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Gallstones are small stones made of cholesterol, calcium bilirubinate, or a mixture of cholesterol and bilirubin pigment. It is common and often painful, usually requiring surgery and can also be life threatening. Gallstones are related to many gallbladder and duct diseases.

Ten percent of the general population and 20% of the population over 40 years of age have gallstones. Before age 50, women are diagnosed more often than men; over the age of 50, occurrence is equally common.

Choledocholithiasis is a condition of gallstones in the common bile duct.

Cholecystitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the gallbladder and is usually associated with gallstones in the cystic duct.

Gallstone ileus results from a gallstone lodging in the terminal ileum of the gut lumen.

Cholelithiasis, the fifth leading cause of hospitalization among adults and accounting for 90% of all gallbladder and duct diseases, is the condition of calculi in the gallbladder. These result from changes in bile composition.

Treatments may involve a Low Fat Diet: vitamin K therapy to counter the loss of vitamin K due to itching, jaundice, and bleeding tendencies; administration of antibiotics and drugs to dissolve the calculi; or surgery.


Primary Factors
The primary cause of gallstones is a change in bile composition. Cholesterol is not water soluble and requires a sensitive chemical balance to remain in solution. The molar ratio of cholesterol to bile acids and phospholipids appears to partially determine whether cholesterol will remain in solution or precipitate and form stones. Saturation with cholesterol and other factors may also be required for calculi formation.

Predisposing Factors
High dietary cholesterol, pregnancy, obesity, oral contraceptives, diabetes mellitus, celiac disease, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, biliary tract infection, genetic predisposition and aging.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of gallstones are generally the same regardless of the type of calculi. In up to half of those affected there are no symptoms.

Abdominal distention
Absence of bowel sounds
Belching which leaves a sour taste in the mouth
Biliary colic
Clay-colored stools        
Functional dyspepsia
Intermittent recurrence of colicky pain, indicating gallstone ileus
Jaundice, if gallstones block the common bile duct
Low grade fever
Recurring fat intolerance
Acute and sometimes severe pain, which may radiate to the back between the shoulder blades or to the front of the chest in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen; this symptom commonly follows fatty meals but may occur spontaneously, even while sleeping

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Single Nutrients &
        Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral Formulas

General Supplements

Copper2 - 5 mg
Fiber3 - 5 tbsp
Lecithin1 - 3 g
Phosphatidyl choline*
Taurine 500 - 1,000 mg
Vitamin C1,000 - 3,000 mg

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Gallstones are more prevalent in societies which consume diets high in calories and fat.

With an acute attack, the diet is restricted to a Full Liquid Diet without fat.

Individuals who are poor surgical risks are placed on Low Fat Diets to accommodate transient episodes of impaired fat digestion and absorption. Supplements of fat-soluble vitamins must be provided.

The following foods are not tolerated and should be omitted from the diet:

Greasy or fried foodsEggs
MayonnaiseSalad dressing
Cheese productsPork products
High fat pastries

The following foods may or may not be tolerated:

Spicy foods

The following may be permitted in small amounts:

Whole milk

Homeopathic Remedy

1.* Cholesterinum         - 3X to 15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts


Ferr. Phos.early stage, with inflammation, fever;
Kali Mur.white-grey coated tongue, jaundice;
Kali Phos.bilious disorder (high or low) from nervousness;
Nat. Mur.drowsiness, jaundice;
Nat. Sulf.excess bile, greenish-brown coated tongue;

Herbal Approaches


Artichoke leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Boldo (Paemus boldo)
Greater Celandine
Milk Thistle
Olive oil
Peppermint oil

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Artichoke leaves are choleretic (stimulates bile secretion by the liver).

Boldo is useful for gallstones.

Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and relaxes the smooth muscles.

Dandelion may be useful in limiting the episodes of cholecystitis, it is choleretic and a cholagogue agent. (1,000 mg t.i.d.)

Greater Celandine is a major phytomedicine on the German market as a gastrointestinal agent, with sales in excess of $6 million in 1996. It is also approved by the German Commission E for spastic discomfort of the bile ducts and GI tract.

Milk Thistle is choleretic (stimulates bile secretion by the liver).

Olive oil is a popular cholagogue (stimulates gallbladder contraction).

Peppermint oil (2 enteric capsules, b.i.d.) is used as a carminative but together with chamomile, may relax the lower esophageal sphincter and also cause rectal irritation.

Terpene A commercial product (Rowachol), available on prescription, combines a number of plant terpenes e.g. menthol, camphene.

Turmeric is choleretic (stimulates bile secretion by the liver).


Bell, GD & Doran, Gallstone dissolution in man using essential oil preparation. BMJ, 1979, 278:24.

Briggs, C: Peppermint: medicinal herb and flavoring agent. Can. Pharm. J. 1993, 129:89-92.

Ellis, WR & Bell, GD: Treatment of biliary duct stones with terpene preparation. BMJ, 1981, 282:611.

Giachetti, D et al., Pharmacological activity of essential oils on Oddi's sphincter. Planta Med. 1988, 54:389-392.

Hordinsky, BZ: Terpenes in the treatment of gallstones. Minnesota Med. 1971, 54:649-651.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Chamomile Essence,Peppermint Essence.

Related Health Conditions

AgingCeliac disease
CirrhosisDiabetes mellitus
ObesityOral contraceptives



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