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.”
But will this parsley remedy painlessly dissolve kidney stones?
What are kidney stones?
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.
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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