(Natural News) The prevalence and recurrence rates of kidney stone disease (urolithiasis) are increasing globally. This health problem affects 12 percent of the world’s population, with more men suffering from it than in women. Despite recent medical advancements, there are still very limited options when it comes to effective anti-urolithiasis drugs.
But in a recent study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, researchers from India found a potential natural treatment for kidney stones. Duranta erecta, more commonly known as golden dewdrop, is a phytonutrient-rich shrub whose different parts are traditionally used for various medicinal purposes. The researchers found that the methanolic extract of D. erecta leaves can be used to eliminate kidney stones and prevent secondary bacterial infection of the kidneys.
The anti-urolithiasis activity of golden dewdrop leaves
Urolithiasis is the third most common disorder of the urinary system. Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form when urine becomes too concentrated, causing minerals to crystallize. When detected early, kidney stones won’t cause permanent damage. While passing kidney stones is painful, it will only require drinking plenty of water. On the other hand, if stones get lodged in the urinary tract, they can cause infection and other complications. In some cases, kidney stones require surgery to remove.
In recent years, the search for new anti-urolithiasis drugs, especially from natural sources, has assumed greater importance. This is due to medicinal plants being more effective and less costly than conventional medicine. However, only a few plants and herbal preparations have shown potential in terms of preventing the recurrence of kidney stones with minimal side effects.
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D. erecta is known for its abundance in beneficial compounds, such as alkaloids, glycosides and saponins. Its fruits is used in traditional medicine to reduce fever and treat malaria, while its leaves are effective for abscesses. D. erecta flowers also have medicinal properties, acting as a stimulant, an insect repellent and a diuretic, among other things.
To examine the anti-urolithiasis activity of D. erecta, the researchers first investigated the phytochemical content of its leaves. They measured the yield in percentage and assessed the antioxidant and anti-microbial activities of D. erecta extracts against DPPH (free radical) and common pathogenic bacteria, respectively.
They used nucleation assay and synthetic urine assay to analyze the anti-urolithiatic properties of D. erecta and its ability to inhibit the formation of calcium oxalate and calcium oxalate monohydrate, respectively. These calcium crystals are the most common cause of kidney stones. The researchers also used rats to confirm the anti-urolithiatic properties of D. erecta in vivo.
The researchers reported that D. erecta contains an abundance of phytochemicals, such as glycosides, saponins, sterols, flavonoids, phenols, tannins, alkaloids, carbohydrates and proteins. The methanolic extract obtained from D. erecta leaves also had a very good yield (60 percent). (Related: Kidney stones – natural remedies, prevention, and what really causes them.)
In terms of antioxidant activity, D. erecta exhibited high antioxidant potential, with 93.51 percent inhibition of DPPH. This was comparable to the antioxidant potential of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which showed 94.71 percent DPPH inhibition. Meanwhile, D. erecta also effectively inhibited the formation of calcium oxalate and calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals.
Besides these activities, D. erecta showed great anti-microbial activity. Treatment with D. erecta extract caused the formation of zone of inhibition against Escherichia coli, Streptococcus aureus, Pseudomonas desmolyticum and Bacillus subtilis. In vivo experiments also confirmed the anti-urolithiatic properties of D. erecta leaves.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that D. erecta can be used to remove kidney stones and inhibit secondary bacterial infection of the kidneys.