Bean-shaped and located along the posterior side of the abdomen, the kidneys have the heavy responsibility of removing waste and toxins from the bloodstream. These vital organs work with other organs to regulate blood pressure, increase red blood cell production, and synthesize vitamin D. A healthy diet, exercise, and staying hydrated are essential for supporting your kidneys. For a little extra help, consider the following kidney cleansing herbs.
1. Chanca Piedra
Chanca piedra, or “stone breaker,” is a favorite in South America for supporting the kidneys and clinical trials have confirmed the plant’s effectiveness.   It’s common in the region and its widespread use has earned it a positive reputation in Ayurvedic medicine as a helpful herb for kidney, bladder, and liver health.
Goldenrod was used extensively among many Native American tribes for promoting urinary tract health. Research has found that the herb tones the urinary tract and is helpful for detoxifying the kidneys. 
3. Hydrangea Root
Hydrangea root was popular among Native Americans and early settlers, both of whom used the plant for promoting kidney and bladder health. Hydrangea root acts as a solvent and is thought to smooth the jagged edges of kidney stones. Hydrangea root also appears to help the body properly use calcium, an action that may be helpful for discouraging kidney stones from forming in the first place. 
Horsetail is a common weed with diuretic properties; it’s helpful for increasing urine output to flush the kidneys and urinary tract. It’s also an antioxidant and offers that realm of benefits to the kidneys and renal system.  Whether consumed as a tea or in a capsule, horsetail is a great herb to add to your diet!
5. Celery Root
Both the root and seeds of celery have been used for centuries as a natural diuretic. What positive feature do diuretics have? They can help your body eliminate toxins by increasing urine output. Celery root has long been considered a stimulating tonic for the kidneys as it contains nutrients like potassium and sodium.
6. Gravel Root
Also known as Joe Pye weed, gravel root has a long history of use by Native Americans and early American colonists for promoting kidney and urinary health. Its effectiveness may be partly due to its euparin content — a solvent with potent activity against harmful organisms.  This may explain why many believe it’s effective at discouraging infections.
Also called “bearberry,” uva-ursi has been used by many cultures. It’s an astringent that can soothe and tone the urinary tract and research has also found evidence to support its traditional use for cleansing the kidneys. 
8. Marshmallow Root
As a soothing herb, marshmallow root may calm the tissues of the urinary tract.  It’s also a gentle diuretic that encourages urination.
9. Dandelion root
Often mistaken as an annoying weed with no useful purpose, dandelion is actually loaded with benefits — both the leaf and the root.  Dandelion root, specifically, is a diuretic and promotes waste elimination.
A favorite herb among chefs, parsley is an aromatic, flavorful herb commonly used in herbal medicine. As a diuretic, it’s helpful for reducing the build up of toxins in the kidneys and entire urinary tract.
What’s Your Favorite?
How many herbs in this article did you recognize? Have you tried any? There are a supplements available that combine many of these herbs together and make it easy for you, Renaltrex is the kidney support supplement I recommend. It contains the purest ingredients available, is extremely effective, and carefully made in the USA.
If you’ve used herbs to support kidney health, leave a comment and share your experience with us.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Kieley S1, Dwivedi R, Monga M. Ayurvedic medicine and renal calculi. J Endourol. 2008 Aug;22(8):1613-6. doi: 10.1089/end.2008.0020.
- Barros ME, Lima R, Mercuri LP, Matos JR, Schor N, Boim MA. Effect of extract of Phyllanthus niruri on crystal deposition in experimental urolithiasis. Urological Research. 2006 December;34(6):351-7.
- Melzig MF. Goldenrod–a classical exponent in the urological phytotherapy. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2004 Nov;154(21-22):523-7
- Sen Zhang, Hongqi Xin, Xiaoguang Chen. Skimmin, a Coumarin from Hydrangea paniculata, Slows down the Progression of Membranous Glomerulonephritis by Anti-Inflammatory Effects and Inhibiting Immune Complex Deposition. Evidenced-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2013; 2013: 819296.
- Cetojevi-Simin DD1, Canadanovi-Brunet JM, Bogdanovi GM, Djilas SM, Cetkovi GS, Tumbas VT, Stojiljkovi BT. Antioxidative and antiproliferative activities of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts. J Med Food. 2010 Apr;13(2):452-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0159.
- María Florencia Visintini Jaime, Rodolfo H. Campos, Liliana V. Muschietti. Antipoliovirus Activity of the Organic Extract of Eupatorium buniifolium: Isolation of Euparin as an Active Compound. Evidenced-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2013; 2013: 402364.
- Head KA. Natural approaches to prevention and treatment of infections of the lower urinary tract. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Sep;13(3):227-44.
- Hage-Sleiman R, Mroueh M, Daher CF. Pharmacological evaluation of aqueous extract of Althaea officinalis flower grown in Lebanon. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2011 March;49(3):327-33. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2010.516754.
- González-Castejón M1, Visioli F, Rodriguez-Casado A. Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutr Rev. 2012 Sep;70(9):534-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00509.x.