The gallbladder is a hollow organ that lies beneath the liver. In adults, the gallbladder measures approximately 8 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter when fully distended. It is divided into three sections - fundus, body, and neck. The neck tapers and connects to the biliary tree via the cystic duct, which then joins the common hepatic duct to become the common bile duct.
The adult human gallbladder stores about 50 mm of bile, which is released when food containing fat enters the digestive tract, stimulating the secretion of cholecystokinin. The bile, produced in the liver, emulsifies fats in partly digested food. After being stored in the gallbladder, the bile becomes more concentrated than when it left the liver, increasing its potency and intensifying its effect on fats.
Gallstones may develop in the gallbladder or elsewhere in the biliary tract. If gallstones in the gallbladder are symptomatic and cannot be dissolved by medication or broken into small pieces by ultrasonic waves, surgical removal of the gallbladder, known as chole-cystectomy, may be indicated. Other indications for this procedure include porcelain gallbladder and gallbladder cancer.
Gallstones can occur anywhere within the biliary tree, including the gallbladder and the common bile duct. Obstruction of the biliary tree can cause jaundice; obstruction of the outlet of the pancreatic exocrine system can cause pancreatitis.
A gallstone's size can vary and may be as small as a sand grain or as large as a golf ball. The gallbladder may develop a single, often large stone or many smaller ones. They may occur in any part of the biliary system. Depending on their content, gallstones differ in appearance. Based on their content, gallstones are subdivided into Cholesterol stones and Pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are usually green, but sometimes, they can be white or yellow in color. They are made primarily of cholesterol. Pigment stones are small, dark stones made of bilirubin and calcium salts that are found in bile. Risk factors for pigment stones include hemolytic anemia, cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood cell disorders, such as sickle cell anemia.
Common Herbs for Gall Bladder stones
1. Gokshura (Tribulus terristis): It is one of the best known herbs for removing unwanted toxins from gallbladder and kidneys. It is effective in most urinary tract & gallbladder disorders because it promotes the flow of urine and bile; cools and soothes the membranes of the body; and helps remove stones. It stops the bleeding, and nourishes and strengthens the digestive and reproductive organs. The herb has been used in treating cystitis, renal calculi (kidney stones), incontinence, gout and impotence. It may also have a mild diuretic action.
2. Cilantro (Coriander sativa) leaves: It prevents the formation of gall stones and breaks up the chain of gall stones formation.
3. Corn (Zea mays) silk: Corn silk has a beneficial effect on kidney and gallbladder reducing stone formation and it also helps relieve some of the symptoms of existing stones. It soothes and relaxes the lining of the bladder, relieving irritation and improving bile flow and elimination.
Yogic Management of Gallstones
Common Yoga postures recommended for Gallbladder stones
1. Hatha Yoga 2. Back stretch pose 3. Bow pose
Diet and Nutrition for Gallstone Patients
Following are the diet and nutrition guidelines for managing gall bladder stones.
1. Consume a low fat diet. 2. Drink lot of water. 3. Foods like artichokes, barley, oat bran, broccoli, dandelion greens, alfalfa and oat bran may be beneficial. 4. Non-vegetarians can have fish, chicken and turkey in their diet. 5. Red meat and spicy foods are prohibited for gall bladder stone patients. 6. Take: Beet, cucumber, garlic and garlic oil, avocados, artichokes, ginger root, coconut, grapes and grape juice, apple, apricots, berries, casaba melons, currants, figs, guavas, lemons, pears, prunes, turmeric, and flax oil. 7. Avoid: eggs, pork, onion, fowl, milk, coffee, grapefruit, oranges, corn, beans and nuts, alcohol, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils.
Home Remedy for Gallbladder Pain
1. One common beet root + Juice of half lemon + 2 table spoon of flax oil / 10 ml of olive oil + 10 ml of fresh lemon juice + 5 gm of crushed Garlic – Use this mixture once a day in an empty stomach.
2. One bunch parsley + 3 medium zucchini + ½ lb. Green beans + 5 stalks celery - Steam together for 8-10 minutes or partially steam and boil in ½ cup water or the Flax Seed Tea.
Liquids are best during an attack. You could try the Beet Recipe. Many find it helps, but others do better with just liquids. It is wonderful for relief from all sorts of gastric disturbances such as stomach pain, gas, and indigestion. I do not add any fat or salt to this recipe. It can be used anytime but is particularly useful as a three day fast with nothing else but water. It is both nourishing and easy to digest. You can alter the amounts to taste. More beans add more sweetness.