Your gallbladder and liver are two unique organs that perform numerous functions. Your gallbladder is a small, hollow organ that helps your digestive processes and stores bile. Your liver, notes MayoClinic.com, also helps you digest food as well as absorb nutrients and sequester and eliminate toxic substances from your body. Gallbladder and liver supplements may help improve the functions of these organs. However, supplements should always be used under the care of a licensed healthcare provider.
Gallbladder and Liver Problems
There are many gallbladder and liver problems that can arise. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the term gallbladder disease encompasses several different gallbladder problems, including biliary colic, gallbladder inflammation, chronic cholecystitis and stones in your common bile duct. Possible liver problems include fatty liver, viral hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, enlarged liver, liver failure, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, liver cancer and parasitic infections of your liver. Abdominal pain or discomfort may be one of the most common symptoms associated with gallbladder and liver conditions.
Expert herbalist Ed Smith, author of "Therapeutic Herb Manual," states that numerous dietary supplements may be helpful in treating your gallbladder problems, including wild yam, rosemary, peppermint spirits, khella, fringe tree, dandelion, Culver's root, celandine and blue flag. Supplements that may be helpful in treating your liver problems or dysfunction, notes Smith, include licorice, milk thistle, schisandra, red clover, astragalus, Culver's root, dandelion, celandine and blessed thistle. More research evidence may be required to determine these supplements' health benefits.
A Commonly Used Supplement
Celandine may be one of the most commonly used nutritional supplements in treating both gallbladder and liver problems or dysfunction. Celandine, states herbal medicine expert and naturopathic physician Sharol Tilgner, author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," is considered both a cholagogue and hepatoprotective, or a substance that promotes the flow of bile from your gallbladder and protects your liver cells from damage. This supplement may be used in treating chronic liver and gallbladder diseases, notes Tilgner.
Gallbladder and liver problems should always be managed by a qualified and competent healthcare professional. Before ingesting dietary supplements to help improve your gallbladder or liver function, speak with a clinical nutrition expert about what supplements may be most appropriate for you and your health problems. Avoid using dietary supplements in place of other treatments prescribed by your primary care provider, and always ask your doctor about appropriate dosage and potential drug interactions before using supplements.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallstones and Gallbladder Disease
- "Therapeutic Herb Manual"; Ed Smith; 2007
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999