How to Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally

How to Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally

Have you ever had a gallbladder attack?

Talk about painful!

Thankfully, I have found something that works like a charm, is not invasive and lets me keep my gallbladder!

My Experience

I had my first when pregnant with our 8th child and after an all-you-can eat pizza buffet – a high fat meat! It was no fun, in fact, it was quite painful! As a nurse, I knew that I was a prime candidate for gallbladder surgery. Having cared for gallbladder patients, I knew that it was a difficult surgery and I did not want it! In seeking an alternative to gallbladder surgery, my father introduced me to a gallbladder cleanse, also called a gallbladder flush.

I have continued to use the recipe that I will give below, as needed with success. Until I started the GAPS diet, I would use the flush once a year or so. Since I have been on the GAPS diet, interestingly, my gallbladder attacks increased during the first 8 – 10 months or so. During this time, I did the gallbladder cleanse monthly until my stones subsided. Whatever the reason, the GAPS diet seemed to accentuate my gallbladder problem. My gallbladder was not functioning properly and through the healing process of the GAPS diet it is now much better and the need for a gallbladder cleanse in almost unnecessary.

Before I give the recipe …

Did you know that nearly 1 million gallbladders are removed yearly?

Over 20 years ago, gallbladders were removed surgically and the recovery period was slow and painful.  The traditional “open” gallbladder surgery has almost completely been replaced with the introduction of laparoscopy. Laparoscopy uses small instruments and a lighted tube equipped with a video camera, all inserted through tiny abdominal incisions. The recovery period is quicker and less painful with a laparoscopy making it the preferred method of removal.

Unfortunately, the number of gallbladder operations has risen 40 percent since the introduction of the laparoscopy! Perhaps the doctors would prefer to avoid severe attacks so, the gallbladder is removed with vague symptoms like bloating and gas. This equals unnecessary surgery!

Laporascopic removal of the gallbladder while used commonly is not without risk. Accidental severing of the bile duct, which can cause permanent liver damage, occurs in 1 to 2 percent of laparoscopies—three times more often than in open surgery!

Function of the Gallbladder:

The gallbladder is located just under the liver and has a very important role in the digestive process.

According to Wikipedia:

In vertebrates the gallbladder (cholecystgall bladderbiliary vesicle) is a small organ that aids mainly in fat digestion and concentrates bile produced by the liver. The surgical removal of the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy.

To put it another way, it emulsifies fats. Think of trying to wash greasy dishes without soap. It is almost impossible. Why? Because soap emulsifies the grease. Similarly, the gallbladder stores bile and bile acids, which emulsify the fat eaten so it can be properly transported through the intestine into the blood stream.

Bile is made in the liver, then stored in the gallbladder until the body needs it to digest fat. At that time, the gallbladder contracts and pushes the bile into a tube–called the common bile duct–that carries it to the small intestine, where it helps with digestion. Under certain conditions the bile can harden into stones.

Types of Gallstones:

There are two two types of gallstones:

1. Cholesterol stones made up of hardened cholesterol are usually yellow-green. 80 percent of gallstones are cholesterol stones. They are caused by too much cholesterol, bilirubin, or not enough bile salts or when the gallbladder does not empty as it should.

Gallstones - cholesterol stones

2. Pigment stones made of bilirubin are small, dark stones. Their cause is uncertain although they tend to occur in people with cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia – these conditions cause too much bilirubin to form.

Gallstones - pigment stones 180


Either type of gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. The gallbladder can develop either one large stone, hundreds of tiny stones, or almost any combination.

Symptoms of a Gallbladder Attack:

If gallstones lodge in any of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestines, a gallbladder attack occurs. Symptoms have a rapid onset and may include:

  • Steady pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
  • Pain in the back between the shoulder blades
  • Pain under the right shoulder
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Recurring intolerance of fatty foods
  • Belching
  • Gas
  • Indigestion

An easy way to determine if your pain is related to the gallbladder is to 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.

Curing Symptoms Not the Problem:

The removal of the gallbladder is a procedure called Cholecystectomy. Of the 1 million cholecystectomys or gallbladder removals that are done yearly, it is estimated that only a few thousand actually need to come out! Sadly, as many as half of the patients continue to have pain after the gallbladder is removed. Rather than treat the symptoms, more care should be taken to heed the warning signals and determine why the gallbladder is not functioning properly.

liver pancreas

One way to relieve congestion in the gallbladder is a gallbladder cleanse or flush. I am not a medical doctor and do not pretend to give medical advise but I do want to share what has worked for me. The following recipe is one I have used since my first attack in 2002. I use it when I begin to experience pain in my right side, just under my ribs. It is a pain that once you have, you recognize instantly.  While I normally do not have severe pain (because I do the flush before it gets too bad), I have procrastinated and had sever pain, nausea and vomiting – all of which are relieved by the following cleanse and passage of gallstones.

