The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the human body. Kidney stones can form in the kidney, in the tube draining urine from the kidney or in the bladder. They can be many different sizes and shapes. The following are some natural remedies that may help soothe the discomfort of kidney stones:
1. Increase Your Hydration: This is by far the best natural remedy for any type of kidney stones you have. People diagnosed with kidney stones should be consuming a minimum of 10 glasses of fluids on a daily basis. People who are at risk of developing cystine stones should drink more fluids, at least 14 glasses every day. To determine if you are drinking enough fluids, check if your urine is colourless. If not, then you ought to increase your hydration and must be consistent with it.
Water remains the best fluid for everyone and should comprise at least half of their hydration routine. Although there is calcium concentration in water in general, it plays a diminutive role in stone formation. Lemon juice (up to half a cup per day) is a wonderful ingredient that can be added to your water or food (especially good with meats or fish) and is proven to be beneficial in the prevention of kidney stones because it contains citric acid. As citrate levels in the body increase, your protection against kidney stones also increases. The high content of vitamin C will also boost your immune system.
2. Dandelion: A taproot perennial that grows abundantly in North America, Europe and Asia, dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that contribute to the prevention of kidney stones. On top of that, dandelion is a natural diuretic which makes it a great tonic and cleanser for our kidneys, often helping to dissolve stones and to prevent further formation of them. You can make an infusion of dandelion leaves or a decoction of the root, either by harvesting your own plants (the roots can be dried slowly in a warm oven for storage) or by buying ready-made dandelion tea bags or tincture. It is best taken unsweetened as the bitter taste stimulates the digestive system.
3. Pomegranates: Since pomegranates are low in potassium, they are great for people who are on a renal diet. A renal diet is generally low in protein, salt, phosphorus and potassium and is recommended for people who are suffering from renal problems like kidney stones and kidney failure. So if you are concerned about the risk of kidney stones, start your day with a glass of fresh pomegranate juice or make a habit of eating pomegranates.
4. Basil: Basil is commonly found in our kitchen, but did you know that basil is a known natural remedy for kidney stones? Basil can strengthen our kidneys. Make a tea or juice out of fresh basil leaves, adding some raw honey. Drinking this delicious concoction everyday can help to alleviate the discomfort of kidney stones.
Grapefruit ranks as one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants among fruits therefore the regular consumption of grapefruit can help you ward off urinary tract infection. Grapefruit juice is another powerful tool that reduces calcium oxalate kidney stones. In a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, the incidence of calcium oxalate stone formation lowered among their subjects who drank half to one litre of grapefruit juice daily due to an increased urine pH and increased citrate levels.
6. Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow root has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This herb contains mucilages, which form a protective coating to soothe tissues that have become inflamed and irritated. This coating protects the digestive and urinary tract when kidney stones pass. Dr. James Balch, author of The Super Antioxidants, recommends a daily intake of two pints of marshmallow root tea to effectively flush out kidney stones from the body.
7. Green Tea: Perhaps everybody agrees that green tea is a wonder drink. A group of doctors from Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences conducted a study in 2005 about the preventative effects of green tea in the formation of renal stones. The study showed that the antioxidant properties of green tea actually lowered the formation of calcium oxalate deposits thus preventing calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Opt for the caffeine free green tea, and drink at least 2-3 cups a day.
8. Wild Carrot (Leaves and Seeds): As an aromatic herb, wild carrot (Daucus Carota) is not to be confused with the common vegetable carrot. Wild carrot is a known diuretic, which means it encourages toxins and waste to be flushed out from our kidneys. It has been said that a herbal infusion of the wild carrot leaves and seeds is a good natural antidote to kidney stone formation. Even if stones have begun to form, the same concoction is still reported to be capable of diminishing those harmful stones and reducing their recurrence.
9. Eat for the benefit of your kidneys: Too much salt, alcohol and preservatives top the list of food items to avoid. Go for meals that contain a minimal amount of salt and as much as possible cook your own food from fresh ingredients. Buying canned goods is not only more costly but also potentially dangerous to your kidneys. Invest in fruits and vegetables that have high antioxidant properties such as tomatoes, blueberries, squashes and carrots. Beware of red meats (such as pork and beef), oxalate rich foods (nuts, spinach and beans), cold water fish, refined foods like white bread and commercial fast foods like French fries and burgers.
10. A healthy lifestyle means healthy kidneys: Before taking any prescription drugs, always consult your doctor first. There are medications that can do more harm to your kidneys than good. Start a habit of doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day – this will help your body’s fluids to circulate and to keep your system free from kidney stones.
Dr. Anup K. Gakkhar
Professor & HOD, Deptt. of Basic Principles, Rishikul Govt. Ayurvedic College, Haridwar, UK.