Unless something goes wrong, you’ll never even notice your gallbladder is there, which is exactly how it’s supposed to be. The gallbladder is a small organ about three to four inches long, shaped like a pear, and is located on the right side directly under the liver. If the liver is Batman, the gallbladder is Robin. Sure, they can work independently, but they are designed to naturally work as a team.
What the Heck is The Gallbladder and What Does That Bad Boy Do?
The gallbladder is a bile storage center. Bile is a mixture of water and salts produced by your liver and stored in the gallbladder.
The main job of bile is to break down large amounts of fat. Like, let’s say cheese fries. When you ingest cheese fries, your body sends a message to the gallbladder to send in some bile to help with digestion. When the gallbladder gets the “send in the bile!” message, it naturally squeezes the perfect amount of stored bile into the small intestine to help break down that greasy goodness.
Think of this process like washing the dishes. It’s hard to remove grease without soap. Soap is what emulsifies the grease and washes it away. The gallbladder does the same thing on the inside of your body.
During the digestive process, the gallbladder naturally shrinks down like a deflated balloon until the liver creates more bile and sends it to the gallbladder before your next meal.
What is a Natural Gallbladder Cleanse?
The most common gallbladder problem is gallstones. A natural gallbladder cleanse helps to remove these from the body in a healthy way without medicine or surgery.
Gallstones occur when bile in the gallbladder isn’t used properly and gets hard and solidifies. This causes severe pain, jaundice, fever, and the stones must be removed or passed to relieve the symptoms. Other complications from the gallbladder may include perforation, gangrene, pancreatitis, or bowel obstructions. Natural cleansing can help prevent these as well.
When gallbladder problems are not handled properly, it can result in a Cholecystectomy, or removal of the gallbladder. Of the 1 million cholecystectomies or gallbladder removals that are done yearly, it is estimated that only a few thousand actually need to come out!
A natural gallbladder cleanse is a natural way to fix the problems and keep your gallbladder working correctly.
What are Gallstones?
The gallbladder can produce hundreds of tiny stones, like sand – or one large stone as large as a golf ball. There are two main types of gallstones: cholesterol stones and pigment stones.
- Cholesterol Stones: These are by far the most common type of gallstone. They are made up of hardened cholesterol and are yellow-green in color. They are usually caused by too much cholesterol in the body, or not enough bile salts to break down the fats correctly. They can also develop when the gallbladder is not emptying as it should.
- Pigment Stones: These are made of bilirubin, not cholesterol and look like dark rocks. Generally, these are rare and occur in people with cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and blood disorders that cause an overproduction of bilirubin.
What are the Symptoms of Gallstones or a Bad Gallbladder?
If you have gallstones, you’ll know. It starts with a steady pain that increases quickly and can last for several hours. There may also be some pain in the shoulders and back along with nausea, vomiting, and severe indigestion. If you think you might be experiencing gallbladder pain, press down below on your last rib on your right side and lined up with your nipple – if there is pain, there is a good chance that you have a gallbladder problem.
What are the Benefits of a Natural Gallbladder Cleanse?
When you intentionally cleanse your gallbladder, it can encourage the gallbladder to naturally release any small gallstones that are being formed inside. Ideally, the gallstones will pass through the stool before they grow large and solidify. This avoids unpleasant symptoms and later surgery.
It’s important to note that there is little scientific research that supports a natural gallbladder cleanse. Most say that it may help, but they can’t definitely prove that it does. However, when done correctly, a proper natural gallbladder cleanse is perfectly safe. If there’s even a small chance it can naturally solve the problem and avoid costly and dangerous surgeries, I’m all in.
How Often Can I Repeat this Cleanse?
Complete the natural gallbladder cleanse once, and see how you feel. You can complete this cleanse every other week, or as often as necessary to remove all the stones.
What are the Side Effects of a Natural Gallbladder Cleanse?
