New research at the University of Modena in Italy has confirmed some of the positive benefits of the herb Phyllanthus niruri, known in Brazil as Quebra Pedra ‘the stone breaker’ – and also widely known under its Spanish name of Chanca Piedra.
Used by generations of South Americans to treat renal calculi – Kidney and Gall stones, this wonderful herb is free from side effects and interactions, and can be safely used alongside other therapies.
Kidney and Gall stones are estimated to effect around 5% of the UK population, with recurrences common among patients (50-80%). It is widely believed that a diet high in animal fats is part of the explanation for this, but dietary changes alone, although certainly helpful, are not the whole answer.
The conventional approach to removal of stones usually involves shattering the stone using ESWL (Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy) – but this often leaves residual fragments which often require the treatment to be repeated.
The new research, published in the medical journal ‘European Urology Supplements’ earlier this year, assessed the benefit of taking an extract of Quebra Pedra following ESWL treatment. After six months the stone free rate in those treated with just ESWL was 80% – but for the patients taking Quebra Pedra during their recovery, the stone free rate was 97%. Concerning lower caliceal stones the stone free rate of those using the herb was 94.1% versus 64.28% among those who just had ESWL.
The conclusion of the researchers was simple – the use of the Quebra Pedra extract results in an increased stone free rate and in a lower percentage of re-treatment. They concluded that its efficacy “together with the absolute lacking of side effects make this therapy suitable to improve overall outcomes of ureteral stones shock wave lithotripsy.”
Recent research has also confirmed the liver protective potential of the herb, and its antispasmodic activity has also been documented.3 In Brazil, where much of the research has taken place – the Quebra Pedra infusions are used for the removal and prevention of stones as an alternative to the use of ESWL – and it is also widely used for Urinary tract infections.