Several studies have shown that more Nigerians are developing kidney problems especially End Stage Kidney Damage (ESKD) and kidney stones.Researchers blame the situation on adoption of Western diets by most Nigerians and the attendant rise in hypertension and diabetes; fake, substandard and adulterated drugs and food products; pesticides and insecticides to mention but a few.
Indeed, in recent times, many Nigerians have been coming down with kidney failure needing regular dialysis and kidney transplant, which comes at a very high cost, to live. However, researchers have identified how to prevent kidney damage and eliminate renal stones with plant-based diets such as avocado, stonebreaker, corn silk, garlic, ginger, beetroot, cucumber, scent leaf/basil, lettuce, and watermelon among others.
Persea Americana (avocado) is a tree belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. Several parts of Persea americana plant have been shown to possess vaso-relaxant properties and reduce vasoconstriction leading to reduction in blood pressure.In African traditional medicine, Persea americana is used in the treatment and management of variety of human ailments, including childhood convulsions and epilepsy. The leaves have been reported to be effective anti-tussive (used to prevent or relieve a cough), antidiabetic, anti-arthritic by traditional medicine practitioner of Ibibio tribe of Southern Nigeria. Analgesic properties of the leaves have also been reported.
A recent study published in International Journal of PharmTech Research.A study published in HAYATI Journal of Biosciences demonstrated how leaf extract of Avocado (Persea americana) could be used to prevent growing stones to be bigger and helping excretion of kidney stones (nephrolith) spontaneously.The researchers also showed that Avocado extracts act as diuretics that are commonly used in the treatment of hypertension and other disorders associated with edema and heart disease.
The leaves have been used as a diuretic, anti-inflammation, anti-hypertension, hypoglycaemia (reduce blood sugar), diarrhea, sore throat, and bleeding.In Indonesia, avocado leaves have been used as traditional medicines for diureticum to cure urolithiasis. Diuretics remove water from the body and are used to treat for high blood pressure and other conditions. Urolithiasis is the formation of stony concretions in the bladder or urinary tract. The research was to determine anti lithiasis activity of avocado leaves (Persea americana) extract on white male rats nephrolithiasis model induced by ethylene glycol. Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) is a disease affecting the urinary tract.
Ethanol extraction method was used to get extract of avocado leaves. Twenty adult male white rats were divided into four different induction treatments that is aquadest, ethylene glycol 0.75 per cent and ammonium chloride 2 per cent, and extract of avocado leaves with different levels of 100 and 300 mg/kg bw respectively. Ethylen glycol (EG), as a nephrotoxic agent, is commonly used as an experimental regiment to induce animal models of calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis. Therefore, EG was used in this experiment to make hyperoxaluria condition.Hyperoxaluria is an excessive urinary excretion of oxalate. Individuals with hyperoxaluria often have calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Their body weight was measured daily to determine their growth ratio. And at the end of the trial, the kidney was analyzed its calcium level and inhibitory activity to formation of calcium oxalate crystals. The results showed that the amount of calcium level in the kidney of rats treated with extract of avocado leaves was significantly decreased than that of rats treated with ethylene glycol 0.75 per cent and ammonium chloride 2 per cent.
The researchers concluded: “Extract of avocado’s leaves with ethanol extraction is an efficient agent to inhibit formation of calcium oxalate crystal in the rats’ kidney. The extract of avocado’s leaves is potential natural antioxidant and anti inflammation compounds that able to prevent formation of calcium oxalate crystal by interfering process of epithelial cell damage.”
The result of phytochemical analysis of Avocado leaves showed that the presence of flavonoid is much higher than other compounds such as alkaloid, tannin, saponin, and tritherpenoid. According to Wientarsih et al., avocado’s leaves contain saponin, alkaloida, flavonoids, polyphenols, and quersetin. According to Spigno and Faveri, antioxidant activity was higher when the extract contains more flavonoids. Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds which widespread in the plant and have diverse pharmacological effects such as anticancer, antioxidant, antiageing and antibacteria. According to Singh, derivate of flavonoid can repair the damage of the kidney by capacity of antioxidant activity and as radical scavenger.
