Kidney and Gall Bladder stones are typically types of calcifications formed in these ducts. When able to grow to a size larger than the excretion tubes intense pain can stem from scratching and spasming of the smooth muscle. Although almost nearly all of them are crystilizations most of the crystals are calcium based.
Sounds simple, just lower your calcium intake? Wrong, no evidence seems to point to any indication of lower calcium intake leading to no stones, but on the contrary there seems to be evidence that you are at higher risk of kidney stones by having a diet low on calcium! It seems the actual cause of stones really can’t be linked to anything really specific, but it does seem to chronicly affect some people and others will never feel the pain of passing a kidney stone regardless of their diet or lifestyle.In Chinese Medicine stones would classify themselves under ‘unsubstantial’ phlegm. This is a type of phlegm that isn’t necessarily visible or able to be visible. Basically this is from the presence of excess dampness accompanied by heat that has decocted these to more or less solid nodules. This is simply a way to classify something in a medicine that dates back quite some time. Regardless of the theory used to look at the kidney or gall stones, the treatment is more or less identical- Break up accumulation and excrete it out!
For the most part stones are handled by herbs that:
- Promote Urination (Diuretic)
- Break up accumulations/masses
- Clear Heat/Clear heat dry dampness
- Herbs that are basically ‘empirical’ for treating stones
As you can see from this list Cranberry Juice only really approach the treatment of your stones by only 1 of the methods listed above. A quality kidney stone remedy will contain all of these and if it makes you feel better you can also drink Cranberry Juice too! Lets talk about some specific herbs that fit these qualities.
Promoting urination is actually a rather large category for both Chinese and Western Herbalism. It really comes down to what you want to use.
Parsley Root is actually one of my favorite herbs to use in these situations even though I usually do favor Chinese Medicine and Herbs. Not only is Parsley Root an effective diuretic, but it is pretty specific for kidney and gall stones, and it is anti-inflammatory.
Breaking up accumulations is a broader scope in Chinese Herbalism as it is more specific in Western Medicine what exactly it breaks up.
Pu Gong Ying / Dandelion solves your dilemma on wanting to choose, this herb is often used in both Chinese and Western Herbalism and is easily acquired and any herb shop and health food store. This herb also clears heat and is also pretty specific for urinary tract infections.
Clear Heat/ Clear Heat Dry Dampness is going to depend on your modality used. For Western Herbs you want to pick something that is soothing and cool, Chinese Medicine has very specific herbs for Drying Dampness and Clearing Heat which is exactly the problem according to Chinese Medicine.
Huang Bai / Phellodendron is an easy choice for clearing heat and drying dampness especially when it is used for such things as dealing with Kidneys, Gallbladder, and/or the urination system.
As far as some specific herbs for stones, this will probably be opinionated in a way and I am quite positive that you could search the internet and find many single herbs that people would say are quite specific for this problem. In the sake of playing along here is my contribution:
Niu Xi / Ox Knee Root is a blood mover that is used to break up stasis and clears damp-heat. This herb is known to be a specific herb for kidney stones. It is my guess that the reason it does so is that by way of its properties it has more or less all the attributes except promoting urination that help for stones. It should however be noted that this herb is a ‘downward’ moving herb meaning that all of its actions either pull down or are guided down.
Ji Nei Jin is a very interesting herb to talk about here. Ji Nei Jin is actually gizzard from fowl. This is interesting because gizzard actually contains sand and stone and it is this that is used to break down food. This is a perfect representation of doctorine of signatures. This herb works great to specifically break up stones in any tract.
Lastly I would like to take a second on a very specific Western Herb.
Gravel Root is an equivalent in Western Herbalism that has the appearance of actually gravel and works to break up stones and benefit the urinary tract.
These herbs together would make a rather good combination for stones, or simply use your alterations in the categories above. Being an acute condition your dosages would be higher than usual by taking a normal dosage many times throughout the day until your condition remedies. Remember a good kidney stones treatment will also include taking in enough fluids daily. A powerful kidney stone remedy can also be made by making a tincture that can be assimilated easily and lead to a quick cure. Dimmak Herbs makes such a tincture as a kidney stone remedy that can be purchased and used immediately otherwise it’s a 2-5 week wait for your tincture to be done brewing.