A condition caused by a buildup of salts and minerals due to dehydration, kidney stones rarely require serious medical procedures. In most cases, this condition can be effectively treated with home remedies or prescription medications.
As the ultimate way to get rid of kidney stones is to pass them through urine, most methods for treating them are geared towards making this typically painful process easier. This can be done by either using treatments that make the stones smaller or increase urine production.
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All of the following home remedies for kidney stones are known to help with this process to a certain extent, while many of them also promote better overall kidney health. Furthermore, they all have other health benefits that make them some of the healthiest herbs and foods around.
1. Palo Azul Tea
There is a good reason why Palo Azul is also known as “Kidney Wood” – this plant has been used for centuries to improve kidney health. Not only is it a natural diuretic, it also contains isoflavones – a crystalline compound that may protect against kidney stones.
It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great solution if you have troubles with urinary tract infections (UTIs). The tea made from Palo Azul bark is your best choice, as it’s the most effective and tastes quite pleasant and mild. You can drink up to four measuring cups a day of this tea to maximize the effects.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is rich in citric acid – an acid that is very efficient in dissolving kidney stones and will be mentioned several times on this list. Apple cider vinegar also keeps your urine and blood alkaline, preventing the formation of new stones. It can also help you manage the pain caused by this condition.
You can add a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a regular 250ml glass of purified water. Sip this mixture throughout the day but make sure you don’t drink more than one glass. Drinking too much can deplete your potassium supplies and potentially cause osteoporosis.
3. Basil Juice, Tea, or Smoothie
Another important acid for managing and treating kidney stones is acetic acid. This compound can lower your uric acid levels, which prevents future stones from forming. It can also help reduce pain and even help break kidney stones down into smaller pieces.
You can juice fresh basil, use dried basil to make tea, or simply put some fresh basil in a smoothie. However, make sure not to use medicinal basil for more than six weeks, as prolonged use may lead to low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and increased bleeding.
4. Plant-Based Protein
Giving up beef, eggs, fish, and pork may not be an appealing idea, but the relationship between animal-based protein and kidney stones has been well established. So, try to substitute these foods for some plant-based protein foods that will not only be healthy for your kidneys but may contribute to your overall health.
Good veggie protein options include green peas, lentils, beans, hummus, soy, quinoa, and many more. As most people only need around 50 grams of protein per day, getting this amount from legumes is not impossible. Learn how to prepare these foods with care and you’ll incorporate them in your diet in no time.
5. Celery Juice
Rich in healthy antioxidants, celery is one of the healthiest foods on this list. It has a long list of health benefits, and one of them is that it can increase your urine production, which can help with kidney stones. Its high antioxidant content may also help clear away the substances that lead to kidney stone formation.
Blending two celery stalks with water is the easiest way to make healthy celery juice. You can drink this mixture every day to manage kidney stone symptoms. Celery seeds are also a good option if you want to make tea. However, if you have low blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, or a scheduled surgery, you might want to avoid this mixture.
6. Lemon Juice
Refreshing and healthy, lemon juice is a great at home remedy for kidney stones. Since lemons are very rich in citric acid, they can be very effective in dissolving calcium stones and even preventing them from forming. Citrate can also help break up smaller stones and make them easier to pass without pain.
You can squeeze a lemon into a 5-oz. glass of water and drink this mixture two to three times a day. For example, drink one glass on an empty stomach right after waking up and another one a couple of hours before dinner. Try not to overdo it with lemons, as their high acid content may cause mouth ulcers or gastrointestinal problems.
Like many foods on this list, pomegranates are very rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants can help prevent the formation of kidney stones and benefit your health in a number of ways. Pomegranates can also improve your kidney function and lower the acidity level of your urine, which greatly reduces your risk of developing kidney stones in the future.
To reap these health benefits, you can make pomegranate juice or eat whole pomegranate seeds. Just make sure you avoid this remedy if you’re taking blood pressure medications, rosuvastatin (Crestor), and medications that affect the liver.
8. Nettle Leaf Tea
Although nettle leaf tea is commonly used to help with seasonal allergies and improve joint health, it’s also a powerful diuretic. Drinking between two and three cups of nettle leaf tea every day can help you flush the toxins out of your body, especially the kidneys. It can also hinder the growth of stones you already have and prevent the formation of new ones.
Nettle leaf tea can also prevent urinary tract infections, which are suspected to be one of the leading causes of kidney stones. Dried nettle leaves work best if you want to make tea, although some people report success boiling fresh nettle leaves.
