18 Top Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Gallstones August 28, 2016

Most of us live under the illusion that a major illness comes with symptoms that can be diagnosed easily. But that’s just an illusion! While some major ailments have symptoms that can be recognized by anybody, there are some disorders and conditions that are known to be really hard to detect.

Many people, especially older people and women, suffer from gallbladder problems. These problems include gallstones, pain because of the stones, inflammation, infection, obstruction, or cancer. Gallstones remain undetected in the gallbladder until they become quite painful.

Before getting into the home remedies that work to treat gallstones, let us understand what they are and how they are caused.

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones are hard, crystalline balls that are formed in the gallbladder from excess cholesterol or bile salts. These stones can vary greatly in size – from being the size of a grain to as large as a tennis ball (1).

What Causes Gallstones?

Gallstones are excruciatingly painful as the stones might get pushed into the tube. This happens when there is an excessive amount of cholesterol, and there is not enough bile secreted to saturate the cholesterol, which forms a crystal ball.

However, stones can also be formed by bile salts too. In women, pregnancy-related hormonal changes and factors like obesity pave the way for gallstone formation. Besides, people relying on junk and fast foods are also prone to stones in the gallbladder. These gallstones go through the bile duct and may cause blockage in the duct, which sends bile to the small intestine from the liver. When this occurs, the gallbladder gets choked and the built up pressure triggers pain in the abdomen region (1).

How To Get Rid Of Gallstones Naturally

While surgery for getting rid of gallstones is quite commonplace, it is better if you take precautions to prevent their formation in the first place. Gallbladder surgery, also called cholecystectomy, can cause years of discomfort, including nausea and diarrhea. It can increase chances of contracting bowel cancer as well. Besides, the level of cholesterol in blood also shoots up post surgery. Let’s take a look at a few home remedies to get rid of gallstones.

Home Remedies To Prevent The Formation Of Gallstones

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar
  2. Foods To Avoid
  3. Apple Juice
  4. Gallstone Cleanse
  5. Turmeric
  6. Milk Thistle
  7. Lemon Juice
  8. Cranberry Juice
  9. Coconut Oil
  10. Castor Oil
  11. Herbal Tea
  12. Coffee
  13. Vitamin C
  14. Dandelion
  15. Beetroot
  16. Radish
  17. Peppermint
  18. Pear Juice

1. Apple Cider Vinegar For Gallstones

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You Will Need

• 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• A glass of warm water

What You Have To Do

Mix the vinegar and lemon juice in the water and drink this in the morning. Whenever you experience pain due to gallstones, immediately drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of apple juice.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink this every day in the morning on an empty stomach. Use the ACV-apple juice remedy whenever you experience gallbladder pain.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent way to get relief from gallbladder pain. It gives instant relief and also aids in dissolving the stone due to its acidic nature (2).

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2. Foods To Avoid For Gallstones

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While trying the home remedies for gallstones mentioned in this article, do remember that there are things you need to avoid to prevent gallstone formation. As a rule of thumb, doctors advise people to avoid eating any refined food to prevent stone development in the gallbladder. And those sweet delicacies you polish off during tea time? Well, those sugary snacks are to be avoided above all. Same goes for all fast foods made with artificial sweeteners and all white flour products.

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3. Apple Juice For Gallstones

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You Will Need

A glass of apple juice

What You Have To Do

Make a glass of fresh apple juice and drink this every day. Preferably, make the apple juice without peeling the fibrous skin.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink a glass of apple juice once every day to bid goodbye to those painful gallbladder stones naturally.

Why This Works

A regular intake of this can help cure the problem permanently. Malic acid, a phytochemical found in apple juice, dissolves the gallstones and reduces the pain. It cleanses the liver and gallbladder and removes any debris that may remain (3).

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4. Gallstone Cleanse Recipe

You Will Need

• Apple juice
• 2 tablespoons Epsom salt
• Warm water
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup lemon juice

What You Have To Do

1. This is six day long cleanse. For the first five days, drink four glasses of apple juice every day.
2. On the sixth day, do not eat anything after 6 pm. Have a glass of warm water containing a tablespoon of Epsom salt.
3. Drink another glass of this Epsom salt water after a few hours.
4. After two hours, mix the olive oil and lemon juice and drink this.
5. Lie down on your right side and wait for bowel movement. It may take a few hours for the gallstones to be eliminated.

