Healing Through Diet, Detoxification, and Herbal Remedies
While many of us tend to focus on supporting the liver through detoxification and dietary choices, the kidneys often are neglected until we experience kidney stones, an infection, or chronic kidney disease. But the smooth function of kidneys is an important aspect of overall health — including that of the adrenals. So if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or low energy, attending to your kidneys is a crucial part of healing. Below are dietary tips and a few of my favorite herbs for maintaining (or re-establishing) kidney health.
The Importance of Diet
If you would like to keep your kidneys healthy, diet plays a major role. Focus on foods high in antioxidants and electrolytes. Cranberries, black cherries, and blueberries are outstanding for maintaining kidney health and detoxification. Besides being high in antioxidants, cranberries help to prevent UTIs that often develop into kidney infections, which is something you obviously want to avoid. One caveat — if you have a tendency towards the development of kidney stones, do not use cranberry as it is a high-oxalate food. Blueberries and black cherries are an excellent source of resveratrol, a compound that helps to eliminate uric acid. Elevated levels of this acid contributes to chronic kidney disease.
Lemon juice is another food that is helpful for keeping the kidneys healthy and strong. Not only does it aid detoxification, but research has shown that it can help to prevent the formation of kidney stones as well. Heavy metals also take a toll on your kidneys and other organs. Seaweed is an exceptional option for chelating these troublesome compounds. Spirulina, chlorella, kelp, and dulse are all good choices.
Keep in mind that your blood sugar level directly impacts the health of your kidneys. When blood sugar is high, as in the case of diabetes, the kidneys are forced to work harder to filter your blood. Over time, this can lead to kidney damage. If you need help in managing your blood sugar, have a look at the article: Struggling with Diabetes? Here are My Top 4 Herbal Remedies.
Key Medicinal Herbs for Kidney Health
Infections and Excess Fluid Accumulation
Usnea — One of my favorite medicinal herbs, usnea is a true botanical powerhouse. It has strong antibiotic properties and helps to heal urinary tract, bladder, and kidney infections. It is also antiviral. Moreover, usnea tackles bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, strep throat, colds, and influenza. Make sure to use a dual-extracted usnea tincture, like the one in my apothecary, for full benefit.
Lungwort Lichen — A medicinal lichen found throughout the world, lungwort is helpful for kidney health because of its ability to flush out excess fluids. It also treats urinary tract infections and encourages detoxification.
Stinging Nettle — Traditionally used to support kidney health, stinging nettle is high in vitamin C, which helps to flush excess fluids from the body. This is one of the mechanisms that contributes to its anti-inflammatory properties. Stinging nettle is also an outstanding remedy for allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and eczema. Learn more about this versatile herb here.
If you would like to give these herbs a try, you can
find usnea, lungwort, and stinging nettle in my apothecary.
Pipsissewa — A Cree name meaning “to break into small pieces”, pipsissewa is legendary for its ability to break up kidney stones. It also contains hydroquinone, which acts as a disinfectant for the urinary tract and heals inflammation of the bladder and urethra.
Chanca piedra — Otherwise known as “stone breaker” herb, chanca piedra is well-known for dissolving kidney stones and preventing new ones from forming.1,2 It also helps to protect the liver, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, and fights infections.
Cat’s Claw — An excellent herb for detoxification, cat’s claw removes heavy metals, toxins, and drugs from the body. It is also effective for supporting the health of the kidneys, pancreas, and digestive system.
Bilberry — Helping to improve the function of the liver and kidneys through the removal of harmful toxins and heavy metals, bilberry contains detoxification compounds that chelate arsenic, lead, cadmium, and iron from the blood.
The Ultimate Herbal Remedy Guide
Interested in learning more about these herbs? The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine is a tremendous resource with over 32 herbs for kidney health. In it I provide detailed identification, harvesting, and application advice for an abundance of easy-to-find plants. This essential guide also shows you how to make tinctures, oil infusions, distillations, poultices, salves, decoctions and more right in your own home.
Nature is truly bountiful!