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What can I drink with gallstones?

Some beverages could effectively lower your risk to have gallstones, while others could do the opposite. Researchers reported that drinking plenty of water and caffeinated beverages could lower the risk of gallstones. Moreover, certain traditional herbal medicine and other beverages could help in dissolving gallstones.

Key facts:

  • Drinking apple, lemon, and Pear juices and peppermint tea, dandelion tea, and St. John’s Wort tea have beneficial effects in dissolving gallstones.
  • Drinking plenty of water and caffeinated beverages could lower your risk to develop gallstones
  • Moderate alcohol consumption is reported to have a protective effect against gallstone formation.
  • Drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are related to more gallbladder problems such as gallbladder cancer.

What to drink with gallstones | Drinks that decrease gallstones formation | Drinks bad for gallstones | FAQs

What to drink with gallstones?

Some drinks could help you to dissolve gallstones. Here are short notes about some common drinks which are reported to help gallstones dissolve.

Dandelion tea

  • Dandelion is a herbal tea that is used historically to treat gallbladder and bile duct problems. Roots could stimulate bile secretion in the gallbladder (Ref).
  • People commonly drink dandelion tea for the treatment of gallstones. However, no evidence suggests these benefits.

Apple juice

  • Apple juice contains ingredients (malic acid, and vinegar) that could help soften or\and dissolve the gallstones.
  • Malic acid is responsible for gallstone softening.
  • Vinegar reduces the amount of cholesterol in your bile. The action of both malic acid and vinegar could slowly dissolve gallstones and prevent the formation of new stones in your gallbladder.
  • One teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar is added to a glass of apple juice and drunk every morning.

Peppermint tea

  • Peppermint is a herbal medicine commonly used for many medical purposes.
  • It contains terpene which stimulates the flow of your bile and helps in gallstone dissolving.
  • Peppermint tea is prepared by steeping fresh green or dried peppermint leaves (fresh green leaves are preferred) in hot water. After boiling for a few minutes, filter and drink several times every day.

Lemon juice

  • In fact, drinking lots of fluids help your body naturally eliminate gallstones from your system.
  • Lemon juice also could help you remove gallstones.
  • Squeeze 4 lemons and drink them every morning on an empty belly could help you remove your gallstones.
  • A study showed that the sizes of gallstones (cholesterol stones and pigmented stones) were significantly reduced when they were immersed in lemon juice for 7 days.

Pear juice:

  • Pear juice contains pectin that could help gallstones dissolve.
  • You could add one tablespoonful of honey to half of a glass of hot water and add it to a half glass of pear juice.

St. John’s Wort tea

  • St. John’s Wort is a medicinal herbal plant that has several beneficial uses in medicine. Half a cupful of St. John’s Wort tea could help gallstones dissolve.
  • The St. John’s Wort tea is simply prepared by boiling 3-5 leaves and drinking twice daily.

Milk thistle

  • It is a flowering herb. It is also known as lady thistle and holy thistle.
  • Milk thistle is commonly used in traditional medicine for the treatment of liver diseases, and gallbladder problems.
  • Silymarin is the active ingredient of milk thistle.
  • It is available under different brand names such as holy thistle, lady thistle, St Mary thistle, Silymarin, silybin, and Legalon.


  • Turmeric is a medicinal plant that can help in removing tiny gallstones.
  • Also, due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can likewise help fight pain and gallbladder inflammation.
  • Moreover, the curcumin existing in the plant also assists in regenerating cells after surgical procedures (Ref).

What drinks lower your risk of gallstone formation?

Gallstone formation is strongly affected by your foods and drinks. Here we provide you with the beverage reported to lower your risk to have gallstones.


  • Drinking plenty of water every day is a healthy habit that could protect you against various diseases.
  • For the gallbladder, water helps the gallbladder empty, and this prevents the bile from building up, hence lowering the risk of gallstone formation.
  • It is advised to drink eight glasses of water every day for a better health


Coffee was found to lower your risk of gallstone formation. More coffee, lower gallstones (Ref).

Drinking six cups of coffee could help you to lower the risk of gallstone formation.

How does drinking coffee affect gallstone formation?

  • Caffeine has several metabolic effects that could lower the risk of gallstone formation (Ref).
  • It induces muscle contraction and could increase intestinal motility. This could improve digestion and lower the secretion of bile.
  • Coffee stimulates cholecystokinin release (it is a gastrointestinal hormone responsible for gallbladder contraction, and regulation of gastrointestinal motility).
  • Also, caffeine increases gallbladder motility.
  • In addition, caffeine inhibits biliary cholesterol crystallization which is the building block of gallstones.
  • Caffeine decreases gallbladder fluid absorption in turn, decreases solidification of bile content and stone formation.

A large prospective study involving 46,008 men of age 40 to 75 years old showed that:

  • Men who consistently drank 2-3 cups of coffee per day regularly showed a marked reduction in gallstone formation compared to those who didn’t drink coffee.
  • All coffee brewing method was found to lower the risk of gallstone formation.
  • The risk of symptomatic gallstone disease decreases with increasing coffee intake.
  • Only caffeinated coffee showed a decreased risk of gallstone formation. In contrast, decaffeinated coffee was not associated with a decreased risk of gallstone formation.


Alcohol consumption is related to many health problems. However, moderate alcohol consumption has a different effect on your gallbladder disease.

How does drinking alcohol affect gallstone formation?

  • Drinking alcohol increases the level of HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Also, drinking alcohol in small amounts could lower your risk of gallstone formation. However, heavy alcohol drinking could lead to dangerous liver problems.
  • You have to limit your drinks to not drink more than 14 units per week.
  • The detailed mechanism by which drinking alcohol lowers the risk of gallstone formation is unknown, however, researchers assumed that could be due to the effect of alcohol on lowering the cholesterol levels in the bile.

A meta-analysis study published in 2017 showed that:

  • There is a direct relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of gallstone formation.
  • The risk of gallstones formation decreased by 12% for every 10 g/day increments in alcohol consumption
  • This meta-analysis suggests that alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly decreased risk of gallstone formation.

A study published in 2019 in the Journal of Cut and Liver reported that the result of 24 studies on alcohol consumption and gallstone formation showed a decreased risk of gallstone formation with alcohol consumption.

What drinks are bad for gallstones?

Sugar-sweetened and carbonated soft drinks could negatively affect your gallbladder’s normal function.

Research showed that drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened and carbonated soft drinks leads to more gallbladder problems such as gallbladder cancer.


1. What is the best drink for gallstone pain?

Peppermint tea is considered one of the best drinks for gallstone pain.

Peppermint contains menthol which has a smoothing effect that helps in pain relief. Also, it helps in improving digestion, and relief of nausea, and improve stomach pain.

2. Can I drink milk with gallstones?

Milk and other high-fat dairy products should be avoided with gallstones. Instead, you can drink skim or low-fat milk or other dairy products.

3. Can I drink soft drinks with gallstones?

You should avoid drinking sugar-sweetened and carbonated soft drinks if you have gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

Soft drinks increase your risk to have gallbladder problems such as gallbladder cancer.

4. Does coffee trigger gallbladder attacks?

Yes, in certain conditions drinking coffee could trigger a gallbladder attack.

Drinking coffee’s effect on the gallbladder may vary according to the stage of gallstones.

Studies showed that coffee consumption decreases your risk to have gallstones. this effect is attributed mainly to caffeine content.

Caffeine stimulates gallbladder contraction and this effect could help to avoid small gallstone formation. However, if you have large gallstones, gallbladder contraction induced by drinking coffee could trigger gallbladder pain.