Chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is a plant from the Amazon rainforest that has provided naturopaths with a powerful, plant-based ally for supporting bladder, kidney, gallbladder, and liver health. Traditionally, chanca piedra is viewed as a health supplement that promotes the liver’s normal function by aiding its detoxification efforts to purge harmful substances.
Chanca Piedra, Gallstones, and Kidney Stones
Chanca Piedra has been used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon for generations to support the elimination of gallstones and kidney stones. In Ayurvedic medicine, chanca piedra is thought to hold the most promise against kidney stone formation. Some preliminary studies suggest chanca piedra discourages stones in the gallbladder and kidneys and, indeed, has the potential to provide defense against kidney stones. A 2002 study found that chanca piedra stimulates bile secretion of the liver. Extra bile helps the digestion process, this benefits nutrient absorption, as well as waste elimination.
Chanca Piedra and the Liver
Traditional Chinese medicine has always cited chanca piedra as a herb that supports liver health. The Department of Chemistry at Bose Institute in India conducted an animal study that investigated the liver-protecting action of chanca piedra against acetaminophen toxicity. The results showed that a protein in chanca piedra protects liver tissues against oxidative stress, probably by increasing antioxidant defenses.
Antioxidant Activity of Chanca Piedra
Chanca piedra has been evaluated for antioxidant activity and its response to high blood pressure and high blood sugar. The high phenolic content of chanca piedra has shown antioxidant activity, which has been found to support balanced blood sugar and normal blood pressure. This has created excitement about the potential of chanca piedra during times of distress. In one study researchers noted that chanca piedra engages an enhanced antioxidant defense system.