Herbs & Natural Remedies:
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), peppermint (Mentha ¥piperita), coffee and vitamin C.
Milk thistle: silymarin tablets. Peppermint: enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules. Coffee: beverage. Vitamin C: tablets.
How it Works:
Gallstones are usually made of cholesterol. Milk thistle and vitamin C help break it down. Peppermint oil helps dissolve gallstones. In a four-year British study, drugs plus peppermint oil dissolved stones better than drugs alone. Coffee strengthens gallbladder contractions, expelling stones so they don’t get stuck in gallbladder ducts. Several studies show that as coffee consumption increases, gallstone risk decreases.
Milk thistle: 420 mg of silymarin per day. Peppermint: 1 or 2 capsules (1.2 ml per capsule) three times daily with meals. Coffee: 1 to 3 cups a day. Vitamin C: 2,000 mg daily.
Any herb may cause allergic or sensitivity reactions. Coffee consumption beyond personal tolerance causes insomnia, jitters and irritability. Large doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea.
Many studies show that a lowfat, low-sugar, high-fiber diet helps prevent gallstones.
San Francisco health writer Michael Castleman is the author of 11 consumer health books. Visit www.mcastleman.com .