14. Gravel root
Gravel root grows in marshy areas and was used by Native Americans to treat various health problems. It has diuretic, alkalizing and anti-inflammatory properties. As a diuretic, it helps to rid the body of harmful toxins and excess water. As an alkalizing agent, it helps to change pH levels from acid to alkaline. It also helps to get rid of inflammation in the kidneys and contains euparin which helps to fight off harmful organisms.
Gravel root is often used to treat kidney stones, breaking them down and making them easier to pass. The name gravel root comes from its ability to get rid of the ‘gravel’ in the kidneys which are the small deposits that could become stones. It helps to dissolve the crystals that could be building up in your system. It also tones and stimulates the mucous membranes so that if kidney stones are passed, they cause less damage.
To make a gravel root decoction, put a teaspoon of the herb in a cup of water, boil and allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drink the decoction three times a day. You can also use a tincture, taking one to two ml three times a day.
Gravel root is considered to be safe, except for those who have an allergy to the daisy family (Asteraceae). You should consult a doctor before taking if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking prescription medications or suffer from a chronic illness. Kidney stones should be carefully monitored by a medical professional as they can cause damage.
Burdock is a large weed with heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers. Ancient civilizations used burdock to treat a wide variety of ailments. It was the dark roots that were used, not the leaves or flowers. Burdock is primarily used for its diuretic properties that increase urination, purifying the blood and helping to eliminate toxins. It can be very helpful in treating urinary tract problems. It acts as a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial, appearing to be useful in killing large colonies of bacteria.
When you do not drink enough water, urine becomes concentrated and stays longer in your kidneys, allowing bacteria to multiply. Frequent urination can help to prevent this which is why a diuretic herb like burdock is helpful in treating urinary infections. Burdock seeds are believed to help prevent the formation of kidney stones and to break down stones that are already present. The small fragments are easier and less painful to pass.
Burdock is available in different forms such as tinctures, teas, dried root powders, fluid extracts, and supplements. A decoction can be made by boiling the herb in water for 15 to 20 minutes. Some studies suggest that burdock in fermented form works best so consider choosing a fermented tincture. Some teas also contain fermented burdock. As research still has to be done, no single recommended minimum or maximum recommended dosage exists.
As with all herbs, burdock can be harmful to some people. Children under 18, pregnant women, people with a history of plant allergies and those taking blood thinners, diuretics or diabetic medications should avoid burdock root. Any people with chronic or life-threatening health conditions should consult with a doctor before taking burdock root.