Gallstones from the point of view of Ayurveda
The gallbladder is an organ located under the liver. Bile is secreted from the liver and is stored in the gallbladder. When gallbladder contracts, it squeezes bile through the bile duct. Sometimes the chemicals which exist in the gallbladder solidify into large stones or several small stones which get stored in the gallbladder. The stones can block the normal flow of the bile if it lodge in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, and it can lead to pain.
In Ayurveda gallbladder stones are correlated to “Pittashmari”, which means stones and the imbalanced Pitta dosha in the gallbladder. This happens because excess Kapha dosha mixes with the Pitta features of the viscous liquid bile, turning it into a dry, hardened form. Excessive consumption of Pitta food, such as hot, spicy food and large amounts of alcohol, causes the formation of stones. Excessive Kapha food, such as fatty heavy food mixed with pitta, forms a very sticky mixture, while Vata causes this mixture to dry out and give it the shape of a stone.
There are mainly three kinds of stones:
- Cholesterol stones. The most common type of gallstones which are composed usually of cholesterol which is secreted by the liver and it’s yellow-green in color.
- Pigment stones. These are usually composed of calcium salts or bilirubin and are dark brown or black in color.
- Mixed stones. These are cholesterol stones that work by the body's bacteria and immune cells used to break down bilirubin.
How Ayurveda treats gallstones
Ayurvedic treatment basically focuses on taking liver cleansing medication and herbs that restore the function of the liver. Panchakarma therapies like Basti (herbal enemas) and Virechana (therapeutic purgation) play an important role in the treatment too, because it is the best treatment for Pitta dosha.
Avagah Sweda is the most beneficial therapy for pain management. This therapy includes applying warm oil (dhanwantharam thailam) on the body and sitting in a bathtub. Massage and warm fomentation help pacify Vata. Numerous herbal medicines have been found useful in preventing gallstones as per traditional Ayurvedic medicine – like Kulattha (Horse gram), which is useful in treating gallbladder stones at an early stage. It increases the blood flow and Pitta secretion by removing excess Kapha. Other popular internal medicines for Gallstone treatment are Abhayarishtam, Kumaryasava, Tamra Bhasma, and Bala Punarnavadi.
Oral medications are recommended to be used under strict supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
Tips for effective Ayurvedic treatment of Gallstones:
- Drink warm milk with turmeric after meals. It assists in liquifying bile fluids, ridding gallstones from bile ducts and improves digestion and liver health
- Taking aloe juice with honey regularly is proven to be a natural remedy for gallstones
- Mix cucumber, beet and carrot juice in equal parts – take it twice a day
- Peppermint tea twice a day soothes spams and instantly relieves pain
- Have a teaspoon of lemon juice every day naturally stops the liver from making cholesterol stones
- Massage the gallbladder area with castor oil every night, before going to bed
- “Surya Namaskar” Sun Salutation yoga complex improves the function of the visceral organs, especially of the lungs and gallbladder
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Avoid food that contains saturated fats
Check the Ayurvedic treatment for other liver&gallbladder diseases:
Liver cirrhosis, Jaundice, Fatty liver disease, Pancreatitis, Liver disease, Liver cancer, Biliary dyskinesia, Primary sclerosing cholangitis, Gallbladder polyps, Gallbladder cancer, Hepatitis.