Home Remedies for Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be a painful and annoying medical condition, and while there are formal treatments, there are also a number of home remedies for kidney stones, including the use of apple cider vinegar, pomegranate juice, additional hydration, kidney beans, magnesium, watermelon, basil, and a low-salt diet, among many others!
If you have never suffered the pain of kidney stones, you should count yourself lucky, but these small, hard mineral deposits that build up in your kidney are not something to be taken lightly. These stones form when the kidney becomes overly concentrated, allowing the minerals within the urine to crystallize and bind together. This can be caused when the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, or when you’re dehydrated. There are also numerous types of stones, depending on the cause of the mineral buildup (e.g., calcium, struvite, uric acid and cystine stones). Knowing which type of stone has formed can help guide your treatment strategy and suggest which lifestyle changes may need to be made. The problem is, these stones can move throughout your urinary system and affect it in numerous ways, from the original source in the kidney all the way to the bladder. While they are forming in the kidney, they symptoms rarely manifest, but when one of those stones moves into the ureter – the tube linking the bladder and the kidney – the symptoms become very apparent.
The most notable effect of a kidney stone is a sharp pain in the back and side, in the space below the ribs, but that will spread to pain in the groin and lower abdomen, often coming in waves, particularly while urinating. Very often, kidney stones will cause the urge to urinate very frequently, but only a small amount of urine will be produced, and the process is often painful, with the urine being cloudy, pink, red or brown, accompanied with a foul smell. Kidney stones can also cause nausea or vomiting in some people, particularly if there is an underlying infection causing the build-up of stones. Unfortunately, there aren’t many formal treatments, and most doctors will suggest drinking large amounts of water and taking pain medication until the stone passes. That being said, there are some effective home remedies that can help break down kidney stones so they can pass more easily, or be dissolved entirely.
Home Remedies for Kidney Stones
Drink More Water: One of the most basic causes of kidney stones is dehydration. Essentially, when there isn’t enough water in the body, the urine becomes more concentrated with minerals and other substances that urine usually removes. As those minerals calcify and bind together, they form stones that are harder to move through the ureter. By drinking large amounts of water, it can help flush the kidneys and break up some of those stones that have already formed, or at least make passing the stones a lot less painful.
Pomegranate Juice: Arguably the best fruit-based solution for kidney stones is the use of pomegranate – both the seeds and the juice. The antioxidants and natural astringent properties of this fruit can help to break up kidney stones when these nutrients reach the kidney, and prevent high oxalate levels in the body. Drinking one glass each day should be a good preventative measure for the stones’ development.
Watermelon: People often forget that watermelon is more than a delicious summer snack, but also a potassium-packed health food that can help combat kidney stones, particularly those formed of magnesium and calcium phosphates. Potassium is integral to lowering acid levels in the urine, which can prevent the development of these stones. Furthermore, watermelon is almost entirely made of water, which makes it a great fruit for hydration!
Kidney Beans: Although their name is based on their shape, they also happen to be excellent beans for kidney stones. All legumes, in fact, have high levels of insoluble fiber, which can bind calcium in the stool, rather than letting it pass into the urinary system. With lower levels of calcium in the urine, it will be harder for kidney stones to form. Other foods rich in insoluble fiber include corn, eggplants, greens, peas, onions and garlic.
Avoid Salty Foods: As most of you surely know, high levels of salt in the body cause water retention, leading to bloating and edema (swelling of carious parts of the body). This also means that water isn’t being moved through the kidney to the bladder, thus leaving the urine highly concentrated. By cutting down on salty food, you have a much better chance of avoiding the development of these mineral stones.
Magnesium: One of the commonalities between people who suffer from kidney stones is a deficiency in magnesium. In fact, research shows that taking magnesium supplements can offset more than 90% of kidney stone cases. Some of the foods highest in magnesium include spinach, nuts, fish, beans, avocados, yogurt and dark chocolate.
Apple Cider Vinegar: The highly astringent properties of this common natural remedy can make it much harder for kidney stones to develop. It can help to dissolve kidney stones and also has an alkalinizing effect on the blood and urine, so regular doses of apple cider vinegar is an excellent preventative measure for this condition, particularly if you are at risk.
Basil: This ancient herbal remedy has long been considered a tonic for the kidneys, and specifically for mineral deposition, it helps to expel these materials from the kidney early in their formation, so they are smaller and thus less painful to pass through the ureter.
Whole Grains: The best source of high concentrations of insoluble fiber come from whole grain cereals in their many forms. This fiber can optimize the digestive system, but also bind with calcium and lower the amount of minerals that are pushed into the urine. This will help prevent the build-up of these minerals that form kidney stones.
Nettle Leaf Tea: This particular type of tea is a kidney tonic in many different ways; it not only slows the growth of kidney stones and promotes their dissolution, but also helps to clear up any infections of the kidney that may be causing this unnatural growth of mineral stones. It also promotes urination, and thus flushes toxins and minerals from the body more regularly, making it more difficult for these stones to form.
Final Word of Warning: As mentioned, it is much easier to treat kidney stones effectively when you know what type of kidney stone you are dealing with. Excessively painful kidney stone symptoms should warrant a visit to a doctor, where you can discuss some of the natural remedies you wish to use, including those detailed in this article.