I've talked before about how to treat UTIs naturally, and in this post, Jaclyn shares her personal experience with EFFECTIVE home remedies for kidney stones. ~Emily
If you've ever given birth, you know that the hours of excruciating pain are so worth it… when the doctor hands you that sweet baby, all that pain just evaporates. But if you've ever passed a kidney stone, you may be all too familiar with a “birthing” pain which produces no reward at the end.
Kidney stones are the single most painful health condition I've personally encountered, and one which I hope to never encounter again. Read on to find out some of the home remedies for kidney stones that I've personally found helpful.
My experience with kidney stones
I experienced my first kidney stone when I was pregnant with my first son. At only 20 weeks pregnant, I found myself in a tremendous amount of pain. Worried I was in pre-term labor, I rushed to the hospital, where it was discovered I was passing a kidney stone. Several doses of morphine and a couple of days later, I returned home, baby and mama safe but worn out.
I didn't pass another kidney stone until seven years later, when I was pregnant with my fourth son. This time, I was armed with a holistic perspective and a little research, so I handled it much differently, passing a stone at home with relatively little pain.
Following that birth, when my son was about seven months old, I passed a huge stone, again at home, but this time, it hit so fast that I did nothing but curl up in a hot bath and cry. I literally labored through waves of agony, even throwing up from the pain, until I finally went to sleep and woke up the next morning to pass it.
After that episode, I sought the help of a urologist, who insisted on a CT scan, which showed that I had more kidney stones that had formed but had not yet passed. That was when the real research began.
What causes kidney stones?
As a frequent sufferer of kidney stones, I wanted to know – what causes them? Most conventional sources said they were caused by soda (which I never drink), calcium supplements (which I don't take), and a meat-heavy diet (guilty).
Were my carnivorous ways damaging my body? I simply could not believe that was the whole truth.
But before I could uncover the cause of kidney stones, I had to really understand what they were. Kidney stones are hardened, accumulated minerals stored up in the kidneys, which turn into small, often jagged stones that then must travel through the kidneys and urethra before being excreted in the urine. Especially large or jagged stones can be indescribably painful (ask me how I know).
I found that a combination of factors may contribute to kidney stone formation, including:
When the gut is not properly digesting foods, components of those foods may leak through the gut. The undigested particles then go on to cause problems in other parts of the body. In the case of kidney stones, minerals that are not being properly broken down and absorbed, instead form stones in the kidneys.
Oxalic acid is largely removed from the body through urine, and the safest salt to remove it is magnesium oxalate. When there is not enough magnesium the body uses calcium instead which makes the person prone to forming kidney stones. (source)
But, that doesn't mean you should avoid calcium. Dietary sources of calcium, like that found in raw milk, actually decrease the risk of kidney stones because this type of calcium will bind to oxalates so that they can be properly processed by the body. (source)
In order for the kidneys to stay flushed, they should have an adequate amount of water flowing through them. When you are chronically dehydrated, substances that should be getting regularly removed from your kidneys begin to accumulate, and after time, can join together to create kidney stones.
So, my protein-rich diet wasn't necessarily causing my kidney stones, rather, the underlying conditions which were rendering my body incapable of properly processing my foods were causing them.
Armed with this information, I had a plan of action: heal my gut, dissolve existing kidney stones, and prevent new kidney stones from forming.
Home remedies for kidney stones
First things first, I had to heal my gut (read here for how to heal leaky gut). I had already eaten a paleo-style diet for quite some time, avoiding grains and refined sugars, but clearly it wasn't enough. I did the GAPS intro diet, a temporary, intensive healing diet which restricts starches and emphasizes healing foods like broth, fats, and fermented foods. (What's So Great about fermented foods? Read this.)
I also began to read about remedies for dissolving kidney stones. Since I knew from the CT scan that I had kidney stones still lodged in my kidneys, this was especially important. To dissolve kidney stones, I used the following remedies:
This Amazonian herbal plant whose name translates to “stone breaker” has a long history of use for various ailments, but elimination of kidney and gall stones is one of its most well-known uses.
“The first notable area of study has validated chanca piedra’s longstanding traditional use for kidney stones. In 1990, the Paulista School of Medicine in São Paulo, Brazil, conducted studies with humans and rats with kidney stones. They were given a simple tea of chanca piedra for 1–3 months and it was reported that the tea promoted the elimination of stones.” (source)
I personally used a chanca piedra tincture.
To make an infusion versus tea, I used four bags of nettle tea in a quart of boiling water, then let the brew sit overnight to make it very strong. “Any accumulation of minerals in the kidneys, such as gravel or stones, is gently loosened, dissolved and eliminated by the consistent use of nettle infusions.” (source)
This is what I used when I was passing a kidney stone during my fourth pregnancy and I believe it helped to ease its passing.
Drinking lemon water is a simple, yet effective treatment for kidney stones, which, in my experience, is encouraged by both conventional doctors and alternative practitioners. Citric acid can help to dissolve kidney stones and lemon juice is a very good source of citric acid.
When I was regularly drinking lemon juice, I kept my fridge stocked with lemons and would slice one in half in the morning and squeeze a generous amount in my glass of water, then repeat several times through the day.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you could always squeeze lemon juice into your nettle tea!
I always make sure I'm drinking an adequate amount of water and continue to strive to eat a balanced diet. Since passing that massive stone a year and a half ago, I have not passed another. I feel confident that using these remedies, I will remain stone-free.
Have you tried home remedies for kidney stones? Share your experience below.
When Jaclyn became a mom more than eight years ago, health food was the last thing on her mind, but when her son began to struggle with behavioral disorders, she dove in headfirst to begin learning about how to live and eat naturally. Since switching to a paleo diet and doing the GAPS diet, her children have been healed of behavioral disorders, eczema, and digestive problems, and her own thyroid disorder has been healed. Today, she blogs about raising her four boys to be happy and healthy at The Family That Heals Together.