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Whether you call it Stone Breaker, Phyllanthus niruri or Phyllanthus amarus, the herb best known as Chanca Piedra has been traditionally used throughout Latin America for centuries to naturally support the kidneys and urinary tract.
I owever, because it grows in tropical regions all over the world -- from China to India to Peru -- it has also been an herbal staple in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
And more recently the Royal Pharmaceutical Society reported in their Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 2016 that “evidence suggests that there is strong pharmacological potential in developing P. niruri (Chanca Piedra) as a drug to be used in liver disorders and in antiviral therapy.”
What follows is a short list of nine of the more important benefits from this ancient herbal treatment:
1. Treats kidney stones, gall stones and urinary tract issues
Chanca Piedra or "stone breaker" is well known for successfully treating kidney stones – it’s where the herb got its name. But it also slows the accumulation of biliary sludge and calcium oxalate crystallization throughout the urinary tract, kidney, liver and gallbladder. Because of its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it has also been used to treat urinary tract infections and some venereal diseases (e.g. gonorrhea and syphilis) (see studies).
2. Has pain blocking and antispasmodic effects
One of the more disruptive side effects of kidney or gallstones is the pain. Chanca Piedra has proven to have anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and analgesic (pain blocking), and spasm-relief activity in higher doses (see studies).
3. Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
Studies show that Chanca Piedra relaxes and dilates the blood vessels and ultimately lowers blood pressure (see study). It also lowers cholesterol by reducing its presence in the liver as well as showing an ability to dissolve it throughout the body (see study).
4. Has broad spectrum antiparasitic properties
Because of its terpene and flavonoid-rich content, multiple studies -- both in-vivo and in-vitro -- have shown Chanca Piedra to have the ability to eradicate an array of parasites in the plasmodium group (i.e. malaria, babesia) as well as in the nematode (roundworm) group (see studies).
5. Is an effective antibacterial and antiviral
Because of its vast array of phytochemicals, Chanca Piedra has been studied and used for hundreds of years to treat infections of the urinary tract and upper respiratory regions. It has been well-known to be a syphilis treatment, and because syphilis and the Lyme bacteria (borrelia burgdorferi) are both spirochetes, we are hearing more and more anecdotal evidence of patients using the herb to effectively aid in Lyme disease treatment. Several studies also show its powerful antiviral effectiveness in treating Hepatitis B (see studies).
6. Protects heart health
Aside from lowering cholesterol in the body, Chanca Piedra has been shown to prevent doxorubicin-associated cardiotoxicity, a potentially fatal condition caused by inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress pathways, and mitochondrial damage. Chanca Piedra has been shown to reverse this damage and restore heart cells to their original condition (see studies).
7. Has wound-healing and anti-ulcer activity
Chanca Piedra has been shown to reduce the presence of ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic drugs as well as the H. Pylori bacteria, and it does this without disturbing the body’s natural internal floral. It also shows the ability to reverse and heal these ulcers, but so far researchers have not been able to establish how the herb is doing it (see studies).
8. Supports the liver in multiple ways
In several studies, Chanca Piedra has been found to “alleviate lipoprotein metabolism abnormalities, reduce cholesterol–phospholipid ratios, control biomembrane damage and decrease ROS-linked lipid peroxidation.” In other words, it helps support liver metabolism, reduces cholesterol, and controls liver damage and oxidation, including alcohol-induced oxidative stress (see studies).
9. Has anti-cancer properties
In several animal studies, extracts of Chanca Piedra have stopped or inhibited cells from mutating in the presence of chemical substances known to create cellular mutations and DNA strand breaks. This activity can lead to the creation of cancerous cells, and Chanca Piedra shows the ability to stop this activity without actually killing any cells (see study).
Tea, pill or tincture?
For those looking to use Chanca Piedra on a regular basis, which is more effective – the tea, a pill or a tincture? It depends on what you’re looking to treat. If you have intestinal distress, it is not recommended to consider Chanca Piedra in pill form because your body may not be able to effectively absorb it. If you are looking to treat a specific affliction that has already presented itself, higher doses of a tincture (as prescribed by a practitioner) can administer more of the ingredients of the herb throughout your body. And it is best to drink the tea if you are looking for more physical coverage area… for instance to cover ground in your intestinal tract.
Most people can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of Chanca Piedra three times per day.
- For the treatment of kidney stones, you may take slightly more for a longer period of time (until symptoms subside).
- A mild tea can also be brewed and consumed 2-3 times per day.
- For the treatment of acute viral hepatitis or hepatitis B, between 400 and 1,100 milligrams should be taken three times per day.
- Keep in mind that tolerated doses can range significantly, so be sure to speak with your doctor or a trained herbalist regarding your particular condition.