Background: Kidney stones are one of the longest known and most common diseases in the urinary tract, with a prevalence that ranges from 1% to 20%. Many phytotherapeutic and herbal medicines have been described for the treatment and prevention of kidney stones.
Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a comprehensive review of publications on various phytotherapeutic and herbal medicines, including both clinical and animal studies.
Results: Phytotherapy may influence the risk of recurrence of calcium oxalate and uric acid stones. The most solid evidence relates to Phyllanthus niruri, one of the most studied phytotherapeutics; findings suggest that it interferes with calcium oxalate crystallization, reduces hyperoxaluria and hyperuricosuria, and increases the efficacy of shock wave lithotripsy due to reduced crystallization, without significant adverse effects. Theobromine has been shown to reduce the crystallization of uric acid in patients and appears to be a promising supplement to treat such stones.
Conclusion: Many phytotherapeutic and herbal agents have been studied for the treatment of urolithiasis, most of them only in a small number of patients or in animal models. Further randomized clinical trials are needed to evaluate the effects of these agents on kidney stones.
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