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Ask the Herbalist--Kidney Problems

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QUESTION: I have been detected with IgA Nephropathy, which is a kidney disease. To give a detail of my situation, I am attaching my medical reports for your reference. Pleas let me know what can help me to bring my kidney functions to normal. As of now, I am taking high blood pressure medicine, medicine for a healthy heart and omega 3 capsules.  The latest value of Serum Creatinine is 3.2

I would be very thankful to you for you help to save my kidney & life.

ANSWER: My first suggestion is to eliminate salt from your diet, so as not to stress the kidneys. Use a no-salt substitute. Eliminate potato chips, you should also eliminate red meats and all dairy and avoid all processed foods. Reduce or eliminate your intake of caffeine.  Avoid tobacco and alcohol. 

Enhance your diet with plenty of fresh salmon, tuna and mackerel, brown rice, fresh local raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits. Drink plenty of fresh water daily.  Keep your eyes on a new product not yet out on the market called Nefecon made by Pharmalink AB.  You may also want to look at a product called: Kidney Well II. 

Here's a link that may prove of help:


QUESTION: I am taking every day, all at the same time, Hyraleronic Acid for healthy joints, but primarily for anti-aging/healthy skin. I'm also taking Fish Oil for Omega 3's, and a multi-vitamin with minerals and a separate bottle of Probiotics.  All of this is essential and healthy, but my question is could it be too much to take all at once?  I just don't want to overdose to the point where I could be forming more kidney stones, since I'm prone to passing stones.

ANSWER If you are prone to kidney stones, then you are ingesting foods, or substances that are contributing, likely in your diet.  I suggest you take a close look at the environmental factors as well as the diet, also mental health and happiness.  The supplements you are taking are OK, you may want to switch to a vegetarian, glucosamine, it helps better with the joints, and if you are sensitive the Hylauronic Acid, has caused some people problems.  Use the COQ10 100 mg, 4 per day, this really helps with anit aging, and over all vitality, especially of the internal organs.  Also taking Bilberry fruit pills , 3, 3 times daily, is very good, unless you are small, then 2 three times daily.

QUESTION: Please can you advise me,  my husband is 79yrs of age, in good health except for high blood pressure and diabetes which is controlled, but the specialist in the hospital told him this in a letter.  the level of haemoglobin has stayed at 11.5 grams per decilitre, which is the same as it was in March 2005.  Your iron stores are within normal range.  The kidney function however is worse showing a loss of kidney function of 75%.  My husband has only had 1 kidney all his life.  The doctor has said my husband will be on dialysis by June 2006, and because of his age he has reached the end of his life span, and may not live that long on dialysis.  Please can you advise, what can he take to help save what is left of his kidney,  so he does not have to go on dialysis, as I dont think he will be able to take it, and it will be  a lot for me to handle.  I don't want to loose him I love him very much.  Please help me.

ANSWER: There are several things you can try. First, you need to make sure his diet is healthy and he is drinking plenty of good, clean water. Preferably distilled or reverse osmosis. Culligan can deliver it to your home. Lots of green leafy vegetables every day. Go light on the red meat. Avoid white sugar, white flour and caffeine. For his heart, you might try some hawthorn tea or tincture. I have both available on my website if you don't have a health food store close to you. You can find them in the Apothecary section on my website at http://www.allgoodegifts.com/ For his kidneys, cleavers, couch grass and yarrow are good tonic herbs. Dandelion is an excellent diuretic which will also increase his vitamin C and potassium stores.

QUESTION: My daughter has been diagnosed with kidney degeneration.  She has the equivalent of 1 good kidney left.  Is there an herb that will help heal her kidney and improve it's function?

ANSWER: Two of my favorite herbs for the kidneys are dandelion root and nettle. They are both tonic herbs, so they feed, tone, rehabilitate and strengthen the particular body system. I would also suggest burdock root and milk thistle for your daughter to strengthen her liver.  I can make you a custom tea if you like. Go to my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  and in the Apothecary, you will find the medicinal teas and tinctures. If you don't see one you like, select custom and tell me in the comments in the shopping cart checkout what you're looking for.

