Have you been experiencing persistent pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, just below the breastbone? Do you regularly skip meals or go hungry for long stretches of time?
All these signs indicate that you may have gallstones or are at high risk of developing gallstones in the near future.
Your gallbladder is a small pouch that connects your liver and stomach. The primary function of this bladder is to store the bile produced by the liver until it is needed for digestion of fats.
Gallstones are formed due to the hardening or crystallization of excess cholesterol or bilirubin in your bile due to a variety of factors.
Cholesterol gallstones are yellowish-green in color, while pigment gallstones are made up of bilirubin and are consequently smaller in size and darker in color.
- Causes and Risk Factors
- Symptoms of Gallstones
- Preventive Measure
- Diagnosis and Complications
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Gallstones
- Method 1: Gallbladder Flush
- Method 2: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 3: Chanca Piedra
- Method 4: Apple Juice
- Method 5: Lemon and Olive Oil
- Tips for managing gallstones at home
Causes and Risk Factors
The causes and risk factors for gallstones include: (1)
- Excessive amounts of cholesterol in your bile
- High amounts of bilirubin in your bile
- If the gallbladder is not emptied correctly, the leftover bile starts to form stones
- Losing a large amount of weight in a very short amount of time
- Medications containing estrogen like oral contraceptives or if you are taking hormone therapy drugs
- Eating a high-fat, high-cholesterol, and low-fiber diet
- Obesity or being overweight
- Having a sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity
- Women are twice as likely to get gallstones as compared to men
- Native American or Mexican-American origin
- Family history of gallstones
Symptoms of Gallstones
The common symptoms of Gallstones include: (2)
- Extreme pain in the stomach or in the upper right part of your stomach, just below the ribs.
- In case abdominal pain lasts for 15 minutes to 24 hours; most people afflicted with gallstones experience continuous pain for 1-5 hours.
- If the pain starts at night and is severe enough to rouse you from your sleep.
- If such pain frequently occurs after meals.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Back pain between your shoulder blades or pain in your right shoulder.
The following are some of the preventive measures while dealing with gallstones. (2)
- Maintain healthy and constant weight; here are some steps that you can undertake to boost your metabolism.
- Lose weight by gradually exercising and not crash-dieting.
- Exercise regularly to lower your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Consult a general physician before taking birth control pills with a high-estrogen dose or if you intend to start hormone therapy.
- Eat well-balanced meals; do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
Diagnosis and Complications
If you are experiencing any one or several of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a doctor immediately.
You may need to undergo one or all of the following tests for a proper diagnosis: an abdominal X-ray, abdominal or endoscopic ultrasound, gallbladder scan test, and an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) test. (3)
If left undiagnosed, untreated gallstones can cause the following complications:
- Cholecystitis or inflammation of the gallbladder, accompanied by fever and severe pain.
- Blockage of the bile duct, which in turn can lead to jaundice and bile duct infection.
- Blockage of the pancreatic duct, which can be very painful and may even require hospitalization.
- Gallbladder cancer
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Gallstones
While most doctors recommend removal of the gallbladder to treat gallstones, gallstones can be treated naturally at home at a fraction of the cost.
However, if your case is severe, i.e., if you experience unbearable bouts of pain that cause you to lose consciousness and your gallstones keep reoccurring despite multiple flushes, it is probably best to opt for surgery.
Given below are 5 simple natural home remedies that can help you get rid of gallstones without surgery.
Method 1: Gallbladder Flush
One of the most effective ways to get rid of gallstones is by doing a gallbladder cleanse to flush out the stones from your body.
Epsom salts purge the gastrointestinal system and relax the bile ducts so that the stones can be passed out easily.
Olive oil is used to stimulate the gallbladder to make it squeeze itself and expel the gallstones. The grapefruit juice undercuts the taste of the oil and makes it easier to swallow. You may also use lemon if you prefer the taste. (4)
Drinking plenty of fresh apple juice beforehand helps soften the stone as apple juice contains malic acid, which helps soften the gallstones. (4)
This flush provides you with an effective way of removing gallstones from your body without having to undergo gallbladder removal surgery.
