Letting go of Gallbladder woes
This week has been a bit of a biggie for folks asking about gallbladder woes. So I'm thinking it might be a good thing to pop up a blurb about just that... gallbladder woes.
Let's start with what and where it is in your body. We are each born with a gallbladder which is - very basically - a storage area for bile which was passed on by your liver. Bile acts as an emulsifier for fats in our diets and carries wastes from the liver, out through the bowel. In my simple brain I think of healthy bile flow - through the bile duct and into the small intestine - a bit like drinking a milkshake through a straw. When bile flow is sluggish the bile thickens into "mud"... bit like drinking a thick shake through a straw. Further drying out and it becomes "sandy"... bit like trying to suck damp sugar crystals up through a straw.. Eventually the drying up can result in gall stone formation of various sizes. Obviously if stones grow to be as large or larger than the diameter of the bile duct they can become stuck, thus blocking the flow of bile. Your gallbladder is not a spare part that the body can happily or easily trundle along without and like every other body part, is best kept happy and healthy. You don't usually "feel" your gallbladder unless it is unhappy because it is unwell. Then it makes itself known, softly at first with increasing discomfort as bile flow decreases until it's loud and clear, screaming with inflammation or infection and consequent pain just beneath your ribs in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen. Pain is a messenger. Listen when it whispers so there's no need for it to scream!
It's interesting to be mindful of the reflex areas in our bodies which can also tell us about impending or present struggles. I'm talking about reflexology, Chinese acupuncture meridians, etc. Google them just for interest's sake! For some folk another tell tale sign might be ear aches, ringing in the ears, blocked ears, right shoulder pain, hip pain, lateral knee pain... The list goes on.
Then there's the reactions to some foods that may not have always been the case. Fried foods, alcohol, coffee, fatty foods, refined starchy and sugary foods and the like can subtly leave you feeling tired and bloated after consuming them... or can bring about strong pain, urgent loose bowel motions and nausea very quickly, depending on just how advanced / entrenched the problem is.
So, let's start problem solving, shall we?
Since prevention will always be better than cure, having a diet which regularly includes sour and bitter qualities will help to keep your bile flowing quietly and appropriately. Some foods and drinks with these qualities are: grapefruit, pomegranate, sauerkraut, kimchi, cabbage, lime, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green apples and apple cider vinegar. Actually cloudy apple juice with a splash of apple cider vinegar can be very relieving if you've already moved from prevention onto the need for cure. Sipped frequently it can bring remarkable results in thinning the bile and is renowned for breaking up / dissolving stones.
Speaking of strategies for helping to deal with already dodgey bile flow... It's not only about foods and drinks.
One of my favourite ideas is an old fashioned compress. A castor oil compress on liver and gallbladder can provide amazing pain relief and sometimes in as little as 10 minutes... it can be left on or re-applied as required. Simply apply castor oil quite liberally, to your upper right abdomen and side ensuring you've covered a larger area than that which is uncomfortable. Cover that snugly with a wet hand towel or the like. Cover that with a dry towel and pop on a snug fitting stretchy singlet or top to hold it all in place. Unless it's a particularly hot day, - when you may feel repelled from additional heat - rest a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag over the compress and lay back and rest so your body can use all it's available energy to resolve the issue. When you feel comfortable again you can remove the compress and wash your skin clean.
This can also be enhanced, alternated or replaced with "gallbladder breathing"!
"Gall bladder breathing" can help eliminate the spasms or at least help to reduce them, costs nothing and can be done anywhere. Breathe in one single breath while you count from 1 to 7. Release that air in seven individual short breaths, counting at the same speed, so that it takes the same time for the one breath in as the total of the seven out - I hope that makes sense?
Here's a quick clip to show you...
If symptoms have been evident for any length of time, it will be reasonable to think that disease of your gall bladder itself could be likely... so an immune boost and probiotics are a great idea also.
Some herbs that can be helpful are bitter and help to stimulate the flow of bile or anti-inflammatory and help to reduce inflammation are: St Mary's thistle, globe artichoke, calendula petals, blue flag root, ginger root, gentian, irish moss, rosehips and dandelion leaf.
OH and I nearly forgot... NO coffee, alcohol, pasteurised dairy, creamy sauces, thickeners, flavour enhancers, preservatives, fried or stodgey foods and the like. That'd be dodgey.
... and something else to consider...
Liver is considered to be affected by editing emotions - or speaking your truth but not REALLY being understood for what you meant and gallbladder relates to feeling emotionally backed into a corner from that kind of long term liver stuff.
Finally, sometimes it's not the food but the chemicals / treatments it's endured to get to our tables or even just the time of day it's consumed or what it was combined with or the mood you're experiencing when you're taking it into your body... Bit like finding all the pieces of a jigsaw and placing them together. I love that!
Be well. Much love. xo
PS: Please let common sense prevail. None of this information is intended to diagnose or treat. These are merely my thoughts which I am sharing with you and I hope you find them interesting. For individual advice or treatment please see your health or medical practitioner and in the case of emergency, please call an ambulance or go to hospital... because sometimes surgery is the only option left. Be wise. That's all. :)