Gallbladder Cleanse Recipe

Drink 1 qt of apple juice each day for 5 days. Drink the apple juice in addition to your regular diet.  The apple juice contains limonoid which helps soften any gallstones and alleviate any pain you are experiencing.

On the 6th day:

Do not eat anything after 6 pm.

At 6 pm, take 1 Tbsp Epsom salt with a full glass of water. Mix the Epsom salt in the water – it takes a bit of stirring. I take a big breath and down it quickly!

At 8 pm repeat 1 Tbsp Epsom salt with a full glass of water.

At 10 pm – mix and drink quickly, 4 oz. olive oil (from my affiliate -where to buy) and 4 oz. lemon juice.

Go to bed and in the morning you will pass any gallstones you may have. I normally have varying sizes of bright green gallstones visible in the toilet. The Epsom salt acts as a laxative to quickly remove the gallstones from the intestinal tract.

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  1. says

    Did you wait until the point in the GAPS intro when you added olive oil to do the cleanse, or did you deviate from the diet for the cleanse and resume it where you left off?

    • Julie says

      I had diarrhea and gas and no nausea, vomitting, etc. When I went to the naturopath he confirmed what I suspected, I was having gall bladder problems. A clue to look for is stool float. When that occurs the fats are not being digested.

  2. Sarah says

    The directions say to drink the juice for 5 days but then don’t start the cleanse until the sixth day. Was that intentional? Am I supposed to fast from the juice for a full day before starting the cleanse?

    • says

      Sarah, The apple juice works to soften the stones so yes, you are to take it each day before the cleanse so when you pass the stones, they pass easily and painlessly. You still drink the juice on the 6th day – and up until 6pm on the sixth day, you are eating a normal diet.

    • says

      Nate, I really can’t give medical advise but only tell you what I would do and what has worked for me. I personally don’t see why it wouldn’t but I would seek medical advise. Maybe another reader could help?

  3. Shelley says

    I don’t have a gallbladder issue that I know of any way but I’m trying to detox and change my eating habits! I’d like to try this cleanse; won’t hurt to just do it and see what comes out right?

      • Ann says

        Do I just drink the juice with my regular food intake or do I fast and just drink the apple juice? what is the best juice and epsom salt to buy?

        • says

          Ann, just drink the apple juice in addition to your regular meals. If you can find juice with no added sugar I think that is the best. Any e\Epsom salt will do as long as it is just Epsom salt.

          • Ann M says

            Hi Dina-Marie,
            Do I really have to wait 6 days??? I really just want to do this tomorrow. I just had all the symptoms occur tonight – although I noticed “floating stools” a few days ago – after I started a new probiotic – although I have had normal healthy stools as well, daily, – sorry to be graphic! I eat really well – at least one salad a day – often 2, I take coconut oil and fish oil – get good carbs, protein etc… The only thing I have done differently is changed probiotic – it was one of the top ten listed. And can I take apple cider vinegar instead of the apple juice – I just don’t want all that sugar!

          • says

            Ann, I understand about the sugar but the apple juice contains limonoid which will help stop the pain and soften the stones so they pass easily and without pain. The danger of not waiting the 6 days is that you would lose the benefits of the apple juice. I would wait just to be safe!

  4. Esther says

    Hi Dina-Marie,
    Fortunately or Unfortunately, I am one of them all that got my gallbladder removed. I was suppose to get my gallbladder vacuumed and get a speedy recovery but as I was in the process the dr saw my gallbladder full and no hopes of proceeding with plan A. So he went for plan B, removing my gallbladder

  5. Paul says

    In the past from time to time I have had lower back stiffness and pain when bending over to tie my shoes and when quickly getting up after sitting. Six months ago in WA state I tried the gall bladder cleanse you suggest. It seemed to help and I discharged what looked like many very small stones. I was expecting the diarrhea to set in the next day. But had diarrhea prior to my taking the lemon juice/olive oil. Is that the way it normally works? Right now, in Hong Kong, I am in the process of repeating the cleanse. I am wondering if I should lower the Epsom salt dosage and/or decrease the time between the 2 doses of Epsom salt and/or before taking the lemon juice/olive oil. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

    • says

      Paul, I normally have diarrhea in the wee early morning hours and for a few hours of the morning the next day. If it were me, (and I can’t give you medical advice but just share what I have done and would do after doing the cleanse from experience) I would probably keep the dose the same – the Epsom salt gets your intestines moving and since you passed stones in the morning, I would say it did its job!

