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 Herbal Medicine: Kidney Stones - Urinary Calculus 

The pain of a kidney stone comes on suddenly. Classically, there is severe, excruciating pain in the flank on the side of the stone, coming in waves, radiating around to the lower abdomen and into the groin, scrotum or vagina, and occasionally into the upper thigh area. The intensity is as severe as most people ever experience. There may or may not be blood in the urine. There may be nausea, vomiting, and profuse sweating. After anywhere from minutes to days or even longer, most stones pass into the bladder, and the pain is gone. The small, usually brown or black stone may be identified in the urine, and should be kept for analysis. If fever is present it may be from infection which has formed behind the stone in the stagnant urine.

A Traditional Phytotherapeutic approach to Kidney Stones

Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease

Anti-lithics remedies are, of course, the core of any treatment of renal calculus.
Anti-inflammatories are indicated to lessen the inflammation that will be caused by the passage of hard materiel along the delicate tissue of the whole system. Using such remedies will lesson the pain and discomfort to some degree.
Anti-spasmodics are essential to help the body reduce muscular spasming along the urinary tract as peristalsis moves the stone. Unfortunately the legal plant anti-spasmodics are not strong enough to deal with the problem in acute cases.
Demulcents will help here as they are usually also anti-inflammatories in this system.

System support
Help must be given to the Urinary system because it is the focus of trauma, but also consider help for stress (because of pain) and anything else that is indicated in the patients symptom picture or medical history.

Specific remedies
There are a number of plants that have a long tradition of use as specifics in Europe. Examples are:

Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens); Parsley Piert (Aphanes sp.); Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria officinalis); Couch Grass (Agropyron repens); Nettles (Urtica dioica)

To these can be added the following North American plants:

Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum); Corn Silk (Zea mays); Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea)

One possible prescription:

        • Agropyron repens
        • Eupatorium purpureum
        • Zea mays
        • Dioscorea villosa
        • Viburnum prunifolium

      (equal parts of tincture to 5ml taken 3 times a day)

      1 cup of an infusion of Urtica dioica to be drunk 3 times a day.

This combination supplies the following actions:

  • diuretic (Collinsonia canadensis, Eupatorium purpureum, Zea mays)
  • demulcent (Zea mays)
  • anti-lithic (Collinsonia canadensis, Eupatorium purpureum)
  • antispasmodic (Dioscorea villosa, Viburnum prunifolium, Zea mays)

    Broader context of treatment

  • Profuse sweating or a low fluid intake can make the urine more concentrated, causing urinary salts to solidify and stones to form. Avoid dehydration especially after exercise, but even during routine days, by the ingestion of copious amounts of fluid. Drink 4 to 6 pts of fluid a day and 1 pt of fluid before going to bed. Drink enough to ensure that twenty-four hour urine output is never less than 3 pts. Ideally, the patient should be drinking enough to cause routine awakening at night to urinate. "Although there is no controlled clinical study that examines the effectiveness of an increase in fluid intake, data strongly suggest that hydration is effective in preventing stone formation. While strict guidelines are not available, a doubling of the urinary output or a 24-hour urinary output of greater than 2 liters is generally recommended to reduce new stone formation. In actual practice, however, the beneficial effects of hydration may be seen with much less increase in urinary volume."1
  • Uric acid stones: Here the urine will be acid. To 'dissolve' these stones, eat an alkaline diet, including potatoes, vegetables and fruit (not citrus). Reduce protein intake, since eating protein tends to increase uric-acid levels. Also, drink alkalinizing mineral water. Reduction of dietary purine intake is also widely recommended. In particular, avoid liver, kidneys, fishroe and sardines.
  • Calcium oxalate stones: avoid foods containing oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, beet, parsley, sorrel, and chocolate. Those who have a tendency to form oxalate stones often secrete too much calcium in their urine, which reacts with oxalic acids to form the stones. Patients are advised against a calcium intake of more than 1 g per day, and a high sodium intake. For this reason it is also advisable to restrict dairy products which are rich in calcium. Drink mineral waters that are rich in magnesium to increase the solubility of calcium. Both Vitamin B6 and folic acid are thought to restrict the amount of calcium formed in the body.
  • Calcium phosphate stones: are usually formed when there is a urinary infection. The urine is alkaline, so eat foods to acidify the urine such as meat, fish, and eggs. However, avoid dairy products.
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     About The Author
    David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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