Because it is a cleanse regimen, you can expect diarrhea anytime you complete a natural gallbladder cleanse. You’re trying to naturally cleanse, which is going to put the body’s natural exit system into overdrive. Definitely stay near a bathroom during your natural gallbladder cleanse. Some people may experience nausea or vomiting, using the body’s other natural exit – but that is less common. Most will simply spend more time on the toilet during the cleanse
How Do You Get Rid of Gallstones?
Once gallstones have formed, they must be removed by one of three methods. The preferred method is a natural gallbladder cleanse, but there are also medications and surgical options.
- Medication: If the gallstones are small, they can be treated with a bile medication that is designed to break them down and remove them from the body. These medications sound effective, but they can actually take up to 2 years to work and once the medication is stopped, gallstones often will return quickly.
- Surgery: Surgery can be used to remove the stones or the gallbladder itself. Gallbladder removal is now done laparoscopically and is one of the most common operations performed in America. Generally, if gallstones are present, doctors will remove the whole gallbladder to prevent any future problems.
- Natural gallbladder cleanse: This is one of the most common treatments for gallstones because it breaks down the stones naturally, flushes them from the body, and does no harm. The natural gallbladder cleanse is simple to do from home and can be repeated as needed, without additional trips to the doctor’s office.
Best Natural Gallbladder Cleanse
To start a natural gallbladder cleanse, this is what you will need:
4 Tablespoons of Epsom Salts
1/2 Cup of Virgin Olive Oil
1 big grapefruit, or 3 lemons/lemon juice
Natural Gallbladder Cleanse Instructions:
You start your natural gallbladder cleanse on Day 1. It may help to have a calendar on hand for you to mark the days as we go.
Along with your regular healthy diet, eat as many apples, or drink as much apple juice as you can during this cleanse period. I recommend this organic apple juice from Amazon as you don’t want your body to have to process more than you are already throwing at it. Please note that if you have diabetes, stomach ulcers, or hypoglycemia you should be wary of consuming large amounts of fruit juice. You can take malic acid supplements if you wish if you can’t drink the juice. In the last 2 days, drink 8 oz of apple juice every 2-3 hours. Doing this will help ensure the natural cleanse is successful.
During this time, get all your errands done, clean the house, and prepare for your natural gallbladder cleanse. You should not be doing anything the day of your natural gallbladder cleanse, so it’s important to prepare ahead of time.
Try to avoid fats and protein as much as possible on day five of the cleanse. Eat a no-fat dinner tonight to prepare for your natural gallbladder cleanse that starts in the morning.
In the morning:
Start with a light breakfast with no fat. This enables the bile in your liver to naturally build up, putting pressure on your liver. This pressure will push out more stones during the actual cleanse. Cooked cereal, fruit, fruit juice, bread (no butter), or honey are all good options. Only eat the minimum you need to get by today, you’re body is getting ready to cleanse and we don’t want to give it anything extra to digest.
Do not eat or drink anything after 2:00 PM. Mix 4 Tablespoons of Epsom Salts in 3 cups of water and pour all this into a jar. Put this jar in the cooler/refrigerator to make it cold so it’s ready for later.
Drink 3/4 cup of the Epsom Salt mixture you put in the fridge. Yes, it will taste terrible. You can drink a bit of clear water afterward, or rinse your mouth. You can also add a dash of powdered Vitamin C to make it taste better.
Drink your second dose (another 3/4 cup) of the saltwater mixture. At this point, you haven’t eaten since 2 PM, but you shouldn’t feel hungry. Now, it’s time to rest and prepare for the cleansing process. Get ready for bed. Just lie down, find something on Netflix, and relax.
Prepare your last drink of the day. Pour 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil into a jar. Squeeze the entire grapefruit into the mix, removing the pulp with a fork as needed. If you hate grapefruit, you can use lemons or lemon juice instead (if you are lazy like me). You should have 1/2 to 3/4 cups of fruit juice mixed with virgin olive oil the jar to create about 1 cup of liquid. Close the jar, and shake it very hard until it is completely mixed. This is why it’s important to use citrus, other liquids will not work the same way with the olive oil.
