The gallbladder is an organ near the stomach. It supplies fluid that helps the stomach breakdown fats in food. Sometimes the fluids can form stone-like pieces. These stones irritate the gallbladder and can cause blockages. There may be one stone or many. Some people may have no pain. Others may have severe belly pain that lasts 30 minutes to an hour.
Medicine and procedures can help to break up the stones. The gallbladder may need to be removed if there was damage. No natural therapies have strong evidence to show that they treat gallstones.
Unlikely to Be Effective
- Traditional chinese herbal medicines have not been shown to benefit people with gallstones.1
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.
Chinese herbal medicines do not go through the same process as drugs. It is hard to know what they contain and how they are produced.
1. Gan T, Chen J, et al. Chinese medicinal herbs for cholelithiasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 29;(6):CD004547.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/26/2020