Your gallbladder acts as a kind of storage tank for bile—a substance the body needs to break down fatty food into digestible bits. But when there is too much cholesterol present, gallstones begin to form in tiny, hard globules that can grow to the size of an egg. A diet packed with rich, high-fat foods is a big contributor, as are alcohol and nicotine.
Bile fluid contains high levels of cholesterol and the pigment bilirubin, both of which precipitate as crystals and form stones. These may be as fine as beach sand or as coarse as gravel. Gallstones can develop in both sexes but are most common in overweight, middle aged women. When your gallbladder goes on strike, it is a signal that your liver needs strengthening and the flow of bile must be restored.
• The herb boldo (Peumus boldo) is a valuable remedy for gallstones. Ask a qualified herbalist to make up a tincture for you and take as directed.
• Eating bowls of boiled dandelions to counteract the effects of fatty meat is one ancient remedy for gallstones. Today, dandelion tablets or capsules can be bought at a health food store. Alternatively, drink several cups of dandelion tea daily. Add 1 teaspoon (15 ml) of the leaves to 2 cups (500 ml) water, boil and strain.
• Chew several caraway seeds every day or use them to flavor foods and aid digestion.
• Heat can ease the pain of a gallbladder attack. Apply a small, warmed wheat bag to the liver area. Cover with a cloth and top with a woolen blanket.
• Turmeric tea can help keep a gallbladder in good health. Pour 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) powdered turmeric, let it steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink. Try to drink 2 3 cups (500 750 ml) a day.
• Avoid fatty processed and fast foods. These generally contain plenty of “bad- saturated and trans fats (hydrogenated fat) that can lead to gallstones. If in doubt, read the ingredients label.