You have to be very careful while performing this cleanse. Read the following instructions very carefully and follow them to the point. Use only the items that we have specified and do not combine the flush with other remedies.
Things you’ll need:
- Extra-virgin olive oil( acts as a lubricant) – ½ cup
- Epsom salts (relaxes the bile ducts) – ¼ cup
- Grapefruit juice( cuts the taste of oil) – 2 small-sized fruits or 1 large fruit
- Water( to flush out the gallstones)
Gallbladder Flush: Procedure and Steps
- Set aside 2 days for the flush. Start eating healthy food a week before you do the flush; i.e., eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Drink a glass of apple juice daily for a week to soften the stones.
- Have a low-fat breakfast on the morning of your flush; do not consume any milk, cheese, butter, coconut oil, or any other fats. Have something like oatmeal.
- At 3 pm – Mix 4 tablespoons of Epsom salt and 3 cups of water, keep this mixture in the refrigerator; do not eat anything after 3.
- At 7 pm – Drink a ¾ cup of Epsom salt water – you can use a straw to sip it if you have trouble swallowing.
- At 9 pm – Once again, drink another ¾ cup of your Epsom salt water; as the purging process begins, you may experience diarrhea.
- At 10:45 pm – Mix ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of grapefruit seed juice; add a pinch of salt and 20 drops of black walnut tincture(optional – to kill parasites). Blend these ingredients together in a mixer.
- Brush your teeth and go to the washroom.
- At 11 pm – Drink the olive oil–grapefruit juice mixture in 5 minutes; as soon as you finish drinking, lie down your back on a few pillows and maintain your position for at least 20 minutes.
- Try to stay in bed the entire night, except for when you have to go to the washroom.
- At 7: 00 am – Drink a ¾ cup of your Epsom salt water.
- At 9: 00 am – Drink the last ¾ of the Epsom salt water
- You will start going to the washroom a lot and will notice green stones in your stool; use a strainer to collect and count them.
- You can start having juices at 11:00 am and can start eating at 1 pm, broth or steamed vegetables; continue to eat lightly throughout the day.
This should remove all or most of your gallbladder stones; wait for at least 2 weeks before attempting another flush.
Method 2: Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar provides instant relief from the pain caused by the movement or shifting of gallstones in the gallbladder.
Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature and therefore, prevents the liver from producing cholesterol, which in turn prevents the formation of cholesterol gallstones.
Research has also indicated that apple cider consumption can reduce LDL’s (bad lipids), triglycerides, and cholesterol level buildup in those that suffer from high blood levels in all these areas. (5)
Furthermore, apple cider vinegar also helps to dissolve existing cholesterol gallstones, and all these properties make it an extremely effective remedy for gallstones.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar(for pain relief, dissolves and prevents gallstones) – 2 teaspoons
- Lemon juice(to dissolve and pass out gallstones) – 1 teaspoon
- Warm water – 1 cup
Step 1. Dilute apple cider vinegar in water
- Pour 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water.
- Drink this whenever you suffer a gallstone attack, you will get relief within 15 minutes.
Step 2. Add lemon juice and drink daily in the morning
- Squeeze out 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice into the diluted apple cider vinegar.
- Mix and drink the mixture on an empty stomach in the morning.
- You can also drink a mixture of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 cup of apple juice.
- The malic acid in apple juice will further soften the gallstones.
Drink this concoction three times daily for a few weeks to dissolve and eliminate gallstones. Continue drinking, till all the gallstones have been removed and the pain is gone.
Method 3: Chanca Piedra
Chanca Piedra, an amazing plant found in the Amazon rainforest, is called "stone-breaker" as it can be used to change the shape & texture of gallstones which then becomes easier for the body to flush out. (6)
Furthermore, this wondrous plant helps in detoxification of the liver and is also used to treat urinary tract infections.
Single-Step Treatment: Drink diluted chanca piedra tincture
- Add 2 drops of chanca piedra non-alcoholic tincture to a glass of warm water.
