Do Kidney Stone Home Remedies Work?

Lemon Juicer by Philippe Starck

Lemon juice is one of the popular home remedies for kidney stones.

I will be honest with you: I have a love-hate relationship with kidney stone home remedies.  I love them because of the general DIY spirit that is as American as jazz, country music, and The Ramones.  Being able to solve a problem yourself, in your own home, using your own ingenuity, is one of the things that makes the American people great, in my opinion.

On the flip side, I hate kidney stone home remedies because I have found them to be, on the whole, ineffective, especially for long-term kidney stone prevention for chronic sufferers like myself. In some cases, some of these remedies can be deadly if misused.

Do home remedies work?

According to reports from various users on the kidney stone health forums, sometimes the remedies work, sometimes they don’t.  These remedies, some of which date back before our country was founded, have been around for such a long time because they sometimes work.

Why do people use home remedies?

There are a number of reasons that people use home remedies, from the research I have done:

  • Some people prefer a natural kidney stone treatment
  • No medical insurance or cost of medical treatment for kidney stones is too high
  • Medical treatment is inaccessible because of geography
  • Distrust of doctors and/or the medical profession/industry
  • Dissatisfaction with treatment regimen provided by their doctor
  • The pain is so bad that a sufferer of kidney stones will try anything to get rid of the pain

Why do they only work some of the time?

One of the biggest reasons that a lot of these work is that they require you to drink a lot of fluid, such as Coca-Cola and water. When you drink a lot, especially water, you urine become dilute and the crystals that form kidney stone are unable to bond with each other and pass harmlessly out when you pee.  Smaller fragments of stones are passed along because your kidneys are processing a lot of fluid.  This is fairly well known, especially amongst urologists.  This is why your doctor tells you to drink lots of water and hope that it passes on it’s own.  Many small stones are treated this way, along with pain killers.

Warning

Warning, Science Ahead!

Another reason why they may work is that many of them alkalize urine (make less acidic) by having the user ingest something more acidic, such as citric acid (lemon juice) or phosphoric acid (Coca-Cola).  Although this may seem counter-intuitive, the human body knows what to do.  To offset the additional acid, on top of the gastric acid (hydrochloric acid and whatnot), the duodenum secretes sodium bicarbonate (aka, baking soda) to neutralize the acid, otherwise we would have holes in our digestive system.

Likely what is happening is that more sodium bicarbonate is pumped out to compensate for the additional acid.  As the alkaline fluid is absorbed into the blood stream through the intestines, it is carried by the blood and filtered by the liver and kidneys.  The alkaline urine may be upsetting things just enough to break up some of the stones.  Personally, I’m not convinced that this is the case, but that is one of the prevailing theories amongst kidney stone ‘enthusiasts’.

Did I put you to sleep with all of the science?  Well, you can wake up now.

The Most Popular Home Remedies

According to Earth.Clinic, a website dedicated to traditional, home, and natural remedies, these are the most popular remedies for kidney stones, in order of popularity:

  • Lemon Juice and Olive Oil – 238 positive votes >> the basis of many of the ‘kidney stone reports’, being sold for $30-$50
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 28 positive votes
  • Chanca Piedra – 10 positive votes >> Also known as Phyllanthus niruri, the active ingredient in Clear Kidneys™
  • Lemons – 9 positive votes
  • Multiple Remedies – 7 positive votes
  • Coke, Asparagus, Water – 5 positive votes >> the basis of Joe Barton’s kidney stone report, currently sold for $39.97

Disclaimer: I did not vote for Chanca Piedra, although I wanted to. 🙂

As you can see, lemon juice and olive oil (typically Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is the most popular home remedy.  This is also the most popular on other health forums by my count.  Other remedies include apple juice, apple cider, cranberry juice, and baking soda (which can be toxic or lethal in large enough quantities).

Mark’s Opinion on Home Remedies

Home remedies, in my personal experience, do not work, with the exception of Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus niruri). **  I tried the olive oil/lemon juice remedy and it was not only disgusting and made me want to puke, but it didn’t work.  During one desperate kidney stone attack, I bought one of the special reports with the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) remedy for $30.  I used it for an entire week, drinking an entire bottle of EVOO along the way and a lot of lemon juice, and it didn’t help at all.  I have tried pickle juice, Coca-Cola and asparagus, apple juice, cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, white distilled vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and various herbs and supplements.

It is not likely that these remedies do anything for larger stones (5mm+).  A 3mm stone can feel like a combat knife in your side and hurt just as much as 10mm stone, but most people can pass a stone that size fairly easily without any medical intervention. **

Finally, home remedies are not long-term solutions and they may do harm when used for long periods of time.  I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a short e-book, Kidney Stone Home Remedies, which details the most popular home remedies.  This e-book is offered as a free bonus with every order of Clear Kidneys, which is over a $50 value.

The only thing that has worked for me is chanca piedra, aka Phyllanthus niruri.  Here at Hot Sun Labs, we produce a concentrated extract of Phyllanthus niruri, Clear Kidneys, which is 10 times more potent than the dried plant.  To learn more about Clear Kidneys, click here.

In closing, although I live the DIY ethic to a large extent, I do not recommend DIY or self-diagnosis of medical conditions.  If you think you have a kidney stone, go to your doctor or primary health care provider.  You may have something a lot worse.

~ + ~

If you can’t afford it or don’t want to spend the money on Clear Kidneys, then probably one of the best things you can do to help prevent calcium oxalate (CaOx) kidney stones is to do this:

Lemon juice is high in potassium citrate, which helps prevent the bonding of calcium to oxalate in the kidneys, ureter, and bladder. Searching through various health forums, 1-3 tablespoons per quart seems to be about the ideal amount.  Mixed with water, lemon juice is less damaging to your teeth and is easier on your stomach.  Reduce the amount of sodium you consume, since excess sodium increases urinary calcium and combined with excess oxalate, may form kidney stones.

Sources:
http://www.cystinuria.com/articles/urinary-alkalization/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastric_acid
http://earthclinic.com/CURES/kidney_stones.html
http://curezone.com/forums/f.asp?f=100020
http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults/

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