Gallstones Can Really Be a Pain

April 4, 2013
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

natural treatment for painful gallstonesPrevent painful gallbladder problems naturally.

Over 25 million Americans have gallstones—yet only 1 million get diagnosed annually. Sudden, sharp pain in the upper abdomen, under the breastbone, near the right shoulder, or between the shoulder blades usually signals gallstones, hardened cholesterol deposits ranging in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball.

A small, pear-shaped organ located right under the liver, the gallbladder releases an important digestive fluid called bile that contains cholesterol. But if cholesterol is too high or the gallbladder fails to empty correctly, bile and the substances it contains can form crystals that eventually turn into gallstones.

While 90% of people who have these stones experience no pain, anyone with intense abdominal pain—so severe that you can’t get comfortable or sit still—needs immediate care. Yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes or high fever with chills are other signs of gallstones. Other less dramatic symptoms of gallbladder problems include rib cage sensitivity on the right side, light-colored stools, and nausea.

Age, female gender, overweight or obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, certain medications (cholesterol-lowering drugs or hormone therapy), a low-fiber diet, and rapid weight loss (from yo-yo dieting) can increase your risk for gallstones. This painful disorder has also been linked to food sensitivities like dairy or gluten intolerance, and even salmonella bacteria.

Spring is an ideal time to support your gallbladder—and neighboring liver—with seasonal detox.

With all those fresh spring greens, it’s easy to add more vegetable to your diet, lowering the risk of gallstones. The Green Life Cocktail in Fat Flush for Life can purify your system in one green sweep. Just mix 1 teaspoon of pure wheat grass or Liver-Lovin’ Formula (containing taurine to boost bile production) with 1 teaspoon of Flora-Key (packed with beneficial bacteria) in 8 ounces of Cranberry H20.

Two new lab studies show that substances in garlic and onion protect against gallstone formation—and may even reduce the size of stones. Other research suggests that coffee helps prevent gallstone formation—and Spring Fat Flush includes 1 cup a day.

Because of fenugreek’s favorable influence on cholesterol metabolism, a Canadian experiment finds this seed reduces cholesterol involved in gallstone formation. And Alternative Medicine Review reports preventive effects with vitamin C, iron, and lecithin.

For Advanced Detox

A castor oil pack stimulates the gallbladder and liver, while helping to draw toxins out of the body. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

You just need 100% pure, cold-pressed castor oil, wool (not cotton) flannel, and a heating pad. Then follow these simple steps:

1. Fold the wool flannel into 3 or 4 layers, and soak it in castor oil.

2. Place the soaked flannel in a baking dish, and heat slowly in the oven until it’s warm to your touch.

3. Lie down, gently rub 3 tablespoons of castor oil on your abdomen, and then place the soaked flannel on your tummy.

4. Cover the soaked flannel on your abdomen with plastic wrap or a plastic garbage bag.

5. Finally, cover this with a heating pad that’s comfortably (not too) hot for 1 hour.

When you’re finished, wash the oil from your tummy. You can keep the oil-soaked flannel in plastic for further use, since this oil does not become rancid as quickly as other oils.

For spring detox, I recommend using the castor oil pack once a day for 3 successive days, then take 3 days off, and use it for another 3 days. If you suffer chronic fatigue or frequent infections, consider using this pack daily for 2 weeks out of every month while on Spring Fat Flush.

Fat Flush for Life

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Melissa Pallex

    Unfortunately, I had my gall bladder removed laparascopically in 2006 before I knew that there were other ways to try to treat gallstones naturally before resorting to surgery. At any rate, I have continued having MANY problems with pain and disrupted digestion since the surgery. Would this type of castor oil detox still be helpful for me, even though I no longer have my gall bladder? Is there anything else I can do to help with the pain I continue to have (between the shoulder blades, under the breastbone and near the right shoulder), as well as the digestion problems (ie. inability to digest fats well, irritable bowel issues, irregularity, etc)? I’ve had my doctor check things out to make sure there is nothing else structurally wrong…all is okay there. Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated!

    • Lynn

      Do you take bile acids since you have had your gallbladder removed (Dr.s don’t tell you that you need to do this!) If you are not digesting your fats due to no gallbladder, your health will suffer. Try OX bile supplements with every meal (you may need Hydrochloric acid/betaine with pepsis after meals if you are over 50).

    • Lynn

      Be aware that many Standard Process products contain GLUTEN!

  2. Gwenny

    Hello, Can this remedy be used also for kidney stones?


  3. karen anne

    I had a hida scan a few years ago that showed normal funtion for my gallbladder…though I was in pain during the procedure. My doctor didnt know.

    I still have pain on right and MRI shows fatty liver. So they figure pain from that. My drs say loose weight and I am having a hard time since my liver is clogged (also post menapusal, and very slow metablolim)

    Will the heat and castoral oil do anything for me? How about the other detox mentioned above?