Hello, I'm hoping you can help me, I was told by several people if I ate fresh herbs  it would help me with my kidney failure. I have looked all through the net to try and find information with no luck, so if you could point me in the right spot that would be great.

ANSWER:  What do you mean by "kidney failure"? If you are in renal failure, you should be in a hospital. Please explain. There are herbs that are helpful for the toning and health of the kidneys, but first I need to know what exactly is going on. Can you be a little more specific, please? What are you looking to do? What's actually going on? Have you been diagnosed by a medical professional, holistic or otherwise? 

FOLLOWUP:  I have renal failure, yes I have been in hospital for this. I'm waiting for a transplant. I was told by different people that herbs would help me with this. I was just wondering if there was any thing out there to help me .I was diagnosed in December of 2002. Thank you for your help

Thanks for writing back. That's a little more clear.  OK, so we are looking for herbs to tone your kidneys and help you in the case of a transplant. The following herbs are the most common ones used for Kidney problems:  juniper berries, marshmallow root, nettle, parsley, red clover, dandelion, Uva ursi, hydrangea, and of course, cranberries.
         You need to cut back your consumption of  animal protein or eliminate it all together for right now. Also, avoid all milk products except the sour kind, like yogurt, kefir and cottage cheese. You should be eating a diet comprised of 75% raw foods. Garlic, potatoes, asparagus, parsley, watercress, celery, cucumbers, papaya, and bananas. Watermelon and pumpkin seeds are also beneficial. Lots of seeds and soybeans. Avoid  beet greens, salt, potassium chloride, chocolate, cocoa, eggs, fish meat, spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard and tea. Make sure you are only drinking steam distilled water. IF they don't have it in the hospital, get your family to bring it in for you. Pure water is essential for proper kidney function.  I hope this helps. If there's anything specific I can do for you, or if you're interested in a custom formulation, e-mail me with the word ORDER in your subject line and we can discuss it more.

QUESTION: What's a good herb(s) to detoxify the kidneys?

ANSWER: The very best herb for the kidneys is dandelion. You can eat it raw in salads or have it in tea. Or even some Dandelion wine, if you're up for it! I like to combine it with burdock root, marshmallow root, chickweed uva ursi or nettle.  I can make you a custom blend if you're interested. Go to my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  and in the Herb Shoppe under Teas, select CUSTOM. In the comments section of the checkout, put Kidney Tonic Tea.

Hello, I'm hoping you can help me, I was told by several people if I ate fresh herbs  it would help me with my kidney failure. I have looked all through the net to try and find information with no luck, so if you could point me in the right spot that would be great.

ANSWER: What do you mean by "kidney failure"? If you are in renal failure, you should be in a hospital. Please explain. There are herbs that are helpful for the toning and health of the kidneys, but first I need to know what exactly is going on. Can you be a little more specific, please? What are you looking to do? What's actually going on? Have you been diagnosed by a medical professional, holistic or otherwise?

QUESTION:   When I was a teen-ager, I got into the wrong crowd and started taking ecstasy.  I took other drugs as well for 5 years. To cut a long story short, I prayed and God helped me out of it and I have been converted in my heart. I've been clean for 4 years. But now, I think I'm suffering some consequences. I've heard that ecstasy is bad for your kidneys.  I have kidney pain all the time and in both my pregnancies I had protein in my urine and in the last pregnancy I had one night where I had severe pain in my lower back.  I thought I was in labor!! The other day I found some blood after urinating, but the urine wasn't red.  I am breastfeeding at the moment and I would like to know if there is a herb, maybe a tea, that I can use to help my kidneys.

If you are seeing blood after urinating, I would suggest you get to a medical professional. It could be something very serious. Have you been diagnosed with kidney problems or is it just painful there? Are you sure what you are experiencing is not a bladder problem or infection?  Without knowing exactly what the issue is, I can't really help you.  If you get a clear diagnosis from a medical practitioner, I can help you.


ANSWER:  Dandelion leaf is an excellent diuretic as effective as Lasix.

Gravel Root, Jo Pye Weed, Queen of the meadow, Latin Name: Eupatorium purpureum, E. maculatum, E. fistulosa has been used to help prevent kidney stone formation because it changes the pH of the urine.  It is also a diuretic.