How Often Should You Do This

You can do this cleanse once in every six months.

Why This Works

We already know that apple juice is a great liver/gallbladder cleanser. Lemon helps to excrete the gallstones dissolved by the apple juice, with help from olive oil (4).

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5. Turmeric For Gallstones

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You Will Need

• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon honey

What You Have To Do

Eat turmeric mixed with honey every day to stay fit and healthy and keep gallstones at bay.

How Often Should You Do This

Do this every day for a healthy gallbladder.

Why This Works

Turmeric is used in cooking many dishes. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Having turmeric in foods can help enhance the solubility of bile. This will ensure that stones are not formed easily (5).

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6. Milk Thistle For Gallstones

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You Will Need

• 1 tablespoon milk thistle seeds
• 3 cups water
• Honey

What You Have To Do

1. Crush the milk thistle seeds and bring them to a boil.
2. Let the herb steep in hot water for 20 minutes.
3. Strain the herbal tea, add a dash of honey and drink it.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink two to three cups in a day.

Why This Works

A herb with its origin in the Mediterranean region, milk thistle has been used as a natural remedy for liver cleansing as well as gallstone prevention since a long time. Its active component, silymarin, shrinks the gallstones and reduces bladder pain (6). It is also possible to add the herb in the powdered form to juices and milk. You can also add the powder to your salad and snacks if you don’t like the taste of the juice.

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7. Lemon Juice For Gallstones

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You Will Need

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• A glass of lukewarm water

What You Have To Do

Add the lemon juice to the water and drink this first thing in the morning. Drink more glasses of lemon water throughout the day.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink up to four glasses of lemon water in a day.

Why This Works

Lemon can be beneficial for your skin and hair when mixed with the right products, but it can also be effective in preventing gallstones. There is a two-way benefit of having lemon juice. Firstly, drinking plenty of water can cure all kinds of gallbladder problems. Drinking a lot of water will immediately reduce the pain. Secondly, vitamin C is needed for dissolving gallstones, adding a dash of lime to the water gives double benefit (7).

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8. Cranberry Juice For Gallstones

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You Will Need

Cranberry juice

What You Have To Do

Drink a glass of cranberry juice every day. Dilute it with some water if you feel the juice is too acidic to consume.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink this juice every day to maintain healthy functioning of the body.

Why This Works

This is a preventive remedy for gallstones and gallbladder problems. The dietary fiber present in cranberry juice lowers the cholesterol levels in the body, thus preventing the formation of cholesterol gallstones (8). For gallstones generating from accumulated bile salts, the acidity of the juice will ensure that enough bile flows through the system to prevent this accumulation. The antioxidants present will keep your gallbladder and liver in optimum health (9).

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9. Coconut Oil For Gallstones

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You Will Need
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 glass apple juice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A garlic clove (optional)
  • A small piece of ginger
What You Have To Do
  1. Lightly warm up the coconut oil, add all the ingredients to it and blend nicely.
  2. Drink this mixture once every day.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink this every day for several weeks.

Why This Works

If you are prone to gallbladder attacks, this remedy is perfect for you. Coconut oil contains essential fats that can be easily digested by the liver. The accumulation of unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and bile salts in the gallbladder can be prevented (10).

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10. Castor Oil For Gallstones

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup castor oil
  • Cheesecloth
  • Plastic wrap/sheet
  • A hot compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Heat the castor oil lightly and soak the cheesecloth in it.
  2. Remove excess oil from the cloth and place it on the right side of the belly, where your gallbladder and liver are located.
  3. Hold the cloth in place by wrapping a plastic sheet around the belly.
  4. Place the hot compress over this for about 30 to 40 minutes.
How Often Should You Do This

Repeat this process thrice a week.

Why This Works

Castor oil possesses anti-inflammatory and healing properties, which will reduce swelling in the area and also the pain you are experiencing (11, 12).

