Last Modified on May 25, 2016
Few things are scarier than a gallbladder attack, but once the shock goes away and you realize what is going on, a few natural remedies from home can quickly relieve the pain of a gallbladder attack. After that, a gallbladder cleanse or other home remedy can help you eliminate the causes of your digestive issues.
The gallbladder is a small digestive organ located on your right side beneath the liver and feeding into the small intestine. The organ's role is to store bile produced by the liver and release it into the duodenum as needed for intestinal digestion of fats and protein. When the organ goes bad, gallbladder symptoms include abdominal pain, pain in the right shoulder, nausea, and loss of appetite. All are the result of inflammation of the gallbladder, usually after a gallstone forms and blocks the bile duct (cholecystitis). After a few hours of gallbladder symptoms, the attack will often subside on its own. However, in some cases gallbladder surgery becomes necessary.
Earth Clinic readers have been sharing stories of home remedies for gallbladder attacks for over a decade. Most of these remedies are inexpensive and easily available.
Apple Cider Vinegar, Apple Juice, and Pickle Juice for Gallbladder Attacks
The most popular treatment of gallbladder pain is apple cider vinegar in apple juice. Some have had success with other types of vinegar in other types of juices. Even several swallows of pickle juice have been know to stop the pain of a gallbladder attack.
Essential Oils for Gallbladder Attacks
Lavender Essential Oil
Several Earth Clinic readers have found that 1 drop of lavender essential oil in a glass of water, slowly sipped will relieve the pain of a gallbladder attack.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is used topically for gallbladder pain. One or two drops can be massaged into the skin over the gallbladder area.
Castor Oil Packs for Gallbladder Pain
A castor oil pack is a soothing and relaxing remedy for a gallbladder attack. Pour castor oil onto a clean 4 x 4 white cloth. Place the cloth on the skin under the right rib cage. Cover the cloth with plastic wrap. Cover the plastic wrap with a heating pad.
Epsom Salt for a Gallbladder Attack
Internal Use of Epsom Salt
A typical dose of epsom salt is 1 teaspoon in a glass of water. At least one Earth Clinic reader found that taking a Tablespoon of epsom salt in a glass of water relieved gallbladder pain. (Be aware that epsom salt has a laxative effect!)
External Use of Epsom Salt
An epsom salt bath is relaxing and healing. Add 1 cup of epsom salt to a warm bath and soak at least 20 minutes. Your body absorbs the magnesium from the epsom salt and this relaxes the body and can help with a gall bladder attack. A drop of lavender essential oil can be added to the bath to improve its relaxation qualities.
Flaxseed Tea for Gallbladder Attacks
Several Earth Clinic readers have reported success with flaxseed tea to relieve the pain of a gallbladder attack.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil
- Add 1 Tablespoon of flax seeds
- Boil for 5 minutes
- Steep for 10 more minutes
- Strain out flax seeds
- Sweeten with honey and cinnamon if desired
How to Prevent Gallbladder Attacks
- If you are experiencing frequent gallbladder pain, you likely need to make some dietary changes to avoid future attacks. Fatty meals, heavy meals, fried food, fast foods are best avoided. Many find that dairy products, pork products, chocolate, and a host of other foods can trigger an attack. You also may have some quirky triggers that you will need to figure out on your own. A food diary can help with this. Sometimes the results will surprise you. While some find lettuce to help a gallbladder attack, others find it will cause one!
- You may wish to consider a gallbladder flush to cleanse your gallbladder of stones and sludge.
- The herb chanca piedra, also known as stone breaker, can be taken over time to help dissolve gallstones. Apple cider vinegar is another common tonic that is taken daily to prevent gallbladder problems. (1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water or juice once or twice a day.)
Scroll down to to read many stories with natural solutions for gallbladder pain.
Have you tried a natural remedy for your gallbladder attack? Please send us some feedback!
Additional Pages of Interest:
- The top remedy for this condition:Apple Cider Vinegar in Apple Juice (118 )
- Earth Clinic's Top Picks:Visit Editor’s Choice Page
- Most Popular Remedies:View Most Popular Remedies Table
- All remedies:48 Natural Cures for Gallbladder Attack
- Ted's Remedies for:Gallbladder Attack
- Ask For Help Here:Contributors' Q&A
Remedies for Gallbladder Attack
The Popularity of Gallbladder Attack Remedies - Full List
Gallbladder attacks: Just want to add that if you don't have apple juice, applesauce works great as well. Had an attack last night but no juice, so added 1 TBSP of ACV to 8 oz of apple sauce. Took small spoonfuls (1 tsp at a time) for about 20 minutes. By the end of that 20 minutes, no pain at all and I was able to go right back to bed.
