12 Effective Remedies to Get Rid of Gallstones

Gallstones refer to the hard deposits inside the gallbladder that can cause pain and discomfort [1].

There are two primary types: cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones [2].

About 80 percent of gallstones are made of cholesterol [2].

Pigment stones, meanwhile, are made of bilirubin, a fluid manufactured by the liver [2].

The most common sign of gallstones is pain, which can be suddenly felt in the abdomen and the shoulders [3].

To help the body flush out gallstones naturally, here are some useful home remedies for gallstones that you can try at home. These natural remedies will heal gallstones, relieve the pain, and help you solve the underlying causes related to the medical condition.

Inside this article:

  • 12 home remedies for dissolving gallstones and the pain
  • How to prepare and use the home remedies for gallstones flush and pain relief

RELATED: 10 Home Remedies for Gallbladder Pain (& How to Use Them)

12 Home Remedies for Gallstones

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is extracted from a plant species that belongs to the Oleaceae family [4].

This plant can be found mostly in Mediterranean countries and also in Syria, Lebanon and some parts of Iraq [4].

Its use dates back to the biblical times, when traditional healers relied on it as an emollient, laxative and aphrodisiac [4].

It is also part of the popular method for eliminating gallstones called the gallbladder flush [4].

In this method, olive oil is used to promote gallstone passage [4].

It is believed that the oil lubricates the digestive tract to make it easier for the gallstones to pass through.

Case reports show that ingestion of olive oil in combination with lemon juice reduced the number of gallstones [5].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 apples
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Fast the whole day, and eat only apples.
  • Before sleeping, drink a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Lie on your right side.
  • The next morning, you will pass some gallstones.

2. Lemon Juice

A study published in the Journal of Crystal Growth lists extracts of lemon fruit and leaves as among the top natural remedies for stones inside the gallbladder [6].

D-limonene, a terpene naturally found in lemon, is considered an “excellent solvent” for cholesterol, helping dissolve gallstones that are made of this substance [7].

In a clinical trial involving animals, it was reported that intake of d-limonene disintegrated the gallstones within two hours [8].

This is the kind of remedy that you’d want to use if you want to get quick relief from the severe pain caused by this condition.

A more recent experiment, this time participated in by 200 human patients, showed that 97 percent solution of d-limonene dissolved the stones in the gallbladder of 141 participants [9].

Complete dissolution was achieved in 48 percent of the patients, and partial dissolution in 14.5 percent [9].

There is also enough scientific proof that vitamin C in lemon juice can help prevent the formation of gallstones especially when combined with a low-cholesterol diet [5].

Researchers recommend further studies to be done on its safety to make sure that there are no harmful side effects on the kidney and pancreas [9].

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Squeeze lemons to extract juice.
  • Add juice to water.
  • Drink lemon juice on an empty stomach for one week.

RELATED: Lemon Juice for Acne : 8 Simple Home Remedies

3. Psyllium

Increased intake of dietary fiber has been linked to a lower rate of gallstones [10, 11].

An animal study performed in the University of Texas in the United States reports that seven out of the 10 subjects treated with psyllium had significantly fewer gallstones than those that received other treatments [12].

Researchers explain that dietary fiber such as psyllium inhibits the formation of gallstones made of cholesterol by “reducing the biliary cholesterol saturation index” [12].

Simply put, psyllium works by minimizing the amount of cholesterol that forms and stays inside the system.

Apart from resolving the issue, this remedy can also be used as a preventive measure for gallstones, states a 1997 study [13].

Even if you don’t have gallstones yet, you can use this technique to help ensure that it doesn’t happen to you.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of psyllium powder
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add psyllium powder to water.
  • Drink solution twice a day.
  • Repeat until gallstones are flushed out.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

4. Peppermint

With its wide range of medical purposes, peppermint is truly “more than just after-dinner mint” [14].

The active compounds in peppermint including menthol and terpenes demonstrate a choleretic effect that can help in flushing out gallstones [15].

A clinical trial investigated the efficacy of a drug that uses menthol and other terpenes in peppermint as key ingredients [16].

It was reported that the drug successfully treated patients who have cholesterol stones not only in the gallbladder but also in the bile duct [16].

A team of German scientists, meanwhile, gave 23 patients with cholesterol stones a combination of menthol and ursodeoxy-cholic acid (UDCA) for 17 months [17].

Results show that “complete dissolution” of gallstones occurred in more than half of the participants [17].

Also, it’s great to know that none of the participants in the study experienced any adverse effects after using menthol [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add peppermint leaves.
  • Let it steep for five to 10 minutes.
  • Drink twice a day for up to six weeks.

5. Vegetable Juice

We’ve always been told to eat our vegetables, and here’s another good reason why.

A study that can be found in the British Medical Journal states that the rate of gallbladder disease was dramatically lower in women who maintained a strict vegetarian diet compared to those who ate meat and vegetables [18].

In another study reviewing more than 80,000 women, it was found that frequent intake of vegetable protein reduced the risk of undergoing a cholecystectomy or removal of gallbladder due to gallstones or gallbladder disease [19].

Similar results were observed in a study on hamsters, indicating that protein in vegetables can help prevent the formation of gallstones [20].

This is probably because of cholesterol-lowering actions of most vegetables.

Plus, vegetables help sweep up fats and other toxic substances in the body so you can eliminate them more easily.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 beet root
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 carrots

Recommended Directions:

  • Extract juice from the vegetables.
  • Combine the juices.
  • Drink the mixture twice daily for two weeks.

6. Indian Gooseberry

An important herbal solution in Ayurvedic medicine, Indian gooseberry is also an excellent source of health-boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, minerals, amino acids and phenolic compounds [21].

