The Herb Stop Blog
The Gallbladder - Part 2
Eternal gratefulness! This is what I have to all of the people that helped me with passing my gallstones. The many months of sleeplessness, missing work, solitude and hopelessness were definitely not easy but having a wonderful family support, certainly made it easier. I would like to preface this article by saying thank you to my mother, Leilah and to my husband, Paul, who all spent many hours helping me, caring for me and encouraging me.
Impending doom! That is the feeling I would have at the beginning of a gallbladder attack. My heart would race, I would break out it a cold sweat, my shoulder would start to cramp and then my abdomen would bloat out to double, if not triple, its original size. Later I would discover that this pain was a large stone trying to move into the obviously too narrow bile duct.
How did this all happen? This is a wonderful question, which I am still finding the answers to. A couple years ago I began having extreme abdominal pain. I was treating myself with different herbal protocols, but to no avail. Months into the pain, one evening sticks out in my mind. I was in excruciating pain the entire afternoon, which was followed up by vomiting, dry heaving and not being able to sleep. The following morning I did something I swore I would never do, I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with duodenal ulcers and was put on medication. This process continued for months – to the doctors (5 total), tests, drugs, plenty of money – and it was getting worse. I decided this was not the path for me and began seeing a Doctor of Oriental Medicine whom I drove to see in Albuquerque every three weeks to be treated for the ulcers. After a year, the pain was much better, but not completely gone , and my diet was reduced to potatoes and perhaps a soup here and there. He instructed me to learn how to meditate and search for something more than he could give me.
After much resistance, I learned to meditate – 10 minutes every morning. One morning during my meditation, I was seeing my usual images of my liver and green colors, I had an epiphany! I realized that my body was telling me I had gallstones! I ran to the internet and began looking up symptoms for gallstones and found that in certain cases people have pains in the middle of the abdomen instead of only the right side. I was now on a mission, I was going to confirm MY diagnosis and cure myself.
I scheduled a blood test to check out my cholesterol and liver function, just in case. Turns out my cholesterol levels were very high, which shocked me – I am a vegetarian. My triglycerides were 213, Cholesterol 217, LDL 155, VLDL 43; this did not look good, but confirmed that I was right about the direction of having gallstones.
I also scheduled myself for an ultrasound (see pictures at the end of this article) and the ultrasound showed multiple gallstones, contracted gallbladder, Murphy’s sign, thickened gallbladder wall and a dilated bile duct with stones in the duct. One of the stones was the size of a robin’s egg! So now I knew, but how was I going to fix this? After showing the ultrasound to my brother, a medical doctor, he called me and urged me to obtain health insurance and have my gallbladder removed immediately. After explaining to him that I did not believe in surgery and that my research showed that 40% of people that have a cholecystectomy still have symptoms, I decided I didn’t like those odds or the thought of having my poor little gallbladder removed. Recently studies have also shown the risk of colon cancer goes up in people whom have had a cholecysectomy.
My protocol for getting rid of these gallstones was much different than the mainstream “natural” approach, but at first, I did what I knew – the standard approach. My first option, no more fat in my diet! I had been a vegetarian for some time, but now it was time to eliminate the other high fat foods – dairy. I subsequently adjusted my diet to make my gallbladder happy, less sugar, no honey, fats and I became vegan. I also began taking beets in capsule form, milk thistle, artichoke, dark green salads, daily castor oil packs and would begin on the olive oil flush. That was certainly a mistake. When you’re gallstones are too large to pass through the bile duct, attempting a flush is definitely a mistake. This caused some of the worst biliary colic I had experienced to date and from taking so much beet my hands began to swell. This was certainly not what I had in mind.
I had to go back to the drawing board; flushes were not going to work. After hours and hours of research, I decided to try something different. I was also given this suggestion from a very wise healer – drink cabbage tea. Because cabbage is incredibly acid, drinking the tea has been known to eat through gallstones. I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight, but I was committed to getting these stones out of my body. Since I had also ulcers, I decided to drink the tea only twice a day for 30 days.
After 10 days on the cabbage tea and a vegan diet, I had another attack. Luckily I had discovered flax tea and with the help of my castor oil pack, I was able to get through that last attack. And this was my last gallbladder stone attack! Did my gallstones pass?
To get confirmation that I was over my gallstones, I had another ultrasound (see bottom of this post). As I had suspected, gallstone free! There was a little sludge left in the gallbladder, so I continued the cabbage tea, one cup a day for a week then one cup a week for 6 weeks.
This success did not mean I could just go back to my old ways – that landed me there in the first place. I am now a devoted vegan and have incorporated healthy fats into my diet, flax seed oil in vegan capsules and vegan omega 3 capsules and plenty of olive oil. To keep my cholesterol down I drink three ounces of unsweetened grape juice in the morning and three ounces of organic red wine in the evening (my cholesterol levels are all normal now). I also continue to meditate every morning and for me to contemplate what was weighing down on me like “heavy stones”. These days, if I decide to go off of my diet, my gallbladder lets me know. I will feel a little discomfort and some bloating, but no pain or impeding doom. I remember everyday to be kind to my gallbladder and never to harm it again. I thank that little guy everyday for sticking though with me!
Place 12 ounces of good water in a pot. Tear one organic green cabbage leaf into smaller pieces and place in the water. Bring to a rapid boil then immediately remove from the stove and let sit for 5 minutes. Strain and drink warm. Drink this tea on an empty stomach and wait 15 minutes after drinking to eat any food.
Flax Seed Tea
Place 1 tablespoon of organic flax seeds in 12 ounces of good water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and sip slowly while the tea is hot/warm.