What is Chanca Piedra?
Chanca Piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) or Stonebreaker is a plant native to the Amazon rainforest. It is a small, rigid annual herb that grows to approximately 30-40 cm. It has long been used by naturopaths as a plant-based natural supplement for treating bladder, kidney, gallbladder, and liver problems. Chanca Piedra has traditionally been used to maintain kidney and liver health due to its cleansing properties. The benefits of Chanca Piedra are in fact so well known as a supplement for kidney health that one of its more common names is “stone breaker,” from the Spanish for which the plant is named. The entire plant is used in making teas and tinctures, which can be dissolved in water to treat all matters of kidney and urinary tract problems. Most often the entire plant is shredded and boiled, mixed with a little lemon juice and taken as many as two times a day as tonic.
Chance Piedra is most widely used in Brazil, where it is taken for everything from general urinary tract health maintenance to treatment for diseases such as Hepatitis. It is used throughout South America and parts of the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti. However, use of Chanca Piedra is more prevalent in India, where it has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicines. It has also been found and cultivated in parts of the African continent.
Though commonly found in the Amazon region, it is also found and cultivated as far north as Florida and Texas. There are in fact over 600 species and sub-species throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Chanca Piedra has a long history in herbal medicine in just about every major area where it is grown. It has even been used to treat viral infections and serious urinary tract infections.
Chanca Piedra Benefits and Uses
The primary use of Chanca Piedra is to treat kidney stones. There is vast anecdotal and historical evidence to support the use of Chanca Piedra to dissolve and break up kidney stones. The medical efficacy of Chanca Piedra is firmly rooted in the traditional medicines of South America and the Caribbean. Medical studies on the use of Chanca Piedra in Brazil demonstrated that drinking a tea made from the plant either dissolved kidney stones entirely or made it easier to pass them naturally. A tea or tincture of Chanca Piedra is used as a general liver cleanse to guard against kidney stones. It has been shown to be effective as a maintenance supplement for general urinary health.
Gallstones are the result of a build-up of fatty bile in the gall bladder. Chanca Piedra has been shown to be highly effective in flushing the fatty bile from the urinary system, thus preventing the build-up of the stones. It is also just as effective in dissolving and breaking down gallstones once they are formed. As a preventative cleanse for liver and urinary health mentioned above, it is just as effective in preventing gall stones. Again, these are traditional remedies found all over the areas were Chanca Piedra is found, however, there are clinical studies which give scientific support for many of the traditional uses.
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Drinking a tea which includes Chanca Piedra can have the effect of stimulating metabolic rates and simultaneously facilitating the break-down of lipids in the blood stream. These dual effects have the benefit of helping with weight loss and reducing high blood pressure. Although this is largely anecdotal, there are numerous reports from around the world which support these uses of Chanca Piedra.
A build-up of uric acid in the blood stream leads to the painful inflammation of the joints called gout. Since Chanca Piedra is so effective at cleansing the chemicals produced in the urinary system, it has been shown to be effective in treating and even preventing attacks of gout. The same teas and tonics made form Chanca Piedra are now used to cleanse the blood stream of the uric acid in prevention to developing gout in the first place. The National Laboratory of Medicine tested the use of Chanca Piedra and found it was effective in treating gout.
Calcium Deposits and Arthritis
Chanca Piedra can be helpful in treating and alleviating the pain and inflammation of arthritis. This has generally been the case in arthritic conditions which are directly the result of renal chemical imbalances. One study found that Chanca Piedra tends to break down calcium deposits in the joints, which can aggravate arthritic conditions. This in conjunction with the overall benefit to the liver and kidneys, which eliminate toxins in the blood stream, all suggests that Chanca Piedra offers real benefits as a supplement for the treatment of arthritis.
As Chanca Piedra reduces the level of calcium and calcium deposits in the body, it also tends to reduce the build-up of bones spurs. Again, the powerful cleansing properties of Chanca Piedra remove the toxins and chemicals that lead to bone spurs and other conditions resulting from toxicity in the bloodstream.