Many of its parts, including the fruit, are used for treating inflammation, diabetes, jaundice, diarrhea and many other ailments [21].

Extracts from the fruit and leaves of Indian gooseberry can also be used to flush out gallbladder stones, as reported in a 2005 study [6].

This remedy works not only on gallstones made of cholesterol, but also on those made of bilirubin [6].

In fact, Indian gooseberry is even more effective than tulsi and jamun leaf extracts for this particular purpose [6].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Indian gooseberry, chopped
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put chopped Indian gooseberry and water in a blender.
  • Strain to remove the pulp.
  • Drink juice twice a day for two weeks.

7. Milk Thistle

Mostly used for treating problems in the liver and biliary tract, milk thistle can also be a good remedy for those suffering from gallstones [22].

Its main component silymarin contains flavonoids that protect the liver and kidneys from drug toxicity [22].

In Europe, it is widely used for resolving the issue of gallstones, among other related problems [23].

Most people who use this as remedy do not encounter any side effects, except for a mild laxative effect in a few cases [22].

It is recommended that more research be done to prove not only the efficacy of milk thistle but also its safety and tolerability.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of milk thistle leaves
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Steep milk thistle leaves in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Strain the leaves.
  • Add honey.
  • Drink the tea twice a day for two to three weeks.

8. Orange Juice

Drinking orange juice has been proven to be an effective way in reducing the risk of kidney stone formation [23].

Did you know that it also works the same for gallstones?

As it is also rich in dietary fiber and pectin, orange juice can very well prevent the formation of stones in the gallbladder [24].

For those who already have gallstones, orange juice can help get rid of them.

Like lemons, orange also has d-limonene that can serve as a dissolving agent for gallbladder stones [25].

Whether you have gallstones or not, adding orange juice to your diet is a smart move.

This is especially true for people whose diets are composed of foods that are high in fat and cholesterol.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 glass of freshly squeezed orange juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Drink orange juice in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Do this daily for two to three weeks.

9. Dandelion

Dandelion has been used in various cultures for its therapeutic purposes [26].

Folk healers have relied on this flowering plant as a diuretic, liver and blood tonic, and digestive aid [26].

Some people are probably not aware that this can also be used to put an end to the debilitating problem of gallbladder stones.

In fact, it is one of the key components of an herbal solution used for alleviating stones in the gallbladder and kidneys [27].

Since dandelion contains high amounts of potassium, it can efficiently replace potassium that has been lost during the formula’s diuretic action [27].

Moreover, this herb has saponins that can help disinfect the urinary tract and prevent any further infection [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put dandelion root in a cup with hot water.
  • Seal with the lid.
  • Steep for 10 minutes.
  • Drink this concoction three times a day for one week.

10. Turmeric

Known for its array of benefits for the health, turmeric has always been popular as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial, among many others [28].

Its primary constituent curcumin is responsible for many of its pharmacological activities [28].

There’s also evidence that it can help in the problem of gallstones.

In a study that can be found in the Alimentary of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, it was revealed that curcumin worked better than the placebo in improving the functioning of the gallbladder [29].

Through a randomized controlled trial, the gallbladder of 12 volunteers were measured and evaluated after administration of curcumin [29].

The amount of gallbladder volume was significantly lower for those who used curcumin than those in the placebo group [29].

Even though it doesn’t necessarily work to dissolve gallstones, it’s highly effective in boosting the health and function of the gallbladder.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Transfer water to a cup.
  • Add turmeric powder.
  • Mix to dissolve powder.
  • Drink solution once a day for two to three weeks.

11. Apple Juice

One of the most popular remedies for gallstones is apple juice.

Many people who have tried using this remedy attest that it’s highly effective.

Some scientists believe that the natural chemicals in apple juice are capable of softening the gallstones so that it would be easier for you to flush them out of your body [30].

Consumption of nothing but apple juice for a day is recommended as a natural approach for treating gallstones [31].

Because there’s no sufficient scientific evidence to back this remedy, researchers are encouraged to investigate on this matter to find out if this folkloric use of apple juice is indeed a viable treatment for this condition.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 glasses of apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Do not eat food during the day.
  • Instead, drink a glass of apple juice three times.
  • In the evening before going to bed, take a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Do this technique only once.
  • If it doesn’t work, don’t repeat it.

RELATED: How to Use Apple Juice for Constipation Relief

12. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is perhaps the most popular choice when it comes to alternative remedies. The vinegar is an effective cure for hundreds of health problems related to skin disorders, stomach problems, etc. Apple cider vinegar is a potent combination of acetic acid and alcohol. The acetic acid in ACV has inhibitory effects on bad cholesterol that is produced in the liver. A regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can dissolve existing gallstones and reduce pain.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of ACV
  • 1 glass of apple juice

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add ACV to cool apple juice and mix well.
  2. Consume the potent juice whenever you have a gallstone pain attack.
  3. The simple treatment will relieve the pain in 10-15 minutes.
  4. Alternatively, you can mix 2 teaspoons of ACV, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice with a glass of mild warm water.
  5. Drink the solution every morning on an empty stomach.

RELATED: Apple Cider Vinegar for UTI Treatment: 10 Practical Ways

Bottom Line

Pain caused by gallstones can be debilitating.

You can get relief from this pain by solving the root of the problem. The above discussed home remedies for gallstones will relieve the pain and solve the underlying conditions as well.

Write to us your experience of using the natural remedies to get rid of gallstones and its symptoms. Leave your feedback in the comment section.

READ MORE: 11 Proven Methods to Get Rid of Kidney Stones (No. 5 is the simplest!)