Kidney stones are usually felt as a dull, intermittent low backache, or as a pain in the testicles, groin, or legs. The pain often gets worse with activity. When the stones move into the ureters, there can be hemorrhaging, severe pain, pallor, nausea, or vomiting.

What are Kidney Stones?

From Modern Western Medicine

Men are three times more likely to suffer from kidney stones than women. Once a person develops a kidney stone, he has about a 60% chance of developing another within seven years. The summer months see the highest incidence of kidney stone attacks, perhaps because the body’s loss of water from sweat. This causes the urine to become more concentrated, and thus increases the likelihood of stones.

There is no known cause of kidney stones, though mild dehydration may be a factor.

Most kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate and/or phosphate, both of which are end products of metabolism and must be excreted from the urine. They are not easily soluble, which is why they can easily form stones. High levels of oxalate in the blood from diets rich in foods or drinks contain oxalic acid, increase the likelihood of kidney stones.

Calcium stones are often the first sign of metabolic disorders, including hyperparathyroidism. People with disorders related to protein may have stones that consist mostly of uric acid. Such stones may indicate the presence of gout, some cancers, or chronic dehydration.

Bed rest, painkillers, and increased fluid intake to encourage the passage of the stone are the primary means of treatment. Most stones are smaller than 0.2 inches in diameter; these are passed at home with few, if any problems. Larger stones may require surgery to prevent kidney damage.

 Probes, such as ultrasonic lithotripsy, and shock waves (produced by extracorporeal shock-wave lithotriptor) that disintegrate the stones from outside the body are also used today.

From Traditional Medicine

The standard American diet, rich in oxalic acid, calcium, phosphorus, and protein, is the perfect formula for kidney stones. In addition, there is very little pure water drunk with this diet. Instead of water, coffee and soft drinks are the primary liquids consumed, both of which weaken the kidneys and increase the likelihood of stones. In addition, excess salt and sugar may also play a role in the creation of stones.

Citric acid, vitamin E, and magnesium promote the elimination of waste products that cause stone formation. Adequate intake of clean water also decreases the chance of a kidney stone forming.

Recent research suggests the deficiencies of vitamin B6 and magnesium may lead to kidney stones. B6 helps regulate the body’s production of oxalic acid. It also increase oxalate elimination. Magnesium helps break down oxalate and make it soluble in urine. When combined with a healthy diet, B6 and magnesium therapy is effective in preventing future stone formation, especially when urine oxalate levels are high. A urine test is needed to determine of oxalate levels are high. 



Food to Eat

Stage one is the acute phase until all pain has ceased for at least 24 to 40 hours:

  • Mullein tea, watermelon seed tea, unsweetened fruit juice. Drink tea first thing in the morning. Watermelon seed tea should be taken two times a day. To make watermelon seed tea, grind a handful of watermelon seeds; steep in hot water for 10 – 15 minutes and strain; add a little honey; and drink the tea.
  • Fresh juices such as watercress, parsley, carrots, and celery
  • Liquids


Stage two:

  • All the drinks listed above
  • Fresh non-citrus juice, especially cranberry
  • Watermelons, papaya, and bananas
  • Raw, grated salad composed of leafy greens such as lettuce, celery, watercress, parsley, cucumber, cabbage; alfalfa sprouts; dressing of olive oil with lots of lemon and garlic and/or herbs
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Brown rice
  • Miso
  • Seaweed
  • Fish
  • Baked potato


Chinese Medicine

  • Black bean juice: simmer 1 cup of beans in five cups of water for an hour. Drink ½ cup juice ½ hour before meals
  • Corn silk tea
  • Parsley promotes urination and is good for stones (not for severe kidney inflammation or nursing mothers)
  • Radish: 1 tsp. of grated radish taken every day for several weeks (people who are deficient or cold should avoid radishes)


Herbs to Treat Kidney Stones

  • Mix together the following herbs:

1 part gravel root

1 part parsley root

1 part marshmallow root

¼ part lobelia

¼ ginger

Take 1 oz. of herbs and simmer for 20 minutes in 1½ pints of distilled water. Drink ½ cup three times a day.

  • Gravel root: decoction, 1 cup, two to six times per day to clear kidneys and dissolve stones
  • Birch tea dissolves stones and removes uric acid
  • Cleavers (helps prevent reoccurrence): 10 – 15 drops, two to three times per day
  • Marshmallow: infusion, steep flowers/leaves for 5 – 15 minutes, drink 1 cup at a time, frequently; tincture, 30 – 60 drops, three times daily; fluid extract, 1 – 2 tsp., three times daily



  • Mullein poultice: Obtain a large amount of mullein herb. Moisten ¼ inch of herb with very hot water, lay on a large piece of gauze, and cover with gauze or cloth. The poultice should be large enough to cover the area from the navel to the pubic region in the front, or over the kidney area in the back. Apply the poultice and cover with hot, wet towels. Keep these as warm as possible, either by replacing the towels with a second set of heated, wet towels, or by using a hot water bottle or other source of heat. Keep the poultice on for 30 minutes.
  • Spirits of gum turpentine: Alternate the mullein poultice with the pack. Mix 2 oz. spirits of turpentine with 1½ quart hot water. Saturate a folded towel and apply to the prescribed area (bladder to pubic area in front or kidney area in the back). Apply hot, wet towels as above. Apply this pack for 30 minutes every one, two, or four hours.
  • Hops and lobelia poultice (for severe pain): mix 1 – 2 oz. of the herbs and apply as per directions for mullein poultice
  • Hot sitz baths help urine flow



  • Beta-carotene: 15 – 30 mg per day
  • Vitamin B complex: 25 mg per day
  • Vitamin B6: 50 mg per day
  • Vitamin C: 100 mg per day
  • Vitamin E: 100 – 400 IU per day
  • Magnesium helps keep calcium in solution and mobilizes calcium from the stone. Take 100 mg two times per day