Headaches, irritability, quick temper, chronic constipation, nervous tension, and pain between shoulder blades, center of the chest, or right shoulder. For some, fever and chills manifest, as well.

What Is Gallbladder Disease?

From Modern Western Medicine

Gallstones are the principle disorder associated with the gallbladder. Gallstones are composed mostly of cholesterol and bile acids. They develop when the gallbladder has too much cholesterol and not enough bile acids and detergents to keep the cholesterol in solution. The consequence is that the cholesterol becomes crystallized. Around that hardened crystal forms a stone.

Although gallstones are common in the Western world, only about 20% of people with gallstones have symptoms that require the removal of the gallbladder (an operation called a cholecystectomy). Severe abdominal pain arises when the gallbladder attempts to rid itself of the stones. Bile may become trapped in the gallbladder and in the organ’s opening, causing the walls of the organ to become inflamed and infected, a condition called acute cholecystitis. The initial phase of acute cholecystitis is often fever and abdominal tenderness, but as the disorder persists, acute cholecystitis leads to chronic cholecystitis, in which the gallbladder shrinks, the walls of the organ become thick, and the gallbladder ceases to function.

From Traditional Medicine

Gallbladder disease and gallstones are the result of Western dietary practices and lifestyles. Gallstones form when cholesterol within the gallbladder becomes too high to remain in solution, and thus become hardened into stones. The stones would not form if the blood were not carrying so much fat and cholesterol in the first place. In many cases, gallstones can disappear if blood cholesterol declines sharply and bile acids and detergents are allowed to dissolve the stones inside the gallbladder.   

Who Gets Gallstones?

Every year, one million people develop gallstones. The disorder is rare in children, but common in middle-age adults. Women are affected four times more often as men.


Foods to Eat

Eat smaller and more frequent meals.

  • Olive oil cleanses the gallbladder. Include it in your diet five times a week in small amounts in sautéed vegetables, such as dressing for vegetables and salads, and in cooking.
  • Apple juice
  • Beet root tops, beet juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Carrot juice


After the stones have passed, eat:

  • Lots of fruit, olives oil, and lemon juice for three days
  • Vegetables that stimulate the liver, including cabbage, turnip root, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Radishes (eat 1 or 2 between meals for three weeks)
  • Prunes
  • Dandelion greens
  • Chicory
  • Beets and tops
  • Carrot juice
  • Olive oil
  • Grated apples
  • Flaxseed and flax oil (pour 5 tsp. over food at one meal)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Dates
  • Melons
  • Pineapple


Foods to Avoid

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Dairy products
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol


Herbs to Treat Gallbladder Disease

  • Chamomile tea (to dissolve stones)
  • Dandelion tea and greens (clears obstruction)
  • Use the following formula:

1 part wood betony

1 part dandelion roots

1 part wild yam

1 part parsley root

1 part licorice

Simmer 1 oz. of this formula in 1½ pints of water for 45 minutes; strain. Drink ½ cup three times per day. This tea should be taken during a three-day apple juice fast. (Clean the bowels with a warm water enema before and after the fast.) Drink a cup of tea made of one part goldenseal, two parts dandelion, and ½ part peppermint every two hours the day before you are going to flush out the gallstones. This will liquefy the bile.


Castor oil packs: place over the liver and gallbladder area for one hour. After using the pack, drink 4 oz. of cold-pressed olive oil mixed with 4 oz. of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Take a strong herbal laxative after the tea, such as senna. Lie on right side with hips elevated by a pillow. Place a hot castor oil pack or a fomentation of hops and lobelia over the liver while in this position. The stones will pass within two to six hours.

Chinese Medicine

  • Treat liver stagnation with the foods and herbs listed above.
  • Acupuncture or acupressure, especially treating liver and gallbladder meridians



  • Beta-carotene: 15 – 30 mg per day
  • Vitamin B complex: 25 mg per day
  • Vitamin B6: 2 mg per day
  • Vitamin C: 100 mg per day
  • Vitamin E: 100 – 200 IU per day