Phytotherapy and the treatment of cholecystitis and gallstones

Main objectives of the herbal treatment of chronic cholecystitis include:

It is important to keep in mind that any treatment should be started with a proper diagnosis and consultation with a doctor. Before you begin taking any herbal remedies, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Improvement of bile discharge


Cholagogues (agents that promote discharge of bile) are usually divided into two main groups and there is a significant difference between those cases when each of the two groups can be used:

  • Choleretics agents – they enhance the formation of bile, increase the concentration of bile acids in bile. Birch and mint have evident choleretic effect. These substances should be used when there are gallstones in the gallbladder, or diagnosed biliary dyskinesia characterized by gallbladder experiencing spasm as well as dysfunction of the valve responsible for timely bile discharge. In this case cholekinetic agents may increase pain and provoke biliary colic attack;
  • Cholekinetic agents – they cause expulsion of bile by increasing the tone of smooth muscles of the gallbladder and bile ducts. Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) and corn silk have evident cholekinetic effect. Dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium), Berberis amurensis and thoroughwax (Bupleurum) have mixed effects. Cholekinetic agents are indicated for the gallbladder atony developed in the setting of chronic non-calculous cholecystitis as well as for atonic biliary dyskinesia.

Bitter principles, that are used to stimulate the secretion of the pancreas and stomach, are also able to promote the production and discharge of bile. Bitter principles can be found in such medicinal plants as absinthium (Artemisia absinthium), gentian (Gentiana grandiflora), sweetflag (Acorus calamus), buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica) and others.

dandelionCommon dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is the best cholagogue if a patient has gallstones in his gallbladder. Showing a mild choleretic effect, dandelion relieves spasms of the sphincter and bile ducts and that promotes free passage of bile into the duodenum.

The herbs that increase the tone of the smooth muscles of the gallbladder (toadflax (Linaria), spotted lady's thumb (Polygonum persicaria), oregano (Origanum vulgare), common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), corn silk, etc.) should be taken with caution and in small doses. You cannot take too much of dwarf everlast, which increases the production of bile in liver and has antibacterial properties, as it decreases intestinal peristalsis and that can delay the passage of bile into the duodenum.

Elimination of spasms of the gallbladder and bile ducts


Many members of the Umbelliferae family have antispasmodic effect - anise (Pimpinella anisum), sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), dill (Anethum graveolens), caraway (Carum carvi) as well as marsh cudweed (Gnaphalium uliginosum), German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), silverweed (Potentilla anserina), common St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum), Senecio rhombifoliusI.

Plants from the Nightshade (Solanaceae) family form a special group of antispasmodics – belladonna or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Jimson weed (Datura stramonium), black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). These plants have a great spasmolytic effect due to their alkaloids - atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine. These alkaloids make these plants poisonous; therefore, they should be used with great caution.

 
Dissolution of the existing gallstones and prevention of their formation


Robin-ran-the-hedgeThe plants that help dissolve existing gallstones are dyer's madder (Rubia tinctorum), lady's bedstraw (Galium verum), Robin-run-the-hedge (Galium aparine), dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium), Queen Anne's lace flowers (Daucus carota), black radish juice, dog rose root (Rosa canina).

It is important to remember that the treatment aimed at the dissolution of the existing gallstones should be carried out for many months, and often for several years.

 

 


Liver protection


ChicoryPlants that have hepatoprotective effect include widely known blessed thistle (Silybum marianum), chicory (Cichorium intybus) and common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). At the same time there are a lot of medicinal plants with hepatoprotective effect not inferior to those listed above, the striking examples are lupine clover (Trifolium lupinaster) and thoroughwax (Bupleurum) which are very popular in Tibet, China and other Oriental countries, as well as the remedies made of yellow monkshood (Aconitum anthora), which are also used in Oriental medicine.

We should not forget about such well-known herb as pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), it is not inferior to any of the above-mentioned plants when it comes to its positive influence exerted on the liver.

The majority of hepatoprotectors have cholagogic effect as well. Dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium) can fall into this category. However, there are a lot of plants that are mainly cholagogues, such as common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), wild mint (Mentha arvensis), peppermint, European centaury (Centaurium minus), birch leaves, European barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Berberis amurensis, Amur corktree (Phellodendron amurense) and many others. It is worth mentioning that the last of these plants show evident antiparasitic effect and, thus, are indicated in gallbladder giardiasis.


