Acupuncture for relieving Gallbladder inflammation

Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. It is often caused by sluggish bile in  from the gallbladder and bile duct into the small intestine. Bile can become sluggish and develop into stones.  That accumulation builds up inside the gallbladder and irritates the intestine and can lead to diarrhea, pain, nausea or vomiting.

Bile salts and bilirubin are the main active ingredients in bile.  After eating fatty foods or any fat for some people, the gallbladder releases the bile to breakdown the fats. But if the bile becomes sluggish or thick, the gallbladder and bile duct becomes inflamed.  Stones can build in the gallbladder further reducing the ability of the that digestive organ to do its work leading to symptoms.

People will have symptoms of  right upper belly pain with tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating and sometimes right shoulder and back pain.

Western medicine treatments opt for surgical removal of the stones. But there are other options that can be implemented by a Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist.

Acupuncture research has shown the regulation of the gallbladder during cholecystitis. 

Many acupuncture points have been shown to help with liver Qi stagnation to regulate Qi improve the flow of bile and vitalize blood to alleviate abdominal discomfort.  The stones may shrink as well with treatment and time.  Stone management must be done with care and monitored so they don’t block the bile duct.


Foods and herbs can help to decrease the inflammation which are called cholagogues.  The following could help to decrease the inflammation that could lead to stone formation.  Increase fiber and protein with vegetables, nuts and legumes.  Decrease fatty foods and oils.  Eat more soups and juice with bitter greens.  Lemons, limes, rhubarb and all types of bitter greens too.

Spring allows us these healthy choices and now is the time to indulge in natures bounty of greens and dandelion root.

The liver and gallbladder are the organs of the spring and wood element. These foods will also keep the body in balance during this spring.  Keep the organs clean and well balanced.  Be well!


Zhen Ci Yan Jiu . 2012 Oct;37(5):398-402.

The Herbal Handbook