Have you ever experienced sharp pain in the upper right part of your abdomen? Chances are you have gallstones. Gallstones are tiny solid deposits of digestive fluid that form in the gall bladder. The gallbladder is a small sac located on the right side of your body, just below your liver. The chemicals found in your gallbladder can solidify into several small stones (the size of a grain of sand) or one large piece (the size of a golf ball).
What Causes Gallstones?
The gallbladder is a reservoir for bile salts, which the body requires to emulsify and digest fat. When you consume fat, the gallbladder releases bile into the digestive tract to help break the fat down into fatty acids to make them easily absorbable. Bile salts are usually made up of cholesterol and if your body feels like you’re running low on cholesterol, it may start holding on to some of it for a rainy day.
Other reasons for the formation of gallbladder include incomplete liver detoxification and excess bilirubin pigment. Typically, gallstones that cause no symptoms don’t warrant treatment. However, if you experience symptoms like tension around your intestines, stomach and other organs, intense pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, nausea, and pain in the abdomen, you should seek your doctor’s advice.
When it comes to gallstone treatment, surgery should not be the first option. You’ll be delighted to learn that gallstones can be dissolved using natural remedies.
Natural Treatments for Gallstones Gallbladder Cleanse
Gallbladder cleanses or liver flush can help treat or prevent gallstones. People who propose the use of gallbladder cleanse claim that the juice breaks up gallstones and triggers the gallbladder to empty them in the stool. A gallbladder cleanse is a blend of olive oil, apple juice, and herbs, consumed for two to six days in a row. This protocol is not scientifically proven to work and for some people, it may result in unpleasant side effects like nausea and vomiting. While there are people who swear by it, others have had some pretty awful experiences. Therefore, if you wish to try this natural remedy, it’s advisable to be under the care of a qualified physician.
Dandelion and Milk Thistle
Dandelion leaves stimulate the gallbladder while milk thistle promotes the production of less concentrated bile by the liver. Both ingredients have been used for ages to treat gallstones. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove they work. You can also take dandelion on its own as a supplement or infused in teas. Milk thistle can also be taken in a tablet or capsule form and as a tonic. To use this blend, put the leaves of the dandelion plant into a cup and add a quarter cup of milk thistle leaves. Blend the two and add honey to neutralize the bitter taste.
Epsom salt is said to aid in the elimination of gallstones via the bile duct. Simply mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt with water and drink every evening for one week. However, some people have complained of having diarrhea after drinking the Epsom salt solution.
Lemon is known to regulate body pH. Too much acidity in the body creates a favorable environment for gallstone development. Lemon contains limonene, which helps to dissolve cholesterol and pectin which helps to keep bile acid in the stomach. Drinking lemon water regularly can significantly reduce the formation of gallstones and also aid in eliminating them.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic and may lower the production of cholesterol by the liver. While ACV can effectively lower blood sugar levels, there is no scientific evidence showing that it can help treat gallstones. However, ACV has been used as a cleanser for many generations and studies show that the enzymes, malic acid, and potassium contained in apples can aid in dissolving gallstones and alleviating the pain. Some people have suggested mixing ACV with apple juice to increase the fiber and iron content, which are said to reduce gallstones complications. Remember, Apple Cider Vinegar is highly acidic and should not be taken straight.
There have been claims that yoga may assist to naturally pass gallstones. It’s a fact that yoga has a bountiful of health benefits, including reducing the symptoms associated with the complications of gallstones. However, when it comes to treatment, more studies are needed for strong evidence.
Several studies have shown that artichoke can stimulate bile production and promote liver function. Artichoke can be taken in many forms, including supplements, grilled, steamed or pickled. However, it’s advisable to speak with your doctor before taking artichoke extracts supplements to prevent possible complications.
Psyllium is a soluble fiber extracted from a plant known as Plantago ovata. Numerous studies have shown strong evidence on the positive effects of psyllium for the heart, pancreas, and gallstones. The fiber in psyllium binds to the cholesterol in bile preventing gallstone formation. However, since psyllium husks are heavily sprayed crops, it’s recommended to look for organic ones, which are less contaminated.
Other Natural Ways to Treat Gallstones
Apart from the above natural remedies, it’s important to keep a healthy weight. Being obese or overweight increases the complications of gallstones, among other health risks. High levels of cholesterol in the body are unhealthy. It’s also possible that being overweight increases the chances of inflammation around the gallbladder. The best remedy is to look for a healthy diet that supports and promotes a healthy liver and gallbladder. To improve your gut health, take lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, and increase your water consumption.
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