Chanca piedra long remained a well-kept secret,
though it was widely used in both Amazonian and
Ayurvedic medicine. While its name translates to
“stone breaker”, this herb may also protect the
liver, lower inflammation, help with diabetes, and
combat infections. Chanca piedra is part of a big
plant genus known as Phyllanthus. These
plants grow in tropical regions all over the world –
from China to India to the vast and largely
unexplored rainforests of the Amazon.
The “Stone Breaker”
Chanca piedra is
well-known for its use to dissolve kidney stones.
Research suggests it may also protect the liver,
fight infections, and lower oxidative stress and
inflammation. Plus, it contains some potential
cancer-fighting compounds that have yet to be
In Brazil, people call
it “Quebra Pedra,” which means “stone breaker” in
Portuguese. Some consider it an excellent remedy for
a range of kidney disorders.
Its use in Ayurvedic
traditional medicine is well-documented. In Ayurveda,
chanca piedra has been used for
- Jaundice and fever
- Skin diseases
- Digestive complaints (such as constipation,
pain, IBD, and indigestion)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (syphilis,
- Urinary tract infections
- Menstrual problems
Dissolving Kidney Stones
are deposits of minerals and salts that build up in
the kidneys or urinary tract. In clinical studies
with over 200 people with kidney stones, chanca
piedra (Phyllanthus niruri) reduced their
kidney stones, helping to clear the
minerals and salt deposits
Chanca piedra may truly
act as a “stone crusher.” According to rat and
cell-based studies, it might dissolve kidney
- Blocking the growth and the clustering of
salts that form kidney stones
- Dissolving already-formed kidney stones
- Clearing this dissolved mixture of salts and
minerals from kidney stones (uric acid, oxalate,
potassium, calcium, and magnesium) and helping
eliminate them by promoting urination
available evidence is limited but suggests it works.
More clinical studies are desperately needed,
but chanca piedra appears to be a promising herbal
remedy for clearing kidney stones naturally.
In clinical studies
with over 3.5k people, chanca piedra blocked the
growth and division of the hepatitis B virus,
reduced virus levels in the blood (HBsAg), and
recovered liver function.
However, in several
studies with over 1K people with hepatitis B,
antiviral drugs worked better than chanca piedra.
In a clinical study on
100 people with hepatitis C, chanca piedra
increased multiple important antioxidant compounds
(superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione,
vitamin C, vitamin E). It also decreased oxidative
stress and prevented liver damage.
In animal and cellular
studies, chanca piedra prevented liver injury
caused by toxins, drugs, or alcohol and protected
liver function by lowering oxidative stress and
blocking harmful compounds.
piedra has been used for reducing jaundice, a
yellowing of the skin related to liver problems.
What does chanca piedra
do to enhance liver function and reduce damage?
Overall, it may
protect the liver by:
- Decreasing enzymes linked to liver damage
- Reducing bilirubin levels, high levels of
which indicate liver disease
- “De-blocking” liver detox pathways; it
blocks an enzyme that reverses the detoxifying
process of glucuronidation (beta-glucuronidase)
- Increasing antioxidant enzymes (superoxide
dismutase, catalase, glutathione)
- Lowering oxidative stress and inflammation
To sum it up, chanca
piedra may help combat viral hepatitis, but
it’s probably not superior to conventional
antivirals. It may also help clear toxins and
support healthy liver function.
lowered high blood pressure in clinical studies
with over 1K people.
This benefit was
explored in detail in animal studies. In rats and
mice, chanca piedra had powerful lipid-balancing
effects; it reduced total cholesterol,
triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and
increased HDL cholesterol. Balanced blood lipid
levels are key to preventing heart disease.
In other studies on
rabbits, rats, and cells, chanca piedra reduced
blood pressure, prevented excessive platelet
clumping, relaxed blood vessels, and improved heart
It might also keep the
heart healthy by decreasing enzymes that signal
oxidative stress, heart or tissue damage (such as
dehydrogenase, creatine phosphokinase, and alkaline
All in all,
chanca piedra seems to be good for the heart.
It may lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart
damage while relaxing and protecting your blood
vessels. Clinical studies are still limited, though.
Chanca Piedra Side Effects & Precautions
One species of chanca
piedra – Phyllanthus niruri – is safe and
non-toxic. Common side effects are mild and include:
- Stomach pain
- Headache or dizziness
However, the other
species – Phyllanthus amarus – could be
toxic in high doses. It enlarged blood vessels
and caused kidney damage in rats and mice .
and women taking fertility-enhancing drugs should
avoid taking chanca piedra.
Traditionally, this plant was used for abortions and
may cause abnormalities with the fetus. It should
also not be taken while breastfeeding or by
children due to the lack of safety data in these
two populations. Although there is no clinical
evidence, chanca piedra lowered both male and female
fertility in mice.
doctor before supplementing with chanca piedra if
you are on medication.