The development of kidney stones can lead to serious complications, severe pain, and even kidney inflammation, and kidney failure. You can try to extrude the stones while they are smaller, but in more severe cases, surgery may be needed. To avoid this, prevention and the reversal of kidney stone formation are emphasized, which can be supported by an herb used since old times called saxifrage.
The saxifrage is common in many parts of the world, which is reflected in its folk use, as from the area of the Amazonas-basin through India to China it has long been known. It is similar in Brazil, where it has been used to treat kidney stones for centuries. Given that it is a popular native plant in the Amazon forests, in the South American country, many studies search the way to a possible completion to medical treatment of kidney stones or even used it as a replacement.
A study published in 2018, a joint work of 3 groups from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sao Paulo, also sought an answer to this question.
The experiment monitored 56 patients with kidney stones. The mean age of the participants was 44 years, with the youngest being 18 and the oldest being 60 years. The experiment took 26 weeks and for the purpose of reduction in the size and number of kidney stones, only saxifrage extract has been administered. Therefore, only those patients selected in the experiment were assumed to not exceed the critical level of kidney stone size within the 26-week period, when invasive intervention would be needed.
There were 3 stages of the treatment, during which all three patients underwent thorough examinations.
- The first was the initial observation when the condition before the use of saxifrage was assessed to compare the outcome of the treatment.
- The second stage was the administration of saxifrage for 12 weeks. During this period, 2-week intake and 1-week rest cycles alternated, and the doctor had to be visited once a month. The saxifrage extract was given to the patients in dried form in small sachets, which they had to drink as tea, dissolved in hot water, twice a day.
- The third was the ‘cleanse’ period, which lasted 12 weeks when participants were not allowed to consume saxifrage.
Is it safe to use?
Saxifrage intake is generally safe. Mild side effects were reported by several, but no case suggested the discontinuation of the treatment, and all 56 patients completed the cure.
There was no increase in liver enzyme levels during the experiment, so saxifrage was not toxic to the liver. This is in line with other research since saxifrage is attributed to have a kind of liver-protecting function.
The number of observed kidney stones was reduced or even eliminated among 68% of the patients. Initially, 3.2 stones were observed in patients, which decreased to 2 by the end of the saxifrage consumption phase. However, at the end of the third stage, stone formation began slowly again, with 2.2 stones counted on average per patient. The passing of the stones was indirectly confirmed by a part of the side effects (abdominal pain, mild hematuria).
The size of the stones showed a similar tendency. The stones with an initial average diameter of 15.6 mm, by the end of the second section, were an average diameter of 9.4 mm, which increased to 11.2 mm by the end of the third period.
Thus, saxifrage may have actually contributed to the improvement of the condition of the patients, according to the study, both the number and size of the stones decreased significantly during its administration. Unfortunately, the benefits seem to disappear when the intake is suspended, so further research is needed to find out the optimal use of saxifrage.