All the acidity and waste in the human body, collects in the urine. And when you don't pass enough urine, the salt, minerals and chemicals present in it, form crystals or pebbles. These are kidney stones, whose movement from the kidney to the bladder causes excruciating pain. These little or medium-sized objects can block the flow of urine, and even cause bleeding. Surgery and medications are the recommended treatment for getting rid of kidney stones. But there are natural ways to pass kidney stones and some even help, in reducing the risk of their occurrence.
Why Lemon Juice for Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can be made up of different chemical deposits within the body. The most common is calcium oxalate, others are uric acid, cystine and struvite (magnesium, ammonium, phosphate). If you have had kidney stones once, there's a pretty high chance you can get them again. So it is recommended to make changes in your diet and nutrition intake. The first step is increasing fluid intake. But why should you drink more liquids?
When your liquid intake is less, or insufficient, urine remains in the body and becomes concentrated and acidic, increasing the likelihood of kidney stones. But more fluids, means your urine gets flushed out and hence the risk of a kidney stone is reduced. So drinking lots of water helps. A lesser known and equally effective way is drinking lemon juice.
Lemon juice has water, citric acid and phosphoric acid among its primary constituents. In fact, lemons have the highest citrate content levels, among any citrus fruits. Citrate is a chemical that decreases acidity in urine and prevents kidney stone formation. Hence, increasing your citrate levels, means bad news for existing kidney stones and reduces the risk of new ones. Lemon juice also helps in increasing the amount of urine in the body, thus you pass more urine. According to a study conducted by Roger L. Sur, MD, Director of UC San Diego Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, lemon juice consumption (4 ounces of juice in 2 liters of water per day) reduces the rate of kidney stone creation, from 1.00 to 0.13, in patients.
Preparation of Lemon Juice
- Sugar-free or reduced sugar, unsweetened lemon juice must be taken. Freshly made lemon juice is the best, but reconstituted juice works as well. Avoid the mass produced, corn syrup variety as this contains a lot of sugar, which negates the whole purpose of drinking lemon juice for kidney stones.
- Squeeze juice from 1 or 2 whole lemons, to produce 4 ounces of concentrated lemon juice. Add 1½ quarts of water and stir.
- Do not add sugar or salt. Use an artificial sweetener, if necessary. Don't finish all the juice in one go. Divide it and consume at intervals, during the day.
- For a sweeter version, add a spoonful of raw, organic honey. You can eat it, if thick, or dilute it to drink.
- For better results, have a small portion of lemon juice, first thing in the morning, before eating. Warm it up slightly, as a warm liquid cleanses your urinary tract.
- Use lemon juice in your food, as a condiment or marinade, to get your required quota.
- Tired of pure lemon juice? Make lemonade ice cubes and add them to soda, water or other beverages.
- A twist on lemonade therapy, is using olive oil and lemon juice for kidney stones. Mix 2 ounces of lemon juice and 2 ounces of olive oil, in a glass. Shake well. Do not drink it all in one shot, as it could make you feel nauseous. The benefits of this mixture are two-fold. Lemon juice eats away at the kidney stone, while olive oil coats it and makes it easier to pass. So the pain and discomfort of having a stone, is reduced.
Other juices that can aid with kidney stones, are cranberry and tart cherry. But these juices should be unsweetened. Use honey if they get too bitter to sweeten the taste. While using lemon juice is a natural way to pass kidney stones, always consult your doctor know what is best for you. When there is severe pain or complications, medical expertise is required. Kidney stones are a difficult problem on their own, so do not experiment.