  6. Kirk says

    I looked up limonoids, per your cleanse recipe, and learned that oranges and lemons have the highest concentration, so wondering why is the cleanse strictly apple juice?
    Is there something special about he limonoids found in apple juice?

  7. Sarah says

    How often do you do this cleanse? For the past couple of months I have been having gallbladder problems and I don’t want the surgery…so I am going to try this. Also, do you need to stay away from any foods that can effect the gallbladder or eat what you want?

    • says

      Sarah, while I was on the GAPS diet, I went through a period where I did the cleanse monthly. Now I do it yearly just to make sure it is stone free. If you are having problems with gallstones, you should look at your diet and make sure you are getting probiotics for your gut health and the good animal fats that come with a traditional diet.

      • Sarah says

        Thank you for your reply. I think my last sentence may have not made sense. My diet is not the best, however, I have been noticing flare up here fairly recent. This may be a dumb question, but, does smoking cause the gallbladder to have pain? I stopped smoking and slightly changed how I ate right after being diagnosed with GERD and gallstones and had very few flare ups for over a month,however, I just started smoking again and My gallbladder has caused me pain for several days now. I haven’t started the cleanse yet, but do you think the cleanse is enough, or do you think the GAPS diet had a major impact? Thank you for your time

        • says

          Sarah, I have not seen anything linking smoking to gallbladder pain but, it does affect your whole body because it decreases the oxygen capacity of each cell throughout the body. If you diet is not great, I would definitely look into healthy changes. I would start with the gallbladder cleanse to give immediate relief. I do think GAPS is beneficial for everyone to do for a short period of time to cleanse the body and get the gut bacteria into balance. I was on it for 2 years because of major health issues which required allowing my gut to heal so that it could perform digestion properly. I don’t think that is the case for everyone. But, even for the most severe cases, the GAPS diet is not intended to be a lifelong diet, it is merely for a period of healing. I hope this helps!

  8. Gay says

    Hi Dina-Marie, Do you have any suggestions for getting the oil/lemon juice mixture down? I have done this cleanse a couple times but don’t think I could again due to the taste. It nearly all came back up again and for about a year after I couldn’t eat anything with olive oil in it. I found it repulsive! Sadly I no longer have a gallbladder (taken out over 20 years ago before I knew about cleanses) but this cleanse also cleanses the liver so I still want to do it. There may be limonoids in the apple juice but it is also very high in malic acid which works to soften the stones. It think that’s why apple juice is recommended and not orange or lemon juice.

      • Norma says

        I have done the cleanse with lemon juice & grapefruit juice (you can mix the oil with grapefruit & it won’t get slimy) I have a huge problem with the epsom salts though. I have done the cleanse with 1 dose only & got results & I have done it with 2 doses (major difference in not a good way, was too violent) The taste is almost too unbearable even with the vitamin c powder added. I used apple juice this last time & it was a little better than using water. I have 4 family members who had their gallbladders removed & I am trying to save mine but sometimes I think I am not doing the right thing in waiting. Did 4 flushes within a month. Should I keep fighting or schedule a surgery? Your opinion would be appreciated. :)

        • says

          Norma, I am sorry you are having such a battle! Because I am not a doctor, I really can’t advise you but I can say that I have done the cleanse monthly during one period while I was on the GAPS diet and having a difficult time with digestion. What is your diet like? Maybe the GAPS diet would be beneficial to help get your gut bacteria in good shape where the beneficial bacteria are in control. It also allows your intestines a period of healing so that all food (including fats) are digested properly. Just some thoughts – I hope it helps! For me, it was worth doing the cleanse and avoiding surgery. Even though it is thought of as a routine surgery, there are still risks!

  9. Mrs. Wood says

    Hello, have you had an ultrasound on your gallbladder since the gallstones have left your body? Do you still have attacks?

      • Alyssa says

        Could you describe the attacks you used to have? I’m an 18 year old girl and I have been having attacks with severe pain under my ribs on my right side for 3 or 4 years now. The pain is the worst pain I have ever felt, and it radiates into my back as well as surrounding areas in the front. Sometimes it helps to twist my body or curl up into a ball, but the only thing that stops it is strong pain medication I have been prescribed. I have had numerous ultrasounds and x-rays, blood tests, and even HIDA scans, but nothing has showed up and doctors can’t diagnose me. I am convinced I have gallstones but they have not appeared in any of my tests. If anyone has had these symptoms and had success with these cleanses, it would be great to know!


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