pickled, or grilled. There is no harm in eating artichoke if you are able to tolerate it. Artichoke in pill form or sold as a supplement should only be taken after consulting your doctor.

Dandelion for Gallstones:

Dandelion has been used to treat gallbladder, liver, and bile duct problems. The bitter roots may stimulate bile production in the gallbladder. Drinking dandelion teas or coffees may remove their gallstones.

Milk thistle for Gallstones:

Milk thristle may help treat liver and gallbladder disorders as it can stimulate both organs. It can be used medicinally to detoxify the liver. It is available in pill form as a supplement. Milk thistle may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It is also possible to be allergic to milk thistle. Therefore, talk to your doctor before using milk thistle as a natural remedy for gallstone.

Psyllium husk for Gallstones:

Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant that can benefit the heart, pancreas, and other areas of the body. Psyllium husks protected hamsters from the formation of cholesterol gallstones.

Lemon Juice For Gallstones:

Lemon Juice can be effective in preventing gallstones. It is also beneficial for your skin and hair when mixed with the right products. The vitamin C present in lemon helps dissolving gallstones. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of warm water and drink this first thing in the morning. Drink more glasses of lemon water throughout the day. You can drink up to four glasses of lemon water in a day.

Cranberry Juice For Gallstones:

The dietary fiber present in cranberry juice lowers the cholesterol levels in the body, thus preventing the formation of cholesterol gallstones. The acidity of the juice will ensure that enough bile flows through the system to prevent accumulation of bile salts. The antioxidants present will keep your gallbladder and liver in optimum health. Drink a glass of cranberry juice every day. You can dilute it with some water if you feel the juice is too acidic to consume. Drink this juice every day to maintain healthy functioning of the body.

Pear Juice For Gallstones:

Pear contain pectin that binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from the body. Add pear juice to honey and hot water. Mix well and drink this juice while it is warm. The blend of honey and pear juice can be very effective for avoiding gallstone development.

Coconut oil For Gallstones:

Coconut oil contains essential fats that can be easily digested by the liver. The accumulation of unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and bile salts in the gallbladder can be prevented by consuming coconut oil.
Lightly warm up three tablespoons of coconut oil and add one fourth glass apple juice, juice of half a lemon, a garlic clove and a small piece of ginger to it. Blend this mixture nicely and drink this mixture once every day.

Castor oil pack for Gallstones:

After soaking warm cloths in castor oil place them on your abdomen. The packs are supposed to relieve pain and help treat your gallstones. The anti-inflammatory and healing properties will reduce swelling in the area.

Beetroot For Gallstones:

Beetroot juice lowers blood cholesterol as it is high in fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Hence, prevent the  formation of cholesterol gallstones. It also improves liver function.
Cut the beetroot into small pieces and blend with some water to make fresh beetroot juice. Drink a cup of beetroot juice every day to relieve gallstone pain.

Radish For Gallstones:

It facilitates bile flow and keeps the gallbladder healthy. However, you should eat radish in moderation. Do not intake more than the recommended quantity in a day.
Peel the radish and cut it into small pieces and blend these with a little water to make fresh radish juice. You can have two tablespoons of this juice.
Drink up to five to six tablespoons throughout the day for larger gallstones. A tablespoon or two a day is enough for smaller stones.

Vitamin C For Gallstones:

Vitamin C is not only good for your immunity and skin, but is also effective in preventing gallbladder stone formation. Vitamin C can turn cholesterol into bile acid. When your body gets an adequate dose of vitamin C, the amount of cholesterol produced will be less. As a result, the risk of stone formation in the gallbladder will be reduced. Fruits and vegetables like guava, kiwi, papaya, mango are great source of this vitamin. You can also take vitamin C in pill form. 

Acupuncture for Gallstones:

Acupuncture may help relieve some of the pain from gallstones by reducing spasms, easing bile flow, and restoring proper function. It can relieve symptoms and reduce the volume of the gallbladder of an inflamed one. Look for a licensed acupuncturist when choosing an acupuncturist and make sure that they are using new, single-use needles.

Yoga for Gallstones:

Yoga may help you naturally pass gallstones. Yoga was found to improve lipid profile in people with diabetes. People with cholesterol gallstones are more likely to have abnormal lipid profiles. However, the connection between these abnormal levels and the presence of gallstones is unknown.
The following poses are believed by some to be beneficial for people with gallstones:

  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
  • Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)
  • Pachimotasana (Seated forward bend)

Exercise for Gallstones:

Regular physical activity can reduce cholesterol levels and help prevent gallstones from forming. Small gallstones can also cause serious inflammation, pain, and infection. Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in physical activity can reduce gallbladder pain and decrease the amount of gallbladder pain attacks. It can also stop growing the gallstone. At least 150 minutes of physical activity per week is recommended to prevent weight gain and improve your health. While exercise is helpful, some activities cause strain on your abdomen and may worsen your symptoms. Therefore, consult with your doctor before performing any strenuous activity.

Tips for preventing gallstones:

Gallstones are most common in:

  • women
  • people 40 years and older
  • people with diabetes
  • people who are obese
  • pregnant women
  • people who take hormonal medications
  • people who eat high-fat diets

The cause of gallstones formation could be a combination of genetics, diet, and lifestyle factors.

Dietary changes:

A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables may help support a healthy gallbladder and reduce your risk for gallstones as they contain less fat and more fiber. It may also help with weight management. Fried and fatty foods are more difficult to break down, and can cause pain.
Foods that may aggravate the gallbladder, include:

  • eggs
  • refined sugar
  • foods with lots of saturated fat
  • food allergens

Talk to your doctor before avoiding any specific food.
Some foods you should consider incorporating into your diet are:

  • dark, leafy greens
  • nuts
  • brown rice
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • olive oil
  • beans
  • citrus fruits
  • low-fat dairy

Weight management:

As obesity increases your risk for developing gallstones, losing weight can help prevent formation of gallstones. However, following a very low calorie diet for weight loss may actually increase your risk for gallstones. You should adopt a healthy weight loss program if you are trying to lose weight. Your doctor can help you develop a healthy weight loss plan.
Most of the cases surgery is often the recommended treatment for gallstones. Cholecystectomy is the type of surgery that involves removing the gallbladder, so that gallstones are not able to form again following this treatment.
As a gallbladder is not needed for survival, removing it may not have much impact on your body. In most people, the body is able to compensate for the loss of the gallbladder with minimal side effects.

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