According to Fouada et al., flavonoid property of extract of avocado’s leaves (with ethanol extraction) can prevent attachment of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystals and stop the further process in the formation of kidney stones. Flavonoid can prevent adhesion of crystal calcium oxalate by scavenging effects in prevent injury by free radical and resulting more stable radical. In other words, flavonoids stabilize the reactive oxygen species by hydroxyl group which has high reactivity.
Stonebreaker (Phyllanthus niruri)
Commonly called stonebreaker, Phyllanthus niruri also known as ‘Chanca piedra’ belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Phyllanthus niruri is similar to Phyllanthus amarus, which also belongs to the same family. In Nigeria, it is called enyikwonwa and ngwu in the Ibo, oyomokeso amanke edem in Efik, geeron-tsuntsaayee (bird’s millet) in Hausa, ehin olobe and yin-olobe in Yoruba.
A study published in International Brazilian Journal of Urology has confirmed Phyllanthus niruri as a promising alternative treatment for nephrolithiasis. Nephrolithiasis is the process of forming a kidney stone, a stone in the kidney (or lower down in the urinary tract).
Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine and pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin.The researchers noted: “Phyllanthus niruri has been shown to interfere with many stages of stone formation, reducing crystals aggregation, modifying their structure and composition as well as altering the interaction of the crystals with tubular cells leading to reduced subsequent endocytosis. The clinical beneficial effects of Phyllanthus niruri may be related to ureteral relaxation, helping to eliminate calculi or to clear fragments following lithotripsy, or also to a putative reduction of the excretion of urinary crystallization promoters such as calcium.
“No adverse renal, cardiovascular, neurological or toxic effects have been detected in either of these studies. Altogether, these studies suggest a preventive effect of Phyllanthus niruri in stone formation or elimination, but still longer-term randomized clinical trials are necessary to confirm its therapeutic properties.”
Citrus fruit ‘cure’ for painful kidney stones
Painful kidney stones could be dissolved by a natural citrus fruit extract, suggests new research. The study showed that the compound – hydroxycitrate (HCA) – is able to inhibit the growth of kidney stones – and even dissolve the crystals.
The discovery marks the first advance in kidney stones treatment in more than three decades.Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that build up inside the kidneys, affecting around 12 per cent of men and seven per cent of women.They are composed predominantly of calcium oxalate crystals and are more prevalent in those with high blood-pressure, diabetes or obesity – and are on the rise.
But the researchers found HCA was effective in slowing the build-up of calcium oxalate under certain conditions.The study, published online by the journal Nature, revealed ‘very promising’ results in a study of people who took HCA supplements over a three-day period.Preventative treatment for kidney stones has barely changed in the last 30 years.
Doctors advise patients to drink plenty of water and avoid oxalate-rich food, such as rhubarb and almonds.They often prescribe the supplement potassium citrate, which can slow crystal growth – but some people cannot tolerate the side-effects.Collaborator John Asplin, a nephrologist at Litholink Corporation, a private hospital for people with kidney problems, suggested HCA as a possible treatment.Citrate and HCA are chemically similar, and both are available as a supplement.
Lead author Dr. Jeffrey Rimer, of the University of Houston, said: “HCA shows promise as a potential therapy to prevent kidney stones – HCA may be preferred as a therapy over potassium citrate.”
The head-to-head studies of CA and HCA determined that while both compounds inhibit the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, HCA was more potent.But it turned out that it was correct. Once the team confirmed that it was possible to dissolve crystals in supersaturated solutions, they then looked at reasons to explain why.They discovered that HCA formed a stronger bond with that crystal surfaces, leading to the crystals being broken down.HCA was also tested in human subjects, as seven people took the supplement for three days, allowing researchers to determine that HCA is excreted through urine, a requirement for the supplement to work as a treatment.
While the researchers established the groundwork to design an effective drug, questions remain – long-term safety, dosage and additional human trials are needed.“But our initial findings are very promising,” they said.“If it works in vivo (in real life), similar to our trials in the laboratory, HCA has the potential to reduce the incidence rate of people with chronic kidney stone disease.”
