Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 23:18:01 +0000
From: christopher hedley <christopher.GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Gall stones
a brief history of gall stones.
The liver produces bile. Bile consists of chloresterol, bile pigments from broken down red blood cells and phospholipids. The gall bladdder holds on to some of the bile against need. Bile is essential to fat digestion, emulsifying it... breaking the fat down into small enough globules for the digestive enzymes to work on. If the bile is too thick or of unbalanced constitution then gall stones may form.
Obvious causes include large transfusions of blood, various blood diseases, the contraceptive pill and high blood cholesterol. Most cases have no obvious cause. They are commoner in women, native americans and obese people.
Symptoms are the same as any upper abdominal problem - wind, bloating, nausea etc. If the gall bladder is inflammed it is tender on examination. Some people have recurrent gall bladder colic - a nasty pain coming in waves and usually radiating to the tip of the right shoulder blade.
It is easy to investigate for gall stones, much easier than trying to get to the bottom of why the patient has such a troubled digestion. Hence gall stones are 'over diagnosed' and removed, often with only a temporary relief of symptoms because underlying factors were not considered.
Good liver function is central to upper digestive health, as well as reducing the risk of gall stones.
The liver should always be treated when the patient presents with such symptoms.
Also, the stones can cause inflammation and blockage of the biliary tract, which drains the liver, hence long standing cases can make the liver most unhappy and a little love and attention is called for, even if the stones are removed.
My favourite liver herbs are dandelion root and milk thistle seed. They should be taken daily for at least 6 months. This will often clear up all symptoms.
Sometimes a 'liver flush' is used. This involves stimulating the liver and bile flow over a short period.
Prepare by taking lots of apple juice or by eating apples for a week or so. Some practitioners recommend a few days eating nothing but apples. The liver is then strongly stimulated with a variety of mixtures. I have used half a cup of olive oil with the juice of half a grapefruit or lemon mixed with 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, crushed, taken first thing it the morning and repeated for 3 or 4 days, or until something happens. This is what Susun Weed, or anyone for that matter, would call heroic medicine and it is not suitable for everyone. Which is why I advised doing it under supervision. Whereas drinking those herbal teas for six months is well tolerated, may well do the trick and is a safe 'home' procedure.
I trust this answers all your questions, and you havn't found it too much like being taught.
Best wishes Christopher Hedley, who is, by the way, only a simple herbalist and no MD.