Please consult with a practitioner in your area.

People prone to forming calcium oxalate stones may be asked by their doctor to cut back on certain foods on this list:
Wheat bran
People should not give up or avoid eating these foods without talking to their doctor first. In most cases, these foods can be eaten in limited amounts.



Answer:  Nettles Leaf, LatinName: Urtica dioca is kidney food

Nettles Seed, LatinName: Urtica dioca is restorative to a failing kidney, sometimes a wonder working for those headed for dialysis.

Corn Silk is demulcent and soothing to the Urinary tract after or during infection

I would be grateful if you could help me. I suffer from calcium oxalate
kidney stones. My wife's aunt is a pharmacist in Indonesia and she sent
me some herbs that she says dissolves the stones. She also said she has
had family members successfully use these herbs for 30 years without a
problem. The bottle says: "Ginjal Seahorse Ghensen." The ingredients
are: Hippocampus, Panax Ghinseng, Sonchi Folium, Orthosiponis Folium
and Strobilanthi Folium.  If you would be kind enough to comment on whether you are familiar with
any of these herbs, and most importantly are they toxic?

If this were happening to my father this is what I would tell him.
Your question as to toxicity of "Ginjal Seahorse Ghensen."  I am not sure what all the ingredients are, sometimes words get misspelled in translation. Here is what I recognize with the following ingredients    Hippocampus is another word for Seahorse the animal in the ocean. It is also a term which refers to a part of the brain of some animals including humans. This is an interesting ingredient, Indian and Chinese traditional medicine use animal parts as herbs in medicine. I would question this ingredient, not sure of its use or toxicity.
Panax Ghinseng this is Chinese or Korean Ginseng plant, Which is considered an adaptogen, boosts energy and an old man's medicine. It is not toxic in normal quantities.
I don't not know what Sonchi Folium, Orthosiponis Folium and Strobilanthi Folium are. Folium means thin layer, leaf, page or paper in some languages.
The Western Herbs I would recommend are the following:
Common Name: Collinsonia, Stone root, Rich weed, Horse balm
Latin Name: Collinsonia canadensis 
Use For: Urinary irritation with gleaty discharge, urinary calculi(gravel or stones)
Common Name: Gravel Root, Jo Pye Weed, Queen of the meadow
Latin Name: Eupatorium purpureum, preferably E. maculatum, E. fistulosa 
Use For: Urinary tract pain with urinary calculi, increases elimination of urinary calculi and helps to numb the area. For painful urination. Good for gouty arthritis because it increase uric acid excretion, not for long-term use, less than 6 months in duration, cycle off then back on after a couple weeks. Given the name Gravel Root because it helps with gravel or kidney stones (i.e. urinary calculi). This herb wont dissolve the stone but will help pass by dilating urinary passages. It also changes the pH of urine, helps to prevent formation of future kidney stones in some cases.
Common Name: Hydrangea, Seven Barks
Latin Name: Hydrangea arborensis 
(not cultivated Hydrangea or the house plant Hydrangea)
Used For: Urinary pain associated with urinary calculi and painful urination use with Kava. Kava and Hydrangea are the best urinary tract pain killers, relieves pain by relaxing urethra and ureters, so they can help pass small stones.
Common Name: Kava Kava, Awa Awa
Latin Name: Piper methysticum
Used For: Urinary tract Pain, anxiety, restlessness, Stress
The following plants have Oxalic Acid in them and should be avoided!
Chenopodium album. -- Lambsquarter; 140,000 - 300,000 ppm in Plant; 
Fagopyrum esculentum. -- Buckwheat; 111,000 ppm in Leaf; 
Averrhoa carambola -- Carambola, Star Fruit; 50,000 - 95,800 ppm in Fruit
Piper nigrum -- Black Pepper, Pepper; 4,000 - 34,000 ppm in Fruit; 
Byrsonima crassifolia -- Nance; 27,300 ppm in Bark
Portulaca oleracea -- Purslane, Verdolaga; 1,679 - 16,790 ppm in Plant
Papaver somniferum -- Opium Poppy, Poppyseed Poppy; 16,200 ppm in Seed; 
Rheum rhabarbarum -- Rhubarb; 4,400 - 13,360 ppm in Plant; 
3,000 - 11,000 ppm in Leaf; 
Camellia sinensis -- Tea; 2,192 - 10,000 ppm in Leaf; 
Lactuca virosa -- Bitter Lettuce; 10,000 ppm in Latex Exudate; 
Spinacia oleracea -- Spinach; 6,580 ppm in Leaf; 
Murraya sp -- None; 22 - 5,240 ppm in Fruit; 
Musa x paradisiaca -- Banana, Plantain; 22 - 5,240 ppm in Fruit; 
Theobroma cacao -- Cacao; 1,520 - 5,000 ppm in Seed; 
Zingiber officinale -- Ginger; 5,000 ppm in Rhizome; 
Prunus dulcis -- Almond; 4,073 ppm in Seed; 
Anacardium occidentale -- Cashew; 3,184 ppm in Seed; 
Rumex acetosa -- Garden Sorrel; 3,000 ppm in Leaf; 
Tamarindus indica -- Kilytree, Tamarind; 1,960 ppm in Leaf; 
Colocasia esculenta -- Taro; 1,334 ppm in Root; 
Brassica juncea -- Mustard Greens; 1,287 ppm in Leaf; 
Capsicum annuum Bell Pepper, Cherry Pepper, Cone Pepper, Green
Pepper, Paprika, Sweet Pepper; 257 - 1,171 ppm in Fruit; 
Moringa oleifera -- Ben Nut, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree; 1,010 ppm in Fruit; 1,010 ppm in Leaf
Ipomoea batatas -- Sweet Potato; 1,000 ppm in Root; 
Glycine max -- Soybean; 770 ppm in Seed; 
Physalis ixocarpa. -- Tomatillo; 109 - 536 ppm in Fruit; 
Beta vulgaris subsp. subsp. vulgaris -- Beet, Beetroot, Garden Beet,
Sugar Beet; 404 ppm in Root; 
Avena sativa -- Oats; 400 ppm in Plant; 
Cucurbita pepo -- Pumpkin; 400 ppm in Juice; 
Brassica oleracea var. capitata -- Cabbage, Red Cabbage, White
Cabbage; 59 - 350 ppm in Leaf; 

