The gallbladder is a pear shaped organ located under the liver. The gallbladder concentrates and stores bile and then dispenses it to the small intestine as needed to digest dietary fats. When the gallbladder develops stones or becomes inflammed, pain is one of the first symptoms. Gallbladder stones, gallbladder inflammation, and other gallbladder problems can cause severe pain that requires emergency care..
Herbs can help prevent and soothe gallbladder attacks. Rosemary, turmeric, dandelion, yellowroot, chicory, calendula, wild yam root, garlic, catnip, marshmallow, nettle, barberry bark, fennel seed, ginger, yellow dock, and milk thistle may help.
A gallbladder attack usually comes at night while the patient is sleeping but may occur at any time. Pain is also sometimes brought on by bending, kneeling, or a spicy meal. The pain radiates from the front mid-center under the rib cage to the back right shoulder blades and lasts from one to five hours. Many times during an attack the patient is bent over, pacing back and forth. Rest is impossible and over the counter pain medicines bring no relief (and may even make things worse).
Regular doses of chamomile tea , peppermint tea, alfalfa tea, or gravel root tea (Joe-Pye weed) taken over a period of four to six weeks can dissolve small gallstones. Take up to five cups of tea a day until symptoms disappear or up to eight weeks.
Essential oils can help soothe a gallbladder attack. Soak a clean cloth with a few drops of Scotch pine essential oil in warm water. Apply as a compress over painful area. Repeat as necessary. Castor oil packs may also bring relief.
An old fashioned remedy for gallbladder problems calls for taking a glass of cider vinegar and honey in water each morning. A teaspoon of olive oil should be taken upon rising and with meals.
Gallbladder disease may be prevented by following a low fat diet, switching from shortening to olive oil, drinking plenty of water, adding fiber and vitamin C rich foods to the diet, eating smaller meals, and cutting back on sugar. Increasing consumption of artichokes, pears, apples, carrots, beets, cucumbers, cherries, grapefruits, greens, and lemons is also recommended.
Reflexology also helps improve gallbladder health. Massage the instep of the right foot with small circular motions as often as possible.
In many cultures, gallbladder problems are treated at home with a gallbladder flush. It involves taking a pint of olive oil mixed with the juice of a dozen lemons. The patient is given some of the mixture every 15 minutes for three hours. They are then instructed to sleep on their right side. The treatment is repeated frequently until gallstones are passed. (This intensive gallbladder flush can cause serious problems if stones are not small enough to pass through bile ducts.)
Surgery is often performed to remove diseased gallbladders and gallstones. Before scheduled surgery eat a fresh pineapple. This will help the incision to heal faster. Enzyme therapy is recommended for all patients that do not have a gallbladder. Also try drinking a bitter herbal tea before meals to increase bile secretions.
* Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy. Nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, diarrhea, jaundice, dark urine, and rapid heartbeat may also occur with gallbladder attacks. Please seek emergency care if these symptoms are present.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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