5 Herbs for Kidney Health and Cleanses
The kidneys are the unsung heroes of the human body.
They serve a crucial role in our day-to-day functions, working tirelessly to filter toxins, acids, waste, and fluids from our bodies. Unfortunately, the kidneys are the organs we abuse the most, as they are damaged by alcohol, high blood pressure, and drugs (pharmaceutical or otherwise)—and this damage can be irreversible.
Throughout the years, people have turned to herbal remedies to help relieve the stress our kidneys experience, often due to our own bad habits. Many of these herbs for kidney health feature innate compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and diuretic properties, all of which help our kidneys do their job.
Whether you have mistreated your kidneys in the past or are simply looking to boost your overall wellness, these are some of the best herbs for kidney health.
A leafy plant that can be found in damp, tropical areas, chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is thought to be just as useful as it is lovely.
Chanca piedra is often touted as the “stone breaker,” as it is considered to be a helpful herb for those who experience kidney stones. Chanca piedra is an alkaline diuretic, which may help neutralize kidney stones, which are often a result of excess uric acid. One 2018 study suggests that regularly taking chanca piedra supplements may decrease the size and number of kidney stones.
Unlike some herbs for kidney health, chanca piedra is not regularly used as a spice, simply due to the fact that it is not that appetizing. As a result, we recommend taking chanca piedra capsules or infused teas rather than tinctures.
Cranberries are a wonderful herb for kidney health, due in part to the fact that they are so readily available. They are well-known for their effectiveness on the kidneys and urinary system, as drinking cranberry juice is one of the most frequently recommended solutions for UTIs.
You can reap the benefits cranberries offer in many ways, from juice, to tinctures, to capsules, to simply popping a few berries in your mouth.
Cranberry supplement benefits include:
- Antibacterial properties help kill or prevent pathogenic bacteria from becoming attached to the kidneys.
- Can help boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels while reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- High levels of vitamin C, which is known to support the immune system.
If you want an herb for kidney health that is both delicious and accessible, cranberry supplements are a great choice.
Tiny but mighty, celery seeds come from the flowers of the celery plant (Apium graveolens), which are similar to the celery stalks we eat, but are not the same type that is cultivated for consumption.
Celery seed is high in 3-N-butylpthalide (NBP), a diuretic oil, which helps promote urination. This helps the kidneys flush out uric acid, making it a popular herb for kidney health and cleanses.
Though you can eat celery seeds directly, the most effective way to consume it is through a celery seed extract. Add a dash of celery seed extract tincture to a healthy smoothie (for bonus points, add cranberries!) or drink for a boosted diuretic effect.
More than just a weed that grows in your front lawn, dandelion root (Taraxaci officinalis radix) has remained a popular herb for kidney health throughout the ages. Its benefits on kidney function go hand-in-hand with its useful effect on the liver.
Dandelion root contains high levels of vitamins A, C, B2, and B6, all of which are necessary when conducting a kidney cleanse. Additionally, it features powerful antioxidants such as beta carotene and polyphenols, which help reduce oxidative stress and release toxins in the body, assisting the kidneys’ regular functions.
Traditionally, dandelion root is supplemented to your diet as a tea, which is described to have a smoky flavor. If tea isn’t your cup of tea, dandelion root tincture is just as effective.
A common sight on spice racks, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a commonly used herb for kidney health. The whole plant contains beneficial properties—not to mention being a great addition to most meals—but parsley root is especially useful for those looking to support their kidneys.
Parsley root has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which helps improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure, both of which impact kidney function. In addition, parsley root can help decrease calcium and protein levels in urine, which are a major cause for kidney stones. Even more, parsley root may even be able to prevent liver damage, a boon considering the liver and kidneys work side-by-side.
Like many kitchen herbs, parsley has delicate roots, making them difficult to consume on their own. Instead, try parsley root supplements in the form of a capsule, tincture, or powder.