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General characteristics

General characteristics

Gallstones are hard 'stones' that form from the yellowish green substance called bile that is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Stones can range in size from grains of sand to a chickens egg.

Gallstones form in response to changes in the composition of bile and from the obstruction in the free flow of bile from both the liver and the gallbladder. They are composed of either mainly cholesterol or bile pigments. Gallstones can irritate the inner linings of the gallbladder and ducts, obstruct the ducts and cause a blockage leading to inflammation, pain and fever or can cause the gallbladder or ducts to become enlarged and lose their functionality. Complications include severe infection of the liver and/or pancreas.

Other symptoms of gallstones include intense pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, pain in the upper back and shoulder blades, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, fever, sweating, skin yellowing, constipation, thirst and clayish looking stools. Gallstones may be present for many years before symptoms appear.

Causes of gallstone formation include rapid weight loss, yo yo dieting and weight loss/gain, skipping meals, poor diet rich in processed foods, obesity, being female increases the risk, gallbladder disease, certain medications, oestrogens, anaemia, liver disease, infection with liver flukes, intestinal disorders such as crohns disease, paralysis and total parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding bypassing digestive processes).

Natural healing and herbs aim to dissolve and disperse the stones and identify and rectify the cause of the individuals gallstone formation.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Drink several large glasses of fresh water every day.

Keep the diet fresh, organic and unprocessed and eat regular meals. High calorie diets rich in sugar have been linked with gallstone formation.

Avoid cooking food in a microwave, avoid tinned food and never use aluminium pans or utensils.

Eat foods rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamin C. See minerals, fibre and vitamins in the natural healing section for ideas on foods rich in these nutrients.

Foods believed to show stone dissolving effects include, lemons, beetroot, carrot, watercress, radishes and celery. Daily juices of a combination of these foods may be useful, or include in salads and soups.

Fresh beetroot juice can help to slowly dissolve smaller stones, up to 3 cups daily for a month or so.

Avoid eating meat and animal products and foods containing processed fats and oils for several months. Use only cold pressed vegetable oils in their uncooked state.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

During a painful attack, simmer a tablespoon of whole flaxseeds in 2 cups of water. strain and sip the drink over several minutes. Do this up to 3 times daily.

Make a tea from the following dried herbs; dandelion root, black walnut husk, horsetail, fringe tree, artichoke leaf, marshmallow root, (to soothe the passage of any stones) barberry root, balm of gilead buds and couch grass. Use equal parts and add 3 heaped teaspoons to half a litre of water and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Strain and drink the liquid in 3 doses, evenly spaced throughout the day. This mix will help to dissolve stones and improve liver and gallbladder functions and secretions if taken over several months. Decrease the dose if diarrhoea develops.

A simple tea of dandelion root, a teaspoon of the dried root simmered for 10 minutes in a mugful of water, taken after each meal may prove effective.

Take powdered milk thistle seed 3 times a day.

Holy thistle dried herb can also be used.

Parsley root, horsetail, knotgrass, cleavers, agrimony, couch grass, fenugreek seeds and fresh lemon juice all have a reputation for dissolving gallstones. A peruvian herb, Chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) has an excellent reputation for completely resolving gallstones within weeks.

If pain is very severe take a teaspoon of wild yam, crampbark and chamomile tinctures, in equal parts, in a small glass of warm water to relieve the spasms of the gallbladder and ducts.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Castor oil packs can be used to help disperse stones, stimulate healing, circulation and cleansing and provide pain relief. Make one by soaking a natural fibre cloth in castor oil. Place the soaked cloth over the upper right part of the abdomen (below the right breast) and cover with a piece of plastic. Place a towel over the whole area and put a hot water bottle over the pack to heat up the oil. Relax deeply and leave on until the hot water bottle begins to lose its heat or up to an hour. Discard the cloth when finished and wash the skin with warm water with a few teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate added to it. Do this 3 times a week.
Exercise daily as this can help reduce the likelihood of gallstone formation by up to 70%.
Drink a glass of fresh apple juice with 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar added to take away pain of an attack.
The gallbladder flush uses olive oil and lemon juice in large quantities to try to flush the stones out. Some people swear by this remedy while others don't . Read one mans account of his cleanse and how he did it here (scroll down his page for comments from people who tried it).
Epsom salts have been used to dissolve and eliminate gallstones. Here is a webpage with directions for the cleanse.

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