Kidney stones are hard crystallized clumps that are formed from certain substances in the urine. They range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Some are passed out of the body with urine; others become blocked in the urinary tract. They may form because of a lack of fluids in the body, repeated urinary tract infections, certain genetic diseases, or other factors.
Nutritional Therapy for Kidney Stones
Nutritional therapists hold that many types of kidney stones are the result of an improper diet, and treatment and prevention require wholesale changes in eating habits.
A very common type of kidney stone, calcium oxalate, has been linked to a diet that's low in fiber and high in refined carbohydrates, animal protein (including meat and dairy products), and alcohol. Protein can cause problems by prompting the body to lose more calcium in the urine, making it available for stone formation. People who are prone to forming stones are advised to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. A vegetarian diet, consisting of no beef, poultry, or seafood, is often recommended as an ideal way to meet these nutritional guidelines. Daily water consumption should be about four quarts, and specific foods, such as those high in oxalate (peanuts, chocolate, coffee, spinach and other leafy greens, black tea, rhubarb), should be cut from the diet.
Deficiencies in magnesium and vitamin B6 may also lead to calcium oxalate stones. Several studies have shown that doses of magnesium and vitamin B6 can prevent stones in many people who previously had them. Several other supplements may also be prescribed, including vitamin K.
Herbal Medicine for Kidney Stones
In the treatment of kidney stones, herbs can be used to break them down and prevent their formation in the first place. Herbs can also encourage the flow of urine and relieve the irritated walls of the urinary tract. Gravelroot has long been used to dissolve kidney stones. The root is commonly taken in decoction or tincture form. Madder, hydrangea, and rumex can also help break up stones. Aloe vera juice may clear stones and prevent new ones from forming.
Other herbs, such as cornsilk and couch grass, can soothe the walls of the urinary tract. Juniper berries, often used to clear urinary tract infections, can be added to an herbal treatment for stones.
Other Kidney Stone Therapies
- Ayurvedic Medicine for Kidney Stones -- Typical kidney stone treatments involve dietary changes and herbal therapy.
- Bodywork for Kidney Stones -- Reflexology is just one form of bodywork that can stimulate the organs and regulate bodily functions. Treatment can focus on the reflexes of the pituitary gland, thyroid and parathyroid glands, spleen, and kidney, among others.
- Homeopathy for Kidney Stones -- Common remedies can include berberis, magnesia phosphorica, and sarsaparilla.
- Hydrotherapy for Kidney Stones --Treatments, such as warm sitz baths, can be used to relieve the pain of kidney stones.