Eric Bakker N.D.April 1, 2022

A gallbladder cleanse is a particular protocol, including diet, aimed to prevent gallstones or to address gallstones that have already formed. Gallbladder cleansing is also known as a liver and gallbladder flush by some. The gallbladder is in charge of storing the bile produced by your liver. Bile can aid with fat digestion and improve the formation and passage of bowel motions. Gallstones are hardened and semi-hardened deposits that can form in the gallbladder and clog one of the gallbladder's ducts, causing pain, nausea, and vomiting.


Natural Gallbladder Cleanse

Gallstone treatment is something a lot of people ask me about. ‘How can I avoid surgery’ is the common question. This article will go more into the actual treatment of gallbladder problems, if you want to read a lot more about the signs and symptoms of gallbladder problems just click the link.
I always ask a person these standard questions when they come in with a suspected gallbladder dysfunction – “Did you loose weight recently, say in the past two years?” “Have you been on a fat free diet lately?” “What kind of foods/drinks do you like to habitually have?” By asking the right questions, many patients tell you what is wrong with them, and their answers can point right to the heart of the problem. All you have to do is listen.

Gallbladder Congestion and Gallstones Causes

In my observation, there are several main factors leading to gallbladder attacks and dysfunction, here are a few causes, the list is certainly not complete.

  • Rapid weight loss for example, one pound a week. I’ve seen this a hundred times with ladies or more. The patient comes in complaining of gallbladder related issues, but when questioned it soon becomes apparent that the patient went on a “crash” diet to loose a lot of weigh fast (because of up upcoming wedding for example). The liver and gallbladder have to process all that fat loss in a short period of time resulting in liver and gallbladder congestion. Your chances of developing gallstones depend on the type of weight-loss you choose. Diets that cause fast weight loss are more likely to lead to gallstone issues than diets that lead to slower weight loss. Be careful! Studies show that the risk of symptomatic gallstones requiring hospitalisation or cholecystectomy (surgical gallbladder removal), was 3-fold greater during the 1-year commercial weight loss program.
  • Bariatric surgerygallstones are such a common occurrence after bariatric surgery that patients are routinely given a medication that helps prevent stone formation by decreasing cholesterol production and dissolving it in bile.
  • Junk food or crap diets – especially too many fatty and fried foods, alcohol, too much dairy food like cheeses and full cream milk, refined sugars and starches, excess high protein foods, food allergies, parasites, sedentary lifestyle. When you eat junk, bile produced in the liver and flowing through the biliary ducts into the gallbladder becomes too thick, the bile ducts become obstructed, gravel and stones may form (90% of all gallstones are cholesterol), and the whole biliary system may become clogged. Junk food addiction is being blamed for fuelling a sharp rise in gallbladder operations in England. Numbers going to hospital to have the small organ removed have rocketed by 54 per cent in a decade.
  • Food allergies – I discovered in my clinic finding and eliminating food allergies or intolerances that it was possible to stop frequent attacks of gallbladder pain and even prevent unnecessary surgical removal. In one study, avoidance of allergens relieved symptoms in 100% of 69 patients with symptomatic gallstones or post-cholecystectomy (after the operation) syndrome (uncontrolled trial commented on by Dr. Alan Gaby, USA). Try food allergy testing and going on an elimination or low-allergy diet, it may be the answer to your problems. Gallbladder symptoms recurred in 83 percent of the patients when eggs were added to their diets. The foods in order of their guilt are as follows: egg, pork, onion, fowl, milk, coffee, orange, corn, beans, and nuts; less frequent were apple, tomato, peas, cabbage, spices, peanuts, fish, rye, and medications.
  • Birth control pills –  Analysis of 26 studies found a 36% increase in the development of gallbladder disease among women who were using oral contraceptives compared with those not taking these drugs. Both oestrogen and progesterone have been shown to increase the risk of gallstones.
  • Other causative factors include insufficient water consumption, a weak immune system (increases likelihood of infection in the gallbladder), as well as diabetes and various liver diseases.
  • Anger, aggression, bitterness – Louise Hay, who wrote the famous book “Heal Your Life” in 1976 with regard to how emotions can trigger physical problems, mentions that anger, aggressiveness, and bitterness can result in gallbladder problems.

Preventing Gallbladder Problems

Prevention of gallbladder problems lies in controlling obesity, diet and adequate intake of consuming water, and the use of appropriate physical exercise. If you are currently overweight and are looking at a weight loss program, my recommendations are not to go on any kind of “crash diet” or rapid weight loss method, especially if you carry quite a lot of fat. Your liver and gallbladder will have to process it all, is it any wonder it gets clogged like your bathroom sink?
Keeping the immune system strong and the liver and small intestine healthy is very important too.

For Recurring Gallbladder Pain

Suspect food allergies in just about 100% of patients. On average I find that they are reactive to 4 or 5 foods, and according to Dr. Jonathon Wright, one of America’s most experienced natural medicine doctors, egg is generally always one of the prime food allergens involved. There are over 800,000 cholecystectomies (gallbladder operations) performed in USA per annum, they cost $5,000 US to perform.

