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Herb In Focus – Hawthorn: Nature’s Heart Health Remedy

how to lower high blood pressure naturally

Today is the first of many articles I will write (from time to time) to focus on a herb, and detail its specific benefits for helping those with kidney disease. Today I will be featuring the herb Hawthorn.

Want to know how to lower high blood pressure naturally? Well hawthorn is the ideal companion of anyone experiencing high blood pressure (or any cardiovascular disease for that matter), which in the case of kidney disease this is always a favourable as so many individuals exhibit both kidney and heart conditions together.

With over 2000 years of medicinal use, hawthorn is truly a well established and well-known herb within any naturopath’s or herbalist’s toolkit. Names such as Dioscorides and Paracelsus (famous past physicians and botanists) praised hawthorn for its cardiovascular strengthening properties, and today this is proven through extensive scientific studies.

Plant Description
Hawthorn is a small thorny deciduous tree which grows to 5-14 metres (15-45 feet), is part of the Rosaceae family, and with roughly 280 species can sometimes cause confusion when sourcing the correct species of hawthorn for medicinal use. The best therapeutic species of hawthorn are: Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus spp, Crataegus laevigata, and Crataegus oxyacantha.

The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath, deeply lobed, with a length ranging between 2–4 cm (stay with me!). In the spring hawthorn features fragrant (though foul smelling!) red, pink, or white flowers. In autumn these flowers turn in to small, deep red, apple-shaped fruit. It is these “fruit” (berries) and leaves that form the most medicinally active part of the plant.

Many practitioners have their preference to which part of the plant they prefer to use, however all the latest studies show that it is the leaves that are most active. That is not to say the berries aren’t useful, hell no! It’s just a small tip that if you can source the leaves then do so, if not, that’s fine. In fact most products out at the moment contain only the berries or a blend of both, so sourcing a blend of both is by far the best.

Kidney Failure Treatment: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, But You Need To Know (Part 2)

kidney failure treatment

Today is part two of my three part series “Kidney Failure Treatment: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, But You Need To Know”. I hope you gained some valuable insights in the first article, but more importantly acted on those tips.

If you missed the first article, you may find it here: Kidney Failure Treatment Part 1

In today’s article I will be going through dialysis and transplants as a method of kidney failure treatment. These two treatments are the last resort that the medical community use, and rightly so, they can be extremely intrusive, costly, and complicated.

Each of these treatments comes with their own inherent risks and benefits, so it is important to understand what these are before making a decision that ultimately changes your life. As you would know by now I am an advocate of natural medicines over medical drugs and treatments, but that doesn’t mean I am anti-western medicine. I think there is a time and place for everything, and I believe that the fusion of western medicine with traditional medicine (natural medicine) is the best treatment possible for end-stage-kidney-failure.

Kidney Failure Treatment

Dialysis

Dialysis is always the first treatment presented to those with kidney failure – it is less intrusive and is considered easier on the client compared to transplant (though that is debateable).
There are currently two methods of ‘dialysis’, the most common being hemodialysis, the other known as peritoneal dialysis.

Kidney Failure Treatment: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, But You Need To Know (Part 1)

kidney failure treatment

As I begin to write this article I appreciate how difficult it must be for those diagnosed with kidney failure to understand their condition, research their condition, and find information on kidney failure treatment; because the fact of the matter is at first being given the news “you have kidney failure” there’s not so much as a discussion, but rather a “here are your drugs to take, and I have booked you in for dialysis 3 times a week for the rest of your life”.

The natural reaction would then be to consult Google for the answers you seek, but in your searches you are confronted with a myriad of riddles, or information that is either inaccurate, incomplete, or the opposite – information overload. Leaving you feel completely lost, helpless, and alienated.

You’re Not Alone
Now for someone like me who has had medical training within a naturopathic education, even I find it difficult to wade through all the information out there on the best approach to kidney failure treatment. And if you check out a number of the many great forums on renal/kidney failure, there are countless people, just like you, looking for others to understand where they are coming from, and to get helpful tips for their situation.

Today I wanted to briefly discuss kidney failure treatments that are available to you, and some of the things that you need to know about before commencing treatment. You see the problem with renal failure treatment is that it can be a tricky one to carry out. There are so many individual variables that influence what the best medication, dialysis, etc. to use (including natural medicines). And because of that, it can create a “landmine” scenario; you don’t what the next interaction or problem could be with the treatment you are receiving. Hopefully this post allows you to avoid this, and keeps you empowered through knowledge.