Corn silk repairs damaged kidneys, bursts renal stones
Studies have shown the extracts of corn silk to be effective in repairing damage to the kidney, bursting kidney stones, preventing prostate cancer and treating urinary incontinence.Corn silk is a yellowish thread like strand of female flower of maize.Phytochemical screening of the corn silk showed the constituents include alkaloids, tannins, phytosterols, vitamin E and K, succinic acid, lactic acid, palmitic acid, proteins, vitamins, flavonoids, terpenoids, carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium and potassium salts.
Potential use of corn silk is related to its properties and mechanism of action of its bioactive constituents such as flavonoids and terpenoids. Studies indicate that it possess antihypertensive, antioxidant, anticancer, antidepressant, kaliuretic, neuroprotective properties.A new study has indicated renal function improving action of corn silk and binahong in gentamicin-piroxicam induced kidney failure. The study titled “Study of Kidney Repair Mechanisms of Corn Silk (Zea mays L. Hair)-Binahong (Anredera cordifolia (Ten.) Steenis) Leaves Combination in Rat Model of Kidney Failure” was published in International Journal of Pharmacology.
Anredera cordifolia, commonly known as the Madeira vine or mignonette vine, is a South American species of ornamental succulent vine of the family Basellaceae. The combination of fleshy leaves and thick aerial tubers makes this a very heavy vine.Taken together, results of this study suggest that corn silk in combination with binahong possesses renal function improving activity which is slightly better compared to the activity of each extract alone. The results further indicate that reduction of oxidative stress by each extract as well as their combination might be beneficial to the repair of renal damage.
Another study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research by Indian researchers from the S. N. Institute of Pharmacy, Pusad, Dist –Yavatmal, corn silk could be used to burst kidney stones.
The researchers found that corn silk was playing an important physical role in treatment by increasing the contraction of smooth muscles a led to increase the urinary output and increased the percentage the passage of urinary stones through the urinary tracts.
How garlic, ginger, onions, others prevent renal damage.Researchers have found that eating meals rich in ginger (Zingiber officinale), onion (Allium cepa) and garlic (Allium sativum) could be the novel preventive and therapeutic diet or drug against the menace.A recent study published in Journal of Renal Nutrition concluded: “This study concludes that alcohol-induced nephro-toxicity was attenuated by ginger extract treatment, thus ginger can be used as a regular nutrient to protect the renal cells.”
The study investigated the nephro-protective effect of ginger against chronic alcohol-induced oxidative stress and tissue damage. Results of another study published in World Journal of Life Science and Medical Research revealed that Allium cepa has renal protective effects in diabetic rabbits.Another study published in Science Alert concluded: “This study shows that cadmium induces nephrotoxicity by impairing renal functions and stimulating lipid peroxidation. Pre-treatment and post-treatment of onion extract in cadmium-treated rats produced mild protective potentials.
“However, co-treatment with onion extract during cadmium administration showed significant antioxidative potentials in preventing cadmium-induced nephrotoxicity.”
Meanwhile, results of an animal study published in Food Chemistry found that ginger could help protect against kidney damage, a condition said to threaten one in three diabetics.
The new study assessed the effects of ginger on the blood antioxidant levels and kidney health of diabetic rat models. One study published in Pharmacological Reports in 2008 discovered that garlic could significantly reduce kidney damage associated with mercury chloride exposure in laboratory animals (mercury chloride is a potential carcinogen used in disinfectants, batteries, insecticides and many other products to which humans are regularly exposed).Another study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2001, found that garlic in low doses could enhance the antioxidant status of the kidneys, thus protecting them from the cell-damaging effects of free radicals.
There are three reasons why watermelons are good for treating kidney disease. Firstly, they are low in potassium and phosphorus, which are two minerals that dysfunctional kidneys can have problems balancing. Secondly, they are comprised of approximately 92 percent alkaline water, which helps flush the urinary system of accumulated toxins (watermelon fasts can even dissolve kidney stones). Lastly, they help the liver to process ammonia and deliver it to urea, thus easing the strain on the kidneys while ridding the body of excess fluids. Unlike garlic, watermelon is high in natural sugars. For this reason, people with diabetes-sourced kidney disease should be careful not to consume too much of it on a regular basis.