This is an interesting article on Calcium in the Diet: 
Dietary Calcium Lowers Kidney Stone Risk from the publishers of the New
England Journal of Medicine For years, people with kidney stones have been
told to avoid dairy products, based on the belief that a high-calcium diet
increases the risk of the stones. But growing evidence suggests that the
opposite is true. A 12-year study of more than 91,000 women found that
those who ate diets rich in calcium were 35 percent less likely to develop
kidney stones than women who ate little calcium, according to a report in
the April 1 Annals of Internal Medicine. A prior study showed similar
results in men. But calcium supplements don't seem to provide the same
protection. Women who got their calcium from pills had a 20 percent higher
risk of kidney stones compared to nonusers, researchers found. Why the
difference? Most kidney stones are composed of calcium and oxalate, an acid
found in spinach, chocolate, nuts, and other foods. It's known that high
levels of calcium and oxalate in the urine can increase the risk of kidney
stones. Researchers speculate that eating calcium-rich foods together with
oxalates causes the two to bind in the stomach and be expelled in the stool,
says lead researcher Gary Curhan, MD, a Harvard epidemiologist. But, as seen
in this study, calcium supplements are usually taken without food or with
breakfast, a meal that's usually low in oxalates. That may increase calcium
levels in the urine, which could increase the risk of forming kidney stones.
This study and others suggest that people who have had a kidney stone don't
need to avoid dairy products or other calcium-rich foods, says HealthNews
editor George Blackburn, MD. That's good news because calcium is important
for preventing osteoporosis, a far more common and serious disease, he adds.
People who have never had a kidney stone shouldn't worry about taking
calcium supplements, however. Kidney stones are quite rare, affecting only
about 1 in 1,000 women and 3 in 1,000 men per year, and the increased risk
is very small. But to be on the safe side, take calcium supplements with a
meal, says Dr. Blackburn.