An Overview of Ayurvedic Treatment for Gallstones
Ayurvedic treatments for gallstones can help prevent the formation of stones and manage their symptoms with natural remedies. Discover different herbal remedies and dietary changes to support your gallbladder health and reduce the risk of stone formation.
Are you seriously aware of your own body? If not, learn here about a condition related to the disturbance of your internal balance. A small organ that exists below your liver, the gall bladder can be termed as a structure with bile in it. This is occupying the upper right abdomen. In short, Bile, the enzyme helps in digestion.
When this bile gets hardened, there form gallstones. Anyways, these are not showing any symptoms most of the time, yet can show visible symptoms within some years. Let’s know more.
Gallbladder stone treatment in Ayurveda is an effective way to treat gallstones naturally without undergoing surgery. Ayurveda helps to identify the root cause for the formation of gall stones and helps to correct it through following healthy food habits and lifestyle. Along with this ayurvedic medicines are prescribed to dissolve gallstones.
What are gallstones?
As the name indicates the formation of stones (crystalline deposits) in the gallbladder is called gallstones.
How common are gallstones?
It is said that around 5 to 25% of the population is suffering from gallstones.
If is found higher in western countries, among women and elderly people.
How gallstones are formed?
Gallstones are formed when there is excess cholesterol presenting the bile. Cholesterol is insoluble in water and solubilization of cholesterol depends upon the amount of bile salt and phospholipid (lecithin). When there is excess cholesterol or reduced phospholipids and bile acid gradually cholesterol crystals begin to form.
Signs and symptoms of gallstones
Gallbladder stones usually show no symptoms. It is said that around 2-4% of people with gallstones develop symptoms. The most common symptom is pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen.
Usually, there won’t be any fever but the pain may last more than half an hour. If a patient develops a fever it suggests the development of cholecystitis or cholangitis.
Other symptoms of gallstones are
- Epigastric pain
- Intolerance to fatty foods
- Frothy foul-smelling stools
Complications of Gallstones
Some of the common complications of gallstones are
- Acute Cholecystitis
- Acute Pancreatitis
- Obstructive Jaundice
Other rarer complications include acute cholangitis, empyema, intestinal obstruction, gallbladder perforation with peritonitis, and gallbladder cancer.
Why these symptoms manifest – Causes of gallstones
Bile pigments like Bilirubin when in high amounts can trigger the formation of gall stones. Due to irregular, high-fat, and sugar-rich diet and lifestyle diseases, liver disorders, etc, gall stones can occur in your body.
Do you know?
If you have too much cholesterol, your body can form cholesterol stones. Bilirubin usually gets excreted out of your body. But due to the fullness of the gall bladder, bile gets accumulated in the gall bladder forming stones.
Risk factors for gallstones
You can expect usual risk factors like age, race, sex, and family history associated with gallstones. Diet also is an important factor. Chronic constipation, having few meals a day, and low intake of the nutrients folate, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C again increase the possibility of developing gallstones. Weight loss all of a sudden also increases the risk of gallstones.
People with obesity, high cholesterol levels in the blood, and diabetes are at more risk of gallbladder stones. Females especially pregnant ladies and the old generation are more prone to develop gallstones. Some are also of the opinion that certain contraceptive pills and medications with high estrogen content are also increasing the risk for gallstones.
Diagnosis of gallstones
Ultrasonography is the first choice for the diagnosis of gallbladder stones.
Diagnosis is done with the help of physical examination by checking your eyes for visible changes in color and, even skin can show this change. If you see yellowish discoloration, it shows a high amount of bilirubin in your body. Tests like USG, CT scan, gall bladder radionuclide scan, and blood tests are indicated to detect gallstones. Liver function tests may also be associated with this sometimes.
Types of gallstones
Gallstones are mainly divided into three types
- Cholesterol gall stones
- Mixed Gall stones (cholesterol and bilirubin pigment) and
- Pure pigment gall stones.
Cholesterol gall stones
As the name says, cholesterol gall stones are formed due to excess cholesterol levels in your body, and pigment gall stones are due to more bilirubin levels.
Cholesterol gallstones are formed because of an imbalance of pro nucleating and anti nucleating factors in bile. Excessive biliary cholesterol, low bile salt levels, decreased gallbladder motility, and phosphatidylcholine level leads to the formation of cholesterol gallstones.