Great remedy. Thanks for sharing, all.
Replied by Michael
Posted by Mary (Cincinnati Ohio) on 03/21/2016
I was woken up at 3:15 am today with another gallbladder attack. It always lasts for 4-5 hrs and the thought brings up such anxiety. I googled what to do during a gallbladder attack and found the Apple Cider Vinger and apple juice remedy.
I did not have any Apple juice but did have cranberry juice. I put 1/4 cup ACV in 6-8 oz cranberry juice. Could not believe within 10 mins pain subsided!!! I did not even finish the drink.
Posted by Crose (Calgary) on 12/30/2012
Thank you so much for this post! I suffered from a gallbladder attack and was in the ER for 2 days. They sent me on my way with a packet of pain killers and nothing else. I was feeling discouraged becasue I wanted a solution to the pain and discomfort rather than a band aid. I drank 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of mango carrot juice (we were out of apple) and within an hour I felt much better! 24 hours later I am still without symptoms!
Posted by Patricia (Wilmington, De) on 09/29/2012
Thank you so much for posting this. I had a gall bladder attack last night and I tried this. I did not have apple juice and used orange juice. Once I mixed the combo of oj and apple cider vinegar I realized the oj may too acidic, but I tried it anyway. I had relief with in a half hour and no pain within an hour. I was able to get a much needed good night sleep. I have had about 4 attacks but they are spaced about once every couple of years so this will be good to remember.
Posted by Missi ( Chipley, Fl) on 04/11/2015
I've been having major gallbladder attack for about 2 yrs now..at least 3-4 times a week....they lasted about 6-10 hrs..puking, pain, would rather go thru child birth..been using epsom salt so awhile, has always worked but lately it hasn't been working, so tried the apple vinegar n lemon juice n 4 ozs of water...WORKED BETTER THEN ESPOM SALT...STICKING TO VINEGAR N LEMON JUICE....GOOD LUCK EVERYONE...
Posted by Elangelique (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) on 12/25/2010
I had many attacks prior to finding the solution here with ACV. That helped immensely with immediate relief. The interesting thing to note for me was that I had an Ayurvedic doctor tell me to take, upon first rising, 2 tsp ACV 1 tsp lemon juice mixed in a glass of water. I had done this religiously for almost 11 months and have had awesome results with no attacks. The funny thing (or uber painful thing) is that I just woke to a major attack and am feeling that my 2 days of missed morning ritual has had an effect on my system! I see how the effects of NOT taking my morning "alkalizer" I call it, can wreak havoc on me. Here it is Christmas morning at 3:14am and just having my symptoms slowly subside. Hmm, maybe I'll run into Santa! I truly believe that this morning "alkalizer" balances my system.
The side effects have been that I lost weight on it too! I follow the ACV lemon juice (all organic) with a glass of "sole" (pronounced So-lay). The water/salt solution of Himalayan sea salts and water from a jar. 1 tsp of Sole with water before or after the ACV mixture. For 1 thing it prevents me from having coffee first thing in the morning and know that it helps to bring my PH balance into alignment.
If you don't know, the most important thing is to have the body in an alkaline state... For most diseases do not live in an alkaline body, only in an acid body. Research this yourself. This was shared with me by my holistic practitioner. All good information to share for better health! Our bodies know what is wanted. BTW I know that my niece of 6 years craves the vinegary taste and likes just 1tsp ACV with water now and again. (At times she craves pickle juice). Well, my symptoms have subsided and know that I will not overindulge even though it is Christmas. Off to bed before I run into Santa and surprise him!
Replied by Jen
Bozeman, Mt, Us
Posted by Sp (Austin, Tx) on 11/27/2010
I had a gallblader attack about 8 months ago and did the apple juice and ACV and it worked very well, I then improved eating habits and had no problems but after Thanksgiving I began noting some discomforts and just thought it was "overeating. " The next day the pain began at about 4am, but I had no apple juice this time. So I did a mixture of ACV and Lemon Juice and within 5 min the pain was gone. Thanks
Posted by Zella Sauer (Terre Haute, Indiana) on 09/17/2008
Hello, First let me say I love this site!
