The bile produced by the gallbladder aids in digestion of fats. This tiny 3-4 inch organ sits just under the liver and stores the bile until food reaches the small intestine. Abnormal concentration of bile and cholesterol can cause gallstones to form and block the excretion duct. Inflammation occurs, which results in pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Holistic treatment offers a more natural and less expensive method to treat and prevent gallbladder stones and inflammation.
Before undertaking any holistic therapy, discuss with a doctor the possible complications regarding prescribed medications and treatment of the disorder.
Dandelion stimulates and tones both the liver and gallbladder. Sold at health food stores in both capsule form and tea, dandelion can also be picked fresh from the lawn and added to a tossed salad.
A greater production of bile means less of a chance that the bile will have too much cholesterol and calcium, both of which promote gallstone formation, according to Dr. Linda White and Steven Foster in their book “The Herbal Drugstore.” Milk thistle reduces the concentration of cholesterol in the bile. Milk thistle, found at health food stores, comes in single herb or liver cleansing formulas. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) recommends 80 to 160 mg. of milk thistle daily to detoxify the gallbladder and liver. Artichoke also supports gallbladder functions, and a daily dose of 250 to 500 mg. two to three times daily is suggested by the UMM.
For inflammation of the gallbladder, eliminating solid foods for a few days eases gallbladder symptoms, recommends Phyllis A. Balch, CNC in her book “Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing.” Drink distilled or spring water and then gradually add non-citrus fruit juices back into the diet to aid in calming the gallbladder.
Pear, apple and beet juices cleanse the liver and detoxify the gallbladder as well. Applesauce, uncooked and freshly made in a blender if possible, softens gallstones. For acute pain where a gallbladder attack is probable, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in apple juice can quickly relieve pain until arrival at the emergency room. To maintain a low incidence of gallbladder flare-ups, choosing a low-fat diet and eliminating simple sugars offers the best prevention and protection. Clear, non-carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages keep the bile ducts flushed of toxins.
Supplements that provide immune system support such as A, C and E, the antioxidant vitamins, help the body maintain proper balance and anti-inflammatory capacities. The UMM recommends the addition of a phosphatidyl choline supplement, available at health food stores, to the diet in a dose of 300 to 2,000 mg daily to possibly dissolve gallstones. Balch recommends taking lecithin granules or capsules to emulsify fat. Formulas combining lecithin and phosphatidyl choline are common.