Chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is a South American herb that has been traditionally used to eliminate gallbladder and kidney stones. The English translation for Chanca piedra is stone crusher.` Recent scientific evidence validates this historical use.
Not all gallstones and kidney stones are created equal however. Chanca piedra has been found to be of value in stones formed from calcium oxalate. Generally speaking about 25% of all gallstones have calcium oxalate as a base and approximately 80% of kidney stones are derived form calcium oxalate. There are many factors involved in the formation of stones including: genetics (hereditary), age, gender, and diet.
How does it work?
As it turns out the traditional healers of Peru were not far off when they coined the name stone crusher.` A 2006 study conducted in Brazil suggests that the therapeutic effect of Chanca piedra may be due to its ability to modify the shape and texture of calculi (stones) to a smoother and probably more fragile form, which could contribute to elimination and/or dissolution of stones.1
A subsequent study published in Urological Research demonstrated that Chanca piedra has an inhibitory effect on crystal growth and aggregation in human urine, suggesting that it may interfere with the early stages of stone formation and may represent an alternative form of treatment and/or prevention of renal stones.2
Chanca piedra can even offer benefits to people that have undergone conventional treatment for kidney stones. A 2006 study reported in the Journal of Urology tested 150 kidney stone patients that had been administered shock wave therapy. Shock wave therapy is delivered from outside the body and breaks down stones to facilitate their elimination. Upon completion of this therapy about half of the patients were given 2 grams of Chanca piedra every day, for 30 days. The remainder of the group acted as controls. Stone clearance was assessed after 30, 60, 90 and 180 days by abdominal x-ray and ultrasound scan. The patients that had received the Chanca piedra treatment were assessed to have a stone free rate of 10% -23% lower than the control (no treatment) group.3
People suffering from gout (more common in men) may also receive relief from Chanca piedra. Gout is characterized by the formation of uric acid crystals that are deposited in small joints. The area most commonly affected is the big toe. Genetics, gender and diet play a role in susceptibility. Chanca piedra has been shown in animal studies to be as effective as some drugs at eliminating uric acid from the blood and offers very good potential as a treatment for gout.
Information for educational purposes only. A health practitioner should be consulted prior to use.
1Barros ME, Schor N, Boim MA. Effects of an aqueous extract from Phyllantus niruri on calcium oxalate crystallization in vitro. Urol Res. 2003 Feb;30(6):374-9. Epub 2003 Jan 21.
2Barros ME, Lima R, Mercuri LP, Matos JR, Schor N, Boim MA. Effect of extract of Phyllanthus niruri on crystal deposition in experimental urolithiasis.Urol Res. 2006 Dec;34(6):351-7.
3Micali S, Sihinolfi MC, Celia A, De Stefani S, Grande M, Cicero AF, Bianchi G. Can Phyllanthus niruri affect the efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for renal stones? A randomized, prospective, long-term study. J Urol. 2006 Sep;176(3):1020-2.
4Murugaiyah V, Chan KL. Antihyperuricemic lignans from the leaves of Phyllanthus niruri. Planta Med. 2006 Nov;72(14):1262-7. Epub 2006 Sep 1.
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