Fight against microorganism and protozoans causing inflammation of the gallbladder


Almost all of the herbs listed in previous parts have antibacterial effect, of course, some of them – to a greater extent, others – to a lesser extent. The maximum antibacterial effect can be observed in those plants that contain bitter principles. It is this type of herbs that played major part in the treatment of bacterial infections when antibiotics were still not invented.

As for antiprotozoal plants, when we are talking about the treatment of cholecystitis, their main aim is giardia. Giardiasis treatment is quite a difficult task even for the potent and, therefore, toxic, antiprotozoal drugs. That’s why herbal treatment requires certain persistence, frequent change of herbs and, of course, laboratory control – stool test for giardia cysts and blood test for antibodies to giardia. Some of the antiprotozoal plants are dwarf everlast (Helichrysum arenarium), birch leaves, Saussurea salicifolia, Berberis amurensis, Amur corktree (Phellodendron amurense).

But we should warn you against excessive use of herbal remedies in the treatment of cholelithiasis, and note that timely surgical treatment should be carried out if indicated.


Herbal tea 1 (for cholelithiasis):

Common Yarrow


  • Dwarf everlast (flowers) 3 parts;
  • Rhubarb (Rheum) (roots) 2 parts;
  • Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) (herb) 5 parts.

5 g (0.18 oz) of dried blend should be mixed with 1 cup of boiling water. Leave it until it cools to room temperature, press it out and take as follows - 200 ml (6.76 fl oz) once a day before dinner.

 

 

 

Herbal tea 2 (for cholelithiasis):

Wild Yam


  • Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) 2 parts;
  • White turtlehead (Chelone glabra) 1 part;
  • Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis) 2 parts;
  • White fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) 1 part;
  • Culver's root (Leptandra virginica) 1 part.

Take 5 ml (0.17 fl oz) of tincture 3 times per day. Chamomile infusion can be taken regularly during the day.

 


Herbal tea 3 (for cholelithiasis):

Dyer's Madder root


  • Mint (leaves) 1 part;
  • Absinthium (leaves) 1 part;
  • Dwarf everlast (flowers) 1 part;
  • Buckthorn (Frangula) (bark) 1 part;
  • Common dandelion (root) 1 part;
  • Dyer's madder (root) 4 parts.

10 g (0.35 oz) of dried herbs should be mixed with 1 cup of boiling water and boiled for 15 minutes. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) of the remedy should be taken twice a day before meals.

 


Herbal tea 4 (for chronic cholecystitis):

Garden Valerian


  • Mint (leaves) 2 parts;
  • Garden valerian (root) 1 part;
  • Common St. Johnswort (herb) 1 part;
  • Common hop (Humulus lupulus) (cones) 1 part.

5 g (0.18 oz) of dried blend should be mixed with 1 cup of boiling water. Leave the infusion for 30 minutes. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) of the remedy should be taken twice a day before meals.

 

 


Herbal tea 5 (for chronic cholecystitis):

European centaury


  • Common St. Johnswort (herb) 1 part;
  • European centaury (herb) 1 part;
  • Mullein (Verbascum) (flowers) 1 part;
  • Common dandelion (root) 3 parts;
  • Dwarf everlast (flowers) 3 parts;
  • Chamomile (flowers) 3 parts;
  • Buckbean (leaves) 2 parts.

5 g (0.18 oz) of dried blend should be mixed with 1 cup of boiling water. Leave the infusion for 30 minutes. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) of the remedy should be taken twice a day before meals.

 


Herbal tea 6 (for cholecystitis):

Fringer Tree


  • Wild yam 2 parts;
  • White fringe tree 2 parts;
  • Garden valerian 2 parts;
  • Common dandelion root 1 part;
  • Culver's root 1 part.

Take 5 ml of tincture 3 times per day. Chamomile infusion can be taken regularly during the day.

 

 


Herbal tea 7 (to promote bile discharge):

Buckbean


  • Dwarf everlast (flowers) 1 part;
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) seeds 1 part;
  • Buckbean (leaves) 3 parts;
  • Mint (leaves) 2 parts.

10 g (0.35 oz) of dried blend should be mixed with 2 cups of boiling water and boiled for 10 minutes. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) of the remedy should be taken three times a day before meals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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