Kidney Detox

By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

With thanks to Elna's doctor, Dr. Ivan Egersdorfer.

Kidney Detox is important because the kidneys are some of the most important organs in the body. If they were not constantly filtering the blood, we would, literally, be poisoned by our own waste products. If your kidneys are filled with bacteria, stones,and/or accumulated toxins then they may not be able to filter the blood or perform their other functions effectively.
Kidney Detox

Before You Detox Your Body Heal Your Kidneys: The kidneys are so important that you should be cautious about attempting an herbal cleanse or serious kidney detox program if they are not functioning properly. The reason for this is simple, many of the popular detox programs sold online and in stores can effectively draw out toxins from the body's tissues. These toxins are then dumped into the bloodstream and must be eliminated. If the kidneys are already filled with toxins, then they will have difficulty eliminating the additional load and they will suffer by becoming overworked and weakened. The blood will remain at an overly toxic level creating a longer period of discomfort. And if these additional toxins can not be excreted, they may redeposit themselves somewhere else in the body. Thus, the whole purpose of your detox accomplishes very little and can further damage the kidneys.

Get on a healthy diet: It is essentially a whole foods diet that avoids all artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives, etc. and is based heavily on fruits, vegetables and whole grains with a substantial reduction in animal protein. This diet should be the way you eat each and every day and not just something you do to detox. However, it is also a very effective tool to prepare you for a detoxification program.

Determine If Your Kidneys Have Problems: Healthy kidneys are dependent on many different factors. Diet and exercise have a great deal to do with kidney health. For example, a high animal protein diet can lead to gout (a build up of uric acid that forms crystals in the joints and kidneys) and acidosis (a build up of acids that affect the whole system). Stress and cardiovascular disease also have an important influence on kidney health. Poor circulation caused by cardiovascular issues can cause a buildup of fluid in tissues (often in the lower legs) causing edema. If the circulation is poor, toxins can often become lodged in these areas of congested fluids. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the kidneys are very efficient organs and are often able to keep reference (like blood and urine) markers within normal range even though there may still be health issues. Therefore, if you do find that your results from a blood test are outside the laboratory range, it is very important to consult a physician.

Reduce Your Risk of Stones by Eliminating Stone Forming Foods: Foods that contain oxalate should be avoided because they oxalate combines with calcium to form the crystals that make up kidney stones. These foods include: beans, beets, green peppers, cooked spinach (cooking spinach causes oxalic acid to create oxalic acid crystals, which can cause kidney problems), cocoa, chocolate, tea, coffee, peanuts, peanut oil, salt - causes more excretion of calcium in urine, lots of meat, soda (has phosphoric acid), and wheat bran. The most critical foods to reduce dramatically are animal products (meat and dairy) with the possible exception of eggs and fish, caffeine containing products (with the possible exception of green tea), soda, cooked spinach and potential allergens like peanuts, soy and corn. Make sure you avoid foods high in phosphorus, like soy, flax seed, Brazil nuts, sesame- and pumpkin seeds, cheese and bran (especially those of oats and rice). Improving the diet by eliminating foods that help stones to form and getting enough exercise will help improve kidney health. However, diet alone will not get rid of stones once they have formed. The only way to get rid of stones after they have formed, naturally, is by kidney detoxification. 

How to Effectively Detox the Kidneys: The kidneys are the primary organ of homeostasis, or the maintenance of balance in the body. Therefore, the health of all the organs in the body rely on the kidneys. Since infection and accumulation of toxins cause most kidney problems, the solution to maintaining good kidney health is detoxification. The objective is to remove all irritating chemicals, crystal deposits, and metabolic waste and to replace damaged cells with new tissue. The good news is you do not need to suffer the pain and/or discomfort of urinary infections, or the excruciating suffering of passing kidney stones.

There are a number of safe, effective and gentle herbs and foods that will help detoxify and restore health to the kidneys and urinary system. Number one of these is the humble apple. (A note of caution, however. You must use organic apples, conventional apples have some of the most pesticides of any crop on the planet.)
The apple is rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and contains protein fiber and organic salts and acids. Therapeutically, it is a purifier, cleanser, revitalizer, antiseptic, disinfectant, germicide, respiratory stimulant, cardiac stimulant, brain and nerve stimulant and tonic.

One of the most important reasons why apples are so effective in detoxification is that is also rich in pectin. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that apple pectin also acts as an antioxidant against the damaging portion of cholesterol in the blood stream. Researchers have found that raw apples are the richest of fruits in pectin.

It has been established that a diet rich in apple pectin may help protect against certain diseases. Research in Japan supports that apple pectin can also decrease the chances of colon cancer. Apple pectin helps maintain intestinal balance by cleansing the intestinal tract with its soluble and insoluble fibers. Pectin is also effective in causing regressions in and preventing gallstones. There is also evidence that the regular use of apple pectin may lessen the severity of diabetes.

Other Helpful Herbs and Foods: Here are some other helpful foods and herbs that are really beneficial for kidney and urinary health. Drink lots of water to help your body dilute the toxins and flush them out. Vegetables in your diet should include parsley, uncooked spinach and asparagus.

  1. Grapes and cranberries: Grapes contain high amounts of potassium, which helps the kidneys operate properly. Grapes also work to remove waste, such as uric acid, from the liver and kidneys. Make sure cranberries are a part of your diet as well. Cranberries contain quinine, which is changed to hippuric acid. Hippuric acid helps the body get rid of uric acid and urea, two waste products.
  2. Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been found to reduce the body's levels of histamine, something that can enflame the kidneys. It is also a mild diuretic. Ascorbic acid acidifies the urine helping to dissolve phosphate stones and magnesium ammonium phosphate stones.
  3. Vitamin B6: B6 appears to be effective in the management of peripheral edema and neuropathy associated with poor kidney function.B6 is an essential component of porphyrins, and helps protect the kidneys from certain blood diseases that involve them.
  4. Magnesium Carbonate: Magnesium carbonate has the ability to bind up excess phosphates in the system. Phosphates (common in soft drinks) are highly acidic and may cause kidney damage. This mineral is very basic and has the capacity to neutralize acids in the kidney tract.
  5. Nettles: A great herb that has strong tonifying effects on both the liver and kidneys. It helps maintain proper pH balance and to improve urinary output.
  6. Uva Ursi (bearberry): This herb contains berberines, compounds that are strongly anti-bacterial. It was used traditionally to treat urinary and kidney infections and to improve urinary volume.
  7. Hydrangea Root: This herb is very beneficial for the urinary system. It is quite effective at dissolving deposits in the kidneys and the gallbladder. It is also helpful for reducing pain and inflammation in the urinary tract.
  8. Others: Cleavers, Yarrow, Golden Rod, Marshmallow Root, Dandelion Root, Buchu.

On the lighter side: Is the kidney a bean-shaped organ, or is the bean a kidney-shaped legume? Whatever, take the best of care for these super-important organs in your body!