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Gallstones are the formation of hard solid materials from bilirubin, bile cholesterol and some minerals like calcium in the gall bladder. Gallstone disease is medically referred to as cholelithiasis. The gall bladder sits below the liver at the right upper quadrant in the abdomen.
Gallstones are the formation of hard solid materials from bilirubin, bile cholesterol and some minerals like calcium in the gallbladder. Gallstone disease is medically referred to as cholelithiasis. The gallbladder sits below the liver at the right upper quadrant in the abdomen.
Many people with gallstones live without experiencing any symptoms, especially if they are small and stay in the gallbladder. However, if the stones become big or move out of the gall bladder blocking the ducts, various symptoms are reported.
The symptoms of pain in gallstone disease are typically marked on the right side. Patient experience right-sided abdominal pains (just below the ribs), right shoulder pain, back pain around the right-mid shoulder blades. Also, a patient may develop fever, sweating, nausea or vomiting. A patient may experience other symptoms like a headache, dizziness, jaundice, among others depending on whether he/she has another associated illness or complication.
Complications arising are a result of huge gallstones and or blocked ducts. Inflammation and infection may follow leading to:
- • Cholecystitis - Inflammation of the gallbladder.
• Cholangitis – infection of the bile ducts
• Jaundice – yellowness of the eyes and skin due to the blocking of the gallbladder & liver ducts causing inflammation or infection.
• Pancreatitis – inflammation or infection of the pancreas
• Sepsis – a widespread blood infection
The major causes include; an imbalance in the chemical properties of the bile, resulting in an increase in cholesterol in the bile and high levels of bilirubin in the gallbladder. Also, the poor muscle tone of the gallbladder ducts causes stagnation of bile in the gallbladder.
Various individuals are at risk of developing gallstones, namely:
- • Overweight or obese people.
• Women over 40 or women on the combined hormonal pill after childbearing.
• Family member history of developing gallstones.
• Sudden weight loss.
• Taking a high fat/cholesterol and low fiber diet.
• Liver disease like cirrhosis.
- 1. In gallstone formation cholesterol in the major component thus should be avoided. Therefore, a reduced intake of saturated fats like; high-fat dairy products, fried foods, among others and avoid sugary foods or drinks.
2. Increase foods rich in fiber, vitamin C and lecithin to decrease risks of gallstones.
3. Experts believe a low-fat; high-fiber diet may help prevent gallstones.
4. Eat small but frequent meals in a day. Small portions of food are easier and faster to digest.
5. Take enough water (2 liters) through-out the day to improve digestion and avoid gallstone formation.
6. Involve yourself in physical activities to prevent becoming overweight and if overweight or obese, lose your weight gradually.
The Ayurveda treatment focuses on the root cause of the gallstones, by balancing the doshas that cause gallstones. An increase in Pitta (digestive fire), reduction in Vata (body movements) and an unstable Kapha (Water & Earth) – Immune system – lay the basis of gallstone formation. Traditional ayurvedic medicine for gallstone treatment fall under two categories; the choleretics and cholagogues which stimulate bile secretion from the liver and trigger gallbladder’s smooth muscle contraction respectively. Examples of herbs with such qualities are; gokshura, Punarnavadi, chicory, and asafetida among others.
Ayurveda customizes treatment using herbal preparations, diet and lifestyle modifications to dissolve the gallstones. The herbal preparations detoxify the liver and gallbladder restoring their function. Ayurveda treats gall stones naturally obliterating the call for gall bladder surgery in the long-term. The medicine and treatment programs by Ayurveda not only dissolve gallstones but improve general body health and well being.
In Ayurveda, patients with gallstones should take citrus fruits (have Vitamin C) and a lot of vegetables. In several studies, eating foods rich in vitamin C and magnesium not only helps to dissolve the gallstones but also prevent their formation. Eat more of high fiber and low saturated fat diets. During meal preparation, some herbs like turmeric, dandelion, chicory, peppermint, and black seed can be strategically added in different meals to help in dissolving and flushing out the gallstones. Ample fluids are encouraged from the herbal teas, juices and at least 2 liters of water.
Weight loss and physical fitness are encouraged in an ayurvedic lifestyle. However, you should avoid drastic weight loss since it increases the chances of developing gallstones. Whenever the patient has colic due to the gallstones, he/she should massage the area of pain with a warm towel for about 30mins. Also, a warm water enema should help relieve the pain. Ayurveda is a highly recommended treatment for gallstones as it helps patients avoid cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder)
- • Place a warm cloth over the stomach on the right upper region in the abdomen.
• Olive oil detoxification – Take olive oil (about 30mls) early morning after a few minutes, take a half glass of lemon or grapefruit juice. This detox stimulates bile secretion and release of stones from the gallbladder.
• Mix carrot, cucumber and beetroot juice in equal amounts and drink twice a day.
• Incorporate the use of turmeric in meal preparation or drink a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Turmeric has curcumin that is a good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory component that increases bile solubility thus dissolving gallstones.
• Take warm water half a glass and mix it with half a glass of pear juice, then add honey and drink thrice a day after meals.
• Drinking peppermint tea soothes the muscle spasms of the gallbladder ducts that have stuck stones.
• Make a mixture of pineapple juice and mix with citrus fruits like grapes, pears, lemon, or oranges. Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that is beneficial for gallbladder functioning.
• In the morning, instead of taking coffee, take roasted chicory root tea.
• Prepare vegetable salads with tender steamed dandelion leaves or take dandelion tea.
• Take ground black seeds, honey (both 250g) and mix with a half glass of warm water. Drink the remedy on an empty stomach preferably in the morning.
• Take peppermint in vegetable salad dressing or taken in hot water.