The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, sac-like organ, located beneath the liver in the upper right abdomen. The primary function of this organ is to store the digestive liquid produced by the liver. This liquid, which is known as bile, aids the body in digesting fats. When the body needs this liquid, the gallbladder contracts, forcing the bile to pass through the bile duct to enter the small intestine, where it helps the process of digestion. Normally, bile contains cholesterol, water, proteins, salts, and a waste product called bilirubin. Sometimes, these substances harden to form gallstones, which can be the size of a small grain of sand or can be as big as a golf ball.
In some people, gallstones do not cause any symptom or complication, while others experience severe problems. Those with symptoms require treatment, which involves surgical removal of the gallbladder or medication to dissolve the gallstones. Home remedies may also work wonders for relieving the condition.
Herbal treatment for gallstones can be of two types - those which are aimed at immediate relief from the symptoms; and those which are taken on a regular basis, to alleviate the gallstones or to prevent their formation.
The most common herbal remedy for bile duct spasms, is peppermint. You can also use prickly ash plaster for the same purpose. This herb can be bought from Chinese medical shops, where it is sold as tian he gu tong. Make a paste of this herb by mixing it with lukewarm water, and fill the mixture in a cloth pouch. Apply this plaster on the upper right abdomen, whenever needed. Another Chinese herb, known as gold coin grass, is believed to have some properties which help in alleviating the symptoms of gallstones. You may also use soaked almonds as a home remedy for gallstones. Crush eight to ten soaked almonds, and consume them early in the morning, for at least two weeks.
Following are some of the gallstone remedies, which are used as a preventive or precautionary measure. Boldo tea is considered effective in flushing out gallstones. You have to consume three cups of boldo tea, three times a day. Turmeric prevents formation of cholesterol crystals. Milk thistle can also lower the cholesterol levels in the bile. Gentian bitters and greater celandine help the body to produce bile and relieve spasms.
An increase in the production of bile reduces its concentration. This prevents formation of gallstones and also helps to flush out the existing ones. Even Oregon grape is said to be useful for increasing the rate of bile production. Rosemary is another herb that is useful for those with gallstones. Some people take alfalfa tablets for the smooth functioning of the liver and for preventing gallstones.
Other Remedial Measures
Some changes in the diet and lifestyle may also prove helpful for averting a gallbladder removal surgery. You can start with the basic rule of increasing water intake. At least 10 glasses of water should be consumed daily to cleanse the organs, including the gallbladder. Foods, like dairy and red meat can increase the cholesterol levels.
So fatty foods must be avoided. Like water, a high-fiber diet is also very important for the body. It is better to consume water soluble fiber, which facilitates cleansing of the liver, kidneys and gallbladder. For this purpose, you should include three to five servings of vegetables and one to three servings of fruits in your daily diet. Vitamin C is also effective for converting cholesterol into bile, apart from boosting the overall immunity of the body.
In short, herbal remedies are effective for immediate relief from the symptoms of gallstones. Some of them may prove beneficial for dissolving the gallstones or for preventing their formation. It is always better to prevent formation of gallstones. If you are detected with gallstones, consult your health care provider and get the condition treated. Seek his opinion, before starting any herbal treatment. Herbal remedies must be taken, according to the instructions of a qualified herbalist.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.