Gallstones are hardened deposits, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. Other causes of it include high levels of bilirubin and a concentration of bile in the gallbladder. It ranges in size from smaller than a grain of sand to larger than a golf ball.
Risk Factors For Gallstones
- Age (people older than 60 years old)
- Liver disease
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- High-fat diet
- Certain forms of anemia
Many people develop gallstones and never know it.
- Some people with gallstones don’t have noticeable symptoms or don’t feel any pain at all, while on the other hand, others have sharp pains and ongoing trouble functioning normally.
- Gallstone symptoms are different from every person and can vary in terms of intensity or duration.
- “Gallstone attacks” are more likely to happen at night.
- Some people only find out about their gallstones for the first time when they have a CT scan for another problem and gallstones are detected by their doctors.
However, when gallstone obstructs the bile duct, it causes symptoms like:
- Pain and nausea in the abdomen
- Tension in the stomach, intestines and other organs, especially after meals
- Pain under the right shoulder or within the back of the right shoulder blade
- Severe pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen, usually which comes on suddenly and lasts from 30 minutes to many hours
As gallstones can cause a lot of pain, it would be better if you consult your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. There are also natural home remedies that can be used to prevent and treat gallstones.
Natural Remedies That Can Prevent or Treat Gallstone Problems
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice stops your liver from making cholesterol thus, helping you recover faster. The pectin present in lemon juice is believed to aid in getting rid of the pain. Also, its vitamin C content makes the cholesterol more soluble to water promoting quicker elimination of waste products.
Drink squeezed juice from four lemons on an empty stomach each day for a week. Follow the drink with a glass of water.
You can also opt to drink 4 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed in a glass of warm water every day on an empty stomach. Continue doing this until the gallstones are removed from the body.
Peppermint stimulates the flow of bile and other digestive juices. Additionally, it has a terpene content that can effectively dissolve gallstones, help relax spasms and relieve gallbladder pain.
Boil a cup of water and then add 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves. Remove it from heat and steep for five minutes. Strain it and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Drink this tea twice daily for four to six weeks. For maximum results, drink it between meals.
3. Vegetable Juice
Follow a strict diet based on fruit and vegetable juices. It is important to lessen your consumption of fried and fatty foods if you are suffering from gallstones.
A mixed vegetable juice made of beet root, carrots and cucumber can be a good remedy for gallstones. Beet root helps strengthen the gallbladder and cleanse the liver. Carrots are packed with vitamin C and other nutrients that are significantly good for the immune system. Lastly, cucumber has high water content level, which is great for detoxifying the liver and gallbladder.
Extract a juice from one beet root, four medium-size carrots, and one cucumber. Mix them and then drink the juice twice a day. Continue doing this for two weeks until you have noticed an improvement.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar’s acidic nature can stop the liver from making cholesterol, which is the main reason for forming gallstones. It plays a vital role in alleviating pain and dissolving gallstones.
Mix a glass of apple juice and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Drink it every time you have a gallstone attack. After 15 minutes, it will ease the pain.
On the other hand, you can also use a mixture of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Regularly drink it on an empty stomach every morning as it can dissolve gallstones and prevent pain.
5. Castor Oil
The medical and healing properties of castor oil can help lessen the number of gallstones, neutralize inflammation, and reduce pain. It also has a positive effect on the lymphatic and immune systems.
Warm a cup of pure, cold-pressed castor oil in a pan. Soak a piece of cheesecloth in the warm oil, squeeze out the excess oil and then put it on the right side of your stomach where the gallbladder is located. Use a plastic sheet to cover the cheesecloth. Place a hot water bag on the plastic sheet for 30 to 60 minutes. Do this for at least three times a week until you completely recovered.
Psyllium is rich in soluble fiber that can bind the cholesterol in bile and helps prevent the formation of gallstones. Aside from this, it also promotes normal bowel movements, therefore, reduces the risk of the gallbladder system becoming congested. Psyllium prevents constipation as well, which is a condition associated with increased gallstone formation.
Mix one tablespoon of psyllium powder to a glass of water. Drink it two times a day. Repeat regularly until the gallstones are gone.
Remember to drink lots of water when taking psyllium as it absorbs water.
7. Milk Thistle
This herb contains a substance called silymarin, which stimulate bile production. Increased bile production decreases its concentration and helps flush out gallstones. It also aids in liver functioning.
Grind or crush one tablespoon of milk thistle seeds and put them in three cups of water and boil. Turn off the heat and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea, add some honey and drink two to three times a day for 1 week.
Pears can also provide relief from gallstone pain and other symptoms. The compound pectin present in pears helps soften cholesterol-filled gallstones, which in turn get flushed out of your body easily.
Mix a half glass each of pear juice and hot water. Add three tablespoons of honey. Drink the mixture three times a day for two weeks. You may also peel and de-seed some pears and then cut it into smaller pieces and cook them in water for about 20 minutes. Consume a bowl of the warmly cooked pears twice a day for two weeks.
According to a research conducted at the University of East Anglia, wine can actually prevent gallstone attacks. For over 10 years, researchers examined the diets of 25,639 people and they found out that those who drank two units of wine (a medium-sized glass of wine) daily had a one-third reduction on the risk of developing gallstones.
Drink a half glass of wine when you suffer from a gallstone. Within 20 minutes, you will get relief from the pain. Actually, half glass of wine daily can reduce the number of gallstone attacks by 40 percent.
Dandelion has a compound known as taraxacin, which helps in bile excretion from the liver. Moreover, it also aids in detoxifying and metabolizing the fats the accumulated in the liver.
Pour hot water in a cup and place one teaspoon of a dried dandelion root. Cover and let it steep for five minutes. Strain, add honey and drink it for two to three times a day for one to two weeks.
You can also prepare a tea by adding one teaspoon of Oregano grape root and two teaspoons of marshmallow root to four cups of water. Simmer it for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves and two teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves. Allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and drink the tea throughout the day.
In addition to this, you can also add the tender dandelion greens to your salad or you may just steam it. However, those who are diabetic should avoid dandelion.
Along with these remedies, you must also drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses) as it keeps the bile in the gallbladder and helps the body in breaking down fat which worsens your condition. Furthermore, it is recommended to consult your doctor first before taking remedies such as peppermint, dandelion or milk thistle as they may not be suitable in some cases.