Healing the Gallbladder in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Eastern Medicine

The gallbladder is one of those organs we have but are never really aware of it until something goes wrong. With the gallbladder, a common issue is the development of gallstones which are hard tiny “stones” formed from excess bile and cholesterol. In modern medicine, this problem is easily taken care of by simply removing the gallbladder. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, organ removal is always the last resort. TCM treats the gallbladder in a more holistic approach.


As always with TCM, diet plays an important role in treatment. The gallbladder is closely related to the liver, aiding in the role of detoxification and cleansing of the body. It is understandable that overloading the body with unhealthy, toxic food will take its toll on the gallbladder. To keep the gallbladder healthy and working properly there are certain foods you should stay away from.

Many times people who are having problems with their gallbladder have sharp abdominal pain after eating spicy, fried, or fatty foods. The gallbladder releases bile to breakdown our foods and these types of foods need more bile in order to be broken down and puts extra stress on the gallbladder. Alcohol is another source of stress for the gallbladder. In TCM it is important to eat seasonally and locally. So keep to the local markets and eat only the produce available in that season. Hot teas like peppermint tea, jasmine tea, and orange peel tea are healing to the gallbladder as well.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, holding pent up anger and frustration will attack the gallbladder. To treat this, TCM promotes a healthy release of emotions and regular meditation. Having trauma or stress as a regular part of your life will result in an imbalance of qi in the liver and gallbladder and manifest itself as irritability, rage, depression, redness in the face, blood shot eyes, severe headaches and tinnitus. Somethings that cause stress in our life are inevitable. The loss of a loved one or a heartbreaking breakup cannot be avoided but there are areas in our lives that we can minimize our stress and anger. Work and association are two areas where we can make decisions to help us lead a more relaxed life. Choose people who are upbuilding to be your friends and won’t leave you with negative feelings. If your job is putting undue stress on you, find another profession.


Along with making changes to lead a life with less stress, creating healthy habits will help to keep your gallbladder strong and healthy. In TCM, getting sufficient rest helps to balance out the yin and yang forces. With the gallbladder, Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that its Qi is at its peak between 11pm and 1am. Having a relaxed state of mind, if not sleeping, at this time of day will allow your gallbladder to work its best. You should also refrain from eating spicy or greasy foods and drinking alcohol during these hours especially.

The gallbladder meridian runs along the sides of the body, so doing exercises that work these areas will help the flow of Qi in the body. Kung fu, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong are great ways to increase the flow of Qi and heal the body.


Written by Crystal Amelco