The role of the gallbladder is to store bile, which the liver releases for later use in fat digestion. When the gallbladder is removed, the liver releases bile directly into the stomach and small intestine through the duodenum. Certain herbs are known to support liver function and help remove stored toxins. However, herbs can cause side effects, so consult your health practitioner before using unfamiliar herbs for serious health issues.
Yellow Dock Root
Yellow dock is a natural blood purifier and acts on the liver to help increase bile flow and aid in the digestion of fats, according to the Global Healing Center. Additionally, it acts on the small intestines, stimulating the rapid elimination of toxins. Side effects may occur, including diarrhea and nausea. Yellow dock is considered safe when used according to directions.
Burdock root flushes toxins released from the body through the skin, according to James Duke in his book “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook." Burdock root in combination with yellow dock makes a potent diuretic, removing toxins through urination, which would normally be deposited in the liver. Some people may develop a rash after handling burdock leaves. Stop using it, should this occur, and contact your health practitioner.
Green tea is high in catechins, compounds that provide antioxidant effects that support liver function, according to Liver Disease.com. Too much green tea may cause skin allergies and a breakdown of red blood cells, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia. When using green tea to increase liver function, you should do so under the supervision of a health practitioner who can monitor your progress.
Turmeric possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the liver against damage from exposure to various toxins, according to Liver Disease.com. In animal studies, it was shown to slow down or inhibit liver disease from liver toxins. It can thin the blood, so if you take medicinal blood thinners, use turmeric only under your health practitioner's supervision.
Milk thistle is a commonly-rescribed herb used to treat a variety of liver problems. It helps to clean, decongest and protect the liver against toxin buildup, according to Lise N. Alschuler of Bastyr University. Milk thistle stimulates the flow of bile, decreases liver enzymes and extends the survival rate of liver cirrhosis sufferers. Alschuler mentions that milk thistle may be an effective treatment of liver disease in alcoholics. It is an excellent liver tonic after gallbladder removal. No standard dosage exists. Consult your health practitioner for dose and usage guidelines.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects Summary
- National Library of Medicine: Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects
- Gallbladder Attack: What is the Gallbladder
- “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002