A healthy way to prepare for springtime is with a liver cleanse and gallbladder flush. According to natural medicine, keeping bile fresh and the gallbladder free of stones is necessary for wellness. The best time of year to detoxify your liver is in the springtime. But, before you start a liver cleanse program, consider flushing bile and stones from your gallbladder.
The gallbladder is located in the upper right portion of your abdomen, just under your ribs near your liver. It’s a long pouch that stores and concentrates bile. The common hepatic duct connects it to your liver. Bile production occurs in the liver and drips down the tube for storage in the gallbladder. The conjugated bile is a brilliant green color. The gallbladder empties the conjugated bile into the small intestine on demand to help digest food, especially fats and oils.
Gallstones are a combination of saturated bile and cholesterol. Some can contain bilirubin, coloring these stones black. Others contain calcium. The process of gallstone formation is gradual. It starts with bile building up in the gallbladder that turns to soft stones. Over time, these soft gallstones become calcined turning hard enough to be detected by x-ray.
Most of the time, gallstones sit quietly in the gallbladder and pass unnoticed. But, if a gallstone gets lodged in the bile duct, the greenish bile backs up and causes jaundice, a yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin.
Some people are prone to forming gallstones. Underlying liver disease and obesity make you more likely to develop gallstones. Taking birth control pills and hormone replacement increases estrogen that increases the risk of stone formation. Other factors include taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, diabetes, rapid weight loss, and a high cholesterol diet.
Most of the time, gallstones are harmless and go unnoticed. But sometimes, they don’t pass naturally out of the body in the stool. They can get stuck in the bile duct and trigger inflammation. Some people have multiple gallstones that fill the entire gallbladder. In severe cases, an emergency operation is needed to remove the gallbladder.
How Do You Know If You Have Gallstones?
Most gallstones are small to medium sized, but some can be as big as a golf ball. Large gallstones are dangerous to try to flush out because the can lodge in the bile duct. Determining if you have gallstones and the size is important before you do a flush.
To find out if you have a single stone or many and to determine their size, get an abdominal ultrasound. For a safe gallbladder flush, stones should be less than 1 cm. Stones greater than 2 cm are too big to attempt a flush. Gallstones between 1-2 cm need shrinking before purging.
Symptoms of Gallstones:
- Abdominal distention with intense pain in the center or upper right of your abdomen.
- Severe back pain between your shoulder blades or behind your right shoulder.
- Nausea or vomiting.
An acute gallbladder attack may wake you in the middle of the night with excruciating abdominal pain. Besides inflammation, a bacterial infection might occur. If you have a fever with chills, and severe abdominal pain, see you doctor or go to the nearest urgent care center.
With the right information, you can handle most chronic liver and gallbladder trouble, including small to medium sized gallstones, on your own.
Natural Medicines to Shrink Gallstones
It takes three to six months, sometimes longer to shrink a gallstone. It’s wise to treat all gallstones, even smaller ones, as potential trouble. Serious inflammation happens if a stone gets stuck in the common bile duct or pancreatic duct, a tube that runs from the pancreas to the common bile duct.
First, soften gallstones with malic acid. Apples contain a lot of malic acid. Perhaps that’s why the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true. Every morning drink a glass of warm water with organic apple cider vinegar and raw honey. You can also take 500 to 750 mg of magnesium malate (Di-Magnesium Malate) daily.
Since the pancreas plays a major role in digesting food, supporting the pancreas makes it easier on your gallbladder. Take a digestive enzyme with hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzyme with every meal.
Take liver and gallbladder supportive herbs, called cholagogues, to promote bile secretion. There are many commercial herbal formulas for liver and gallbladder detoxification. Berberine is one of the most important active components in this class of herbs. Others include Chinese Coptis, Milk Thistle, and Gentian.
- Coptis (Coptis chinensis)
- Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
- Oregon Grape Root (Berberis aquifolium)
- Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea)
One of the most effective natural medicine for dissolving stones is Li Dan Pian, a traditional Chinese herbal formula. The active component in Li Dan Pian is, Jinqiancao. Depending on the patented formula, sometimes Lysimachia desmodii is used. In others, the principle herb is Desmodium styracifolium. These herbs help clear inflammation and dissolve stones in the kidneys and gallbladder. Studies show that Desmodium is 80 percent effective in removing kidney stones. Other herbs are added to Lysimachia to help guide the effects to the liver and gallbladder or kidneys. For best results, take 4 to 6 pills three times daily before meals.
Rowachol is another natural product that stimulates bile flow and helps dissolve gallstones. Rowachol is manufactured by Amoun Pharmaceutical in Egypt. Each capsule contains a blend of aromatic oils including menthol and camphene that reduce bile buildup.
Remember, it takes six months to dissolve gallstones.
Now you’re ready for the gallbladder flush.
Your Gallbladder Flush Kit:
- Organic apple juice
- Cold pressed organic olive oil
- Digestive enzymes
- Milk of Magnesia
- Castor oil compress
- Heating pad
The week before your flush: Drink plenty of organic apple juice. Avoid all fats and oils for one week before your flush.
24-hours before your flush: Drink a glass of organic apple juice every two hours. Stay hydrated by drinking pure water. Avoid all solid foods.
The evening of your flush: Eat a rich, fatty meal. Take a pancreatic digestive enzyme formula with 500 mg of betaine HCL with your meal. After dinner, drink 2 ounces of olive oil, and if you’re not sensitive to dairy products, mix it with 2 ounces of heavy whipping cream. It doesn’t taste all that bad!
Before bedtime: Take a tablespoon of magnesium hydroxide liquid, Milk of Magnesia, to promote bowel movement and induce bile flow and duodenal emptying.
Go to bed early: Apply a castor oil pack. Use a hot water bottle or electric heating pad. Gallstones usually pass in a bowel movement between 3:00 AM and early morning. Sometimes there is severe cramping or abdominal pressure when the stones pass. Applying heat to your upper right abdomen helps lessen abdominal discomfort.
If you work with a naturopathic or doctor of oriental medicine, consider getting an injection or intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate to relax muscle tightness, induce bile flow, and promote duodenal emptying. Electroacupuncture can do the same, helping the gallbladder to contract to squeeze out bile and stones, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate pain when the stone passes. These procedures are done at your doctor’s office the day before your flush.
Safety and Precautions
Thousands of people have done gallbladder flushes safely on their own without a doctor’s help. However, you may find it wise to seek professional help if you have a history of pancreas, liver, or gallbladder disease.