The formation of stones in the kidneys or urinary tract is a fairly common disorder. The stones
are formed from the chemicals usually found in the urine such as uric acid, phosphorous,
calcium and oxalic acid. They may vary in consistency from grit, sand and gravel-like
obstructions to the size of the bird's eggs.
Stones may form and grow because the concentration of a particular substance in a urine
exceeds its solubility. This disorder occurs more frequently in middle age, with men being
afflicted more often than women.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, lying below the waist on either side of the spinal
column on the back wall of the abdomen. They are soft, reddish brown in colour, and, on an
average, measure 10 cm. in length, 6 cm. in width and is 2.5 cm. thick at its centre. They are
filtering plants for purifying the blood, removing water and salts from it which are passed into the
bladder as urine.
Kidney stones usually cause severe pain in their attempt to pass down the ureter on their way to
the bladder. The pain is first felt in the side and thereafter in the groin and thighs. Other
of kidney stones
are a desire to urinate frequently, painful urination , scanty urination,
nausea, vomiting, sweating, chills and shocks. The patient may also pass blood with the urine.
Sometimes, large stones may remain in the kidneys without causing any trouble and these are
known as silent stones.
The formation of stones in the kidneys is the result of defects in the general metabolism
usually occur when the urine becomes highly concentrated due to heavy perspiration or
insufficient intake of fluids. They are aggravated by a sedentary lifestyle. The other causes are
wrong diet, excess intake of acid-forming foods, white flour and sugar products, meat, tea,
coffee, condiments and spices, rich foods and overeating. Lack of vitamin A and an excessive
intake of vitamin B may also lead to formation of stones.
Types of Stones
Chemically, urinary stones are of two categories, namely, primary stones and secondary stones.
Primary stones are ordinarily not due to infection
and are formed in acidic urine. They usually
result from alcoholism
, sedentary life, constipation
and excessive intake of nitrogeneous or
purine-rich foods. Secondary stones are due to local infection
and are formed in alkaline urine.
Most kidney stones
are composed either of calcium oxalate or phosphate, the latter being most
common in the presence of infection
. About 90 per cent of all stones contain calcium as the chief
constituent. More than half of these are mixtures of calcium , ammonia, and magnesium,
phosphates and carbonates, while the remainder contain oxalate. Uric acid and cystine stones
represent about four percent and one per cent respectively of the total incidence
A majority of patients suffering from kidney stones
can be treated successfully by proper dietary
regulations. These regulations will also prevent a recurrence of the symptoms
. Only a few cases
The patient should avoid foods which irritate the kidneys, to control
acidity or alkalinity of the
urine and to ensure adequate intake of fluids to prevent the urine from becoming concentrated.
The foods considered irritants to the kidneys are alcoholic beverages, condiments, pickles,
certain vegetables like cucumbers, raddishes, tomatoes, spinach, rhubarb, water-cress and
those with strong aroma such as asparagus, onions, beans,cabbage and cauliflower, meat,
gravies and carbonated waters.
In calcium phosphate stones, over -secretion of parathyroid hormone causes loss of calcium
from the bones resulting in a high blood level of calcium with increased excretion of calcium in
the urine. An abnormally high intake of milk, alkalies or vitamin D may also result in the
formation of calcium phosphate stones.
For controlling the formation of calcium phosphate stones, a moderately low calcium and
phosphorous diet should be taken The intake of calcium and phosphates should be restricted to
minimal levels consistent with maintaining nutritional adequacy.
The maintenance level of calcium is 680 mg. and of phosphorous 1000 mg. In this diet, milk
should constitute the main source of calcium and curd or cottage cheese, lentils and groundnuts
should form the main sources of phosphorous. Foods which should be avoided are whole wheat
flour, Bengal gram, peas, soyabeans, beets, spinach, cauliflower, turnips, carrots, almonds and
When stones are composed of calcium and magnesium phosphates and carbonates, the diet
should be so regulated as to maintain acidic urine. Insuch a diet, only half a litre of milk, two
servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables ( 200 grams) should be taken. The vegetables
may consist of asparagus, fresh green peas, squash,pumpkins, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage
and tomatoes. For fruits, watermelon, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapple, papayas and guavas
may be taken.
On the other hand the urine should be kept alkaline if oxalate and uric acid stones are being
formed. In this diet, fruits and vegetables should be liberally used and acid-forming foods should
be kept to the minimum necessary for satisfactory nutrition. When the stones contain oxalate,
foods with high oxalic acid content should be avoided. These foods include almonds, beetroots,
brinjal, brown bread, cabbage, cherry, chocolate, French Beans, potatoes, radish, spinach and
Uric stones occur in patients who have an increased uric acid in the blood and increased uric
acid exertion in the urine. Since uric acid is an end product of purine metabolism
, foods with a
high purine content such as sweet bread, liver and kidney should be avoided.
Kidney beans, also known as French beans or common beans, are regarded as a very effective
remedy for kidney problems, including kidney stones
. It was Dr. Ramm of Germany, who first
discovered the value of kidney beans as a medicine for kidney and bladder troubles. He
employed it for over 25 years with beneficial results. The method prescribed by him to prepare
the medicine is to remove the beans inside the pods, then slice the pods and put about 60 mg. in
four litres of hot water, boiling slowly for four hours. This liquid should be strained through fine
muslin and then allowed to cool for about eight hours. Thereafter, the fluid should be poured
through another piece of muslin without stirring.
According to Dr. Ramm, a glassful of this decoction should be given to the patient every two
hours through the day for one day, and thereafter it may be taken several times a week. Dr.
Ramm also says that this decoction will not work if it is more than 24 hours old. The pods can be
kept for longer periods but once they are boiled, the therapeutic factor disappears after one day.
The basil, known as tulsi inthe vernacular, has a strengthening effect on the kidneys. In case of
, basil juice and honey should betaken for six months. It has been found that the
stones can be expelled from the urinary tract with this treatment. The celery is also a valuable
food for those who are prone to stone formation in the kidneys or the gall bladder. Its regular use
prevents future tone formation.
Research has shown the remarkable therapeutic success of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine in the
treatment of kidney stones
. This treatment has to be continued for several months for obtaining
a permanent cure.
The patient should take a low protein diet, restricting protein to one gram per kg. of food. A
liberal intake of fluid upto 3,000 ml. or more daily is essential to prevent the production of urine
at the concentration level where the salts precipitate out.
The patient should be given a large hot enema, followed by a hot bath with a temperature of 100
o F, gradually increased to 112 o F. The head should be kept cold with cold application. Hot
fomentation applied across the back in the region of the kidneys will relieve the pain. Certain
yogasanas such as pavan-muktasana, uttanpadasana, bhujangasana, dhanursana and
halasana are also highly beneficial as they stimulate the kidneys.