Whether you have gallbladder disease, gallstones or other stressors on your gallbladder, certain herbs may help. Herbs like milk thistle, dandelion, turmeric, peppermint and artichoke leaf all help to support the gallbladder in different ways. Some also improve liver function. However, certain herbs that help your gallbladder to expel gallstones may be particularly risky, because the gallstones may become lodged in your bile ducts and rupture. As with any herbal remedy, you must consult your physician before beginning an herbal regimen.
If you have gallbladder problems such as gallstones, taking milk thistle extract may help. Milk thistle in capsule or tablet form may help to prevent gallstones, says the University of Michigan Health System. One study found that taking 420 mg of the silymarin contained in milk thistle daily helps to decrease the cholesterol levels in bile, which helps to prevent gallstones from forming. To support your liver and gallbladder, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 80 mg to 160 mg of standardized milk thistle seed extract two to three times daily.
If you have gallstones, peppermint oil may help to dissolve them, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Preliminary medical studies have found that taking peppermint or other essential plant oils helps to dissolve gallstones over the course of several months and can provide increased gallbladder benefits when taken with the prescription medication chenodeoxycholic acid, notes the University of Michigan Health System.
An extract taken from the leaves of the globe artichoke may help to support the gallbladder and liver, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. In Germany, artichoke leaf is prescribed as an herbal remedy for gallbladder pain associated with gallstones. Artichoke leaf may help the gallbladder to contract and push out the gallstones, explains the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. To support gallbladder function, take 250 mg to 500 mg two to three times per day of standardized globe artichoke extract.
Taking 300 mg three times daily of standardized turmeric extract may help to support your liver and gallbladder, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Like artichoke extract, turmeric works to expel gallstones from the gallbladder. Turmeric is also used in Germany for gallbladder pain, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dandelion is yet another herb that helps to treat gallbladder pain related to gallstones. Dandelion root contains bitter compounds that stimulate bile production in the gallbladder, explains the University of Michigan Health System. Dandelion may also help the body in processing fats, which helps to support the gallbladder and liver.