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11. Herbal Tea For Gallstones(Green Tea For Gallstones)

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You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons green tea leaves
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Honey
  • Lemon
What You Have To Do
  1. Steep the tea leaves in water for five to 10 minutes.
  2. Strain and add a bit of honey and lemon for taste.
  3. Drink the tea while it is warm.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink two to three cups of green tea in a day.

Why This Works

Green tea contains antioxidants that give your body energy and reduce inflammations. They are also good for preventing gallstones (13).

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12. Coffee For Gallstones

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You Will Need

A cup of hot coffee

What You Have To Do

Brew a cup of your favorite hot coffee and drink it.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink a cup of two every day to prevent gallstones.

Why This Works

Research has revealed that drinking a cup of coffee a day can help ease gallbladder problems. It helps to prevent gallstones. A study showed that men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day risked gallstones 40% lesser than the men who didn’t (14). Caffeine stimulates gallbladder contractions and makes passage of gallstones easy (15).

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13. Vitamin C For Gallstones

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Vitamin C is not only good for your immunity and skin, but is also effective in preventing gallbladder stone formation. The human body makes use of this vitamin to turn cholesterol into bile acid. When your body gets an adequate dose of vitamin C, the amount of cholesterol produced will be less. As a result, the risk of stone formation in the gallbladder will be less (16).

You can take vitamin C in many forms. If taking vitamin pills is not your cup of tea, eat fruits and vegetables like guava, kiwi, papaya, mango — all of which are full of this important nutrient.

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14. Dandelion For Gallstones

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon dried dandelion root
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • A cup of hot water
  • A pot
What You Have To Do
  1. Crumble the dandelion root and place it in the pot. Then, pour some hot water on it.
  2. Let it steep for a few minutes and then add honey to it.
  3. Strain and drink this herbal tea.
How Often Should You Do This

You may have this herbal tea mixture twice a day for optimal results.

Why This Works

Dandelion is another useful natural remedy for gallbladder stones. Dandelion leaves help in bile excretion and fat metabolization. Taking the herb can also help in stimulating the gallbladder (17).

Caution

People who have diabetes should ideally talk to a medical practitioner before trying out this herb-infused tea.

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15. Beetroot For Gallstones

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You Will Need
  • Beetroot
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Cut the beetroot into small pieces and blend with some water to make fresh beetroot juice.
  2. Drink a cup of beetroot juice every day.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink a cup every day to relieve gallstone pain.

Why This Works

High in fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids, beetroot juice lowers blood cholesterol. Hence, the cholesterol gallstones cannot form. It also improves liver function (18).

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16. Radish For Gallstones

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A radish
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Peel the radish and cut it into small pieces.
  2. Blend these with a little water to make fresh radish juice.
  3. Have two tablespoons of this juice.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink up to five to six tablespoons throughout the day for larger gallstones. A tablespoon or two a day is enough for smaller stones.

Why This Works

Though this is not a favorite vegetable for many, it is another good home remedy for gallstones. It facilitates bile flow and keeps the gallbladder in top shape (19). However, you should eat radish in moderation. Do not intake more than the recommended quantity in a day.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Appendicitis ]

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17. Peppermint For Gallstones

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • A few mint leaves (fresh or dried)
  • A cup of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the leaves to boiled water. Cover the cup and let it steep for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the water and add honey to it before sipping.
How Often Should You Do This

It is advisable to have a cup of this tea between meals.

Why This Works

Peppermint helps in digestion by stimulating the flow of bile and other digestive tract juices. It also contains a natural compound called terpene that can dilute gallstones. Regular intake of a cup of peppermint infused tea can also help cure all gallbladder problems (20).

[ Read: Home Remedies For Improving Blood Circulation ]

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18. Pear Juice For Gallstones

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Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need
  • 1/2 glass pear juice
  • 1/2 glass hot water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
What You Have To Do
  1. To the hot water, firstly add pear juice and then the honey. Mix well.
  2. Drink this juice while it is warm.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink this thrice a day.

Why This Works

The blend of honey and pear juice can be very effective for avoiding gallstone development. Pear is a pectin-containing fruit. This pectin binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from the body (21).

[ Read: Home Remedies For Red Eyes ]

It is far more prudent that you prepare your body to prevent gallstone formation. For this, there is no need to become a medical expert. You can resort to the proven home-based and natural remedies that we have listed above and keep them at bay.