9. Kidney Bean Broth
It is often believed that plants shaped like certain organs can be used to improve the health of those body parts that they resemble. So for example, tomatoes are believed to be good for the heart, grapes may improve lung health, and walnuts are often mentioned for their health benefits on the human brain.
And, while these claims are largely refuted by modern science, they may be true in some cases. That’s certainly the case with kidney beans, as kidney bean broth is one of the best home remedies for kidney stones around. To make kidney bean broth, remove the beans from their pods and cook the pods for about five hours. Then drain the water and consume the liquid once it has cooled.
10. Green Tea
A popular beverage all around the world, green tea is often promoted as part of a healthy diet. It has antioxidant qualities and may even help you lose weight. However, not many people know that green tea is also one of the best herbs for treating kidney stones. It can decrease the amount of oxalate you excrete in your urine, which leads to a lower chance of developing kidney stones.
These claims are supported by research – a 2005 study found that green tea treatment prevented the formation of calcium oxalate deposits in adult rats.
11. Dandelion Root Juice
A powerful tonic that can do wonders for your kidney health, dandelion juice works by stimulating the production of urine and bile. This helps rid your body of toxic waste, while also increasing urine output and improving digestion. Dandelions are also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc.
You can consume fresh dandelion juice or buy dandelion tea. If you like the idea of dandelion juice, you may want to add ginger, orange peel, and apple for additional antioxidant effects and improved flavor. You should avoid this drink if you’re taking antacids, antibiotics, blood thinners, diuretics, and lithium (Lithane).
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the human body, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to kidney stones. Other studies also found that magnesium health supplements can prevent kidney stone formation.
However, scientists still don’t quite understand why this happens. One theory is that magnesium may affect oxalate absorption in our gut. The current daily recommended value of magnesium is 400 milligrams. Ideally, you’ll want to get your magnesium whenever you’re eating high-oxalate foods. Some foods that are rich in magnesium include tofu, avocados, and legumes.
13. Horsetail Juice
Another remedy that works by increasing our urine flow, horsetail juice can also help manage inflammation and soothe swelling. It also has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that promote urinary tract health.
However, horsetail is one of the herbal diuretics that the Cleveland Clinic advises against. It’s especially not recommended for children, pregnant women, and alcoholics. It’s also worth noting that it contains nicotine, so you shouldn’t take it if you’re trying to quit smoking or if you’re using a nicotine patch. Horsetail juice is also not recommended for people with diabetes, low thiamine levels, and low potassium levels.
14. Wheatgrass Juice
Used for centuries as a powerful health potion, wheatgrass juice is rich in many healthy nutrients. It helps cleanse the kidneys and increases urine flow, which helps you pass the stones more easily. Its antioxidant compounds can also help restore the balance of salts and minerals in your kidneys and prevent the development of future stones.
You can drink between two and eight ounces of wheatgrass juice per day. Start small and work your way up to avoid side effects. It’s best to drink fresh wheatgrass juice but you can opt for powdered wheatgrass supplements if you can’t find fresh wheatgrass.
15. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the healthiest oils to prepare food with, olive oil is a common ingredient in many healthy diets. In fact, it’s one of the crucial foods in the Mediterranean diet – one of the healthiest diets often recommended for better heart health and a longer life.
The reason why extra virgin olive oil may help with kidney stones is because it can lubricate your urinary tract and make it easier for you to pass smaller stones. You can mix two ounces of olive oil with two ounces of lemon juice and drink this mixture early in the morning, right after waking up, and once in the afternoon to reduce pain caused by the stones moving around your urinary tract.
16. Tribulus Terrestris
Also known as Bindii, Tribulus terrestris can help with kidney stones by lowering the phosphate levels in our urine. This can also prevent kidney stones, as lower phosphate levels usually make it harder for stones to form. The compounds found in this plant can also dissolve mineral deposits and increase urine production.
You can use all parts of this plant to reap its health benefits, and you can even consume them raw. Alternatively, you can also find Tribulus terrestris supplements online. They are usually in pill form. One cup of tea or one pill a day may be enough to prevent kidney stones.
Although it may seem counterintuitive that increased calcium consumption can help with kidney stones, studies have found that this mineral can do just that by preventing this condition in the first place. Since dietary calcium binds with oxalate, our kidneys don’t need to pass it through our system.
The recommended daily intake of this mineral is 1,000 milligrams a day for most adults. However, women over 50 and everyone over 70 needs a bit more around 1,200mg. It’s also important to note that you should avoid calcium supplements, as they have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.
18. Marshmallow Root
Like many other herbs on this list, marshmallow root is a natural diuretic, which means it can increase our urine production and help getting rid of smaller kidney stones in the process. It also has strong anti-inflammatory qualities and can protect our urinary and digestive tract. You can find it in the form of a tea, extracts, tinctures, and capsules.
