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Herbs For Kidney Stones

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Herbs For Kidney Stones
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Kidney stones are hard crystallized deposits composed of calcium, uric acid and amino acid cysteine. [1] Their sizes may range from as small as a grain of sand which is easily passed out of the body with urine, to as big as a golf ball which may block the urinary tract. They may form due to fluid insufficiency, chronic urinary tract infections, genetic disorders or factors like poor diet. [2]



While kidney stones may not sound as bad as kidney failure, they nonetheless are renowned for their potential to cause excruciating pain - and can prevent your kidneys from effectively getting rid of impurities from your blood stream. [3]

As part of a natural solution, herbs may be used to dissolve kidney stones or even prevent their formation in the first place. Medicinal plants may help by encouraging the flow of urine and relieving the irritated walls of the urinary tract. [2] Below are 10 12 herbs and fruits that have been considered valuable in alleviating the woes of kidney stones:

12 Herbs For Kidney Stones

Horsetail

Spanish scientists in 1994 studied the effects of seven plants including horsetail in preventing and treating kidney stone formation. Using female rats, they confirmed the beneficial effects of horsetail infusion on kidney stone due to certain disinfecting action. [4] Moreover, horsetail has been found to help reduce incidence of bleeding as a result of kidney stones [1] and may act as a diuretic by drinking its tea. [3]

Pomegranate

Both doctors and scientists agree that the juice as well as the seeds of the pomegranate plant can serve as natural remedies of kidney stones because of the herb's acerbic and caustic properties. [3] Experiments investigating crystal formation among rat kidneys show moderate to high doses of pomegranate juice can have inhibitory effects on renal tubular cell injury and oxidative stress. [5]



Goldenrod

This plant has gained recognition in Germany as a potent treatment for kidney stones and other urinary tract diseases. [1] Experts that studied this plant discovered a complex spectrum of mechanisms that are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic and analgesic in alleviating infections and inflammations, preventing kidney stones and removing urinary gravel, without any drug-related side effects. [6]

Dandelion

The roots of dandelion have been traditionally used for managing the symptoms associated with urinary stones. Aside from easing pain, organic dandelion root has also been shown to clean the urinary tract. Experts believe that taking at least 500 milligrams of this organic root twice a day offer optimal results. [3]

Parsley

Widely recognized for its culinary benefits, parsley is also considered as one of the best herbs for the treatment of kidney stones because of its kidney-cleansing properties. According to research, parsley contains two potent ingredients, myristicin and apiol, which are found to have diuretic properties. By increasing one’s urine volume, the risk for kidney stone significantly decreases. There are even studies claiming that parsley has the natural ability to eliminate kidney stones, though clinical evidence is yet to be established. Experiments in rats exhibit the therapeutic effects of parsley aerial parts and roots in reducing calcium oxalate deposits. [7] Moreover, fresh parsley has been found to be an excellent diuretic to flush out waste products like urea and other acidic metabolites. [1]

Plantain

Known for its deobstruent, astringent, refrigerant and diuretic properties, plantain is considered as one of the best natural remedies for kidney stones. In general, plantain works best on the lungs, liver, bladder and kidneys. In traditional medicine, this herb is used to treat different sorts of urinary and kidney problems which include bloody urine, cloudy urine, prostatitis and even kidney stones. [9]

The juice of plantain or banana is proven to be effective in dissolving kidney stones. One further research claimed that the stem of plantain is an excellent source of fiber which is believed to be effective in eliminating kidney stones from one’s urinary tract. [10]

Cranberrries

Noted for its long history as a treatment for various sorts of urinary problems, cranberries also proved to be effective in treating kidney stones. In addition to its ability to treat and prevent UTI, cranberries are also believed to be beneficial in the bladder.

