Let’s start at the beginning – what are gallstones?
Gallstones are small stones that form in your gallbladder. They are made of hardened substances found in bile and other digestive fluids in your gallbladder.
Gallstones can be as small as a grain of salt, or large as an egg. Usually, when serious symptoms persist from gallstones, the only solution is to have your gallbladder removed via surgery.
Gallstones lead to pain in the upper abdomen or stomach.
The interesting thing about gallstones is we still don’t know exactly what causes them.
We know that having too much cholesterol in your bile can lead to yellow gallstones. However, we still don’t know why cholesterol can collect in your bile in higher than usual concentrations. Common sense would say diet is the reason, but even people with high cholesterol diets never experience problems with gallstones.
The other cause of gallstones can be too much bilirubin in your bile. Sometimes your body produces more bilirubin than it should, leading to gallstones when your gallbladder can’t break it down. These usually lead to brown or black gallstones.
The final reason you might get gallstones is if your gallbladder is not functioning properly. If your gallbladder cannot properly flush out the bile, this can cause stones to form.
So where does Manuka honey come in?
On the surface, Manuka honey isn’t known to address those particular causes. And to date, the only study involving Manuka honey and gallstones refers to the treatment of biofilm forming on gallstones, rather than the gallstones themselves. While this study had very positive results, it doesn’t suggest that Manuka honey can help rid you of gallstones.
The good news is – there is no harm in trying. If you know anecdotal examples of people who have had success with gallstones and Manuka honey, trying certainly shouldn’t make your condition worse. Manuka honey is an extremely nutritious and safe food with many helpful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and there’s every chance it could work for various ailments which have not yet been studied.
As the evidence stands now though, we have no definitive literature showing that gallstones are treatable with Manuka honey.