9 home remedies to prevent and treat kidney stones – Insider

Kidney stones are hard deposits of compounds typically found in urine that clump together in your urinary tract. They affect about 1 in 11 Americans
The most common type of kidney stone is the calcium oxalate kidney stone, which is caused by too much oxalate and too little liquid in the urine.
Typically, kidney stones are treated with dietary changes and occasionally medications. However, there are also home remedies that can help prevent and even treat kidney stones.
If you have kidney stones, or are prone to get them, the first thing your doctor will likely tell you is to make sure you drink plenty of water. 
Kidney stones form when certain minerals and salts in your urine clump together. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your urine dilute and flushes out your kidneys and urinary tract, so the minerals and salts don’t build up and turn into stones. No matter what kind of kidney stone you have, drinking plenty of water will help.
If you have kidney stones, doctors recommend drinking about three quarts of water a day, says Kiersten Craig, MD, a urologist at Weil Cornell Medicine. If you are active or live in hot temperatures, you may want to drink even more than that.
Lemon juice can help prevent kidney stones — especially calcium stones — because it contains citrate. 
Calcium and oxalate have an affinity for each other, meaning they will stick together, forming calcium oxalate. When this happens in the urinary tract, it leads to kidney stones. Citrate essentially “coats” the deposits so that more calcium and oxalate can’t clump on, says Craig. 
A small 2017 study published in the Journal of Urology found that drinking two liters of water with four ounces of lemon juice a day decreased the rate of stone formation from 1.00 to .13 per person per year. 
Other sources of citrate include grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines.
Pomegranate is often used to treat conditions like ulcers and diarrhea, and it may also be beneficial in treating kidney stones because it decreases calcium oxalate and is also rich in antioxidants.  
Antioxidants help prevent and reduce oxidative stress, which is linked to kidney stone formation
In fact, pomegranate juice has 2 to 3 times the antioxidant capacity of green tea or red wine, and a 2011 analysis of data from the 1980s and ’90s found that adults with a self-reported history of kidney stones also had between 8% and 11% lower levels of antioxidants in their blood serum. 
Note: Pomegranate juice can interact with certain medicines, like the blood thinner warfarin or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, so make sure you talk to your doctor before taking it. 
Diet has a big effect on the formation of kidney stones. Experts recommend eating a diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and limited amounts of heart-healthy protein to prevent kidney stones. The DASH-style diet (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ) is one option that fits into these guidelines.
In fact, a 2009 study found that people who followed the DASH-style diet closely had a 55% to 60% reduced risk for kidney stones compared to those who didn’t.
It’s also important to ensure you get enough calcium, especially in meals with high-oxalate foods. Calcium binds with the oxalate during digestion, helping to prevent stone formation. 
Eating fruits and vegetables increases citrate in the urine, which also helps prevent stones from forming.
There are certain foods that you can eliminate or reduce in your diet. Calcium oxalate stones are more likely to form if you have more oxalate in your urine. You could consider reducing the amount of high-oxalate foods like nuts, dark leafy greens like spinach, soy products, and dark sodas that you consume. Limiting meat and sodium intake can also decrease your risk. 
Consuming vinegar may help prevent the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
A 2019 study found that the acetic acid in vinegar helps regulate citrate and calcium in the urine — both calcium and citrate help prevent kidney stones from forming.
It’s also thought that the acetic acid can help dissolve current kidney stones, making them easier to pass. 
All types of vinegar contain acetic acid, and you can use them in salad dressings and other dishes to incorporate them into your diet. You can also dilute vinegars like apple cider vinegar into a glass of water to drink daily.
Important: Do not consume apple cider vinegar if you have chronic kidney disease, gastritis, or peptic ulcer disease. The acidic vinegar may exacerbate these conditions.
A study published in 2018 found that green tea drinkers had a lower risk of developing kidney stones than non tea drinkers.
And, research has connected green tea’s antioxidant properties with the prevention of stone formation.
Kidney beans and kidney bean broth may help prevent and pass kidney stones. 
One 2020 study found that common beans, of which kidney beans are a variety, may help eliminate kidney stones and prevent more from occurring. 
Another small study from 2020 had kidney stone patients drink the broth of boiled beans five times a day. Researchers said that the liquid expanded the urine volume to help remove kidney stones and ease pain.
Kidney beans also contain magnesium and potassium, which are both associated with a decreased stone risk.
Hibiscus tea is rich in antioxidants and will help keep you hydrated, which are both important for decreasing kidney stone risk.
Additionally, Hibiscus tea was shown in a clinical trial to reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood and encourage its excretion in urine, thus reducing the likelihood of it forming into a kidney stone.
Hibiscus tea is also a diuretic, meaning that it helps your body get rid of excess water and salt through the urine. Diuretics can help you pass an already formed kidney stone, but are not as beneficial at preventing stones. 
It’s thought that wheatgrass increases flow of urine, which makes it easier to pass a kidney stone. 
Wheatgrass is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and it is also thought to have a detoxifying effect on the body. 
Some herbal remedies are touted across the internet for treating or preventing kidney stones, but there’s very little science to back up their effectiveness. They include:
If you think you have kidney stones, you’ll want to go to your doctor to discuss the best course of treatment for you. Most of the time, however, kidney stones don’t require medical intervention, and you can treat it effectively with these home remedies and other dietary changes. 
You should also seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms
These may be signs that you have further kidney damage or health complications, and will likely require medical intervention to effectively treat.
These home remedies may help you treat or prevent kidney stones. But overall, it’s important to visit with a doctor for more information on how to get rid of your kidney stones and especially before implementing regular use of any herbal supplements. 
“After passing a kidney stone, save the stone and give it to a urologist for stone analysis,” Craig says. “This will tell you the type of stones and give a specific guide to diet changes that will decrease further stone formation.”
For more information, read about how to prevent kidney stones from occurring.