Is passing gallstones through the use of olive oil a myth?  Can someone really pass gallstones/kidney stones on any particular cleanse?

There are a few naturopathic ways that have been proposed to cure gallstones.  These cleanses involve use of Epsom salt laxatives, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Or apple juice and apple sauce diets with the use of olive oil in the final stages.  There are numerous blogs in which people report passing 20-30 peas sized stones after these cleanses and feeling much better.  There are two proposed scientific reasons for this phenomenon.

First, in looking at the true chemistry, anatomy, and physiology behind what is occurring, it does not seem scientifically possible for people to be passing 20-30 gallstones.  Instead, what is likely happening is people are witnessing saponification between the oil and pancreatic enzymes.

Saponification is a process in which animal fat or vegetable oil is treated with a strong alkali (base) to form a fatty acid and glycerol (soap).  These cleanse use olive oil (fat) which mixes with pancreatic enzymes (alkali substance), the same process as creating soap.  This reaction leads to a solid formation, which is seen during deification.  The second theory is that these stones are simply coagulation of olive oil precipitating out. Once again, not true stones. 

Based on the anatomy of the gall bladder, stones greater than 5mm would get trapped in the common bile duct (the anatomic exit of the gall bladder).  The report of stones 1-2 cm in size is virtually impossible.

The problem with any of these cleanses is they are high in fat which can cause the gallbladder to contract forcefully, which can lead to worsening pain from gallstones or trapping of a present stone in the common bile duct.  Overall, there is no scientific evidence that this works.

In regards to kidney stones, there are no traditional cleanse that works to destroy or rid stones.  There are, however, many naturopathic or herbal remedies, which may help to pass or prevent stones.  These remedies typically increase filtration by the kidney by increasing the volume of fluid delivered to the kidneys.  For example, celery seed and watermelon seed teas work at increasing filtration of kidney.

Ways to try to improve kidney stones:

  1. Increase fluid intake
  2. Get adequate magnesium consumption (can be found in whole wheat bread)
  3. Exercise

Remember, if you have any questions for Dr. Rosser, please send them to


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  1. Thank you for the information. Good article.

  2. My friend told me to do this clense. Seems how it worked for her. She said initioally one cup of olive oil and 3 lemons. Now it changed to two cups of olive oil and 10 lemons. What do you think I feel like. Barfing. I justify want it out of my system. My head hurts my breast hurt and my ovaries are like wtf. Man why do weyou listen to fruends.

  3. The information presented in the article above is false. You do indeed pass gall stones. I have personally passed 200 gall stones. Most are the size of a pea or under, but I have passed one or two that are the size of a brazil nut. Also, I do not use olive oil. I use clear MCT oil and grapefruit juice (yummy – olive oil and lemon juice make me want to vomit and I did once due to the rapid dump of bile into my duodenum, which in turn pushed the oil and juice back up into my stomach). There is nothing in the flush that should or could cause the emerald green coloring otherwise. Further, during my last flush (I have done about 8 so far), I had a stone stuck in my biliary duct from my previous flush several months prior. I was in pain and I was instructed that I had a stone stuck in my biliary duct. The last flush dislodged it and I passed the obvious blocking stone (it was two stones that had merged to one; about the size of two peas merged horizontally). After that my bile began to flow properly again. I can tell that I have more stones, but the pain is much relieved and I’m getting ready and excited for my next flush. Must be sure to consume a lot of malic acid (apple juice / cider and apple cider vinegar; or malic acid pills which do fairly well) and I find that drinking blended beats the day of the flush seems to help it be more productive by thinning the bile.

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