Though cranberries are considered as safe to take, there are studies claiming that this fruit brings about different effects to the formation of kidney stones. First, let’s establish the fact that intake of cranberry juice is capable of increasing the amount of calcium, oxalate, magnesium and citrate in the urine. Citrate and magnesium are known to be natural kidney stones inhibitors. This simply means that, for as long as cranberry juice continues to increase the amount of magnesium and citrate in the urine, then it lessens one’s risk for kidney stones. However, you should know that calcium and oxalate in cranberry juice increases one’s risk for kidney stones. As cranberry juice reduces the acidity of the urine, a person’s risk for uric acid kidney stones also increases. [11]

Rosemary

This herb is probably one of the most popular natural treatments for kidney stones. When consumed on a daily basis, rosemary proves to be effective in improving kidney functions as well as in increasing the flow of urine. [12] This reduces one’s susceptibility to the formation of kidney stones. It primarily works by inhibiting the activities of the enzyme urease which plays a vital role in the formation of kidney stones. [13]

Watermelon

Considered as one of the best natural treatments for kidney stones, consumption of large amount of watermelon on a daily basis helps in cleansing the kidneys. Furthermore, it is effective in preventing the formation of kidney stones. [14]

Known for its diuretic properties, watermelon is capable of increasing the amount of urine excreted by the body. Increased urine secretion usually results to lesser risks for kidney stone formation. Research further revealed that this fruit makes an excellent source of potassium that is beneficial in dissolving kidney stones, easing pain associated with it, and of course, helping the body in eliminating them. [15]

Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus niruri)

The Spanish name of this herb Chanca Piedra literally means "stone breaker" - so this should give you an indication that this herb has a tradition of use for just this purpose. It has a history of use in Ayurveda and Brazilian folk medicine - and is considered to be valuable in various conditions of the kidneys and urinary tract. It also has a history of use in treating liver complaints including jaudice and hepatitis B.

Some scientific studies have been performed in order to assess the potential of Chanca Piedra for addressing kidney stones. A 2004 study found that it normalized elevated calcium levels in calcium stone forming patients. [16] Even more interesting - a 2006 human trial on 150 kidney stone patients over 6 months found that those using the herb had a statistically significant reduction in stones and an absolute lack of side effects. [17]

Birch Tea

Birch bark tea is considered a kidney cleanser and stone breaker. [18]

Gravel Root

The name is a total giveaway! Gravel root is the common name for Eutrochium - a genus of plants native to Eastern North America. According to the author Hemmerly, this plant was a traditional remedy used by the Native Americans for kidney stones. [19]

Summary:

While these herbs have shown promise in preventing and reducing urinary stones, herbal formulations should not be perceived as a sole treatment for varying degrees of kidney stone formation. More extreme cases would require drug intervention and possibly even ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy). But even in such cases, clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of herbal preparations in protecting against renal damage. Medicinal herbs are thought to be able to promote stronger kidneys amid ESWL while shortening the recovery time among patients. [8] This page is not medical advice or a recommendation to self-medicate.

Herbs For Kidney Stones - References:

[1] http://www.naturalnews.com/028828_kidney_stones_remedies.html

[2] http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/alternative-medicines-for-kidney-stones.htm

[3] http://www.naturalremediesforkidneystones.net/

[4] Urolithiasis and phytotherapy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7860196

[5] Effects of pomegranate juice on hyperoxaluria-induced oxidative stress in the rat kidneys. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19839830

[6] Goldenrod--a classical exponent in the urological phytotherapy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15638071

[7] Therapeutic effects of aqueous extracts of Petroselinum sativum on ethylene glycol-inducedkidney calculi in rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=parlsley+for+kidney+stones

[8] The protective effects of the traditional Chinese herbs against renal damage induced by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy: a clinical study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20607528

[9] http://www.naturalremediescenter.com/3798/plantain-for-kidney-stones-urinary-problems-malignant-ulcers-dysentery-phlegm- cough-with-fever/

[10] http://www.boldsky.com/health/disorders-cure/2012/dissolve-kidney-stones-110412.html

[11] http://www.naturalremediesforkidneystones.net/cranberry-juice-kidney-stones/

[12] http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-rosemary-6498.html

[13] http://tarunaoils.com/articles/herbal-remedies-kidney-stones.asp

[14] http://www.naturalhealth365.com/food_news/kidney-stones.html

[15] http://www.ehow.com/way_5663757_watermelon-remedy-kidney-stones.html

[16] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15221244

[17] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16890682

[18] http://www.boldsky.com/health/wellness/2012/healthy-herbs-and-juices-to-cleanse-kidney-031358.html

[19] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutrochium

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking, Alex Newman and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013

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