The functions of the kidneys are essential to life. According to the U.S. National Kidney Foundation website, the kidneys remove waste products and drugs from the body, balance body fluids, regulate blood pressure, promote healthy bones and control the production of red blood cells. Healthy kidneys are essential in maintaining these functions. Safe herbs to maintain healthy kidney functions include dandelion, cistanche and uva ursi.
Dandelion, also called Taraxacum officinale, is highly respected by herbalists for its culinary and medicinal benefits. Dandelion leaves may be used to support the kidneys. It’s a natural diuretic that acts to promote the production of urine and the removal of waste products and fluid from the kidney through the urine. This herb is a rich source of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C and D, along with minerals such as iron, zinc and potassium. Dandelion may be obtained in the forms of tea, tablets or capsules, as tincture, or as a liquid extract.
Cistanche, or rou cong rong, is a Chinese herb used in Chinese medicine to promote good kidney health, according to Kwintessential website. This hardy shrub is a native plant of northern China and Mongolia desert regions. Cistanche works to tonify or strengthen the kidneys without causing dehydration of the body. This herb also helps to resist kidney deficiencies such as incontinence and post-urinary dripping. Cistanche leaves are available in Asian markets or herbal shops as leaves for making tea or in powdered or extract forms.
Uva ursi was used by Native Americans to treat urinary infection for many centuries. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, after researchers discovered the antibacterial effects of uva ursi in fighting infections, it was the common treatment for bladder and other related infections prior to the discovery of sulphur drugs and antibiotics. Although ongoing research is being done to determine its effectiveness, uva ursi is sometimes used in treating urinary tract infections and inflammation of the bladder. Researchers believe uva ursi is most effective when a patient’s urine is alkaline because acid urine will destroy its antibacterial effects. This herb should not be taken for more than five days at a time. Pregnant or breast feeding women should not take uva ursi. Individuals with kidney, liver or digestive problems, as well as those with Crohn’s disease, should not take uva ursi.
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