By Dr. Manoj Virmani, Ayurveda
The gallbladder is an organ in the body that aids in the process of digestion. A compound called ‘bile’ is excreted into the intestine to help breakdown of fats in the food. Particles present in bile can lead to formation of gallstones in the body. These gallstones are formed when there is excessive ‘bilirubin’ or cholesterol in the gallbladder. The exact cause of the formation of gallstones is however, not known.
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that gets to the root cause of the disorder instead of just treating the symptoms. Ayurvedic remedies improve your overall wellbeing, in addition to treating the symptoms. The various Ayurvedic remedies for gallstones are –
- Diet: Following a healthy diet is one of the key measures to prevent gallstones. Eat a well-balanced diet which has plenty of fruits and vegetables; avoid eating foods that contain saturated fats. Fat rich foods such as nuts and seeds should be consumed in moderation.
- Exercise: Exercising regularly helps in keeping your weight in check. Cardio exercises such as swimming and running are good for your heart and overall health. Remember that obesity is a risk factor for gallbladder stones.
- Keep Diabetes in check: If you are diabetic, make sure your blood sugar levels are in check. High blood sugar may cause high fat levels in the blood which may result in gallstones.
- Limit Stress: Stress may be a direct or an indirect cause for the formation of gallstones. Hence practice relaxation techniques such as meditation to deal with stress in an effective manner.
- Ayurvedic Herbs: Numerous herbs known as cholagogues and choleretics have been found useful in preventing gallstones in traditional ayurvedic medicine. Cholagogues are herbs that stimulate the gallbladder to contract, while choleretics stimulate the liver to secrete more bile. Both these actions could help reduce the risk of developing gallstones. Turmeric, citrus fruits, dried ginger, black pepper, long pepper, hing, etc., fall under these categories.
- Table Salt Remedy: Before breakfast, on an empty stomach, take a tsp of Saindhava lavanam or ordinary table salt in a glass of hot water. After drinking this, lie down for about 45 minutes on your right side. Do this once or twice a week.
- Castor Oil: Apply castor oil pack over the gallbladder area.
- Therapeutic Procedures: Apatarpana (fasting), langhana (light diet) and virechana (mild purgation) are some of the therapeutic procedures that are usually advised as a part of the treatment.
- Ayurvedic Remedies: Specific Ayurvedic remedies such as Shankavati, Sootasekar ras, Pravaalpanchaamrit, Hingwaashtak choorna, Avipattikar choorna, etc., are generally prescribed to treat this condition. The duration of the treatment and dosage of these medicines depends on the severity of the condition.