Herbs For Kidneys
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Over 20 million people in the US alone suffer from chronic kidney disease - many are not even aware they have it! An additional 20 million others are at increased risk, as per the USA National Kidney Foundation.  However, finding safe and effective herbs for promoting kidney health may be quite challenging. Herbs for aiding liver and colon health have been extensively studied; whereas, conclusive studies on herbs for kidney maintenance remain somewhat scarce in the Western world.
While research on herbs for the kidneys is somewhat limited, the National Kidney Foundation agrees that there are some herbs that can indeed promote kidney health when used in accurate amounts.  Here are 10 herbs and natural remedies that have been studied and are believed to be beneficial for the kidneys:
10 Herbs For Kidneys
The young, "unfermented" leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are widely considered to have great nutritional qualities. Most green teas are unfermented or very lightly fermented, as opposed to oolong teas which are semi-fermented and black teas which are fully fermented.
Tea has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, astringent and diuretic properties. It also contains compounds called polyphenols that have been known to inhibit kidney stones and even prevent certain cancers.  It is these polyphenols that are widely investigated for their anti-oxidant activities to prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress like kidney related disorders. As one recent Japanese study has shown, the biological activities and low toxicity of polyphenols have beneficial effects on pathological states related to oxidative stress renal disease. 
Rich in polysaccharides, volatile oils, mucilages and other nutrients, couch grass has been traditionally used to increase urine production and treat urinary tract infections like cystitis and urethritis. It has diuretic, demulcent and antibacterial properties, couch grass is therefore also used to partially dissolve kidney stones.  Consequently, researchers in Italy discovered that when combined with potassium citrate, the dry extract of couch grass significantly reduced the total number and size of urinary stones among the treated group after a 5 month follow up period in a randomized controlled study. 
Rehmannia is an herb that is less well known in the West but has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since ancient times. The steamed roots of rehmannia have been widely used to fight various renal diseases. A 2009 study revealed that this herb has reno-protective effects on progressive renal failure by reducing angiotensin II, AT1 receptor, and by regulating TGF-β1 and type IV collagen expression.  Phytosterols, antioxidants, along with iridoid glycosides are reported to be responsible for rehmannia's therapeutic benefits on the kidneys. 
An ornamental plant indigenous to Australia, India and tropical countries in Southeast Asia, banaba has been used since ancient times as a natural diuretic and as a remedy for kidney and bladder problems.  While much research is focused on the herb's high levels of corosolic acid and how this may improve blood sugar levels among type II diabetics, the leaves of banaba have also been used to relieve urinary tract infections. Evidence also suggests regular intake of banaba leaf tea can alleviate the discomfort associated with kidney stones and help prevent gallbladder stones. 
Java Tea (Orthosiphon stamineus)
Listed in French, Indonesian, Dutch and Swiss pharmacopoeias as a remedy for kidney ailments, java tea has diuretic properties and increases the kidney's ability to eliminate nitrogen-containing compounds. Some experts believe java tea is an effective treatment against kidney stones, kidney infections and for promoting renal functions because of the flavones, glycoside, volatile oil and potassium it contains.  Recent studies have also revealed that java tea's caffeic acid and rosmarinic content can trigger helpful biological mechanisms.  Java tea is also thought to treat gout, diabetes and rheumatism. 
Initially thought only to be beneficial for treating urinary tract infections, recent scientific studies revealed that cranberries may also contribute to preventing the formation of kidney stones. Research shows that cranberries are good sources of quinic acid, a very acidic substance which the body cannot dissolve. This substance helps make urine more acidic thereby preventing the phosphate and calcium ions from forming kidney stones.
When made into tea, dandelion can be a helpful assistant to the liver and the kidneys. In addition to its diuretic properties, dandelion is an excellent source of nutrients such as zinc, potassium, iron, and Vitamins A, C, D and B-Complex. The roots of dandelion contain active ingredients that help dissolve kidney stones. 
For more than 2,000 years, ginger has been used to treat different types of ailments including renal disorders. Scientific experimental evidence suggests that ginger contains active constituents that activate antioxidant pathways resulting to increased renal protection. 
As a good reservoir of valuable dietary elements like Vitamin C, folic acid, Vitamin B3, iron, calcium and protein, ginger is a wonderful herb that also helps dissolve kidney stones. stones.
Cucumber is a vegetable consist of 97% water. When made into juice or eaten raw, cucumbers are excellent sources of valuable nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, protein, phosphorus and calcium. 
Noted for their diuretic and laxative properties, cucumber is highly recommended to people suffering from kidney problems. This vegetable helps to eliminate harmful toxins in the kidneys as well as dissolve bladder and kidney stones. 
Research shows that onions can be helpful in eliminating pain associated with kidney stones. Regular intake of onion juice is thought to be useful for making kidney stones pass within at least 24 hours. 
Herbs For Kidneys - References:
 Use of Herbal Supplements in Chronic Kidney Disease. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/herbalsupp.cfm
 Green Tea Polyphenols for the Protection against Renal Damage Caused by Oxidative Stress. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22844338
 Effects of the association of potassium citrate and agropyrum repens in renal stone treatment: results of a prospective randomized comparison with potassium citrate. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=couch+grass%2C+kidney
 Rehmannia glutinosa ameliorates the progressive renal failure induced by 5/6 nephrectomy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146934
 Evaluation of the genotoxicity of Orthosiphon stamineus aqueous extract. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21044879
Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013
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