Herbal teas can cause liver and biliary disorders

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Since ancient times, indigenous peoples have used certain plants to combat health problems of the liver and gallbladder.

Liver and gallbladder dysfunction often lead to gallstone formation that can obstruct the bile ducts and cause inflammation and pain.

Consumption of certain plants in the form of tea can reduce inflammation and can stimulate the liver and gallbladder. Although these herbal teas can cause release of biliary calculi, they can temporarily increase or may even trigger unpleasant symptoms of liver disorders.


1. Overview
2. Anatomy
3. Gallstones
4. Herbs for liver and gallbladder
5. Precautions


The liver is an organ located in the upper right abdomen and helps to detoxify and filter substances that enter the body. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ, located below the liver that works by collecting and concentrating bile, which is used in the digestion of fats.

Common bile duct or bile ducts are emptied into the duodenum, in small intestine, when fat digestion begins. A variety of factors can contribute to gallstone formation which could cause painful symptoms, if they get stuck in biliary ducts.


Bile is produced in hepatocytes of the liver cells and consists of water, electrolytes, acids, phospholipids, cholesterol and bilirubin. This will become increasingly concentrated in the gallbladder and is eventually released in the small intestine where it acts as an agent that emulsifies fat and promotes absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Gallstones can form due to the slow flow of bile, excessive amount of cholesterol in bile from the liver infection, hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies.

Gallstones vary in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Although most do not cause symptoms, such events can still occur include severe abdominal pain, belching, flatulence, nausea and vomiting.

Herbs for liver and gallbladder

Some plants are known for the role of calming the liver and gallbladder, reducing inflammation, biliary detoxification and dilatation. These include milk thistle, parsley, chamomile, dandelion, fennel seeds, ginger and mint. These plants are often combined in diverse ways and consumed during or after an episode of acute pain of the gallbladder. They are designed to reduce discomfort and to ease removal of gallstones, although symptoms may temporarily increase.


Herbal teas should not replace medical treatments recommended for treating liver and gallbladder. They are not an alternative to gallbladder surgery.

Herbal teas can stimulate peristalsis or gallbladder contractions can cause discomfort and may intensify symptoms. Herbal teas should be used with caution during pregnancy. Consult your doctor about available treatments for gallstones.



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