Gallbladder stones are known as Pitta Ashmari in Ayurveda.
Pathogenesis of Gallstones as per Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, all three Vata dosha, Pitta dosha, and Kapha dosha play a part in the formation of gallstones, with Pitta dosha being the primary culprit. The excessive increase of Pitta (caused by hot or spicy food, alcohol etc.) and Kapha aggravated by fatty, protein-rich foods get mixed and produce a highly sticky substance in the gallbladder. This Pitta- and Kapha-vitiated mixture becomes dry due to aggravated Vata and results in stones.
Gallstones are related to three conditions – Gulma, Pitta Ashmari, and Sneha Guna Vruddhi of Kapha and Pitta.
Ayurvedic Treatment Principle –
- Pitta Kapha Hara Chikitsa
- Gulma Chikitsa
Ayurvedic Treatment for Gallstones
The Ayurvedic understanding of gallstones is referred to as Pitta Ashmari and offers effective remedial measures. Like any other disease management, Ayurvedic gallstone treatment is based on root-cause diagnosis and can be personalized for every patient.
Ayurvedic gallstone treatment involves the use of highly effective stone dissolving (lithotripsic) herbal formulae along with herbs to cleanse the liver and restore its function.
Diet and Lifestyle Advice
Since dietary factors often play a significant role in gallstone formation, following an appropriate dietary regimen and lifestyle is of utmost importance. Hence, the rules below should be adhered to meticulously to eliminate gallstones and prevent their future formation.
- Maintain regular and reasonable meal timing – for example, have breakfast before 9:00 am, lunch before 1:00 pm and dinner before 8:00 pm. Late-night meals and parties should be avoided.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables; avoid foods that contain saturated fats.
- Recommended food for breakfast includes sweet lime, apple, pear, water melon, pomegranate, pineapple etc. Sprinkle cardamom, cinnamon, or black pepper generously.
- Meat, fatty food, junk food, sweets, chocolate, bread, cakes, dairy products such as curds, butter and cheese, carbonated drinks, and alcohol must be strictly restricted in quantity and frequency.
- Exercising regularly helps keeping your weight in check.
- Keep in mind that obesity is a risk factor for gallbladder stones.
- The Sun Salutation yoga complex improves the function of the visceral organs, especially of the lungs and gallbladder.
- Numerous herbs known as cholagogues and choleretics have been found useful in preventing gallstones as per traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
- Cholagogues are herbs that stimulate the gallbladder to contract, while choleretics stimulate the liver to secrete more bile.
- Both these actions could help reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
Ayurvedic Products Used to Treat Gallbladder Stones
- Tamra Bhasmam
- Avipathi Churnam
- Triphaladi Churnam
- Dadimadi Ghritam
- Patolakaturohinyadi Kashayam
- Drakshadi Kashayam
- Balapunarnavadi Kashayam
- Varanadi Kashayam
- Vasaguluchyadi Kashayam
- Dasamulaharitaki Leham
- Trivril Leham
Horse Gram (Kulattha)
Horse gram is useful in treating gallbladder stones at an early stage.
It increases the blood flow and Pitta secretion by removing excess Kapha. Soup of horse gram seasoned with onions, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, and rock salt with a tablespoon of cow ghee can be administered once or twice as per the constitution. It helps to break the stones while the cow ghee eases the passage of stones by lubrication and also provides pain relief.
Cow urine increases body heat but it is still recommended for balancing all three bio-energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). It is a very good liver purifier, regulates the bile flow, fights extra cholesterol, digests ama and Kapha, and pacifies obstructed Vata. This is how cow urine can be used in treating gallstones naturally.
Between 30 ml and 40 ml of filtered fresh cow urine should be taken on an empty stomach early in the morning, as advised by your Ayurveda expert. Sometimes readymade Gomutrasav may be available. Continue with the therapy for a couple of weeks.
Rock Salt Remedy
Before breakfast, on an empty stomach, take a teaspoon of Saindhava Lavana, Sajji Kshara, or ordinary table salt in a glass of hot water. After drinking it, lie down for about 45 minutes on your right side.
Do this once or twice a week. Fasting with apples enhances the benefits of the salt remedy. This is an excellent remedy to increase the flow of bile.
Berberis aristata (Daruharidra)
Daruharidra unblocks the bile flow, thus reducing the sharp and cutting pain due to the obstruction, and helps gallstones dissolve naturally through continuous use.
Turmeric can also be used along with Daruharidra, and the decoction can be taken internally. Due to its hot property and sharp nature, it dissolves cholesterol and gallstones.
Eclipta alba (Bhringraj)
- Bhringraj alleviates Vata and acts as a good analgesic.
- It is an excellent appetizer as well as a digestive and liver stimulant.
- Its main action is on the liver improving bilious flow.
Picrorhiza kurroa (Kutki)
Kutki is a liver stimulant and cholagogue that is bitter in taste and increases appetite.
It is one of the medicines recommended for obstructive jaundice and acts as a purgative in large doses.
Its main action is on the blood and bile.
The best liver tonic in Ayurveda is Arogyavardhini Vati which contains 50% Kutki.
Aloe vera (Kumari)
Drinking aloe vera juice on a daily basis helps dissolve small gallstones.
The sharp and cutting properties of Aloe vera not only increase Pitta but help reduce Kapha and ama as well as being good for treating constipation.
Panchakarma or Detox Therapy
Avagah Sweda (Bath-tub)
- Avagah Sweda is most beneficial for pain management.
- The therapy involves applying the body with warm Dhanvantaram Thailam oil and sitting in a bath-tub.
- Massage and warm fomentation help pacify Vata and open the channels.
Parisheka (Oil or medicated shower)
Pouring a continuous stream of medicated decoctions (with herbs such as Dashamula, Eranda, or Kutki) on the lower abdomen helps pacify Vata and Pitta.
Virechana (Therapeutic Purgation)
- Gallstones occur due to a high concentration of Pitta and malfunctioning liver.
- The liver is the organ which controls the Rakta vaha srotas.
- Rakta and Pitta are closely related.
- Virechana is the best treatment for Pitta.
Vaman (Therapeutic Emesis)
If gallstones are related to hyper cholesterol and obesity, Vaman is indicated to correct dyslipidemia.