Digestive Health

7 home remedies to treat gallstones

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped pouch located behind the liver. It stores the cholesterol-rich bile which is secreted from the liver. The bile helps in proper digestion when a person eats cholesterol-rich food. However, excessive amounts of cholesterol and insufficient bile juice can lead to the saturation and crystallization of cholesterol and bile, resulting in gallstones.

The symptoms of formation of gallstones can be diagnosed using procedures such as:

  • Imaging procedures– Imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scans can help create pictures of gallbladders which can be used to trace gallstones.
  • Bile duct tests- Tests such as hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography can be used to see specific areas of the bile ducts for gallstones.
  • Blood tests– These tests might reveal several other underlying infections such as pancreatitis, jaundice, liver cirrhosis, and other complications caused due to the formation of gallstones.

Apart from treatments such as surgery to remove the gallbladder or medications to dissolve the gallstones, there are some home remedies that can help in providing relief from the symptoms from gallstones formation. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Apple juice or apple cider vinegar– Apples contain malic acid which helps in softening of gallstones. The vinegar present in apple cider vinegar prevents the crystallization of cholesterol. Apple juice and apple cider vinegar can be used as a quick remedy for pain relief from gallstone symptoms.
  • Beetroot, cucumber, and carrot juice– Drinking a mixture of equal amounts of cucumber, carrot, and beetroot juice helps in strengthening and cleansing the gallbladder and the liver. The combination cleanses the colon and the blood and the high amount of vitamin C and water from cucumber and carrots detoxifies the liver.
  • Pear juice– According to a medical association, at least 80% of gallstones are formed and hardened due to cholesterol. The pectin present in pear binds to cholesterol-rich gallstones for easy flush-out from the body. It is recommended to mix half a glass of hot water, pear juice, and honey and drink the mixture twice a day.
  • Milk thistle– A Mediterranean herb, milk thistle helps in eliminating bladder pain by shrinking gallstones. Doctors recommend keeping one tablespoon of crushed milk thistle leaves and seeds soaked in hot water for at least five minutes. Mix it with honey and drink it at least once a day to experience relief from gallbladder pain.
  • Dandelion– The leaves of dandelion contain chemicals that improve the liver health and aid bladder functioning by promoting bile excretion. It also helps in metabolizing fat efficiently. However, doctors recommend diabetics to avoid using dandelion leaves to treat gallstones.
  • Psyllium– It is essential to establish a high-fiber diet to avoid the formation of gallstones. Psyllium is a rich source of fiber as it helps in binding cholesterol and bile to prevent gallstone formation. It is recommended to drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of psyllium before bedtime.
  • Peppermint– Peppermint contains terpene, a natural compound that is believed to dissolve gallstones. It also stimulates bile flow and other digestive juices to avoid the formation of gallstones.

It is important to consult a doctor before using any of the above mentioned home remedies to avoid any unpleasant side-effects.