Factors responsible for the formation of Cholesterol Gallstones
- supersaturation of bile with cholesterol
- increased deoxycholate formation and absorption
- cholesterol crystal nucleation
- impaired gallbladder function
- dietary factors
- sex and estrogens
Cholesterol gall stones are light yellow to dark green, brown, or chalk white in color, and are oval in shape. They are usually solitary, between 2 and 3 cm long with a small, dark, central spot.
Pigment gallstones are used for stones containing less than 30% cholesterol. They are two types
- Black pigment gallstones
- Brown pigment gallstones
Bilirubin (Black Pigment) stones are small, dark (often appearing black), and are many in number. They are made up of bilirubin (insoluble bilirubin pigment polymer) and calcium (calcium phosphate) salts that are found in bile. They account for 20-30% of overall gallbladder stones. It is usually seen in elderly patients.
Brown pigment gallstones contain calcium bilirubinate, calcium palmitate and stearate, and cholesterol and are found rarely.
Gallstone treatment can be calcified into two categories
- Symptomatic Gallstones
- Asymptomatic Gallstones
Today surgery is considered the only effective treatment for managing symptomatic gallstones.
Although surgery is told by many as an effective treatment, Ayurvedic remedies are often sought firsthand. You can conserve your gall bladder if you seek Ayurveda’s help in this matter.
Ayurvedic Treatments for Gallstones
As per Ayurveda, all three Doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha play a vital role in the formation of gallstones. Gallstones are also known as pittashmari (stones formed due to pitta predominant dosha) in Ayurveda. The excessive increase of Pitta (caused by hot, spicy food, alcohol, etc.) causes this stone formation in the gall bladder. Kapha increased due to the consumption of fatty, heavy foods that get mixed with Pitta and produce a sticky substance. Vata dries this and molds it into a shape like that of a stone. Ayurvedic treatment helps the body to expel stones naturally.
If one has the tendency to get repeated incidences of gallstones then panchakarma treatments are beneficial. Panchakarma treatments are administered with utmost care after analyzing all factors and only if the person is fit to undergo them.
Ayurvedic medicines for Gallstones
Arogya Vardhini Vati, Chandraprabha Vati, Gokshuradi Guggulu, Kapardika Bhasma, Tamra Bhasma, Punarnava Mandura, and Usheerasava-like medicines are generally aiding you in gallbladder stone treatment.
Notable herbs in gallbladder stone management are turmeric, aloe vera, goksura, and black pepper. Let’s take the example of turmeric here for illustration. It is a cholagogue, that stimulates bile production in the liver and encourages the excretion of bile via the gallbladder, which improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
Ayurvedic special recipe for gall bladder wellness – Horse gram rasam
Take a cleaned horse gram and wash it properly then soak it for 4 hours. Steam, cool and drain the liquid. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil/ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chilies, and allow them to get heated and burst well. Add chopped tomatoes and fry slowly till they are soft. Add 2 teaspoons of garlic paste and mix till the raw smell goes off, add tamarind and salt, and boil. Jaggery, black pepper, cumin seeds, lemon juice, and curry leaves are optional. Add boiled horse gram to this. When this mixture boils and cooks mash well remove from the flame and serve hot.
It is high in iron, and calcium, and provides the amount of protein required in a day per serving. It is low in fat and high in fiber content so helps to lower LDL levels and body fat. It is diabetic-friendly food and keeps you warm on a cold winter day. Horse gram is recommended in urinary calculi also. The raw seeds of horse gram have flavonoids and polyphenols, these compounds bestow protective properties on the liver and gall bladder.
Prevention is better than cure. Make Ayurveda your daily companion to help your gall bladder.
Dietary tips for gallstones
- Have more fresh fruits and veggies; avoid Maida-added food. Fibrous fruits like mango, guava, and leafy vegetables are beneficial. At least half an hour of daily exercise workout, yoga, and pranayama routine can help you regain health faster.
- Avoid fat-rich meat, fat-rich ice creams, pastries, cheeses, and cookies which again increase the burden on your gall bladder metabolism. Weight also should be maintained at an optimum level.
In Ayurveda, the treatment of gallbladder stones is to take certain herbs and spices. Some are taken in decoction form while others are taken as powder or pills. The treatment of gallbladder stones depends on the type and size of the stones. If they are small and asymptomatic you can use ayurvedic medicines to dissolve them. Ayurvedic treatments can help you to remove gallbladder stones without operation.
If you want to get rid of your gallbladder stones, then focus on improving your diet and lifestyle.
“This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.”
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- Sherlock’s Diseases of the Liver and Biliary System, 13th Edition