zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Herbal Remedies for a Bile Duct Blockage

by
author image Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier is a seasoned columnist and feature writer. Since 1992, her work has appeared in Mother Earth News, The Herb Quarterly, Parenting, Club Mom and in many other print and digital publications. She is also the author of five books, including "50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Baby."
Herbal Remedies for a Bile Duct Blockage
Artichoke is one herb shown to stimulate bile production. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The bile ducts carry digestive fluid manufactured in the liver to the gallbladder for storage until needed to break down fats in the small intestine. If the ducts become blocked, bile builds up in the liver and causes jaundice. Various things can cause a bile duct blockage, such as gallstones, infection or pancreatic tumors. Certain herbs stimulate bile flow to help prevent and remove duct blockage. However, herbal remedies do not take the place of conventional treatments to remedy structural impairment of the gallbladder or tumors. Also, increasing bile flow can sometimes make the condition worse. If you suspect you have a blocked bile duct, consult your physician before attempting self-treatment.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, has been used for centuries to address gallbladder issues. The primary active compounds in the plant are silibinin, silidianin and silicristin, flavonoids collectively referred to as silymarin. According to James Balch and Mark Stengler, authors of "Prescription for Natural Cures," standardized milk thistle extract increases bile flow while lowering the concentration of cholesterol. Check with your doctor before using milk thistle because it may interact with other medicines, including blood-thinning and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Globe Artichoke

Globe artichoke, or Cynara scolymus, is used in folk medicine to improve bile flow and prevent the formation of gallstones, a common cause of bile duct blockage. In Europe, this herb has received approval from the German E Commission for the treatment of gallbladder disease. A study published in "Phytomedicine" in 2002 reports that oral administration of artichoke leaf extract significantly increased bile flow in rats. However, the ""Physicians' Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines" warns that the stimulation of the biliary tract with this herb may cause more problems if there is a total blockage in a bile duct.

Purslane

Portulaca oleracea is an edible weed with a long history of use for treating digestive problems. A study published in "Annals of Hepatology" in June 2011 investigated the antioxidant effects of the omega-3 fatty acid and bioflavonoid content in the herb on the progression of liver disease produced in rats by performing total bile duct ligation. The scientists found that purslane extract reversed the adverse effects of bile duct ligation that led to oxidative stress and liver damage. However, the study authors note that the effects were more preventative than curative.

Considerations

The primary goal of treatment of biliary obstruction is to remove the blockage, followed by improving bile flow to prevent further blockages. Herbal therapies may help, but surgical intervention may also be necessary to completely eliminate or bypass the blockage. It is critical that you see your doctor right away because a bile duct blockage can result in serious complications if left untreated.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.