Chanca Piedra is used to treat hepatitis. Studies in China demonstrated that Chanca Piedra did in fact reduce levels of hepatoxins, which are the result of hepatitis infections. In addition, the chemical nature of Chanca Piedra has the effect of slowing the spread of cancerous cells in the liver and kidneys. These finding are provisional and given the severity of hepatitis and cancer, use of Chanca Piedra as a treatment or even a supplement should be undertaken only under the supervision of a professional.
Chanca Piedra Dosage
The most important thing to keep in mind with Chanca Piedra, as with any natural herbal remedy, is the actual dosage which will vary according to the chemical concentrations of individual plants. The benefit of naturopathic medicines is that they are not based on synthetic chemicals, which are toxic. The trade-off is the efficacy and dosage one may require will vary. Since Chanca Piedra is overall a safe herbal supplement, it is equally safe to experiment with doses to find the most effective for each individual. Starting off with small doses and working up by increments is generally considered the safest and most effective way to use Chanca Piedra.
For adults 18 and over:
The most conventional use and dose for Chanca Piedra is in the form of an infusion or weak tea. Again, this is brewed from the whole plant. In most parts of the world, where Chanca Piedra is commonly used, people will take approximately 1-3 cups of this tea per day, sometimes per week. This level of Chanca Piedra is generally sufficient to provide the maintenance levels of the plant for healthy liver and kidney function, in addition to the other benefits of the herb.
There are pharmacies in South America which sell concentrated doses of Chanca Piedra in the form of an extract. In these cases 1-2 mg, 1-3 times daily is sufficient to get the desired benefits.
For more acute conditions such as gout, severe kidney and gall stones, a fine powder of Chanca Piedra can be taken orally in doses of 3-5 mg twice daily.
There are tinctures of Chanca Piedra commercially available. These are taken in doses of 0.7 ml of tincture in 8 ounces of water, three times daily.
Children Under the Age of 18.
As of now, there is no known safe dosage of Chanca Piedra for children.
Chanca Piedra Side Effects, Safety, Dangers, and Warnings
Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not take Chanca Piedra. Medical studies have proved that it can block pregnancy and cause low fetal birth weight, and may cause birth defects.
Since there is not enough reliable evidence to determine the effects while breast feeding, it is best to simply not take Chanca Piedra while breastfeeding.
Blood disorders: Chanca Piedra has also been shown to thin the blood and may be unsafe for people with bleeding disorders. Likewise, if facing surgery, it is best to avoid taking Chanca Piedra. Along with thinning the blood, Chanca Piedra may interfere with blood clotting and complicate healing and recovery from surgery.
Chanca Piedra has also been shown to interact with drugs which help with blood clotting. Chanca Piedra tends to thin the blood and people who have disorders that inhibit blood clotting should avoid taking Chanca Piedra.
Diabetes and Hypertension: People who are already on prescription medications for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension should not take Chanca Piedra. The herb has been shown to interact with some prescription medications used for these conditions and complicate them or make them worse. It is generally recommended that people use herbal supplements exclusively or use the medications prescribed by a doctor, not both. Always consult a physician on these issues.
Chanca Piedra FAQ
Where can I buy Lab Grade Chanca Piedra?
When it comes to supplements at least for me it’s important to buy the highest quality and purity. If I have the option between paying more for better quality, I will and its no exception when it comes to Chanca Piedra. I look for lab grade supplements with clinical data behind them. There is literally one choice and one choice only when it comes to chosing the highest quality and the best Chanca Piedra and its Disovatol Chanca Piedra. You can get it here.
How much Chanca Piedra can be taken in a day?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to Chanca Piedras daily allowance. Generally I’d recommend following the label on whichever supplement you take as each manufacturer has different extract ratios. I myself wont exceed 400mg of Chanca Piedra.
Does Chanca Piedra Really Work to Dissolve Kidney Stones?
The short answer is yes and no. Chnca Piedra really is a “stonebreaker” when it comes to acute kidney stones that are small. However; if you have a chronic issue and produce a lot of stones it’s probably going to prove to be too much for Chanca Piedra to handle. Another consideration is your health care coverage. If you have a coverage plan that covers kidney stones you might want to go that route. I’d definitely recommend trying Chanca Piedra if it makes sense for your personality situation. As always run it by your health care professional before taking on a supplement plan.