Kidneys are located near the back side of the abdomen and a very important organ of the body, they purify blood, regulate all the electrolyte balance and remove extra waste through the urine, but sometimes their function may get hinder due to the build up waste like ammonia, calcium, uric acid, etc. which get collected inside the kidney and form crystals or stones like lumps.
What are kidney stones?
When urine becomes concentrated it crystallize the salts and minerals present in the urine that forms hard deposits or stones So small clumps of minerals and salts that deposit in the kidney, called kidney stones and also known as renal calculi or renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis. These small masses may travel down the entire urinary way; their size may be very from large ping pong ball to small speck, grain or sand like. These stones may give severe abdominal pain at the side of the flank or groin, along with some blood in the urine. Kidney stones may affect urethra, ureters, bladder and the entire urinary tract passage as well.
Stone located in the urinary tract is referred as urolithiasis, and stone at the ureters is referred as ureterolithiasis respectively. Small stones may pass out without any pain and undetected, but the larger one may get stuck, blocks urine output and cause severe pain. Kidney stones if not treated timely may cause blood in urea or hematuria, UTI, pain and insufficient kidney functions.
How kidney stones occur?
Our kidney balances all the minerals, salts and other body fluids, excess accumulation of these levels may lead to kidney stones.
Kidney stones are less common among the women compared to men and mostly occur between the age group of 20-50. Pregnant women, people who are already on the certain medication or any disease conditions are more prone to kidney stones. Family history is also one of the causes and it is mostly developed in Caucasians and the Asians compared to native Africans and Americans.
• Genetics or Heredity: Sometimes high level of calcium (hypercalciuria) may pass from generation to generation, some heredity diseases such as gout, renal tubular acidosis; a disorder in cystine metabolism may also cause kidney stones.
• Certain geographical areas: People living in temperate and warm climates are more likely to develop kidney stones since they often suffer from dehydration and inadequate intake of water allowing the formation of renal calculi easily.
• Lifestyle habits and diet: Excess intake of alcohol, food rich in animal protein, excess intake of salt and low intake of calcium may also cause kidney stones.
• Certain medication: Some antibiotics, diuretics, antacids, aspirin, antiretroviral or HIV medications and some antiepileptic drugs may induce kidney stone formation.
How to prevent kidney stone?
It is not easy to prevent kidney stone but certain preventive measures will sure minimise the risk of stone formation, such as:
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated:
It is always advised to drink lots of water not only in kidney stones, but it is the easiest and inexpensive way to detoxify the body without much effort. Water keeps the urine dilute and don’t let the crystals clump together to form a small pebbles since concentrated urine may precipitate the salts and helps in salt accumulation and stone formation. Low water intake won’t be able to dissolve the salts present in the urine and low urine output means you are not drinking enough water. Daily water intake should be 2 litres or 8 glasses to prevent any dehydration and salt accumulation.
• Making certain lifestyle changes and some diet adjustment goes a long way:
To stay away from kidney stones it is better to consume more calcium rich food, as low calcium diet may increases the risk of osteoporosis and the kidney stone formation, like low fat milk, yogurt and cheese are the better options. Limit the intake of salts and consume anti-oxidants rich foods as well, all these little corrections will surely prevent stone formation. If someone already has the kidney stones, then it would be better to stick with the medication, since compliance with medication would minimise the risk of future recurrence of kidney stones.
• Add some herbs:
Lastly add some herbs or herbal formulation, since herbs support and work in a very natural way without any adverse affect and at the same time provide internal strength, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals which detoxify and soothes all the internal organs and breaks the stones in small fragments or pieces so that they can be easily flush out from the body thus also reduce the chance of painful surgeries and stones reformation tendency.
What herbs are helpful?
Herbs to treat kidney stones:
Boerhavia diffusa (Punnarnava)
Decoction of Punnarnava is used in urinary disorders since the time of Ayurveda. Its famous alkaloid “Punarnavine” induces more urine and helps in urinary or renal calculi.
Tribulus terrestris (Gokhru)
Gokhru or Gokshura is one of the best herbs for kidney stones as it cool, soothes, nourishes, strengthens the kidney and the entire urinary tract and also helps in excess urine formation thereby removes stones. This herb provides support and relief from the severe pain, excess blood in urea and eases the urine passing process, helps in the metabolism of salts and minerals and also reduces the reoccurrence tendency of renal stones formation. It is a strong diuretic and antispasmodic thus helps to calm down or relax the muscles
Bergenia ligulata (Pashanabheda)
Pashanabheda dissolves the stones since it has strong lithotriptic activity and the word Pashanabheda means breaks stones. It is also a diuretic thus helps in removing the excess toxins from the body, hence a very useful herb for kidney stones.
Didymocarpus pedicellata (Shilapushpa)
It is not a well known herb but still it is equally valuable like other herbs for the treatment of kidney stones, also known as stone flower. It helps and regulates calcium absorption, maintains kidney health; prevent the formation of stones, works as a antimicrobial agent and also a best diuretic.
Achyrantheas aspera (Prickly Chaff Flowers)
This herb also easily flushes out toxins and the stones since it work as a good diuretic, also known as Devils Horse Whip owns a potent healing and detoxification property due to this it is one of the most widely used herb.
Dolichos biflorus (Kultha)
Kultha breaks the kidney stones in small pieces, since it contains many powerful phenolic compounds and also helps in excess urine flow.
Cedrus deodara (Devadaru)
It works as a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent due to the presence of many phytochemicals, it heals, reduces fever, pain and help in excess urine output formation.
Phyllanthus niruri (Bhumi Amla)
It dissolves the stones into small fragments, gravel and sand thus enables to pass easily, also relaxes the nearby muscles. Onosma bracteatum (Gojiva) and the Parmelia perlata (Chharila) both herbs are also very beneficial in removing the kidney stones and provide strength and support to the urinary tract.