Chanca piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is a powerful medicinal herb from the Amazon rainforest. It has been used to treat kidney stones for generations in the Amazon and in traditional herbal medicine systems in South America. Clinical studies now validate this rainforest plant’s ability to treat as well as prevent the reoccurrence of several types of kidney stones. In fact, the name chanca piedra is Spanish and translates to “stone breaker” based on this long-standing effective use. If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you need to know about chanca piedra!
Like most rainforest medicinal plants, chanca piedra is a storehouse of highly active natural chemical compounds that provide many health benefits. Chanca piedra’s ability to treat kidney stones only scratches the surface of its many effective uses. Over the last 10 years, scientists have confirmed that this small but powerful herb is quite effective for treating viral and bacterial infections, malaria and other tropical parasitic diseases, and diabetes, and provides strong liver-protective, heart-protective, immune-modulating, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Some of these benefits are a result of more than 70 natural plant compounds called polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions—a number of which are found only in chanca piedra.
Some of the research on chanca piedra revealed the ability of chanca piedra to treat viral infections. Presently the world has been turned upside down by a new pandemic virus, COVID-19. After I reviewed all the new research on chanca piedra, it had me reaching for the phone to order chanca piedra for my family and myself just in case we were faced with fighting this new virus.
I’ve used chanca piedra for many years as an effective herbal antiviral, so that wasn’t a surprise. It’s been the subject of clinical research in humans over many years to treat hepatitis B and C. It’s also been confirmed to be effective against several herpes viruses, HIV, influenza and flu viruses, dengue virus, and others. The accumulation of a great deal of research over the years confirms that chanca piedra can kill viruses in people, animals, and plants.
Scientists have reported several different mechanisms of actions for how this powerful little herb kills viruses. One significant mechanism is by inhibiting enzymes and other substances viruses need to divide and multiply (transcriptase and protease), while also providing a direct toxic effect to some viruses (as well as bacteria). Researchers have confirmed the presence of at least eight natural plant chemicals with antiviral actions in the plant. It has not been scientifically tested against this particular coronavirus yet, but it certainly has potential since it’s been shown to kill other flu viruses. But that’s not the only reason I ordered chanca piedra for my family and myself.
In addition to being a good antiviral, significant new research on chanca piedra confirms it is an effective immune modulator. This is highly important information in regard to this particular coronavirus. Unlike other flu viruses, COVID-19 causes a radical immune system reaction that sends pro-inflammatory chemicals (called cytokines) to the lungs, resulting in severe lung inflammation, which can cause immediate lung tissue damage and cell death. This phenomenon has been termed a “cytokine storm,” and when this storm occurs in some people with the virus, hospitalization for breathing assistance becomes necessary. Research shows that chanca piedra has the potential ability to prevent or interrupt this cytokine storm with proven immunomodulatory actions, which I find quite compelling.