Most of us are familiar with what our kidneys can do for our body. They’re our personal filters that help our body detoxify itself. Sometimes, you also have to help your kidneys detoxify (cleanse) themselves. Before we look at ten great kidney herbs, let’s familiarise ourselves with these terms and their definitions:
Anti-inflammatory. Fights inflammation in your kidneys and body.
Antilithic. Prevents the formation of kidney and urinary tract stones.
Antimicrobial. Fights harmful microorganisms in your urinary tract. More often than not, these microorganisms cause urinary tract infection.
Antioxidant. Fights harmful free radicals in your system. Free radicals result from oxidation reactions.
Astringent. The herb constricts your mucous membranes, including in your urinary system, which helps to protect them.
Demulcent. The herb soothes the mucous membranes including those in your urinary tract.
Diuretic. The herb increases your urine production, so you urinate more often and in larger volumes. Good for diseases that lead to fluid retention in your body.
Now here are ten powerful kidney cleansing herbs you can try:
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis)
Medicinal properties: Diuretic, antimicrobial
Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, juniper berries have been used as diuretics. According to a study published in the Acta Pharmaceutica journal (2005), Juniper berries (oil preparation) have shown antibacterial, antifungal, and diuretic properties. People with frequent urinary tract infections may benefit from this herb.
The use of this widely cultivated Mediterranean herb as medicine against kidney problems started during the Middle Ages. Under experimental conditions, a study that appeared in Food Chemistry journal (2006), showed that parsley has antioxidant and antibacterial properties against certain bacteria including Escherichia coli, a well-known cause of urinary tract infections.
Historically, gravel root has been used as a supplement to allow the passage of kidney stones safely through your urinary tract by decreasing inflammation. According to an article in Phytotherapy Research journal (2001), gravel root may also have anti-inflammatory activities against rheumatic diseases. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also support inflammatory conditions of the kidneys and urinary system.
This flavonoid-rich herb has been traditionally used by Native Americans and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners as a diuretic and antioxidant for kidney problems. Also, corn silk has been shown to have blood glucose lowering properties based on a study that appeared in Molecules journal (2012). Its demulcent actions help to soothe urinary tract irritation. Both of these properties further support kidney health.
Under experimental conditions, uva ursi demonstrated antimicrobial activity and it also supports a healthy inflammatory response. These are helpful properties for those with recurrent urinary tract infections. This herb may also help to strengthen the kidneys and support the passing of kidney stones.
Don’t laugh, the name of this herb may be funny, but its medicinal properties are serious. The compounds in horsetail behave like diuretic medications by increasing the volume of your urine. These same compounds also hunt free radicals and help to reduce inflammation in the urinary tract.
Flush toxins out of your system by increasing your urine output with marshmallow root. This herb has been used for more than 2,000 years as a diuretic and also helps to soothe the urinary tract. A study done in Lebanon also showed this herbs ability to fight inflammation.
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Medicinal properties: Anti-inflammatory
Austrian folk medicine has long used nettle for kidney diseases like urinary tract infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been documented in clinical studies.
Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa)
Medicinal properties: Anti-inflammatory
This humble herb is usually used in combination with other herbs to help cleanse your kidneys. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine prescribe it for older patients to support optimum kidney health.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
Medicinal properties: Mild diuretic, antioxidant
A review of the pharmacological effects of burdock root that appeared in the Inflammopharmacology journal (2011) documented its potent antioxidant properties. In theory, high levels of antioxidants will guard against oxidative damage, an advantage your tired kidneys could do with.
Before you try out these herbs, remember our pointers below:
These herbs don’t treat or cure the cause of your kidney problems. Instead, they help to support kidney health and may help to decrease the severity of your symptoms. They may also help to prevent certain kidney problems from developing like stones and urinary tract infections.
All of these herbs can interact with medications you may be taking. So if you’re taking medicines for a specific disease, discuss the these kidney herbs with your healthcare practitioner first before taking them. There may be interactions with these herbs and any drugs you may be taking.
If you’re going to undergo surgery, please inform your surgeon about any herbs you may be taking. Don’t take any of these herbs if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant.
All of these herbs are available in supplement form either as a capsule, tablet, liquid, herbal tea or oil.
So, there you have it. Now, you can select the kidney herb that’s most applicable to your situation and medical condition. If you want to know more about your kidneys (as filtering organs), click here.