Few if any conditions are as painful as a kidney stone. In fact, passing a kidney stone has been likened to the pain experienced in childbirth.
Kidney stones, also known as calculi are hardened mineral deposits that form in the kidney. The purpose of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood and add them to the urine produced in the kidneys.
When waste materials in the urine do not dissolve fully, tiny crystals form which can clump together forming kidney stones over time. The allopathic (western) medical term for this condition is nephrolithiasis or renal stone disease.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the disease belongs to the categories of “sha lin” (strangury form urolithiasis), “shi lin” (strangury caused by urinary calculus) and “xue lin” (strangury complicated by hematuria).
TCM Treatments for Kidney Stones
As with most TCM practices, oral administration of herbal extracts and acupuncture are recommended for the treatment of Kidney stones.
The therapeutic principal behind the TCM treatment of kidney stones is to promote the circulation of Qi, induce urination, relieve the strangury and shrink or remove the stones. Chinese medicine practitioners suggest the administration of the following herbs boiled down in water:
- Pyrrosia leaf
- Plantago seed (piece of cloth before it is decocted with other herbs )
- Cluster mallow fruit
- Oriental water plantain rhizome
- Citron fruit
- Vaccaria seed
- Radish seed
Depending on the type of calculi that have formed, acupuncture, electrotherapy, and ear needling at specific acupuncture points are also used by TCM practitioners to relieve kidney stones.
Other Alternative and Naturopathic Remedies for Kidney Stones
Good kidney function and preventing the formation of kidney stones is also very much a function of diet. Proper hydration by drinking enough water throughout the day is one of the surest ways to prevent stone formation. Other dietary changes and supplements can help prevent and or reduce the occurrence of kidney stones.
Insufficient magnesium intake has been linked to kidney stone formation. Magnesium supplementation in the form of 500 mg taken daily of Magnesium Citrate may decrease the size of an existing stone and prevent further formations.
Lack of Vitamin B-6 has been shown to increase urinary oxalates, which can lead to stone formation, so daily supplementation with 25mg of B-6 has also been recommended to prevent Kidney stones.
For some types of stones, it has been indicated that reducing your intake of meat, fish, and chicken is a good idea, as these foods can stimulate the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Other items in the diet that may encourage calcium oxalate stone formation include beer, black pepper, berries, broccoli, chocolate, spinach, and tea.
To help prevent stones it has been recommended that you add to your diet foods that have a high ratio of magnesium to calcium such as: brown rice, bananas, oats, barley, and soy, and that are high in fiber such as oat bran, psyllium seed husk, and flaxseed meal.