Pawpaw seeds offer protection against kidney damage
Nigerian researchers claim that seed extracts of unripe mature fruits of pawpaw (Carica papaya) can protect the kidneys from damage and could offer hope for the treatment of poison-related kidney (renal) diseases.
The study was published in Biology and Medicine.The researchers concluded: “It is proposed that the nephroprotective activities of the aqueous seed extract of the unripe, mature fruits of Carica papaya in carbon tetrachloride-induced nephrotoxicity may involve its antioxidant and/or oxidative free radical scavenging activities.“Also, the results of this study have confirmed the rationale for the folkloric use of the aqueous seed extract of Carica papaya in the treatment of poison-related renal disorders.”Also, among the Yoruba herbalists, hot infusion of the seeds of the unripe, mature fruits of Carica papaya is employed in the local treatment of poison related renal and hepatic disorders.
Zobo reduces diabetes-induced kidney disease risk
Results of a recent study suggest that aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HSE) has no harmful effect on the liver but when consumed in high doses could be harmful to the kidney.Commonly called zobo or roselle in Nigeria, Hibiscus sabdariffa belongs to the plant family malvaceae. Another study found that Hibiscus sabdariffa might help treat kidney stones via uricosuric activity. Uricosuric agents are used to lower the uric acid level in the blood and to prevent the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints and kidneys. These drugs are often used to treat gout, a disease in which uric acid crystals deposit in joints and cause pain. By decreasing plasma uric acid levels, these drugs decrease the deposition of crystals in joints, eventually decreasing inflammation and thereby reducing the pain of gout.
The study authors concluded that roselle has a uricosuric effect and they suggested that the chemical constituents exerting this effect should be identified.
Plantain extract boosts kidney health, sexual functions in men.A meal of unripe plantain with local spices like cloves, onions, garlic and ginger could be the answer to erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, ulcer, kidney problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to “Medicinal Uses of Fruits and Vegetables” written by Mr. Olalekan Jagun, unripe plantain contains special dietary fibre called pectin, which increases the number of calories ingested thus can shed weight or treat obesity
Plantain is also recommended for the treatment of urinary stones. The stem juices of plantain (Musa paradisiaca) have been reported for dissolving pre-formed stones and in preventing the formation of stones in the urinary bladder of rats. Stem juice is also used in nervous affectations like epilepsy, hysteria and in dysentery and diarrhoea. Several oligosaccharides comprising fructose, xylose, galactose, glucose and mannose occur naturally in plantain, making it an excellent prebiotic for the selective growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
Director of Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Centre, Rev Fr. Anslem Adodo, said Plantain Root Juice (PRJ) offers great hope for all forms of kidney problems and diabetes. “It promotes the flow of urine and helps in metabolism. PRJ has proved helpful to diabetics who are lucky enough to know about it. The dosage is two tablespoons thrice daily,” he said.
Chronic kidney disease patients may live longer on a plant-based diet
Also, a study published in the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology found that kidney disease patients who regularly consumed produce, legumes, cereals, whole grains, and fibre lived longer than those who did not.The researchers concluded that a healthy, plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals, whole grains, and fiber and low in red meat, salt, and refined sugars may reduce the risk of early death in people with CKD. Traditionally, CKD patients have been taught to restrict individual nutrients, such as phosphorus, salt, potassium, and protein, but limited evidence show that these efforts prevent complications, according to the investigators.
Unlike some previous research, the investigators found no significant associations between consumption of healthy, whole foods and progression to end-stage renal disease. Neither patient age nor country of origin accounted for the outcomes.
Baking soda prevents kidney disease, renal failure and kidney dialysis
A recent study discovered a new use for common household baking soda. The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) reported that a daily dose of baking soda could prevent kidney damage and CKD in a study entitled, “Bicarbonate Supplementation Slows Progression of CKD and Improves Nutritional Status.”
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