If you do the math here, effective preventative natural medicine treatment could spare 4 billion US dollars with gallbladder conditions alone. I can imagine how many of the operations are performed needlessly each year, and it is amazing how many people I’ve seen who have their gallbladder out only to find that it did not fix up the problem they originally went to the doctor for in the first place. The patient’s diet or lifestyle didn’t change, they were told the problem was fixed surgically, but soon worked out after the operation that the problem was still there.

Crisis Medicine

Other medical methods of handling gallstones in the gallbladder include attempts to fragment them with sonic shock waves (lithotripsy). Of course there are other times when surgery may become necessary, such as in perforation of the gallbladder (often from gangrene) or where for example non-benign tumours and cancers are present. All this is what I call “crisis medicine,” so common in the orthodox medical procedures used in the hospital system. Does it not make sense to prevent a gallbladder condition in the first place rather than waiting for disaster to strike and then to take action?

How Is Your Back?

spinal_manipulationSee your Chiropractor; you may have mid-thoracic vertebral subluxations. If you have back issues, your fourth thoracic vertebrae may a bit suspect, you could be looking at a subluxations which means a slight dislocation (misalignment) or bio-mechanical malfunctioning of the vertebrae (the bones of the spine). These disturbances may irritate nerve roots and the blood vessels which branch off from the spinal cord between each of the vertebrae, and if this is what is happening around the middle of your back it could be affecting your gallbladder. I am a fan of chiropractic and osteopathic treatments, and believe that most all patients we see as naturopaths need a good physical treatment from time to time. When you get excellent musculoskeletal treatment and work or your emotional and biochemical issues at the same time, your results speak for themselves.

 Gallbladder Removed? – Take Digestive Enzymes

I always recommend that a patient who has had their gallbladder removed take bile salts (digestive enzymes) because fats & oils are not properly digested and absorbed by these folk. I always give bile salts when I give them fish-oil, or Vitamin A, and these are also known as Lipotropic factors. Digestive enzymes are essential for those who have had their gallbladder removed, they will feel a lot better for taking them regularly. Their digestion will improve, their bowels will work better and they will feel less full and bloated.

For patients who do not improve their diet following surgical removal of the gallbladder the removal leaves the person with an increased risk of colon cancer. Although fast relief of some symptoms can follow this surgery, the relief is often short-lived and the basic causes are still present.

If you have lost your gallbladder, the regular use of bile salts at the start of meals can help substantially, including better processing of the fat-soluble essential nutrients such as essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E, and K. Probably the best way to tell if you are using enough bile salts is to monitor the colour of the stool. If the colour is lighter than the normal brown colour, or is even a light beige or yellow, this implies insufficient bile flow; with it’s under absorption of essential nutrients, and a need for more bile salts.

Such a need for more bile salts will be greater after a meal with greater amounts of fats and oils. Talk to your Naturopath more here, he or she can recommend a product which should work well. I generally find that the digestive enzymes prescribed by your Naturopath to be stronger and much more effective than the retail (health-food shop) products. That is why they are classified as “practitioner-only” products.

Herbal Supplements for Liver and Gallbladder Complaints 

Swedish bitters, milk thistle, chamomile, peppermint, greater celandine, gymnema, gravel root, dandelion leaf & root, chicory, rhubarb, burdock, cramp bark, ginger root, fennel, and turmeric.

Gallbladder Homeopathic Medicine

One of the most specific homeopathic medicines is Chelidonium 30C, and I recommend this remedy for patients who complain of right-sided pains radiating through the back, pains radiating to the right shoulder blade region. It is mainly thought of as a liver remedy, but I find it fantastic for gallbladder disorders as well.

Gallbladder Diet

Eliminate refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates, because it is these foods which in particular increases the cholesterol saturation of bile. Gallbladder problems don’t generally happen in under developed countries, they are a phenomenon of the Western developed world. We call these sorts of health problems the “diseases of modern civilisation”. You will find that our Western diet is the highly refined one, most people eat foods from the supermarket and our diets are the ones high in the refined sugars, starches and flours.

Foods and drinks to strictly avoid One of the worst beverages to drink with gallbladder issues is coffee whether decaffeinated or not, it aggravates symptoms by causing the gallbladder to contract along with sugar. So, sugar and coffee is not a good idea! I also tell patients to avoid chocolate, deep fried foods and saturated animal fats in general. Most tell me that they cannot tolerate these foods anyway, so listen to your body and avoid what makes you feel unwell or sick.

Gallbladder foods which have a particular favourable effect include beetroot, Brussels sprouts, fennel, sauerkraut, parsley, artichokes, pears, granny smith apples and the bitter foods such as rocket, endive, chicory, and capers.

Consume a little olive oil daily One way to prevent build-up of gallstones is to eat some oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, daily; this encourages the gallbladder to contract and to daily “sand dump” its contents into the small intestine, preventing sludge from accumulating and forming gallstones.

Holistic Gallbladder Treatments

Our clinic has worked with many patients over the years to complete a liver & gallbladder cleanse based on the tips found on this page. Take a look at the pictures of gallstones that a few patients have sent me after they were delighted with their results based on implementing this gallbladder report.

