How to beat CKD: The science

Improving kidney function if you have CKD isn’t a simple matter, here’s some help from traditional sources.

How to beat CKD
How to beat CKD

The extent to which any of us can ‘beat’ chronic kidney disease (CKD) is very much a personal journey. When I started to explore how to improve my kidney function, my first goal was simply to stop the decline. As my eGFR has increased, so have my goals. I’m currently working on a strategy to reach an eGFR of 75 (I’m now at 69 having risen from 53).

Central to this journey has been reading research papers and listening to the experience of others. Let me share some findings from a scientific paper, Current Approaches in the Management of Chronic Kidney Disease: A review by  Khan, Nasiruddin and Haque. This isn’t the best paper I’ve read on the subject, but it is one of a handful that lists traditional and alternative treatments that would be worth discussing with your doctor. I have derived great benefit from Danshen, also known as red sage (the scientific name is Salvia miltiorrhiza). The study states that

Botanical medicine can be used to delay the need for dialysis by treating the causes and effects of renal failure. 

With the exception of red sage, I haven’t used any of these substances as treatments. I present them here merely as a resource for anyone looking for signposts and not as recommendations. I do drink nettle tea for my general health and consume turmeric as a regular part of my diet.

green leaves in clear glass cup

The plant name comes first, the common name(s) in brackets:

  • Salvia miltiorrhiza (red sage, Chinese sage, tan shen, or danshen)
  • Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo, maiden hair tree)
  • Rheumofficinale (rhubarb)
  • Perila frutescens (bhanjira, ban tulsi, bhanjira, bhangra, jhutela)
  • Cordyceps sinensis (caterpillar fungus)
  • Curcuma longa (tumeric)
  • Beta vulgaris (chard)
  • Crataegus (hawthorn, thornapple, May-tree)
  • Astragalus membranaceus root (Milkvetch, locoweed, goat’s-thorn)
  • Tripterygium wilfordii
  • Ligusticumwallichii
  • Glycyrrhiza (liquorice root)
  • Urticadioica (stinging nettle seeds)
  • Orthosiphon stamineus (Java tea)
  • Centella asiatica
  • Capsicum

In due course, I will be writing about the science that supports or discourages the use of these plant products. In the meantime, I’d welcome feedback from anyone with personal experience of any of the above. Always remember to consult your doctor if you are considering to take any supplement or homely remedy.

Author: Stephen

PhD candidate in the scientific history mindfulness. Trained neuropsychologist and cognitive psychologist. Private research of how compassion and explicitly nondual meditation methods influence our physical and mental health. Stephen has decades of personal practice in spiritual and secular forms of meditation. Alongside the teaching and research of nondual methods, Stephen trains his own brain every day with Dzogchen based mind training.

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