Herbs for Prevention of Kidney Stones
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: September 25, 2002

I have frequent attacks of kindey stones: once every year for about 3 years, then it stopped for about 3 years and now I have multiple stones in both kidneys. The doctor said it looks like they have been there for a very long time. I just had the lithotriptor done on the right kidney this week and am scheduled for the left one in another 2-3 weeks. The stones I had a few years ago were made of calcium, as I am sure these are too. He also said there was as much calcium, if not more, in meat as there is in dairy products. I don’t eat or drink many dairy products or any more meat than the average person. My question is, is there an herb that will PREVENT the stones from forming?

Kidney stones are 60% less common in vegetarian diets. A high fibre, high fluid, low protein diet is the best preventative medicine. Diets high in animal protein encourage stone formation. Kidney stones are usually formed of calcium and oxalic acid.

Herbal medicine promotes investigation of the factors involved in kidney stones. Rather than just recommending herbs to prevent stone formation, it is more beneficial to look at the various factors, including a high calcium diet, frequent ingestion of antacid tablets and irregular activity of the thyroid gland, the parathyroid gland and other metabolic disturbances. Because your particular system is predisposed to form kidney stones, you will benefit by following the general recommendations for prevention.

General preventative medicine includes:

Water: drink at least 2 large glasses of water 4 times a day between meals to flush out stones and avoid bacterial build-up

A high fibre diet: lots of fruit and vegetables

Extra magnesium daily (200-400 mg) to help absorb calcium, rather than excreting it

Minimizing:

Animal protein: meat and dairy products. Replace some animal protein with vegetable protein, like beans and grains combinations

Coffee, alcohol

Antacid tablets

Avoiding:

High sodium foods. Sodium can stimulate calcium excretion: Salt and high-sodium foods such as bacon, other cured meats, smoked fish, and processed food like canned soups and canned and frozen dinners

Sugar

phosphoric acid in soft drinks

high oxalate foods: chard, beets, parsley, rhubarb, coffee, black tea, chocolate, grapefruit, parsley, peanuts, strawberries, tomatoes

Refined flour

Tap water which may be high in calcium. Use bottled spring water with a low calcium content

Helpful herbs include:

- Marshmallow leaf tea is soothing to the urinary system and may help break up stones

- Gravel root (Eupatorium purpureum) is soothing and astringent. It helps keep the kidney free of stones and gravel. Matthew Wood, in "The Book of Herbal Wisdom, (Publisher North Atlantic Books) says Gravel Root "promotes and strengthens kidney excretive power in small doses, but exhausts the kidney in large ones." For chronic problems Wood recommends using very low doses (a few drops) of a tincture, or homeopathic formulations

A Journal of Urology study recommends lemon juice: Research performed at the University of California in San Francisco showed that patients with kidney stones, and who could not tolerate traditional pharmaceutical approaches, were asked to supplement their diet with reconstituted lemon juice, four ounces per day. Lemon juice is a very inexpensive form of citrate, and 4 oz. gives 5.9 grams of citrate, five times as much as orange juice. This level easily increases urinary citrate levels and lowers urinary calcium excretion, which is what is needed to prevent kidney stone formation (J Urol 96;156:907-909).

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