Kidney Research Since 1999

Jennifer Freeman, MD
Jennifer Freeman, MD

2008 Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) procured at UT Health San Antonio - Currently a surgeon in Dallas, TX

Nov 29, 2018 7 min read

4 Remedies to Dissolve Kidney Stones… But Only One Works

You’re experiencing severe abdominal pain that’s radiating to your lower back. You also notice blood in your urine and a persistent feeling like your bladder is full, even though you can only urinate small amounts each time. You have a history of kidney stones and are pretty sure you are having another episode. Not wanting to use medications or surgery to treat your kidney stones, you start to look for successful home remedies that dissolve kidney stones naturally and fast. Four treatments look promising:

  1. Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Coke and Asparagus
  4. Lab Grade Chanca Piedra

Which ones work and which ones don’t? We’ve done the testing and leg work to sort out the success rates of each of these treatments.

Why Do I Get Kidney Stones?

Kidneys are essential organs that filter out the waste (as well as some medications and toxins) traveling around the body in your bloodstream. The kidneys create urine to transport the filtered chemicals out of the body. Stones develop from buildup of mineral deposits in our urine that stick together in the kidneys. Typically, these stones develop because of a lack of water to dilute the accumulation of these minerals on the lining of our kidneys. Certain medications, medical disorders (e.g., Crohn’s Disease), and a family history of kidney stones can also increase your chances of suffering from them.

Because they are known to cause a great deal of pain, it is no surprise that those who suffer from kidney stones are willing to try just about anything to treat them and to prevent them from happening again. Known medicinal treatments include the use of alpha-blockers such as Flomax that relax the lining of the ureter to help stones pass more easily, and medications that treat the associated pain. Additionally, surgical procedures or other non-invasive means of surgical treatment may be prescribed to break up both calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones. These treatments include ureteroscopy and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).

Preventative measures used to halt the formation of kidney stones include dietary and behavioral changes. These involve decreasing sodium intake, increasing water intake to stay properly hydrated, stopping excessive exercise, stopping sauna usage (to prevent excessive sweating and dehydration), and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

What are the Symptoms?

Kidney stone sufferers may tell you that trying to pass a kidney stone is the worst pain they have ever experienced in their lifetime (including childbirth). Some of the most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones include the following:

  • Sudden, severe pain that waxes and wanes in intensity. Common areas afflicted include the back, groin, abdomen, side, and genitals.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the urine or abnormal urine colors
  • Frequent and painful urination

Though kidney stones are not normally life-threatening situations, they are typically not a pleasant experience. And it’s not unusual to suffer from so much pain that you make your way to the emergency room to find out what is going on.

Alternate Remedies for Kidney Stones

Increasingly, more people are interested in attempting at-home treatments for kidney stones to decrease the use of medicines, procedures and surgeries. A number of alternative remedies have been acknowledged for the treatment of kidney stones. We will present these below and discuss their likelihood of success.

1. Lemon Juice and Olive Oil


lemon-olive-oil

Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Some people do claim success in mixing a concoction of lemon juice and olive oil to help dissolve kidney stones as a home remedy. Proponents of this method claim that at the first notice of symptoms, mix five ounces of olive oil with five ounces of lemon juice. Drink this combination straight and then drink a glass of water. Repeat the process again in the late afternoon. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well through the day as well as extra lemon juice, if possible. Continue this treatment regimen for several days until the stone passes. It is thought that the lemon juice (vitamin C and acid) could help break down the kidney stones and the olive oil would aid in lubrication to pass the stone more easily. Extra-virgin olive oil is thought to be the best olive oil ingredient to use because it is the thickest and healthiest.

Warning: Lemons are very acidic and can destroy tooth enamel and contribute to heartburn or ulcers.

Our patient surveying indicates some success in a very limited number of kidney stone patients. We give it 2 out of 5 stars.


2. Apple Cider Vinegar


acv-kidney-stones
Makes your mouth pucker just thinking of it. Some home remedy enthusiasts swear by the use of apple cider vinegar to treat kidney stones. The theory behind it is that apple cider vinegar is made of citric acid, which is thought to play a role in dissolving kidney stones and helping the body pass the stones more easily. In addition, it is believed that apple cider vinegar helps in the prevention of the formation of kidney stones through alkalizing the blood and urine and promoting the production of hydrochloric acid in the body. Proponents of this home remedy recommend mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with six to eight ounces of water and drinking the mixture frequently throughout the day, especially before meal times. Drinking ample amounts of water throughout the day is also suggested to help flush the kidneys. Once the stones are passed, you are advised to continue drinking this solution one to two times a week to prevent the formation of future kidney stones.

