What Are the Benefits of Chanca Piedra?
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. Although long-term randomized clinical trials are necessary to confirm therapeutic properties, some preliminary studies suggest chanca piedra may discourage in the gallbladder and kidneys and, indeed, have 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. In fact, we are so convinced of the benefits of chanca piedra gallbladder and kidney health that it’s part of the formulation for our kidney support product Renaltrex® and our liver cleanse supplement Livatrex®.
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. Study results from the Patel Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research suggest compounds in chanca piedra may be a valuable component to a multi-herb, liver-support formulation.
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.[6, 7, 8] 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.
Action Against Harmful Organisms
Water extracts of chanca piedra are selectively toxic to some types of harmful organisms, without affecting beneficial organisms. The Universidad de la República studied 28 plant and algae species for activity against harmful organisms. Researchers noted that the most interesting activity was observed in chanca piedra. This observation and conclusion was duplicated by researchers at the University of Malaysia.
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