As organs go, the gallbladder isn't the sexiest; however when the gallbladder and liver malfunction, it causes a host of painful and unpleasant symptoms leading to the surgical removal of roughly 500,000 of them annually. No doubt some deserve to go, especially when the gallbladder (GB) is chronically infected with a thickened, dystonic wall and packed with stones. The prospect of GB perforation into the peritoneum is certainly dire. However, in my experience, for most GBs with acute or episodic pain following fatty meals and mild or moderate disease, a rescue should be attempted.
Over 25 million Americans have gallstones, with 1 million new cases diagnosed annually, according to the American Gastroenterology Association. Surgery is often not a walk in the park, with 40% of postcholecystectomy patients still having symptoms of nausea, pain, gas, bloating, IBS, dumping syndrome, scarring, and food intolerance.1-5 Gallstones also pack most of the biliary ducts in the liver and go unrecognized in ultrasound and CT scans. When they are found, the diagnosis of a fatty liver is given; however, the bile obstruction is still present, leading to malabsorption of fats and oils as well as calcium and causing manifold digestive disturbances. In his compelling book The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush, Andreas Moritz (www.ener-chi.com) links these toxic livers and GBs to over 67 different medical conditions affecting every organ system in the body.
Rescues take many forms. Just about every healing modality has good things for the liver and GB. Herbs, antioxidant nutrients, anti-inflammatory nutrients, bile salts, pancreatic enzymes, organic diet avoiding trans fats, acupuncture, neural therapy, energy medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, liver/GB flush, coffee enemas, colon therapy, chiropractic, topical poultices and castor oil packs, mood and stress modulation (Chinese medicine reminds us that the emotion of an unhappy liver/GB is anger), and many other approaches can be employed in the rescue. To avoid being too encyclopedic, I'd like to review just a few of my favorites.
In my 37 years of medical practice, I have only lost four or five GBs to surgery. My lost ones were usually because the patient didn't tell me that he was having GB issues, or a relative, nurse, or doctor assured her that if she didn't have it out she would die. I am reminded of a 43-year-old prominent local businessman who had a GB attack during dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and was laid out on the table with doctor relatives obviously concerned and pushing him to go to the hospital for surgery. For some reason, his pain lightened up a little and he called me. I recommended massage for his paraspinal muscles in the thoracic area (back shu points in acupuncture over Bladder 18–19 at the bottom edge of the scapulae relate to liver/GB), which immediately improved his pain. He was able to get home to Reno and applied a castor oil pack over his liver, which was very soothing and pain-relieving. Castor oil packs were popularized by Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet from Virginia Beach, Virginia, in the 1920s, a medical intuitive and psychic who made many accurate predictions for the future. His work is still promulgated by the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) in Virginia Beach and other centers. Unrefined castor oil, also called the Palma Christi, contains ricin from the castor bean, a counterirritant with marvelous lymphatic-stimulating and pain-relieving properties. The pack is made by pouring the castor oil on a piece of flannel or terrycloth, applying it to the skin over any painful area, and covering it with a plastic bag or wrap and then a hot water bottle or hot pad for 30 to 60 minutes. Of course, the GB is just below the right rib cage and the liver is above the right rib margin and extends across the midline above the left costal margin. Remember not to sleep with the hot pad for fear of burns. The pack is made by folding the cloth into the plastic for later use with a fresh application of castor oil on the cloth. (The oil on the cloth makes it impossible to clean.) Castor oil packs can be used on any place or joint on the body and are especially soothing for inflamed areas. They can be made into a Russian poultice around joints by wrapping them with an ACE bandage and leaving overnight; this generates its own heat.
