Kidney stones are crystal deposits that accumulate in your kidneys or bladder. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, approximately 1 million Americans develop the condition each year. While doctors consistently encourage sufferers of kidney stones to follow a low-protein, high-fiber and high-fluid diet, herbalists claim that aloe juice may help reduce stone formation. Check with your physician, however, before embarking on any self-help therapy.
Native to Africa and cultivated worldwide, aloe, or aloe vera, reaches heights of 2 feet and bears spikes of yellow or orange flowers. The prickly, fleshy leaves of the plant contain two valuable substances -- gel and latex, or juice -- that constitute the source of aloe's medicinal powers. While aloe gel ranks as the favored topical treatment for skin conditions, aloe vera juice has historically lent itself as an internal treatment for digestive disorders.
Kidney stones typically start in the center of your kidney as very small concentrations of calcium, uric acid and other substances in your urine. While small stones often pass unnoticed, over several years, as more material accumulates, large solid crystals can form and lodge in your urinary tract. Dislodged stones can cause gripping pain, blood in your urine, chills, fever, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
Aloe Juice-Kidney Stones Link
Aloe juice contains key constituents such as aloin, aloin-emodin, resins, tannins and polysaccharides, plus 20 minerals, 12 vitamins and 19 amino acids essential for good health. In addition, aloe provides aloemannan, a complex sugar that concentrates in your kidneys. According to Phyllis A. Balch, certified nutritional consultant and author of the book "Prescription for Herbal Healing," aloemannan stimulates production of healthy kidney cells while slowing the rate of crystal deposits that cause kidney stones. Balch recommends drinking 1/4 cup of aloe juice daily for no longer than two consecutive weeks.
Cautions and Considerations
Aloe juice occasionally causes nausea, skin rash, discolored urine and liver dysfunction. Children and pregnant, lactating and menstruating women should avoid taking aloe juice internally, as should people with kidney or heart disease. Women who take birth control pills should also refrain from using aloe juice.
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Low Oxalate Diet
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Kidney Stones
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Aloe
- Prescription for Herbal Healing; Phyllis A. Balch