If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that kidney stone pain is outrageous! The pain is usually felt in the belly or on the side, and it might even move to the groin. It suddenly comes and goes most of the time, so it can be irritating to deal with. A kidney stone, which is a mass of tiny crystals, can occur in the kidney or ureter. It blocks the urinary tract, causing a lot of pain.
The most common kinds are calcium oxalate stones, which form when excess urine calcium binds with excess urine oxalate. Calcium can also form stones with other substances like phosphate. If the urine has a very low pH (acidic), uric acid stones may develop. Other types such as cystine and struvite stones can also form due to other conditions or medications.1
All kidney stones can be downright painful. Large ones may need to be dissolved and removed via surgery. But if they’re small (about the size of sand), you may be able to pass them yourself. Follow these 10 natural home remedies to cure and prevent kidney stones.
1. Drink More Fluids
The best natural remedy for kidney stones is drinking enough fluids and abundantly. Passing kidney stones doubles as treatment and fueling up on enough fluids will do just that.
Of course, water is the top choice for hydrating your body, whether or not you have kidney stones. You can also add lemon juice to increase citrates, which are salts that can stop kidney stone formation. Just add ½ cup fresh lemon juice to 8 cups of water and drink throughout the day.2 Ginger ale, lemon-lime sodas, or fruit juices are also allowed. If you drink coffee, tea, and colas, stick to just 1 to 2 cups a day.3
Aim at drinking a minimum of 10 to 12 cups of fluids every day. Half (if not more) of this should be water. Doing this will naturally get rid of kidney stones by increasing urine production. The more you pee, the sooner you will be able to flush the stones out and even prevent the formation of more.
2. Eat Pomegranates
For those suffering from renal problems like kidney stones and kidney failure, a renal diet is the modus operandi. This diet involves low protein, salt, phosphorus, and potassium. Pomegranates are the perfect fruit for this diet as they contain very little potassium. They are also said to reduce the acidity levels in your pee, which creates an unfavorable atmosphere for kidney stones.4 You can either eat the fruits as is, make a juice, or grind the seeds into a paste and use it with soups.
3. Use Less Salt
Bring down your salt intake by a notch as eating more sodium makes the kidneys excrete more calcium. This calcium combines with oxalate or phosphorus, eventually forming stones.5
On an average, Americans consume 3400 mg of salt per day, which is more than the recommended 2300 mg. About 75 percent of this comes from processed foods, like microwavable meals and frozen dishes.6 And most snacks, cheeses, and condiments are also teeming with salt.7 Do the math and keep an eye on what you eat. Do your best to avoid these and the risk of getting kidney stones will greatly reduce.
4. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is your delicious and healthy remedy for kidney stones. Its rich antioxidant levels decrease urinary excretion of oxalate, which reduces the chances of kidney stones. And if you already have a kidney stone, the antioxidants will stop it from getting bigger. Green tea has the power to boost the activity of an enzyme (superoxide dismutase), which fights free radicals in the body and keeps your body strong as you recover from kidney stones.8
5. Try Basil Leaves
Basil is a common ingredient in the kitchen that makes food delicious. But did you know that basil is also a diuretic that strengthens the kidney by helping it excrete better? It reduces the uric acid content in the blood and detoxifies the kidney. Make a tea with fresh basil leaves and raw honey. Or mix basil juice with honey and drink it every morning to reduce the appearance of more kidney stones.
6. Make Tea With Dandelion Leaves
Dandelion leaves are natural diuretics and cause excess urination. This dissolves kidney stones and also flushes them out. The leaves give your kidneys a much-needed cleanse.
The leaves have been used in traditional medicine to treat kidney disease and improve its function. And they’re easy to use! Just toss a few fresh dandelion leaves, which can be found at health food stores, into a salad with other greens. You can also add them while brewing your tea.9
7. Try Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is a diuretic. It protects the digestive and urinary tract when kidney stones pass by coating the layer with mucilage. It also helps detoxify the kidney. Marshmallow root can be used in the form of tea or as readily available extracts, creams, capsules, and tinctures.
8. Use Goldenrod
Goldenrod is also a diuretic that will make you pee frequently and pass those kidney stones faster. This herb will also prevent future stones while reducing inflammation in the urinary tract.
Like dandelion, goldenrod can also be consumed as a tea. It’s also available as an extract or capsule. However, if you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid this herb.10 These two plants are related and bloom around the same time, so you may be allergic to both.
9. Use Wild Carrots
Many traditional cultures have used wild carrot roots (also known as Queen Anne’s lace), leaves, and seeds for treating kidney stones and other renal disorders. Its diuretic properties encourage toxins and waste to be flushed out from the kidneys. But remember that this isn’t the same as the common vegetable carrot. You can have wild carrots in the form of tea or tincture every day.
10. Lemons And Oranges
That glass of orange juice you take every now and then is not just cooling. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons contain citrates that reduce the risk of kidney stones and also prevent the existing ones from clumping together.
When you consume citrates in excess, the citrates bind to the extra calcium in the body. This decreases the saturation of urine calcium, inhibiting kidney stone growth.11 Citrates also increase urine pH, which prevents uric acid stones from forming.12
A Word Of Caution
Do not take diuretic pills if you’re consuming dandelion, goldenrod, or green tea. Do not take multiple diuretics at a time. These might make you pee too much, which can mess with your electrolyte balance. When in doubt, just drink a lot of water throughout the day.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑11||Kidney stones – self-care. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2, ↑7||Diet and Kidney Stones. University of Toronto.|
|↑4||Tugcu, Volkan, Eray Kemahli, Emin Ozbek, Yasar Volkan Arinci, Mehmet Uhri, Pelin Erturkuner, Gokhan Metin et al. “Protective effect of a potent antioxidant, pomegranate juice, in the kidney of rats with nephrolithiasis induced by ethylene glycol.” Journal of Endourology 22, no. 12 (2008): 2723-2732.|
|↑5||Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Kidney Stones. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑6||How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day? The American Heart Association.|
|↑8||Itoh, Yasunori, Takahiro Yasui, Atsushi Okada, Keiichi Tozawa, Yutaro Hayashi, and Kenjiro Kohri. “Preventive effects of green tea on renal stone formation and the role of oxidative stress in nephrolithiasis.” The Journal of urology 173, no. 1 (2005): 271-275.|
|↑9||Dandelion. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑10||Goldenrod. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑12||Citrate To Prevent Calcium And Uric Acid Stones. The University Of Chicago.|