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Ask the Pharmacist: Natural remedies for gallbladder support

Suzy Cohen
Columnist
gallbladder with gallstones

It’s such an unsexy thing, this gallbladder. The gallbladder is about three inches long and one and a half inches wide and you will never think about it your whole life until your right upper quadrant starts hurting, then and only then you’ll start googling “gallbladder.” 

Your liver produces bile which goes to your gallbladder where it’s concentrated to become stronger, like five times stronger! It sits there in storage until you eat something fatty and then it is secreted to break down the food.

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Bile is a liquid that is greenish-yellow. It’s like soap, it breaks down ‘grease’ as in fat, into smaller globules. Bile and bilirubin give feces that distinct brownish color. In a way, bile is thought to deodorize bile, so if you have a very unpleasant stool odor, it’s a sign you are not making enough bile.

Here are some natural remedies that can support you, ask your doctor what’s right for you:

Gallbladder SOS

Gallbladder with ox bile and liver by Ancestral Supplements

This is a grass-fed, bovine-derived formula that may help with bile production or reduced bile excretion. If your gallbladder has been removed, this can help, and likewise, if you’re worried about stones, this can also help. When your own organ is sluggish or deficient, the intake of animal-derived organs can play an important role. It’s not as odd as you might think, in fact, this is the premise behind bone broth, collagen and gelatin. Formulas available at AncestralSupplements.com and Amazon.

Gallbladder Formula by Nature’s Sunshine

This multi-tasking blend contains Oregon grape, ginger, cramp bark, fennel, peppermint, catnip and more. I think this botanical formula could be helpful for indigestion, dyspepsia, pain, belching and bloating. This formula is on Amazon. 

Carrot juice

Carrots are high in vitamin C which can minimize calcium deposits which contribute to stone formation. Freshly extracted juices clean up the GI system including your gallbladder and this prevents gallstones because it stimulates bile secretion.

Chanca piedra

It helps you secrete bile. Quick research will reveal that it’s used for all kinds of urinary, gastrointestinal and gallbladder problems, and is nicknamed “stone breaker.” There are a few awesome supplements available today (and also teas) that are sold online or at health food stores that contain Chanca piedra. This herb is sold at health food stores and online.

Ginger

You can eat crystallized ginger if it’s the only way you can get it down. If you like ginger, just cook with it and make yourself a tea.  Ginger converts cholesterol (which is part of gallstones) and turns it into bile acids, thus reducing the formation of gallstones. Fresh ginger is available at the grocery store. 

Fennel 

Fennel tea might be nice because it may help with indigestion and eases gallbladder inflammation. You can try essential oils or look in the produce department or health food store.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.