Kidney Problems: Chickens To The Rescue?

kidney problems

Chicken, the second most consumed ‘meat’ in the world – after goat – and has sparked the interests of the folk from The Ethics Committee at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil. After running extensive tests (over three years) the scientists have found that this feathered medium sized, relatively flightless bird (fowl), is the animal-protein source of choice for those with diabetic kidney problems (=diabetic nephropathy), and is comparable to its traditional treatment of Enalpril (=ACE inhibitor).

The benefits of low protein diets in chronic renal failure has become well documented, but now this study has shed some light on the fact that not all protein is created equal and a change of diet could prove just as powerful as a western medical drug. Here is how it all came about…

5 scientists in Brazil assembled a group of 28 outpatients with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria – Microalbuminuria is where the kidneys leak small amounts of protein (albumin), this is a risk factor for the development of more advanced stages of diabetic nephropathy – the age of the patients were aged between 30 and 75 years of age and being treated with insulin.

Two treatments were randomly selected for each patient:

1.      Experimental chicken diet for 12 months: Patients continued to eat the same amount of protein they were before the test, but replaced all meat with skinless chicken meat.

2.      Enalapril (10mg/day) for 12 months: ACE inhibitors are the traditionally the first line treatment for diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is simply kidney disease as a result of diabetes and can affect up to 40% of patients!

Renal Failure Edema: The Ultimate Guide

renal failure edema

As with any condition, learning how to manage and treat the symptoms is an important step to break-free and live a normal healthy life. In the case of renal failure symptoms, there are unfortunately many to contend with, but it is my hope that this post will serve as guide to eliminate one of the most common of them known as: renal failure edema.

Renal failure edema is a renal failure symptom whereby the kidneys are unable to excrete enough fluid, via the urine, to create a healthy internal balance.

There are many pharmaceuticals drugs (diuretics) and alternative therapies that can help improve urine flow and reduce swelling (edema), but the trick is getting the right one for your kidney disease symptom.

Unfortunately many diuretics can cause renal failure, or reduce kidney function as part of their side-effects… Doesn’t make sense does it?

This is not an exhaustive list by any measure, but the following drugs have been implicated with renal failure or decreased renal function: Spironolactone (Aldactone), Chlorothiazide (Diuril, Diuril Sodium), and Triamterene (Dyrenium). I would recommend asking your doctor next time you visit to double check the side effects of the diuretic that he or she has prescribed you. Otherwise, jump online at www.drugs.com to assess the side effects for yourself; and then bring up any concerns you have with your health care professional.

Note: Diuretic drugs can play a much needed role in the management of kidney disease, especially when a fast and much needed action is required. You just need to play it right, and play it safe.

Option Number 2 (or should it be number 1?)

Thankfully Mother Nature has some answers of her own! She has been busy the last few hundred million years formulating specific plants to provide the same benefits as drugs – the only difference being that there are virtually no side-effects.

That’s not to say you can take any at random, no that is definitely not the case, in fact you have to be just as careful prescribing natural remedies during kidney disease as you do drugs. The only difference is, is that when you select the appropriate plant, the side-effects are always less than the pharmaceutical drugs counterpart.

So What Are The Best Natural Treatment For People With Renal Failure Edema?

Herbal Medicine Tips

In no particular order, here are some of the best herbs to reduce renal edema and improve urination:

  • Celery seed: the is a fantastic remedy, one of the best, but those categorised with stage 3-5 kidney disease need to avoid it; it may be consumed freely as a part of your diet, but not as a concentrated supplement. The plant is also fantastic at treating gout, rheumatism and urinary tract infections.
  • Green tea: has been used as a diuretic in China for centuries, and is very safe. Green tea is also beneficial for atherosclerosis, prevention of cancer, high cholesterol, and infections.
  • Gravel root: a gentle herb used to eliminate excess fluid. Also beneficial for rheumatic conditions, prostatitis, urinary tract infections, and of course kidney stones (hence the name ‘gravel’ root).
  • Goldenrod: beneficial for both the kidneys and reducing edema, however this herb cannot be used in all stages of kidney disease (avoid in stages 3-5). Goldenrod is also an excellent herb for sinusitis, throat infections, cystitis, and flatulence.
  • Dandelion leaf (not to be confused with the root): is a well known diuretic for many centuries. This plant needs to be avoided in those with high potassium blood levels (hyperkalemia), and those with gallbladder problems.
  • Nettle leaf (not to be confused with the root): a great all round herb that is gentle, nutritious and helps heal the kidneys.
  • Juniper: this herb is excellent for eliminating fluid retention, but like celery seed it needs to avoided in cases where stage 3-5 kidney disease is present; also beneficial for rheumatism, digestion, and cystitis.
  • Butcher’s broom: This is herb is a great choice in those whose main contributing factor for fluid retention is poor circulation (which is common in renal failure).