Take a few moments to learn about the gallbladder! This small and mighty organ is in charge of our body’s bile, a substance made by the liver that aids digestion.
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The gallbladder is a small pouch that lives tucked up under the front edge of your liver. Its job is to store and secrete bile – a substance made by the liver to aid digestion, emulsify fats and ensure their absorption.
Your gallbladder is connected to both your liver and your small intestine, through a series of pipe-like tracts called bile ducts. Before you start eating, your gallbladder is full of bile. When you chew, your gallbladder gets the message to contract and squeeze the stored bile, which moves through the bile ducts. Eventually it empties into the duodenum, the first part of your small intestine, where it mixes with food waiting to be digested. After you eat, your gallbladder is empty, and waits to be filled up again.
If you’re gallbladder isn’t functioning properly, you may have issues digesting fats, resulting in discomfort under your right rib cage, abdominal pain, nausea, and / or swelling, as well as floating, greasy stools which are pale yellow, white, or clay-coloured. If ignored, fat indigestion can lead to vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and low energy.
From “Staying Healthy with the Seasons” by one of my favourite authors, Elson Haas, he writes about the gallbladder: the Chinese acupuncture system describes a sensitive flow of energy which is affected by the outer environment as well as thoughts and feelings. Its continual flow creates health and harmony while its disruption or blockage can lead to symptoms and disease.
The element associated with the gallbladder is wood, and the emotion is anger, so find safe ways of feeling and releasing frustration, resentment, impatience, which are all related.
Because the gallbladder’s meridians run along the side body, any physical movement that stimulates are beneficial for the the flow of qi and to help remove blockages to the gallbladder.
Nourish your gallbladder with seasonal foods. The gallbladder is governed by Spring, and enjoying all of the fresh, bright greens foods that appear this time of year are ideal supporters. Arugula, chives, dill, basil, radish (and radish leaves), dandelion, spirulina, mung beans, green tea etc. Foods that should be avoided include any greasy, fatty, and fried foods, hydrogenated fats (such as margarine) and alcohol.