“I read your thing on salt water flushes. So what do you think of gallbladder flushes?”
OK, here it goes. Take a couple of cups of plain old olive oil, mix in an equal volume of grapefruit or lemon juice, throw in a spoonful of Epsom salts and drink. By the time you get up the next morning, you’ll have passed a few irregularly-shaped stones and cleansed your gallbladder.
Gallstones? Or Something Far Less Serious?
A 2005 piece in the journal Lancet related the story of a 40-year-old woman who embarked on a series of “cleanses” upon the advice of her herbalist. The patient consumed 600 ml of olive oil and 300 ml of lemon juice then “passed” several semisolid objects via her bowels several hours later.
The patient then took what she apparently thought were gallstones to a clinic and had them looked at by medical professionals. According to the doctors who examined this patient and her stones, the “stones” were simply very, very crude balls of … soap.
Soap??? Yes. Your “Gallstones” Are Soap.
Before you dismiss this story as just another one of those stupid urban myths, think about it for a moment. Soap is, after all, just a salt made up of some kind of fatty acid mixed with some kind of alkaline. The olive oil provided the fatty acid and the lemon juice provided the potassium. Mix in a little bile from the gallbladder—because bile is, remember, an emulsifier—and you have soap. Not a very good soap, but soap nonetheless.
This “cleansing” method for clearing the gallbladder of gallstones was made popular by authors like Hulda Clark and is often discussed on natural health forums. But, as you can see, at least in the case documented in the Lancet, what’s being “cleansed” has nothing to do with your gallbladder.
Is A Gallbladder Flush Dangerous?
I’ve never actually heard of anyone being hurt by swallowing large amounts of olive oil or lemon juice but it certainly isn’t a practice I’d recommend. And, now, you have the information to make up your own mind about gallbladder flushes.
So, you tell me? Was the article in the Lancet completely off-base? Is a gallbladder flush a hoax? Or is this a legitimate way to “detox” a very important organ?
Sies, C., Brooker, J. (2005). Could these be gallstones? The Lancet.