The next day I saw him in the office after an ER work-up showed a GB full of stones and a HIDA scan of less than 1%. I employed intradermal injections (welts, quaddles) of neural therapy6,7 (see diagram) over the epigastrium, GB acupuncture point (GB-24), back shu points (Bl 18–19), GB 21 on top of the shoulder, and ah shi points (cause pain with palpation – "oh sh_t" points) over the liver and GB area employing 1 % procaine with no epinephrine buffered to a pH of 7 with potassium hydroxide and Spascupreel from Heel Company. The total volume used was 5 cc procaine with 1 cc Spascupreel in a 5 cc syringe using a 30 gauge needle. Spascupreel contains Colocynthis 4×, Ammonium bromatum 4×, Atropinum sulfuricum 6×, Veratrum album 6×, Magnesium phosphoricum 6×, Gelsemium 5×, Passiflora incarnata 1×, Chamomilla 3×, Cuprum sulfuricum 6×, and Aconitum 5×. I then recommended Orthomolecular Omega marine lipid extract, burpless fish oil with the proteins distilled off to avoid the fishy burps and taste, high in EPA and DHA, with primrose oil (GLA), the great omega-6 anti-inflammatory oil. In addition I suggested Hepatica from Marco Pharma, which distributes Nestmann products from Germany, 30 drops 20 minutes before meals as a biliary stimulant and GB soother; and Pleo Rec, Bacillus firmus 6× suppositories nightly, an isopathic remedy from Germany and Terra Medica Company that protects all mucous membranes and is a nonspecific immune booster and anti-inflammatory with no side effects. He also had a session of Ortho-Bionomy, body work that relates to many levels of energy, and Esogetic Colorpuncture therapy from Germany after Kirlian photographic evaluation of acupuncture meridian emanations from the fingers and toes. We also started Wobenzyme 10 twice per day for its anti-inflammatory effect and injectable adrenal support (2 mg cortisol/cc with 0.2 mg DHEA and 0.2 mg of pregnenolone in sesame oil for its time-release properties) with B12 and folic acid injections weekly for adrenal fatigue during his health ordeal and general third chakra support (solar plexus).
He returned the next day with his pain 50% resolved even after playing golf, although he didn't use his driver. I repeated the above neural therapy. He wasn't very hungry and found the castor oil packs still extremely soothing. One week later, his pain was gone through most of the day with an occasional twinge if he rolled in bed the wrong way, and he was eating more liberally. Another week later, he was 100% symptom free and still is nine years later. He loves to embarrass me when we see him at local restaurants, loudly proclaiming: "There's Dr. Gerber. He saved my gallbladder years ago."
Another patient, a 34-year-old mother of three, had a GB attack and was worked up at a nearby hospital with small stones and sludge in the GB and was told by a surgeon that she would die without surgery. Seeking a second opinion, she saw me several days later. I did a minimal intervention of the above neural therapy; her pain resolved immediately (two minutes), with no further treatment or surgery except lifestyle modification and nutrient and herbal therapy. She has had no reoccurrences three years later.
A 52-year-old woman with chronic GB disease, especially persistent nausea at night, presented with many other issues and was scheduled for GB surgery in two weeks. We did the neural therapy one month apart with our usual nutritional and hormonal support, and she felt much better and canceled her surgery. Since the second neural therapy session, she has been completely pain free for two years with a minor aggravation after severe stress. One additional neural therapy session immediately stopped her symptoms.
In regard to the liver/GB flush, we use the Hulda Clark variation, a two-day flush protocol utilizing Epsom salts and olive oil with pink grapefruit juice. You can look up her protocol in Cure For All Diseases or online. I have had patients who have assuaged their GB symptoms for 25-plus years by doing an occasional liver/GB flush. Andreas Moritz recommends them monthly until several thousand stones are eliminated. The stones, which resemble green peas with thousands of chaff-like particles and much larger stones, are fascinating to watch come out in the stool, and the process is generally very well tolerated. I don't generally recommend a liver/GB flush for a super-acute GB and let it cool down with other conservative therapies first. I thought, years ago, that it must be dangerous to push stones though the common duct until three LOLs (lovely older ladies) in their 70s brought in Mason jars half-full of stones in one summer and testified that they felt great afterwards. The Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) dilate the liver and GB ducts. Some critics allege that the stones are just olive oil. Andreas Moritz counters this with a 15-point refutation. You can't make hard little round balls out of olive oil in 4 or 5 hours. The stones float and stool sinks.
Enjoy rescuing GBs.
Michael Gerber, MD, HMD
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7. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD. email@example.com.