Choleretic refers to the stimulation of the production of
bile in the liver. Bile is a bitter, yellow-green substance
released from the liver that carries away waste
products. The liver is the largest organ in the body and
is responsible for filtering (removing) harmful chemical
substances, producing important chemicals for the
body, and other important functions. The bile produced
from this process can be watery or it can have a normal
consistency to it. This definition of cholerectic is often
referred to as cholerectic activity.
Choleretic also refers to substance (usually a medication) that leads to the stimulation of
bile production and solids in the liver. An example of a choleretic medication is valproic
acid (commonly sold as Depakote) which is a medication used to treat seizures.
Sometimes, however, natural substances can be choleretic agents. For example,
artichoke leaf extract is known to have choleretic properties because it increases bile
production. Other cholerectic herbs include milk thistle (silybum marianum), turmeric
(curcuma longa), and dandelion (taraxacom officinalis). The choleretic effects of these
herbs can be enhanced with peppermint oil.
Choleretic comes from the Greek word "chole" meaning "bile," and the Greek word "ikos"
meaning "pertaining to." Put the words together and you have "pertaining to bile."