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June 10, 2008

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It is very difficult to describe the pain that one experiences due to kidney stones. To me, it was worse than a thousand knives pricking my lower abdomen.

One problem: which part of the plant is being used in this trial? Leaves, blossoms, roots?? It makes a difference.

These days, one of the most prominent problems is health. It is very important for all of us to have a healthy body. We are always interested in what we can do to make ourselves as healthy as possible, especially the parents and also their children.

It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a story about how unhealthy Americans have become. Diabetes is skyrocketing in the United States. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise among adults and children alike. A recent story in the New York Times reported that kidney stones are becoming more and more common in children as young as five or six. A child with kidney stones used to be a rare occurrence, but now, some hospitals have opened pediatric kidney stone clinics in order to accommodate all of the kids that come in with kidney stones.

Our kidneys play a key role in keeping us healthy. It filters our blood, taking out waste and adding it to our urine to be expelled in our body. The main preventative measure parents can take to help their children avoid developing a kidney stone is to encourage them to stay hydrated and discourage the over consumption of salt. However, it’s hard for parents to be with their kids all the time to ensure they’re putting the right things in their bodies, and sometimes kids just don’t listen.

Not only is a kidney stone harmful to your kid, it can be a major blow to your budget. And let’s face it; keeping up with the financial demands of today is a daunting task. As a result of this, people are seeking financial assistance. For example, if their child develops a kidney stone or is hit with some other health issue and you have to pay for the medical expenses, you can always get payday installment loans to help cover the medical costs until you get paid next. This one is a great help for you.

You have a wonderful site for finding studies being conducted throughout the world. It is unlikely that someone with a family history of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, like me, would know of a study conducted in Thailand. I am grateful for having this compendium of medical experiments/studies so easily accessible! Thank you, Natural Standard!

I think we need more studies to be done in different populations and with different types of diseases. This study was conducted in only 18 people with and without kidney stones. It doesn’t mention anything about other diseases. With a small population, it is difficult to say that roselle treated kidney stones. Is there any interaction with other drugs? Now a days, people are taking more than two different medications.

I am so happy to hear such great things about my favorite plant. I was actually on vacation in Hawaii a few years back and heard about this folk remedy and was quite surprised to learn about its use to clear and deodorize urine, which would ultimately protect one from kidney stones. This remedy is also known to be an effective treatment in those suffering from UTIs. The usual over-the-counter treatment for UTIs include increasing fluid intake, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, maintaining impeccable personal hygiene, as well as drinking cranberry and/or blueberry juice. Conversely, those suffering from kidney stones and UTIs should steer clear from the cranberry juice due to its high levels of oxalate and should instead use our new treatment discovery, roselle.

I totally agree, Liz. Kidney stones are horrible. I've only had one, and luckily it was very small. One of my friends had to undergo extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) therapy, which doesn't sound like fun at all. They use sound waves to break the stone into smaller pieces. Basically, the high-energy sound waves pass through your body and break the stone into smaller pieces. They usually give you sedatives and/or anesthesia beforehand, but it can still cause a lot of side effects, including blood in the urine, bruising on the abdomen or back, bleeding around the kidney or nearby organs and pain when the stone fragments are passed in the urine.

So, taking roselle or trying other preventative measures is very appealing to me.

If researchers are able to identify roselle/hibiscus as both a prevention and treatment option for kidney stone suffers, would this logic only apply to medicinal doses of hibiscus? In Mexico and other Latin American countries, a very popular drink is Jamaica juice, made from hibiscus. I would be interested in the results of a study that took place in Mexico, for example, that examined the correlation between Jamaica juice drinking and kidney stone occurrence. I think that if researchers found very low incidences of kidney stones in these high Jamaica juice-consuming countries, that would also support the suggestions of this study.

I have not heard of hibiscus use for kidney stones as of yet. It looks like there was another study using hibiscus for kidney stones as well from 1994 (Kirdpon, 994, PMID: 7869018). Usually, herbal combination formulas for kidney stones include the use of demulcents, such as zea mays; marshmallow; diuretics, such as dandelion; antispasmodics, such as crampbark or viburnum; and perhaps analgesics, such as meadowsweet. And of course, dietary modifications and adequate fluid intake are also important.

This is a promising study, but I'm having trouble finding strong clinical evidence for this. I would recommend this as a preventative/early treatment alternative, but can anyone else confirm the effectiveness of this treatment? Besides this study (which does not appear to show clinical outcomes measures - just levels of excretion) the only other study I could find was a 1994 study by Kirdpon S, Nakorn SN, Kirdpon W (Changes in urinary chemical composition in healthy volunteers after consuming roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn.) juice). Do any herbalists or clinicians have experience/success with this herb?

Phosphates may also help kidney stones. Phosphorus is a mineral found in many foods, such as milk, cheese, dried beans, peas, colas, nuts and peanut butter. Phosphate is the most common form of phosphorus. In the body, phosphate is the most abundant intracellular anion. Long-term, slow release neutral potassium phosphate has been shown to reduce calcium excretion in subjects with absorptive hypercalciuria, and it appears to be well tolerated. This use of phosphates may be considered to prevent kidney stone formation.

Anyone who's had a kidney stone knows how absolutely awful it is. A lot of the time, doctors just recommend that you wait it out to see if you can pass it yourself. The pain can be agonizing. So, it's great to hear that there may be some natural ways to help get rid of them more quickly.

My first reaction is that if this therapy worked in a general population - imagine how inexpensive and cost-effective this therapy could be! At a dose of 1.5 grams for 15 days... is this enough time to show clinical benefits, or would the therapy need to be taken long-term for preventative effects?

I think this sort of study could have significant effects on healthcare costs and patient quality of life. A kidney stone can be absolutely excruciating but is often not considered a serious medical condition. Nonetheless, many people end up in hospital emergency departments because the pain is so distressing. Having a natural means of preventing the formation of kidney stones, especially among those who are susceptible to developing them, would not only decrease hospital and insurance costs, but provide some peace of mind to those who have experienced this painful condition.

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