Fatwa: # 22625
Category: Food & Drink
Country: United States
Date: 3rd October 2012


Is "Bovine Bile Salts (Cholacol)" permissible to consume?


My question is concerning some supplements and their ingredients. A few years back, I had a surgery for hernia, but unfortunately the surgeon decided to remove my gallbladder for no reason. After that, I was facing issues in terms of digestion and stooling. I started researching (allah knows best) and found that the removal of gallbladder can be the cause of such issues (in the world of means). After much research, I learned that after a persons gallbladder is removed he should take bile salt supplement. As you might know, bile is basically produced in the liver by the body and stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder releases the bile into the small intestines when a fatty food is ingested. In the case where enough bile is not present, than the fats are not digested and therefore will go into the large intestines (colon) and cause excess gas, cramps, and diarrhea. So, many doctors suggest that it is very important to supplement with bile in the case of absence of a functioning gallbladder. I also found that if enough bile isn't present then the body doesn't properly dispose of toxins...which results into accumulation of toxins inside the colon and can further cause cancer of the colon.

 After research into supplements, I found a supplement from a company called "Standard Processes," and they have a product called "Cholacol." This product contains some herbs and purified bovine bile salts. By bovine they mean a cow, ox, cattle, etc. These bovine bile salts are derived from the gallbladder of these animals. I'm not 100% sure what this company's procedure are of obtaining bovine bile salts, but I did found after doing general search that these animals are slaughtered in the slaughtered house, and fresh bile is taken out from the gallbladder and refrigerated and later purified.

So my question is that can we consume any bodily fluid of the animal, even if it is not slaughtered through islamic law? I think we consume milk from the cow which is produced inside the cow through blood and other processes. So bile is also produced by the body of the cattle except that it is inside and doesn't come out outside unless cut open and slaughtered.

I did do a search for halal certified bile salts but was unable to find one. I also contacted the company "Standard Processes," but they are not responding. One of the reasons can be that they only distribute their products to certified medicinal practitioners.



In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We have reviewed the product “Cholacol” which is produced by “Standard Processes”. Hereunder are our observations:


“Cholacol” is defined as followsAn effective digestive supplement that can effectively help stop indigestion right in its tracks. Not only can it expel any unwanted fats from the body, but it can help absorb food and other nutrients that might otherwise not be absorbed because of a slow metabolism or lack of a gallbladder.

Cholacol contains highly concentrated bile salts which favors the fat metabolism process for people lacking in gallbladder because of surgery. Gallbladder is the main organ in our body that secrets bile for digestion of fats. When this organ is removed, then our digestion and our metabolism slows down and becomes messed up.

This product mainly does the job of blocking the unwanted fats from dissipating into human’s bloodstream; as a result, the non-dietary fats are sent out as waste. Another added advantage of this product is the increase in body weight and a healthy immune system. This is because the food will actually be absorbed correctly in your body as a result of using this product.”[1]




When determining the Halaal status of any product, it is important that one knows the ingredients, manufacturing processes, etc of the product.

Cholacol contains the following ingredients:

Bentonite (montmorillonite), collinsonia(root), and purified bovine bile salts.[2]


“Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate, essentially impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. There are different types of bentonite, each named after the respective dominant element, such as potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and aluminium (Al). Experts debate a number of nomenclatorial problems with the classification of bentonite clays. Bentonite usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water. However, the term bentonite, as well as a similar clay called tonstein, has been used to describe clay beds of uncertain origin. For industrial purposes, two main classes of bentonite exist: sodium and calcium bentonite.”[3]


Collinsonia canadensis is a perennial medicinal herb in the mint family. Common names include Canada Horsebalm, Richweed, Hardhack, Heal-All, Horseweed, Ox-Balm and Stone root.[4]

The function of Collinsonia is to treat any intestinal related problem, helping stabilize the lining of the stomach.[5]

Purified Bovine Bile Salts

Purified Bovine Bile Salts are essentially “Extracts from the Cow’s  gallbladder”.

Bovine Bile Salts treat the process of breaking the unwanted fats in food, treating indigestion directly and neutralizing bloating.[6]

Juridical Ruling

Bentonite and Collinsonia are permissible if they are not harmful to one’s health.

According to Shari’ah, it is impermissible for one to consume seven parts of an animal:

1) Flowing blood

2) Urinary tract of a male

3) Urinary tract of a female

4) Testicles

5) Glands

6) Bladder

7) Gall bladder[7]

Based on the above, it is not permissible for one to consume the gallbladder nor any extracts derived from the gallbladder of an animal.

However, if there is no other alternative and a pious, upright Muslim doctor prescribes “Cholacol”, then it will be permissible for one to consume such a product. This is regarded as Tadawi Bi al-Haraam (cure from Haraam) items.

The analogy of bovine bile salts on milk is non-analogous. Milk is expressly permitted in the Qur’an and is wholesome unlike bovine bile salts which are extracted from the gall bladder, which is prohibited.[8]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ismail Desai,
Student Darul Iftaa
Durban, South Africa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bentonite, last accessed at 30/09/2012.

[6] Ibid.

 7 و كره تحريما و قيل تنزيها و الأول أوجه من الشاة سبع الحياء و الخصية و الغدة و المثانة و المرارة و الدم المسفوح و الذكر للأثر الوارد في كراهة ذلك ( الدر المختار، ج 6، ص 749، ايج ايم سعيد)

9الا كل شيئ من الميتة حلال الا ما اكل منه

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