- Or you can take 2 to 3 capsules of 500 mg per day.
- Drink chanca piedra non-alcoholic tincture twice daily; as you begin to pass stones, increase the dosage to 10 to 15 drops per glass taken twice daily.
- You can also keep drinking a glass of fresh apple juice daily to soften the stones.
Method 4: Apple Juice
This remedy is particularly useful for treating cholesterol stones. Fresh apple juice contains pectin and malic acid, both of which contribute to soften and flush out gallstones from the body.
Single-Step Treatment: Drink fresh apple juice 4 times daily
- Drink 1 glass of fresh apple juice 4 times a day, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and night before going to sleep.
- Or drink one glass of fresh apple juice in the morning with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and then again at night before going to bed.
Do this daily for 3 to 4 months to prevent the formation of more gallstones and dissolve the existing ones.
Method 5: Lemon and Olive Oil
Lemon juice stops the liver from manufacturing cholesterol; at the same time, it also contains a large amount of vitamin C, which helps make cholesterol more soluble, thereby enabling swifter disposal of waste products from the body.
Additionally, lemon juice also contains pectin that provides relief from gallbladder pain caused by gallstones and citrate that cuts down on calcium deposits in the gallbladder, which aids in dissolving and passing out gallstones.
The olive oil acts as a lubricant, easing the removal of stones from the body; while the garlic paste helps dissolve cholesterol-based gallstones.
Things you’ll need:
- Lemon juice (to dissolve and pass out gallstones) – 2 tablespoons
- Olive oil (acts as a lubricant) – 2 tablespoons
- Garlic paste (dissolves cholesterol gallstones) – 1 teaspoon
Step 1. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic paste in a cup
- Pour 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a cup.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic paste.
Step 2. Mix well and drink daily in the morning
- Mix all the 3 ingredients thoroughly.
- Drink this mixture the first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Do this every day for at least 40 days or longer to successfully dissolve your gallstones.
Tips for managing gallstones at home
- Soak in Epsom salt baths for relief from pain.
- Drink a glass of white wine during bouts of gallbladder pain for instant relief, i.e., within 20 minutes.
- Apply heated castor oil on your upper right abdomen or between your shoulder blades at the back for relief in case of severe gallstone attacks and pain. Take a folded piece of flannel or even woolen cloth and soak it in pure castor oil. Place the oil-soaked cloth over the gallbladder area; cover with a plastic wrap and place a heating pad on it. You can leave it on for up to 2 hours at a time.
- Drink a cup of peppermint tea daily to dissolve gallstones and to get relief from severe attacks and spasms.
- Use psyllium husks for regular bowel movements and to prevent the formation of gallstones.
- Drink dandelion tea and incorporate tender dandelion greens into your diet to enjoy better liver health.
- Drinking a glass of white wine will help relieve you from gallbladder pain within 20 minutes.
- Drink fresh pear juice or eat cooked pears twice daily for 3 to 4 weeks to soften and flush out your gallstones.
- You can also use milk thistle extracts to increase bile production and flush out gallstones from your body. The recommended daily dosage is 420 mg regular standardized milk thistle extract divided into three equal portions. On the other hand, if the extract contains phosphatidylcholine, then the recommended dose is 100 to 200 mg, 2 to 3 times a day.
- Njeze GE. Gallstones. Nigerian journal of surgery: official publication of the Nigerian Surgical Research Society. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24497751. Published 2013.
- EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines on prevention ... Journal of Hepatology. https://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(16)30032-0/fulltext. Published 2016.
- Jones MW. Gallbladder, Gallstones (Calculi). StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459370/. Published October 27, 2018.
- Gaby AR. Nutritional approaches to prevention and treatment of gallstones. Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19803550. Published September 2009.
- Beheshti Z. Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids. Academia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/27084377/Influence_of_apple_cider_vinegar_on_blood_lipids. Published 2012.
- Mao X, Wu L-F, Guo H-L, et al. The Genus Phyllanthus: An Ethnopharmacological, Phytochemical, and Pharmacological Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854999/. Published 2016.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Gallstones
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