If you decide to make a marshmallow root tea, one tablespoon should do the trick. Pour hot water on top of it and let it steep for between 10 and 15 minutes, then strain and drink when it’s cooled. You can drink between two and four cups of this tea every day.
19. Aloe Vera
An herb lauded for its health benefits, aloe vera is often found in regenerating ointments and creams. However, it is a little-known fact that aloe vera leaves contain a protective gel that can be useful for our kidney tissues. To reap its health benefits, it’s best to drink fresh aloe vera juice.
Break a couple of leaves off the plant, wash them, and pat them dry. Peel the leaf until you reach the gel. Scoop it out with a spoon and put in a blender. Add two tablespoons of honey and a half cup of grapefruit juice.
It may sound simple, but drinking more water is one of the best ways to tackle kidney stones. As they are usually caused by dehydration, drinking more than two liters (eight 250ml glasses) of water every day will likely hinder the growth of deposits in your kidneys and ease their passage. Even after you have passed the stones, you should still continue drinking more water to avoid developing the condition again.
If you live in a dry and hot climate or you engage in a lot of physical activity, you may want to drink even more than the recommended two liters. A good way to tell whether you’re drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine – if it’s dark yellow or brown, you should drink more. You should go for a pale-yellow color, as this is a good sign you’re properly hydrated.
21. Uva Ursi
Also called bearberry, Uva Ursi can help cleanse your urinary tract and make the passage of stones easier. It can also prevent smaller stones from becoming larger and has been used for centuries for this purpose. The plant is very common across the Northern hemisphere, so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding natural bearberry tea in your local stores.
The best part of this plant is the leaves. Fill a pan with two cups of water and put one tablespoon of bearberry leaves in it. Simmer for around 30 minutes, then strain and leave to cool. You should drink only half a cup two times a day.
Another kidney stone treatment that has strong diuretic qualities, goldenrod can help you pass kidney stones faster and painlessly. It can also help fight inflammation in your urinary tract. It’s available in extract, capsule, and tea form.
If you want to make goldenrod tea, you should use the plant’s leaves and flowers. Chop them up and put one tablespoon of this mixture in a cup. Pour freshly boiled water over it and let it steep for around 20 minutes while covered. Drink this mixture three times a day. However, avoid this drink if you’re allergic to ragweed, as these two plants are related and you might also be allergic to goldenrod as well.
23. Gravel Root
Historically used by Native Americans, gravel root is known for its health benefits for kidneys. And, although it’s still unclear whether we can use gravel root to break up kidney stones, this herb can certainly be used to dissolve and soften them. It can also promote easier passage.
It’s available in both pill and tea form. You can use the plant’s roots, leaves, and root-like stems (rhizomes) to make the tea. Put one tablespoon of gravel root in 230 milliliters of water. Wait for the water to boil and simmer for around 10 minutes. Add a little honey to sweeten the mixture and wait for it to cool before drinking. You can drink this tea three times a day.
24. Corn Silk
The Mayans and Aztecs are known for using corn silk as a natural remedy over a thousand years ago. These thin hairs at the top of an ear of corn can help instantly decrease pain and speed up the healing process in the urinary tract. They also contain valuable protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and minerals. Dried corn silk is very common and easy to find in your local herbal store.
To prepare corn silk tea, scoop one tablespoon of dried corn silk into a cup and add two cups of boiling water. Let it steep for between five and 10 minutes, while covered. Strain and drink once cooled. Drink between two and four cups of this tea every day.
25. Wild Carrots
Although sharing the name of a common vegetable, wild carrots don’t look very much like their relative. Also called Queen Anne’s lace or bishop's lace, this herb has been used in many cultures to treat renal disorders like kidney stones. It has strong diuretic properties that encourage the quick flushing of toxins from the kidneys.
However, there is still not enough evidence to support the use of this herb. And, while it seems to have benefits for our kidney health, experts suggest that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it, as well as people awaiting surgery. There’s a chance of it leading to more kidney problems and interacting with medications like lithium, estrogens, high blood pressure drugs, and others.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many herbs and healthy nutrients that can be used to treat and prevent kidney stones. We hope this list gives you a good insight into how all of these work and why they may be good for your kidney health.
However, keep in mind that kidney stones can only be treated at home for so long. If you notice your symptoms aren’t going away or are even getting worse, contact your doctor. Depending on the type of your stones, you might need a specific drug that will help you fight kidney stones faster and more efficiently.