Gallstones are hard deposits that form inside the gallbladder, a small organ located behind the liver on the right side of your abdomen.
Gallstones can range in size from smaller than a grain of sand to larger than a golf ball. According to the American Medical Association, 80 percent of gallstones are made of hardened cholesterol that develops when there is too much cholesterol in the gallbladder. Other causes include high levels of bilirubin and a concentration of bile in the gallbladder.
Pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, a sedentary lifestyle, a high fat diet, and certain forms of anemia are some of the risk factors of gallstones. People older than 60 years of age, females and people of Native American or Hispanic descent have a greater risk of gallstones.
Many people develop gallstones and never know it. But when a gallstone obstructs the bile duct, it can cause symptoms like sudden onset of severe pain especially in the right side of the abdomen, back pain, nausea or vomiting, bloating, indigestion, chills and clay-colored stools. The pain caused by gallstones may last for a few minutes to several hours.
Gallstones can cause lot of pain and must be treated immediately. So, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. There are several natural home remedies too that you can use to prevent and treat gallstones.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for gallstones.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar stops the liver from making cholesterol that is responsible for forming the most common type of gallstones. It also plays a key role in dissolving gallstones and alleviating pain.
- Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of apple juice. Drink it whenever you have a gallstone attack. This will significantly ease the pain within 15 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning. Doing this regularly for weeks can dissolve gallstones and prevent pain.
2. Lemon Juice
Another good ingredient for keeping gallstone attacks under control is lemon juice. It stops your liver from making cholesterol, which helps in faster recovery. The pectin in lemon juice is believed to help get rid of gallbladder pain attributed to stones.
Plus, the vitamin C in lemon juice makes cholesterol more water soluble, which promotes faster elimination of waste products.
- Drink fresh juice squeezed from four lemons each day on an empty stomach. Follow the drink with a glass of water. Continue this therapy for a week.
- Alternatively, you can drink four tablespoons of lemon juice mixed in a glass of warm water every day on an empty stomach. Continue this treatment for several weeks until the gallstones are eliminated from the body.
Peppermint aids digestion by stimulating the flow of bile and other digestive juices. Plus, it has a compound called terpene that can effectively dissolve gallstones. It is also believed to help relax spasms and relieve acute gallbladder pain.
- Boil one cup of water.
- Add one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves.
- Remove from heat, cover and steep for five minutes.
- Strain and add one teaspoon honey.
- Enjoy the tea while it is still warm, twice daily for four to six weeks. Drink it between meals for maximum results.
4. Vegetable Juice
When suffering from gallstones, it is essential to cut down on fried and fatty foods. For a week or two, follow a strict diet based on fruit and vegetable juices. A mixed vegetable juice made of beet root, cucumber and carrots is a good remedy for gallstones.
Beet root helps cleanse the liver and strengthens the gallbladder. Cucumber’s high water content is great for detoxifying the liver and gallbladder. Carrots are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients that are good for the immune system.
- Extract the juice from one beet root, one cucumber and four medium-size carrots.
- Mix them and drink this juice twice a day.
- Follow this remedy for two weeks and you’ll notice a huge improvement in your condition.
Psyllium is a very good source of soluble fiber, hence it is considered a good remedy for gallstones. The fiber in psyllium binds to the cholesterol in bile and helps prevent gallstones from forming.
Plus, it promotes normal bowel movements, which reduces risk of the gallbladder system becoming congested. In addition, psyllium prevents constipation, a condition associated with increased gallstone formation.
- Add one tablespoon of psyllium powder to a glass of water.
- Mix well and drink it two times a day.
- Repeat daily until your gallstones are gone.
Note: When taking psyllium, make sure you drink lots of water as it absorbs water.
Dandelion is another very useful herb for the treatment of gallstones. It contains a compound known as taraxacin that helps in bile excretion from the liver. This also helps detoxify and metabolize fat accumulated in the liver. When the liver starts functioning properly, it aids gallbladder functioning.
- Place one teaspoon of dried dandelion root in a cup. Pour hot water in the cup, cover it and let it steep for five minutes. Strain and add honey for taste. Drink this tea two or three times a day for one or two weeks.
- Alternatively, you can prepare an herbal tea by adding two teaspoons of marshmallow root and one teaspoon of Oregon grape root to four cups of water. Let it simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from heat. Now, add two teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves and one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Finally, strain and drink this tea throughout the day.
Also, you can eat the tender dandelion greens by adding them to your salad or steaming them.
Note: Those who are diabetic should avoid dandelion.