Kidney Stones

The article below is one I wrote a long time ago when husband Bill had a bout of kidney stones, but it may be at least it a starting point for your search. Some items may seem contradictory because of slight differences in how the studies were done and because everyone is different. This Harvard article is an excellent review of the basics and has some good ideas.


Study: IP6 (phytate) + magnesium citrate (Journal Urology) reduce kidney stones

Study: The DASH diet (high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, dairy products, and whole grains and low intake of sweetened beverages and red and processed meats) may reduce the risk of stones.

Study: The effect of oxalate in food may not make as big a difference as previously thought.

Links: Site devoted to reducing oxalate

My old article:
Lifestyle Suggestions and Nutritional Support for Kidney Stones
From select natural health reference books.
See doctor if active stone present.

Applies to Calcium Oxalate Stones (4 out of 5 are this type) 1

Drink a lot of water – 48-64 oz per day1, 2, 6
Avoid soft drinks – soda drinkers have a higher incidence of stones2, 5
Cranberry juice acidifies the urine, reduces urinary calcium and is helpful for urinary tract infections 3, 5, 8 however, an unconfirmed medical source claims cranberry is high in oxalate – check with your doctor.


Diet / Lifestyle

Avoid these items associated with increased risk to stones: 2, 5

Sugar* Alcohol Refined Carbohydrates
High Fat Antacids  

* Sugar stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which causes extra calcium to be excreted in the urine. 5,6

Avoid excessive amounts of oxalate containing foods1, 5,
Almonds Nuts Spinach
Beet greens Grapefruit ? Strawberries
Bran Peanuts Tea
Chocolate Rhubarb

Avoid excessive amounts of food that increase urinary calcium: 1, 5,6
Animal protein Caffeine Salt
Increase foods that reduce calcium excretion: 1, 2, 5
Potassium containing foods such as fruits and vegetables (especially green)

Fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains (but not the grains without sufficient alkalinizing vegetables)

Lemon Juice – One spoonful each half hour for two days may help smooth the stones and aid passage. 5
Asparagus – contains asparagine which may help stones disintegrate. 5
Rose Hip Tea – may reduce urinary calcium3
Also Helpful – Black cherries, Rice bran, Kombucha tea. 5 Radish juice (2 Tablespoons, 3 x day but not more). 7


Magnesium – 200-750 mg taken with meals1, 5,6
Vitamin B6 – 50-100 mg no more than twice a day1,5, 6
Add Bran – (even some stone-formers are calcium deficient, so don’t take bran with meals or supplements to avoid reducing calcium absorption.) 1
Calcium may be needed – Binds to oxalate, so the benefit apparently outweighs the risk of the increased calcium in urine. Citrate form reduces stone risk. Take with meals. 1
Glucosmine sulfate (and chondroitin sulfate) 60 mg / day lowers urinary oxalate1
Basic Program (many fringe benefits, good for health in non-stone-formers as well):

  • Vitamin C – concerns about Vitamin C supplementation increase risk of stones is apparently unfounded. May be beneficial in acidifying the urine. 500 to 1,000 mg three times a day but probably safest to stay under 6,000mg total. 1, 2, 5,6
  • Multivitamin – Among other things, provides a base of B’s for the B-62
  • Vitamin E – 200-400 IU daily2
  • Flax Oil – 1-2 Tablespoons, daily2

Vitamin A – up to 50,000 for a short time to heal damage done to the urinary tract5,6 (a woman should not use over 5,000 if there is a chance she is pregnant.)
Kidney Glandular – Strengthens kidneys. 5,6
Avoid L-cystine – Can crystallize in the kidneys 6 and Vitamin D – Appears to increase the risk of stones1, 7



Desmondium styracifolium (Beggar-lice): a Chinese herb in one study increased volume of urine, decreased excretion of calcium and increased excretion of citrate.3, 4
Uva Ursi: believed to help dissolve stones.8
Stone Free by Planetary Formulas has many of the herbs recommended in the references.
Stinging Nettles: GermanCommission E recommends for stones. 4 As a bonus, it may help prostate enlargement by slowing rate testosterone converts to estrogen.
Rubiaforce (Rubia tinctorum or Madder) – not as fast as Chanca Piedra (South American), but may be more readily available. 7


Check for cadmium toxicity. 5

Juice fasting – Lemon, carrot, beet, cucumber, cranberry, watermelon. 5


1 The Natural Pharmacy, Lininger, Wright, Gaby, Brown, by Prima

2 Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Michael T.Murray, ND, by Prima

3 Botanical Influences on Illness, Melvyn R. Werbach, MD and Michael T.Murray, ND, by Third Line

4 The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, PhD, by Rodale

5 Alternative Medicine, Definitive Guide, Burton Goldberg Group, Future Medicine Publishing

6 Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James Balch, MD, by Avery

7 Nature, Your Guide to Healthy Living, A. Vogel, Vogel, Teufen, Switzerland

8 Nutritional Herbology, Mark Pedersen, Whitman Publishing