Drink the oil/citrus potion with 4 ornithine capsules to make sure you will sleep through the night. (You may want to increase that to 8 if you already suffer from insomnia). Drink it standing up, you may want to use a straw if that makes it easier for you. Try to get it all down by 5 mins or so.
Lay down in your bed as soon as you are done. Don’t brush your teeth, don’t change your clothes, lie down immediately. This is critical and most people do this wrong. The quicker you lay down, the more stones you’ll get out. Lie on your right side, with your right knee up towards your chin for 20 minutes. If that is too uncomfortable, lie flat on your back with your head high up on the pillow. If you stay still, you may actually feel a train of stones traveling along the bile ducts like marbles on their way out. There should not be any pain because the bile ducts have been opened by the Epsom salt throughout the day. Try to sleep, the ornithine capsules should kick in to help get some rest.
In the morning: When you wake up, expect diarrhea (see the section below on Was My Gallbladder Flush Successful). In the morning (but not before 6 AM), drink another 3/4 cup Epsom salts mixture. If you have any nausea, wait until it passes before you drink the third dose. You can go back to sleep afterward.
8:00 AM (or later):
Two hours after your third dose, drink the last dose of Epsom salts and go back to bed to rest.
Note: You may choose to omit the 6 PM dose, or add another 10 AM dose of the saltwater mixture. The natural gallbladder cleanses may still be effective, but may decrease (or increase) the number of stones removed.
10:00 AM (or later):
At this point, you may start to feel hungry and you can start eating but avoid solid foods. Start with liquids, and move slowly to fruit and then other solid foods.
Other Natural Gallbladder Cleanse Methods:
The above regimen is the most commonly used natural gallbladder cleanse, but there are other options if you’d like to start with something natural, but a bit more gentle. These options do not have a specific regimen, but they can be a beneficial part of your everyday diet.
Dandelion has been used historically to naturally treat gallbladder, liver, and bile duct problems. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Trusted Source, supporters believe that the bitter roots may stimulate bile production in the gallbladder and cleanse slowly. You can use drink dandelion teas or coffees to naturally remove their gallstones.
- Milk thistle
Milk thistle has been used medicinally to naturally cleanse the liver for hundreds of years, but there are no specific studies evaluating its effects on gallstones. Still, it can be a good additive for liver and gallbladder health. You can take milk thistle as a tonic, in a detox tea, or in a capsule form like this one from Amazon.
- Lysimachiae Herba
Lysimachiae herba or gold coin grass is a popular traditional Chinese remedy for naturally cleansing and softening gallstones. Some research suggests it may be beneficial for naturally treating or preventing cholesterol gallstones and it is available as a powder or liquid. This supplement has a variety of good herbs in it and is even named the “Stone Breaker.”
When we eat artichokes, they are usually covered in fats or salts – that’s not great for the liver. However, extracts of artichoke have been shown to naturally stimulate natural bile production and aid both gallbladder and liver cleansing. The extract is significantly more potent than the vegetables. Solaray has an artichoke supplement to help especially for the purposes of gallstones. You can buy it on Amazon here.
- Psyllium Husk
Psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. It can be beneficial to a natural gallbladder cleanse, and was shown to reduce gallstones in hamsters. It is also naturally beneficial to the heart, pancreas, and other internal organs.
It is not an easy drink to get down so plan on chugging this drink quickly before it solidifies. Luckily psyllium husk powder is fairly cheap on Amazon and maybe you will be one of the lucky few who can get used to drinking 8oz of the powder and water mixture!
- Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil packs are a popular natural remedy for a wide variety of complaints in the stomach area. To apply a castor oil pack, soak a cloth in warm castor oil and place it on the abdomen. Cover with unbleached wool. Some people choose to place a heat source, such as a hot water bottle or heating pad, on top. Leave the pack on the abdomen for up to an hour. This can aid in a cleanse by softening the gallstones and stimulating a natural removal process.
