Kidney stones

General characteristics

General characteristics

Kidney stones, or renal calculi, form in the kidneys out of substances that pass through the kidneys' filtering system. They can form as large as a golf ball or as small as sandy gravel.
Stones or gravel are quite common and can form when there is too much of a particular substance concentrated in the urine or when urine is overly acidic or alkaline. Many other health conditions can predispose to stone formation such as over activity of the thyroid or parathyroid glands, bone cancer, excess calcium intake (eg. from hard water), bone cancers, chronic bladder or kidney infections, poor diet (too much animal protein, lack of vitamins), high salt intake, a lack of stone preventing substances such as magnesium, citrates or enzymes, lack of physical movement, chronic diarrhoea, bowel disease, diabetes, gout, kidney disorders, excess alcohol, certain medications and not drinking enough water.
They are made up of several substances that form crystals of various sizes that can lodge in the kidneys or urinary tract giving rise to intense pain in the back, sides and groin, nausea or vomiting, blood in the urine and fever. The main types of stones are calcium stones (also known as oxalate or phosphate stones), uric acid stones, infection or struvite stones and (more rarely) cystine stones.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Drink the juice of 6 freshly squeezed organic lemons throughout the day in some water. This is particularly effective for uric acid based stones.

Eating foods rich in fibre such as vegetables and fruits (with skin left on where appropriate), seeds and wholegrains helps protect against kidney stone formation.

If your tap water is 'hard' then try boiling your water and allowing to cool before drinking. Several large glasses a day are needed or try distilled water which has no minerals present and can actually pull out excess minerals and wastes from the body.

Avoid excess animal protein, refined and processed foods, fried and fatty foods, excess sugar and caffeine.

Foods rich in oxalic acids such as rhubarb, sorrel, tomatoes, spinach and swiss chard should be avoided with calcium stones.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A daily cup of tea made from dandelion leaves, nettle and yarrow will act as a stimulant to watery urine formation, helping to flush small stones or gravel out of the kidneys, may help prevent future stone formation and is tonic to the kidneys.

Apple tea is a surprisingly effective remedy for kidney complaints, including stones. Chop 2 unpeeled organic apples and cover with boiling water in a bowl. allow to stand for an hour then strain off the liquid and drink over the day.

Put a teaspoon of crushed hempseed in a small pan and add a pint of organic milk. Simmer very gently until about a glassful of milk remains, strain off the hempseeds and drink the milk as breakfast for 5 days in a row. after a break of 10 days, repeat the hempseed drink routine and carry on with this whole course for up to a year. This is an old tried and tested Russian remedy for all kidney complaints, including stones.

Antispasmodic herbs such as chamomile and cramp bark can relieve painful spasms that arise as the stone is passed. Make a strong cup of chamomile tea, using 2 heaped teaspoons of flowers and add a half teaspoon of cramp bark tincture to the tea.

To soothe passages and protect delicate membranes from the rough scratching effects of stones use a tea of horsetail, marshmallow root, cleavers and cornsilk in equal parts and drink a cup daily.

Slippery elm and marshmallow root are also very soothing to inflamed membranes and their mucilage helps the stones or gravel to pass out more easily.

Herbs that dissolve stones include celery seeds, hydrangea root, gravel root, uva ursi (bearberry), ground ivy, buchu, juniper berries and burdock root. Add a teaspoon of the roots to a pan with 1.5 pints of water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add a teaspoon of uva ursi when finished and stand for 10 minutes. Drink the liquid over the day for a few weeks to start dissolving stones, making them easier to pass.

Fenugreek seeds can be added to formulas for calcium stones.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Dissolve a teaspoonful of Epsom salts in water or herbal tea and drink for breakfast. Its high magnesium content can help to dissolve and prevent stone formation if you are prone to them.
Castor oil packs (a cloth soaked in castor oil) placed over the kidney area can help relieve pain and disperse and break down stones. Keep the castor oil soaked flannel warm by placing a hot water bottle over it. Leave the pack on for half an hour or so, every other night.
Mix 2 oz of cold pressed olive oil with 2 oz of fresh lemon juice and drink on an empty stomach in the morning, followed by a large glass of water for relief from pain and the possible passage of stones.
Many people find relief from pain by drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water up to 3 times daily. Often pain and stones go within days.

Child watering plants




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