Warning: Apple cider vinegar is very acidic and can erode esophagus tissue, destroy tooth enamel and may be dangerous when taken with blood pressure and diabetes medications.

Surveys indicate sporadic success in some patients who have been waiting long periods of time for a stone to pass. We give it 2 out of 5 stars.


3. Coke and Asparagus


Coke Asparagus Kidney Stones
Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? A common home remedy for kidney stones involves drinking a large amount of Coke and following it up by consuming a half pound of steamed asparagus, pureed. Advocates of this method suggest that the phosphoric acid found in Coke aids in dissolving the kidney stones. Asparagus is used as a diuretic. Coke alone will dehydrate you, which is not a good thing if you are suffering from kidney stones. It is the combination with the diuresis from the asparagus and the phosphoric acid in the Coke that is the key to breaking down the kidney stone and flushing it out of your body. In theory.

We’ve seen no evidence that Coke nor asparagus provides any help in the passage nor dissolving of kidney stones. The University of Chicago characterized this home remedy as “useless” and went on to say:

…the effect of the cola was a worsening of stone risk…

We give this remedy 1 out of 5 stars.

How Successful are These Treatments?

In short… dubious at best. There have been many reports of people using these natural methods, but the efficacy is unsubstantiated. Some people report success, but none of these treatments are based in scientific fact. For every anecdotal success story posted online, there are hundreds more stories of failures (and probably upset stomachs). So, what natural remedies DO work?


4. Lab Grade Chanca Piedra


Chanca Piedra
Lab grade chanca piedra has shown high rates of success in kidney stone treatment. This herbal remedy breaks down and prevents the development of new kidney stones. The clinical benefits of all-natural Chanca Piedra are related to ureteral relaxation (helping to eliminate stones or to clear fragments following lithotripsy) and to a putative reduction of the excretion of urinary crystallization promoters such as calcium. It first grabbed the attention of the scientific community in a 2002 study on rodents which demonstrated it slowed or halted kidney stone growth. Further studies indicated lab grade Chanca Piedra actually interferes with the process that would normally cause stones to form.



Prof. Dr. Nestor Schor

Professor Dr. Nestor Schor speaking about his research on lab grade Chanca Piedra:

Treatment with Phyllanthus niruri strongly inhibited the growth of the stones and reduced the number of stones…

These results show that Phyllanthus niruri has an inhibitory effect on crystal growth…


How Do You Dissolve Kidney Stones and Get Them to Pass?

So you have one or more kidney stones lodged in the kidney and want to dissolve and flush them out fast? You’ll need a higher dose than the normal maintenance dosing. Many sufferers find they can fix the problem with pure chanca piedra and water.

Here’s how to dissolve kidney stones:

    1. Take 400mg of lab grade chanca piedra when you wake.
    2. Wait one hour before eating to ensure maximum uptake of the herb.
    3. Take 400mg of lab grade chanca piedra at night.
    4. Once the stone has passed scale back to just 400mg per day.

Dissolving kidney stones

The name, Chanca Piedra itself translates literally to ‘Stone Breaker‘. Scientists and doctors globally have praised the use of this herbal remedy in the treatment of kidney stones. The analgesic compounds in lab grade Chanca Piedra help ease pain while passing stones and reduce those stones in size so the particles can pass through your urine stream easily. In addition, lab grade Chanca Piedra acts as  a defense system, so to speak, to reduce reoccurrence of kidney stones. This effect is due to the herbal remedy’s reduction of the very minerals that build in up in the kidneys to produce kidney stones – excess oxalate, phosphorous, and magnesium. You could spend days drinking olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, large amounts of Coke, and asparagus puree, with limited success, if any. We find far superior and consistent results from kidney stone sufferers who took lab grade Chanca Piedra, and the science backs those real world findings.

As with any new supplement or medication, be sure to discuss it with your doctor prior to taking to ensure no interactions with your current medications.