    I tried your FAT FLUSH yrs ago and it is amazing. Now I have gout and the cranjuice doesn’t agree.

    please help…

  4. Administrator

    Melissa: You would do very well by adding bile salts to your regimen. Cholacol by Standard Process would be my recommendation.

    Gwenny: The castor oil pack is not specific for kidney stones. More magnesium, lots of oat straw tea, and chamomile tea may help here.

    Karen Anne: Castor oil pack may be very helpful in decongeseting both liver and gallbladder which may help your overall liver situation. You need to be off of all sugary foods especially and I would try Fat Flush again but use pomegranate juice – 2 – 4 ounces per 32 oz of water instead of the cranberry juice.

  5. Administrator

    Melissa: The bile salts are a specific for your digestion and pain. Everyone who has gallbladder surgery still needs to make bile to digest fat.

  6. Ginny

    How exactly doe’s the caster oil soak work? Was’nt Castor oil used as a laxative? Is that how it detoxifies then as a soak?

    • Sierra

      The castor oil packs are detailed in ALG’s book Fat Flush for Life!

  7. karen anne

    Thank you for the info! I am excited about this! Can you recommend a brand for Pomegrante juice. The ones I am finding are all high sugar and very high carb. Much more sugar than the cranberry juice I used (from Trader Joes). I am pre-diabetic as well. Also what do you mean -2-4 ounces? Would it be same formula as making cran water? THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • Sierra

      When using Pom, you would do half as much as the cranberry. Pom naturally is higher in sugar, one reason that we use it in greater dilution.

  8. Nermy

    2 yrs ago I went Raw for 14 months,lost 100+Lbs.Near the end of the raw journey I had two miscariages in the course of 9 months, after not being able to get prego for close to ten years,had no idea I could.Not long Before first mis,I ate some broccoli,had a horrible pain that went on forever,made me feel constipated with unrelenting pain.After, some veggies would make me sick and some wouldn’t. Found pre-made vegan foods did not make me sick and luckily greens.After 1st mis I lost so much hair it was bad looking.I started eating eggs along with some cooked foods.My hair started growing back but still is not the same.End of the year I had 2nd miss went into a depression,could’t eat my healthy foods and the sadness from the loss was overwhelming.I have since gained 88lbs back. I want to get back into my healthy lifestyle.The pain episodes are getting worse,3 weeks ago landed in the ER,throwing up and the pain would not stop they had to put me on IV’s and moraphine. I was told I had a gallbladder full of stones,that my organs were in good shape though,they only gave the operation to ppl with infected organs.So i researched am doing the lemon and water every morning,apple juice with acv,oregeno oil,and was doing stone buster but it started to give me chest pains. I can eat fried foods but not healthy stuff,every diet site online says don’t eat blah blah,well all the bad food are the only things that do not agravate it.In the meantime these foods that I DO NOT WANT TO EAT are making me hungrier and zapping my energy,and every day the food pool is shrinking.I am self pay,I do not go to doctors I am doing this all with research, but I have hit a wall..I am in hell,I want to get healthy. My next course of action is to do smoothies an juicing for the next year… I am open to any advice,information that you are able to give

  9. Eustolia Angeli

    Healthcare practices categorized as alternative may differ in their historical origin, theoretical basis, diagnostic technique, therapeutic practice and in their relationship to the medical mainstream.

  10. Mozella Tanzosch

    Salmonella poisoning affects thousands of individuals each year. The good news is that it can be prevented. It is only a matter of proper hygiene and the practice of food safety in the kitchen. Here is a list of ways to prevent it: Wash hands frequently Dirty hands can bring about cross contamination.”-;*

    Have a good day ^-..,

    Take care

  11. Nurse Jon

    Thanks for this info on stones. As a holistic nurse, I am constantly looking for holistic treatments to add to my practice.

    One commenter answered a question…what else could cause pain in the same region. The answer was fatty liver and blocked liver, which makes the bile for the gallbladder.

    What worked for my patient (who did not get a diagnoses) was the water cures protocol found on It is dissolving a pinch of salt in the mouth and then drinking a glass of water. The amount is based on body weight.

    Whether stones or fatty liver, the water cures thing worked.

    I will also pass your suggestions on as well.

  12. rbhat

    i have gallbladder stone about 16 mm i don’t have pain or any other symptoms.
    is pomegranate juice beneficial or it have side effects

  13. Team ALG

    Pomegranate juice doesn’t have side effects and may be helpful in reducing the size of the stone.

  14. rbhat

    thankx so much

  15. Zori

    I just found that I have a gallstone of 0.6 cm and I was wondering if you have a natiral gallstone flush/dissolve protocol?

  16. Team ALG

    Zori, you can take Standard Process Phosfood as suggested on the box to help dissolve gallstones. You can find this product online.

    • Zori

      Thank you!


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