Can TCM help gallstones?

Question: Recently I have found out that I have gallstones. Do I have to have them removed or can I use TCM to get rid of them? I’m a man in my late 40s.

Answer: Chinese medicine sees gallstones as caused by a Liver function disorder. According to Chinese medicine, the Liver and the Gallbladder work together as partner organs. So usually it’s a Liver function disorder. It happens when the Liver cannot handle any more stress or frustration, so the Gallbladder takes over. However, once this situation forms gallstones it means the Liver’s problem has impacted the Gallbladder. Now, the issue involves both the Gallbladder and the Liver—both are affected, both have a problem. The idea is there is stagnation: emotional stagnation. Stress, anger, frustration and excess emotion impact the function of the Liver and Gallbladder. So it’s important to watch your stress and manage your emotions.

On top of this, gallstones are also associated with a cold condition inside the body. The body inside has a cold essence and a cold temperature. To avoid this problem, generally speaking, you have to avoid cold drinks and cold foods. Also, eat less dairy and less meat. You should add to your diet any foods that warm the body internally. A very healthy drink for this condition is ginger tea or corn silk tea with ginger and brown sugar. The ginger and brown sugar warm the body inside, while the corn silk carries their essence to the Liver.

Chinese medicine believes that you don’t have to take out the Gallbladder. Actually you can live with the gallstones as long as you know how to take care of the body and allow it to function in harmony, in a healthy way. You can carry these gallstones for the rest of your life instead of taking out the Gallbladder. Chinese medicine is able to dissolve gallstones, but to do this you need a special herbal formula and treatment with acupuncture.

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