5 Herbs for Kidney Health and Cleanses

herbs for kidney health

The kidneys are the unsung heroes of the human body.

They work tirelessly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to process around 200 quarts of blood, filtering out about 2 quarts of waste products and excess water, then excreted as urine. This filtration process helps regulate blood pressure, maintain proper electrolyte balance, and keep the blood clean and toxins-free.

Despite their incredible resilience and efficiency, the kidneys are often subjected to various forms of abuse that can lead to damage and impaired function over time. One of the most common culprits is high blood pressure, which can cause the delicate blood vessels in the kidneys to become damaged and scarred, leading to reduced blood flow and filtration capacity. Other factors, such as high glucose levels, obesity, and a diet high in salt and processed foods, can compound this damage.

Another significant threat to kidney health is the use of drugs, both pharmaceutical and recreational. Many medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription antibiotics, can be toxic to the kidneys if taken in large doses or for extended periods.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney issues are growing alarmingly. They currently affect more than 1 in 7 — or 15% — of American adults.

The good news is that throughout the ages, people have turned to herbal remedies to help support our kidneys' experience. Many of these herbs for kidney health feature innate beneficial compounds. The best herbs for kidneys and bladder 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 with herbal products, these are some of the best herbs that can help your kidney health.

1. Chanca Piedra | Herbs for Kidney Health

A leafy plant found in damp, tropical areas, chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is thought to be just as useful as lovely.

Chanca piedra, also known as "stone breaker," is a leafy plant native to tropical regions worldwide. It thrives in damp, humid environments and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support kidney health and address various health issues.

The plant's nickname, "stone breaker," stems from its purported ability to help manage and prevent kidney stones. Kidney stones are often formed due to excess uric acid in the body, leading to hard, crystalline deposits in the kidneys. Chanca piedra is believed to act as an alkaline diuretic, helping to neutralize the uric acid and promote the elimination of these stones through increased urine flow. This makes it one of the top 5 herbs for diuretic support.

One 2018 study suggests that regularly taking chanca piedra supplements may decrease the size and number of kidney stones.

While some herbs for kidney health, such as parsley or cilantro, are commonly used as spices in cooking, chanca piedra is not typically consumed in this manner. The plant's taste is not particularly appealing, making it less suitable for culinary use. Instead, chanca piedra is often consumed as capsules, tinctures, or infused herbal teas, allowing easy and palatable ingestion of the herb's beneficial compounds.

2. Cranberry | Herbs for Kidney Health

Cranberries are one of the best herbs for kidney health due in part to the fact that they are so readily available. These small, tart berries are native to North America and have been used for centuries by indigenous peoples for their medicinal properties.

One of the primary reasons cranberries are so beneficial for kidney health is their high content of proanthocyanidins (PACs). PACs are potent antioxidants that help prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. By creating a slippery coating on the urinary tract lining, cranberries make it more difficult for bacteria to take hold and cause infections. This is why cranberry juice is often recommended as a natural way to prevent and manage urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Other cranberry supplement benefits include:

If you want herbs for kidney health that are both delicious and accessible, cranberry supplements are a great choice.

You can reap cranberries' benefits in many ways, from juice, tinctures, and capsules to simply popping a few berries in your mouth.

3. Celery Seed | Herbs for Kidney Health

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 cultivated for consumption.

Celery seed is high in 3-N-butylpthalide (NBP), a diuretic oil that helps promote urination. This helps the kidneys flush out uric acid, making it one of the most popular herbs for kidney health and cleansing.

Though you can eat celery seeds directly, a celery seed extract is the most effective way to consume them. Add a dash of celery seed extract tincture to a healthy smoothie (for bonus points, add cranberries!) or drink for a boosted diuretic effect.

4. Dandelion Root | Herbs for Kidney Health

More than just a weed that grows in your front lawn, dandelion root (Taraxaci officinalis radix) has remained one of the most popular herbs for kidney health throughout the ages. Its benefits on kidney function go hand-in-hand with its helpful effect on the liver.

Dandelion root contains high levels of vitamins A, C, B2, and B6, all necessary for 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 (like many herbs for kidneys and liver) is supplemented to your diet as a tea, which is described to have a smoky flavor. Dandelion root tincture is just as effective if tea isn’t to your liking.

5. Parsley Root | Herbs for Kidney Health

A common sight on spice racks, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is one of the most used herbs 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 with the help of the best herbs for kidneys and bladder.

Like many good herbs for kidneys and liver, parsley root has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure, impacting kidney function. In addition, parsley root can help decrease calcium and protein levels in urine, which are a significant cause of kidney stones. Even more, parsley root may prevent liver damage, a boon considering the liver and kidneys work side-by-side.

Like many kitchen herbs for kidney healing, parsley has delicate roots, making it challenging to consume independently. Instead, try parsley root supplements as a capsule or tincture.

6. Harness the Power of the Herbs for Kidney Health

As we saw, several traditional herbal supplements can be used to support and maintain optimal kidney health.

While these herbs for kidney healing can be incredibly effective in supporting renal function, it is essential to remember that they should be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. Besides using herbs for kidney detox, staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, seeking medical advice from your health care provider, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption are all critical steps in protecting against kidney failure.

Incorporating these powerful herbs for kidney health into your daily routine and making positive lifestyle choices can help ensure your kidneys continue functioning at their best. These herbs for kidneys and liver filter toxins, regulate blood pressure, and maintain overall health and well-being for years.

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FAQ On Kidney Health

  • What are the best foods for kidney health?
    • Foods beneficial for kidney health include leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), berries, apples, garlic, onions, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), olive oil, whole grains, and legumes. Additionally, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is essential for kidney health.
  • Is kombucha good for kidney health?
    • While kombucha is often touted for its probiotic properties and potential health benefits, individuals with kidney issues should consume it cautiously. The high acidity levels and specific compounds in kombucha may exacerbate kidney problems for some individuals. It's best to consult a healthcare professional before adding kombucha to your diet if you have kidney issues.
  • Does beer prevent kidney stones?
    • Consuming beer in moderation may have a slight diuretic effect, which could help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine output. However, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and may increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • Are tomatoes good for kidneys?
    • Tomatoes are generally considered beneficial for kidney health due to their high water content and antioxidant properties. However, individuals with kidney issues should monitor their tomato intake, as tomatoes also contain oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Moderation is key.
  • Can statins cause kidney stones?
    • While statins are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues, there is limited evidence to suggest that they directly cause kidney stones. However, some individuals may experience side effects from statin use, including muscle pain or liver problems, which could indirectly impact kidney health. It's important to discuss any concerns about statin use with a healthcare provider.

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