FAQs

1. Gallbladder Disease Signs & Symptoms

When the gallstones travel into any of the ducts attached to the gallbladder, it can result in a gallbladder attack. Symptoms of this are as follows:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or upper-right abdomen, which is constant and can also increase and lasts from an hour to several hours
  • Pain under the right shoulder and in between the shoulder blades
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence and belching
  • Indigestion (1)

2.Where Do You Get Gallbladder Pain?

Gallbladder pain is experienced in the upper or upper-right part of the abdomen.

3. What Does The Gallbladder Do?

The gallbladder forms an important part of our digestion process. It is a little pear-shaped pouch located behind the liver. It is responsible for storing the cholesterol-rich bile secreted by the liver, which helps to cut down fatty foods (22).

4. What To Eat With Gallstones?

To stay healthy and avoid gallstone formation, you need to follow the right kind of diet.

  • Ensure that you eat foods that are low in cholesterol and fat and high in fiber. Fiber-enriched foods keep the digestive system in good shape, and a low-fat diet prevents cholesterol development in the gallbladder.
  • For cooking foods and snacks, you can replace cooking oil with olive oil as far as possible. It contains higher amounts of monounsaturated fat and is healthier for the stomach, liver, and gallbladder. You may also use canola oil for the same reason.
  • To reduce intake of saturated fat from foods, eat low-fat dairy products and lean meat portions.
  • To ensure gallstones do not form in your body, make sure your platter remains full of vegetables. Studies have shown that vegetarians are less prone to gallstones when compared to hardcore non-vegetarians. Vegetables are responsible for reducing the cholesterol in the bile, thus curing gallstones. Having a bowl of salad rich in green vegetables can help cure gallbladder problems. You can try various other types of vegetables throughout the year to avoid boredom.
  • Studies have shown that people who had more intakes of lentils were more immune to gallbladder problems than people who did not. Indian cooking uses all varieties of lentils. Hence, meals rich in lentils, such as moong daal/ kaali daal, can help cure gallbladder problems.
  • A single red bell pepper has 95mg of vitamin C, the essential vitamin required to get rid of gallstones. Adding red bell pepper to your meal will help you get the essential nutrients to avoid bladder problems.

Follow the tips mentioned above and make changes in your diet accordingly (23, 24).

5. How To Relieve Back Pain After Gallbladder Surgery?

Having back pain after gallbladder surgery is common. This pain should slowly start fading away as days go by. You can use a simple warm compress to ease this pain. If the pain does not subside even after a few weeks and is causing discomfort, please consult your doctor as this might indicate post-operational complications.

6. Can Gallstones Damage The Liver?

When the gallstones are lodged in the bile ducts, the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder is obstructed. As a result, excess bile starts accumulating in the liver and damaging the liver cells. This can lead to cirrhosis, a condition that involves deterioration and malfunctioning of the liver (1).

7. How Do You Test For Gallbladder Problems?

There are various diagnostic tests that the doctor can advise you to get done for gallbladder problems. These tests will generate reports that present a clear image of the gallbladder and associated organs. Below listed are the common tests that are conducted:

  • Abdominal ultrasound – can easily detect small gallstones
  • Abdominal X-ray – good for detecting gallstones containing calcium deposits
  • Abdominal CT scan – to detect ruptures and infection that are caused due the stones
  • MRI scan – to detect stones lodged in the bile ducts
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – good for detecting stones blocking the bile ducts and also removing them while performing the test (25, 26)
  • Cholescintigraphy or gallbladder radionuclide scan – radioactive dye used to detect blocked ducts and inflammation (27)

It is always advisable to check with a doctor if you are suffering from any gallbladder problem. There are medications available to cure it. There are also non-surgical processes to dissolve the stone. The final option is surgery if the condition is beyond the reach of medication. For acute gallbladder problems, the only cure is surgery.

They say prevention is better than cure. And, we agree! Who would want to live through the agony of gallstones only to be followed by an invasive surgery? Do your gallbladder a favor and start following these tips.

Do you suffer from any gallbladder problems? What do you usually do to get relief? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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