I plan to try many many things here.
I came here because of a gallbladder attack. I was sooo sick with this last attack, and I am not working and have no medical insurance. So I started out with AVC in apple juice and wow !! I felt much better (((but a very wonderful side effect occurred, which I wasn't expecting.... I have been holding water a lot lately in my ankles, and I have been drinking lots of water to help rid my body and eating very little to no salt, but still some puffiness.... I have been using ACV for 3 days now and my ankles and lower legs are TINY again !!! I can't believe it !!!) I have since then been reading all the wonderful things ACV does so I am a believer and will be taking it from now on.))) I did start out drinking the regular kind from the store in apple juice, but I have bought the organic ACV now...
My second subject is LETTUCE. I wanted faster relief on my gallbladder and eating a chunk of lettuce makes your stomach and gas build up from all of this ease down quite fast ...and it works! THANKS
My third subject is comfrey.... comfrey has many many used more than just bones.... I have it growing in my yard, and ((of course I haven;t been using it for about 1 month)) but that was me being dumb))) anyway I have a whole read out on comfrey and all of it's cures... but it may be too long for here. One thing it is for is the digestive system in your body. I usually cut me about 8 to 10 leafs each morning and bring them to a simmer and eat them. They are delicious and taste like rough spinach. My mom drinks comfrey tea. It is supposed to heal any upsets in your digestive track from your stomach right on down to your bowls, and ground comfry root is powerful stuff. Here is a small readout on just a few of it's healing powers......
((Tea of the leaves or decoction of the root was traditionally used for arthritis, respiratory problems, persistent coughs, pleurisy, bronchitis, bronchial pneumonia, lung disease with dry cough, lung congestion, quinsy, whooping cough, consumption, metritis, periostitis, gastrointestinal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, internal hemorrhage (lungs, bowel, stomach), bleeding piles, bloody urine, bladder infections, prostate infections, cystitis, leukorrhea, excessive menstrual flow, scrofula, anemia, wasting disease, DIGESTIVE & STOMACH PROBLEMS, spitting blood, colds, nasal congestion, diarrhea, and dysentary.))
I know a lady of 98 still going strong, a dear friend of my mom's, gave a plant to my mom and she in turn gave me some starts from it years ago, to help us with stomach problems and I did use it for 3 months once ... and was wonderfully healthy and no digestive problems at all... then I moved and my landlord would not allow me to pull it up. So it took me years to find it again and only this year, I have plenty... so along with my AVC, lettuce and comfrey I plan to get healthy and well.... ohh and I am just starting to use organic coconut oil on my skin ... will let everyone know .... :)
Thanks again !!!
Replied by Kelly
Replied by Lillamor
Posted by Peach (Bath, Wiltshire, England) on 02/15/2012
After suffering a gallbladder attack six weeks after giving birth I knew I had to change my lifestyle. The pain of that attack was worse than my labour pains and I couldn't imagine going through it again.
A trip to the Dr resulted in a referral to a surgeon who after confirming by ultrasound that I had a collection of small stones advised that the best result would be if I had it taken out.
Leaving my little boy just wasn't an option so I went about researching as much as possible to prevent a recurrence. I now drink organic apple juice every morning and have 1 tbsp of ACV with a little apple juice at night. I take magnesium everyday along with high strength (time release) vitamin C. The vit C I take at night as your immunity is naturally lower at night (when you are also more susceptible to an attack).
I also eat a beetroot everyday, and a spoonful of olive oil. I eat lots of fresh foods and try to eat as much raw food as possible, I have dramatically limited my sugar intake which has had an amazing effect on the horrible bloating I always seemed to have.
Thank you for this site and for all of the amazing comments that have helped me so much and prevented me losing my gallbladder.
Posted by Amanda (Yankton, Sd) on 06/22/2011
I have recently had issues with my gallbladder, and I read somewhere that apple juice may help prevent symptoms. I now drink at least a glass a day, I chose the all natural stuff personally, and if I have eaten something that I know will probably trigger an attack, I drink an extra glass before I go to sleep. So far, most excellent results for three weeks now, no attacks, and no pain. I wish someone else who gets attacks would try for awhile and let me know if it works for them or not. Just thought I'd share my good luck with something semi-preventative with you all.
