It seems like every other day we hear about some of the other new herb or seed that can magically have many benefits for our physical well-being. They are popular because of their versatile nature- just sprinkle them on any salad or mix them in your morning smoothie and you are good to go. These are packed with nutrients and vitamins that your body needs. One such new name we hear is Chanca Piedra.
What is Chanca Piedra?
The scientific name of Chanca Piedra is actually phyllanthus niruri, but it is popularly known by some other names too, like “gale of the wind” or “seed-under-leaf” because of how unique it looks. It is a plant that originally grows in a tropical climate. It has been used from ancient times in Ayurveda science as a remedy and as a treatment for various ailments. Recently it is being packed and sold for the same purposes, mainly as a herbal remedy, under the name Chanca Piedra. The entire part of the plant –its leaves, stems, seeds and roots can be used. It also contains phytochemicals that have various uses. Let’s take a look at the 7 main benefits of Chanca Piedra:
Cure for kidney stone problems
Another name for Chanca Piedra is “stone-breaker” so you can understand! Chanca Piedra is alkaline in nature, which can help in preventing the formation of kidney stones, which are acidic in nature. Also, the common alternative, potassium citrate, which is the over-the-counter medicine prescribed for this purpose, is more expensive than Chanca Piedra. A study conducted by the Brazilian Society of Urology states that out of 56 people who took Chanca Piedra (4.5 grams of it) every day for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the size of their kidney stones. It also helps in regularizing urination and stopping kidney problems from developing.
Prevention of stomach ulcer
Test-tube samples have shown how Chanca Piedra can kill the bacteria and acids that cause stomach ulcers over a period of time. However, no conclusive studies have been found which can confirm that chia piedra definitively stops the formation of stomach ulcers in the form of oral supplements. In test tubes, the concentration of the Chanca Piedra would be very strong, but this can’t be true for oral supplements taken by human beings. However, Chanca Piedra’s alkaline nature should help.
Helps in managing high blood sugar
Again there are conflicting opinions on this because there is not enough research to prove that Chanca Piedra can definitively reduce blood sugar levels, but the high antioxidant content in Chanca Piedra can probably reduce the degree of high blood sugar.
Prevention of gall stones
Gallstones are made of excess cholesterol mostly, and sometimes due to excess bilirubin or excess calcium. They can cause great difficulty by causing vomiting, indigestion, nausea, stomach ache and sometimes even major and serious complications. There are no definitive studies to show that excess cholesterol can be reduced by Chanca Piedra seeds, but they do help according to age old Ayurveda science.
Reducing the chances of liver diseases
Free radicals can build up lots of unhealthy damage to your body if they continue to be produced unchecked. The anti-oxidant content in Chanca Piedra is very high, which destroys excess free radicals and keeps your liver very healthy. Hepatitis B anti-inflammatory viral infection of the liver which can be life-threatening if not treated well. The antiviral properties and the dense antioxidant content can control liver damage. However, there are not enough scientific studies just yet to prove this.
Reducing high blood pressure
Animal research studies indicate blood vessels can be relaxed by using Chanca Piedra seeds because of their nutritional qualities. Blood vessels, if constricted, can lead to life-threatening problems.
A possible cure for swollen throat and tonsils
Chanca Piedra seeds have been used traditionally to cure sore throat and tonsillopharyngitis that causes your throat to swell up due to too much cold or some viral infection. Consuming chanca piedra in a tea or a smoothie or in a ground form can show a significant decrease in sore throats.
Precautions and side effects
It is important to remember that some people have had severely unpleasant side effects to Chanca Piedra, including extreme nausea, vomiting and blood in urine, but there is no particular reason behind this. Also since it isn’t government regulated in its distribution, please make sure that you buy from a trusted source. Also, the human body, depending on other health conditions should have only about 4-5gms of Chanca Piedra in a day.
Can I consume it while being pregnant?
There is not enough scientific study to show whether you can, or cannot consume it while pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Since we don’t know for sure it is best to avoid it. Pregnancy is a delicate time when your body goes through many changes so it is better to be safe than sorry.
Ayurveda has always believed in the healing power of Chanca Piedra. However, it is important to remember that there is a lack of enough scientific testing to prove how Chanca Piedra works on humans. Most tests by Chanca Piedra have been done on animals, and they have been used in a high concentration. So the results on humans by oral consumption will certainly be different. Also if you do have any underlying health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, or other terminal diseases, you must consult your doctor before using Chanca Piedra.