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Parsley tea won’t ‘painlessly dissolve’ kidney stones – get professional medical advice instead

A message posted on Facebook in Nigeria gives a recipe it says will “dissolve” kidney stones – “without pain”. 

It claims drinking a tea of boiled parsley leaves, without eating or drinking anything else for 24 hours, is a “remedy for kidney stones”.

The recipe is: “Boil 1kg of parsley (leaves only) in 1.5 l of water, until remaining 1liter of tea.”

But the message ends with a disclaimer: “Note: it's very effective but I have tasted it but never this remedies I post make you to disregard your doctor or not go for medical test and scan when need be.”

Parsley is an herb from the Mediterranean region. It’s used, fresh or dried, to flavour and garnish food.  

But will this parsley remedy painlessly dissolve kidney stones?


What are kidney stones?

Our kidneys are two organs, one on each side of the spine, below our ribs and behind the stomach. They filter blood and remove waste from our bodies.

Kidney stones, hard crystals made up of salt and minerals, form in the kidneys. But they can start developing along any part of the urinary tract – the parts of the body that produce, process and store pee. 

Symptoms of kidney stones include pain in the lower back, blood in the pee, pain while peeing, and fever. 

The Cleveland Clinic in the US says we may pass smaller kidney stones without even knowing it. But sometimes, peeing out kidney stones can cause pain.

Drinking a healthy amount of water may allow us to pass the stones. But be careful not to drink too much water

It’s possible that the remedy may help us pee out small kidney stones, because it means drinking a litre of liquid in 24 hours. But the parsley has no effect.

For bigger kidney stones, we may need surgery.

Visit a doctor to get proper treatment

We asked Babatunde Salako, a professor of nephrology and consultant at western Nigeria’s University College Hospital in Ibadan, for his opinion of the remedy.

“I do not recommend this treatment,” he said. “There are medical and surgical treatment options available for kidney stones, depending on the size of the stone.”

He added that lithotripsy could be used to break down kidney stones too big to pass into smaller pieces. “Otherwise the patient will have to undergo surgery.”

Salako said people who thought they had kidney stones should see a doctor as soon as possible. Without treatment, the stones could block the urinary tract. This could lead to serious conditions such as kidney failure

The US National Kidney Foundation suggests six ways we can prevent kidney stones.

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