Sick and tired of feeling fat, sick, digestive or bowel problems? Perhaps you can’t eat fatty foods or many foods “repeating” on you? Does drinking alcohol or eating chocolate or any fatty food make you feel pretty sick? Tired of not being able to lose any weight, in spite of exercise, strict diet and a well functioning thyroid gland? You may want to check that you don’t have hypothyroidism, and if you have not but you feel “bad all over” then why not consider doing the gallbladder cleanse. I’m aware some medical doctors say about me : “the guy who tells you this is crazy, he needs psychiatric help”, I don’t care, I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t need any shrink, I’ve worked with many ladies with gallbladder congestion, some were even booked in for surgery. After a few rounds of gallbladder cleansing, there was NO more pain or discomfort. Try it yourself, and you be the judge!

Liver and Gallbladder Flush

There are many different gallbladder and liver flushes that will work if you have had recurrent gallbladder problems. You are advised to work with your health-care professional, preferably someone with experience. I have guided hundreds of patients through this procedure the past thirty years and have never experienced a problem.


Warm castor oil packs.

All you need is 200ml castor oil (try the chemist or supermarket), and old saucepan, an old cloth, and an old towel. Just warm the old cloth in the pot of oil until it is quite warm, squeeze it out and apply it over the region of the gallbladder – central a little to the right just near where your ribcage finishes. Cover with the old towel, place a hot water bottle on top for added warmth and lie down for fifteen to twenty minutes, then rub the area for 2 minutes with an ice cube in a cloth–repeat 3 times once daily for a week can sometimes dislodge gallstones, and is especially a powerful treatment if used in conjunction with the flush and dietary approach. Careful with castor oil, it can stain.

Gallbladder Attack Recipes

Here are a couple of tips to try with acute pain, if the pain doesn’t subside, seek medical opinion.
  • Drink 1 tbsp of apple cider in a glass of apple juice (warmed). This should relieve the pain quickly.
  • In a small glass add ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cumin, and ½ tsp Manuka honey – top with boiling water, stir to dissolve and mix together, drink when warm. Take: 3 times a day.
  • Citrus tea: have 3 glasses daily of tea made by boiling for 20 minutes in water the rind of a grapefruit.

Gallbladder Cleanse Recipes

  1. Each morning, drink the Gallbladder Attack Recipe; 300 mls Apple juice (or dilute with water), 2 cloves of raw finely chopped garlic, 1-2 inches of raw finely chopped ginger root, mix well in blender. This drink helps soften sludge and helps prepare your gallbladder to dump rubbish.
  2. Liver & gallbladder flush. One simple flush is to drink 3 Tbs of extra-virgin olive oil with the juice of a lemon before retiring and on awakening for at least 3 days, or until no more stones pass. I have other flushes but tend to use them in a consultation with the patient only. This is one procedure in my opinion you are best not to do yourself at home without any guidance, but get the advice from a qualified Naturopath, preferably one with experience in this area.
  3. Eat a well balanced diet of 50% raw or partially steamed foods and fresh juices, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds. This low saturated fat, high fibre diet is a must for healing gallbladder disorders. Flaxseed and olive oil are great additions to your diet for repair and prevention of gallstones. Bitter foods (see below) are a great addition, and will help prevent a build up in future. The two top foods to consume? – Lemon juice and olive oil.
  4. Increased your intake of Vitamin C can help with gallbladder ailments. Replenish your vitamin C stores by eating plenty of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Good sources include capsicums (red/green/yellow), berries, lemons, and broccoli/green leafy veg. I recommend a high grade Vitamin C powder daily for the prevention and maintenance of many conditions in the body.
  5. Herbal detoxification products may be helpful in stopping and reversing a gallbladder attack. I suggest using formulas that use organic, whole herbs. There are some excellent products available, just ask your herbalist or naturopath.

Tips After Gallbladder Cleansing

Dr. Dick Versendaal, USA chiropractor recommended his “carotid-umbilicus technique”.  For the best results, it is to used every 15 minutes for 1-3 hours as follows (it’s easier if someone else does it on you than you try to do it yourself ): using the index finger, apply a steady pressure into the belly button for 5 minutes, such as to depress the belly button 1-1 ½ inches (but avoiding pain). Do this once a day for up to 12 weeks after the stones are passed, it will help your gallbladder a lot. Abdominal reflex: studies have shown that stroking the skin of the abdomen causes the underlying muscles to contract.

Firm rubbing for at least 30 second,  1-2 times a day of the neuro-lymphatic reflexes (these points may feel quite tender if you have gallbladder issues) between ribs 3 and 4, and ribs 4 and 5, just to each side of the breastbone, and between ribs 5 and 6 just under the nipple of the right breast can be quite helpful.

Also softly holding (not pressing or rubbing) for at least one minute the neuro-vascular reflexes at the anterior fontanel (front of head the baby’s soft spot near crown of head– locate at tip of middle finger when the wrist crease of either hand is placed on the eye brows and the middle finger extended onto the midline of the skull) and at the hairline on the forehead directly above the outer corner of each eye. Look for the “tender spots”, you will find them.

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