It may seem like a lot of work but it can be used as relaxation time that you have been trying to pencil in for the last few weeks. This castor oil pack on Amazon is a full kit that has everything you will need to do this process. So get oiled up and turn on your favorite Netflix binge.
Acupuncture has also been shown to naturally relieve gallstone symptoms in a small study of just 60 participants. However, it was shown to only alleviate pain symptoms, not to actually cleanse or remove the stones.
Some yoga poses are said to alleviate gallstones, although no studies support this claim. Cobra, Bow, Seated Forward Bend, Shoulder Stand, and Locust Pose are believed by some to be beneficial for people with gallstones.
Was My Gallbladder Flush Successful?
To see how effective your cleanse is going, you’ll need to embark on a bit of a treasure hunt. Use a flashlight to look for gallstones in the toilet with your bowel movement. The bowel movement should sink, while the gallstones float to the top.
Sometimes the bile ducts are full of cholesterol crystals that appear as a “chaff” floating on top of the toilet bowl water. It may be tan colored or look like millions of tiny white crystals. Cleansing this chaff is just as important as purging stones.
If you can, look for small, green stones (some may be tan) and count them all roughly. You will need to total 2000 stones before the liver is clean enough to eliminate pain completely. This is because you are cleansing the tiny grains before they form large stones. A repeat natural gallbladder cleanse every two-weeks may be necessary to complete the process.
How to Prevent Gallstones in the Future
Some of us are at a higher risk for gallstones than others and there’s nothing you can do about it. For example, ethnic background, increasing age, being female, and family history or genetics are all risk factors that are not changeable. However, other risk factors can be addressed, including:
- Obesity and/or rapid weight loss
- High-fat diet and high-sugar diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
Therefore, the prevention of gallstones includes maintaining a healthy weight, eating more fruits and vegetables and staying active. Research shows a diet of too few or too little calories can be equally damaging to the gallbladder. Those who ate between 1200 and 1500 calories a day for 12 weeks lost weight but were much less likely to get gallstones.
- Is it safe?
Yes. This natural cleanse has been followed by hundreds of individuals without any harmful effects. In one study of over 500 cases, none went to the hospital or reported pain. However, it is important to follow it carefully as even a small change can disturb the liver. If you are concerned about how your body may react to the natural gallbladder cleanse, you should discuss it with a doctor before starting.
- How do the gallstones pass?
The gallstones pass through the feces usually starting the morning after the natural gallbladder cleanse process begins.
- Will this make me sick?
The Epsom salt is used for its laxative effects. The oil/citrus combination is not appealing, so this is not going to feel great. Any natural cleanse will have you heading for the toilet. You may feel ill, you will likely feel full and a bit gassy, but it will not make you sick.
- How do I keep the mixture down?
You may feel like you want to throw up during the process, but the best way to remedy this is to lie down and relax throughout the process and let your body do what it’s meant to do. When all else fails, hold your nose while drinking to trick yourself into not noticing the “taste” of the mixture.
- How often can I repeat this cleanse?
You can repeat this natural gallbladder cleanse every 2-4 weeks until you have cleansed all the stones from your body. Once you feel you have cleansed completely, you can cleanse on a yearly basis for maintenance.
- Can I do this cleanse while pregnant or nursing?
Yes, you can cleanse with natural methods while pregnant or nursing without any problems. You may feel extra tired, so give yourself a little extra time to recover. But use common sense and ask a professional before you do anything if you know you are of higher risk.
- What is the best Epsom salt to use and does it have to be Epsom salt?
Yes. Other forms of salts like table salt, rock salt, or sea salt are forms of sodium chloride which is VERY different than Epsom. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and is not to be used interchangeably. This is the Epsom salt I recommend using.
Gallstones affect 10-15 percent of American adults at some point in their life. While many people will assume the gallbladder just needs to be removed when it causes problems, this natural gallbladder cleanse may be able to help prevent unnecessary surgery.
To maintain liver and gallbladder health, control your intake of high-fat foods (pass on the cheese fries and go for carrots instead), embrace a healthy lifestyle by staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Your gallbladder will thank you.