gall bladder

Encyclopedia Article


A small organ that releases bile, a bitter and acidic substance, into the small intestine.

In Native American cultures, the gallbladder is used to make a variety of traditional medicines. The gall from many animals can be used for similar effect, including those of eagles, mountain lions, bears, skunks, and occasionally sheep, wolves, badgers, and deer. Navajos carry this medicine with them for protection against witches, corpse poison, and strangers. It is most often carried on their person when they are in a crowd, or when traveling outside their home territory, particularly where there could be witches.

Photo Credit: 

"Green gall bladder in chicken liver, October 4, 2014" by Ken Mayer is licensed under CC BY.