Replied by Kelly
Replied by Aimee
Replied by Mama to Many
Posted by Trudy (Burton, Mi) on 10/16/2011
I have a sluggish gullbladder with no stones. I have had this problem for years and what I found is lettuce was causing most my attacks. After I stopped eating lettuce I don't have as many attacks and they are rarer than when I ate lettuce. I am now going to write down what I ate before every attack and see if there is a common link. Some say dairy products too can cause you problems. Next attack I will try the ACV and apple juice and add some baking soda in the mix for good measure. Thanks your site is awesome.
Posted by Janie (Mattoon, Illinois) on 01/05/2009
First of all I absolutely love this website! It is so helpful and... eye-openingly refreshing!
I am a vegetarian and know the importance of getting protein especially. Little did I know until later that I wasn't getting enough protein when I thought all along I had! Last year I went through a sleugh of tests to try and figure out why I was having this God-awful stabbing,jabbing pain directly below my right rib cage which to me, felt like a heart attack. It seemed to flair up an hour or two after a meal. I also suffer from Gerd so I would somehow associate it with that. But, I would have this uncomfortable pain consistantly every day -And it was more apparent at night or in the wee hours of the morn. My doc thought it might be gallbladder so I underwent tests for that. They came back Negative. During the many visits and not to mention the dollars spent trying to get to the bottom of what was causing that pain - I decided to get up on the internet to try and find the answer myself. Realizing that I am a vegetarian and have been for many years, I checked out everything food related and that I needed in the way of nutrtion, that was beneficial to my living this vegan lifestyle. During the research I found that a lack of B12 could be the cause for this sharp, unexplained pain that I was having - and I had been having it for more than a year or so - Anyways. to make this long story short, I went back to the doc. Told her what I found that might be causing this pain - She ordered up a blood test and found out that I was deficient in B12! She didn't want to give me the shots so I was put on B12 supplements that she recommended from the health food store ( Must contain methylcollomin - check my spelling on that word though ok?) - Anyways,after taking the 1,000 mcg's of B12 - 2 a day at first - now down to one,the pain was gone almost immediately (with-in a week I'd say) and remains to be gone to this day!!!! Yeah.... The brand I take is B12 Infusion by Enzymatic, for those of you who might be interested. Thanks for letting me share my story.
Posted by Steve (Florida) on 01/05/2014
I just hope that this message reaches as many gallbladder attack victims as possible because what I am going to state is the absolute truth and the last thing I want to see happen is another senseless surgery. When you feel an attack coming on or if it is in its peak pain just take one 600 mg tablet of betaine HCL and the attack will subside in just a few minutes. People get these attacks due to their stomachs not producing enough natural HCL. 50% of the people above 40 yrs old have this problem. HCL naturally stimulates the gallbladder to pass bile and stones through the duct. It is wise to take 100 mg of B6 each day as B6 dissolves the gall stones over time. Also, instead of waiting for a gall bladder attack to take the HCL, it is best to take one 600 mg tablet of HCL with each large protein meal. Just give our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ credit for this tremendous piece of advise.
Posted by Christian (Clacton, Essex) on 08/30/2011
Keeping the bowel moving is a key to stop the liver/gallbladder system gettting congested; probiotics, raw food, healthy fats, fibre such as psyillium, inulin, kefir etc. Chlorella can help normalize bowel function, and gut ecology but should be introduced slowly, and may require the help of digestive enzymes.
Artichoke extract can help, five days on followed by two days off.
if nuasea or an attack develops, lay off fats and oils for a few days, take plenty of water and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Choline bitarterate each day in body temp water will help, especially with nausea.
A Cacommile or choline bitarterate retention enema follow by swedish bitters will help. some people do 3 enemas within 36 hours, but dont forget to drink plenty of water, fibre, moderate amounts of healthy food and probiotics.
got to normalize bowel function as priority. if constipation is present or you alternate between that and loose fatty pale stools the liver is struggling and will do so as long as bowel function is poor.
some people find a castor oil pack with hot water bottle on it, - over the gallbladder/liver area for 30 mins gives relief AFTER an enema has been given.
do keep well hydrated, especially if using enemas.