What is Gravel Root?
Gravel Root is a very odd sounding name for an herb but it gets its name for its ability to clear gravel or stones from the bladder and kidneys. The herb also goes by its botanical name Eupatorium Purpureum and several other monikers like Queen of the Meadow and Joe Pye weed.
Gravel Root contains a solvent called euparin which helps dissolve gallstones and bladder stones and eases painful urination. It also has natural diuretic qualities that increase the quantity and frequency of urination and is generally considered to be a tonic for many urinary tract complaints.
- Gravel Root grows especially well in the Eastern part of the US where the ground is softer and moister.
- The root is typically used to make medicine though its leaves and its blossoms are sometimes used too.
- As well as its traditional use for urinary and renal conditions, it is also used for gout, back pain, rheumatism and cystitis.
Gravel Root Benefits
1. For Kidney Stones
Gravel root derives its name for its purported ability to break down stones in the kidneys and other organs of the body. Native Americans traditionally used it for this reason believing that it could soften and dissolve kidney stones and promote their easy passage through the system. Despite this traditional use, there is no modern scientific proof available to confirm that it works and the only real evidence is anecdotal.
2. For Gallstones
Gallstones are a common complaint affecting the gallbladder. They are not actually stones but hardened deposits which can accumulate in your digestive fluid. These crystalline deposits range in size from a grain of sand to much larger golf ball-sized stones.
In many cases, you may not even know you have them but they can become extremely painful and require surgery.
There is no scientific evidence that it will work but traditionally, gravel root has been used to dissolve these stones in the same way that it has been used to ease the passage of kidney stones and to prevent them from reforming.
3. For Gout and Arthritis
Gout is an extremely painful condition that is caused when an excess of uric acid build up in the joints. It can affect the joints in the entire body but is more typical in the feet especially the big toe. Traditionally gravel root has been used to cleanse the kidney and dissolve the build-up of uric acid though again.
There is no evidence that it works beyond the anecdotal. That is not to say that it is not very effective and despite the dearth of research, we can learn a lot from a long history of usage. As well as being used to relieve gout, gravel root has also been used for rheumatism and arthritis.
4. For Urinary Tract Infections
Gravel root has also famously been used for centuries to treat bladder infections and other conditions affecting the urinary tract. It has excellent natural diuretic abilities and a soothing, astringent effect on the urinary tract.
5. For Dogs
Gravel root not only has potential benefits for humans but it might also be beneficial for your beloved pets. Dogs often suffer from kidney stones and according to online testimony you can use gravel root to treat your pets naturally.
Available Forms of Gravel Root
Gravel root is most commonly taken in tea, tincture and capsule form. It is widely available online and in health stores around the country. Make sure that you buy your herbal products from a trusted source as the quality of your product varies widely.
Gravel Root Side Effects
Despite its potential benefits, you need to be careful when using gravel root. There have been reports of several side effects including stomach pain, nausea and liver problems when it is taken in excess.
According to Webmd, there are concerns around gravel root because it contains potentially dangerous chemicals known as hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids which may cause damage to the liver (1). It is certainly best to avoid using gravel root if you are pregnant or suffering from a pre-existing liver complaint and if you are in any way concerned, it would be wise to speak to your doctor before taking this or any other herbal remedy.