This week, Jill answers a frequently asked question Chanca Piedra and its ability to break up stones.
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Who is Jill Harris?
Jill is a nurse and health coach that specializes in educating patients on kidney stone prevention. For more than 20 years she’s helped patients understand that kidney stones can be prevented with the right treatment plan. It’s one thing to be told to lower oxalate or drink more water, but HOW do you do it? That’s where she comes in. Through the educational resources at kidneystonediet.com, stone formers can learn everything they need to know to significantly lower new stone risk.
Who is Jeff Sarris?
Jeff’s co-founder of SPYR, a branding agency based out of Chicago, where he and his business partner Dave help awesome people like Jill create online platforms that make an impact. He’s also a certified health coach, Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and host of the Starting Now podcast.
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Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show about reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris. I just messed up and pulled down the wrong audio. I couldn’t hear you. No one could hear you for a second. We just heard the last note of what you said. That was my fault!
Jill Harris: Well, anyone listening is like, “We needed a break. Fine by us!”
Jeff Sarris: I pulled up the voicemail channel, instead of your channel. So that was my mistake! But, actually, since I’m bringing that up, if you have a question in the future 773-789-8763. It’s plugged right into my little mixer board here, so it’s nice clean audio. We’d love to have your voice on the show. But, yeah, so, who are you?
Jill Harris: Hey, I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention nurse. And here’s the deal: Jeff and I just believe in just rolling because you know what? Life ain’t perfect. It’s messy and so when we screw up here, we don’t care. Welcome aboard, people!
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, we want to make the best show possible, but we’re not pretending that we’re perfect in any way. Like this is just real life.
Jill Harris: Well, as soon as they see me, they get the feel of the show.
Jeff Sarris: So, we’re actually gonna go for a big topic today. This is one that isn’t coming from a voicemail. This is one that’s sort of a common question in the space. And do you want to just sort of take it from here?
Jill Harris: Yeah, so a lot of haters! Boy am I gonna get–and speaking of haters, and lovers, and everything, we’re getting a really robust community. Feel free, no matter what you believe, about this video to comment. I will address even the people that say, “Jill, I don’t know about this. I don’t know about this. And I don’t know because Chanca Piedra, it helped me. It sure did. It took my kidney stone and it pulverized it!” So, Chanca Piedra, is an herb and many people swear that it broke up their stone. Just broke it up, broke it up.
And so, when I say that there’s absolutely–there’s a couple studies here and there that show that it can dilate the ureters and maybe help it pass. The research isn’t so great around that. Now, people are going to think, “Oh, she’s– just because it’s an herb and she’s selling something. I want to do something natural.” Let me tell you what, this is what I always say and this is why I don’t want any friends: there’s nothing more natural than what we’re asking you to do. We’re asking you–hold on, hold on. Oh my god.
Jeff Sarris: Speaking of rolling with it!
Jill Harris: I swear to God. What a show this is gonna be!
Jeff Sarris: For anyone who’s listening, the camera just went up for a second, but we’re back!
A (Better) Natural Way to Prevent & Treat Kidney Stones
Jill Harris: Here we go! I don’t want you to feel shame about that mistake. I thought that I would make one, too. So, the chanca piedra–there’s not the best research–I don’t remember what I was just saying about it. There’s not the best research to support much of anything. We need more research. Oh, I know what I was gonna say. You’re gonna say, “Oh, well, it’s because she’s selling something. I want to do it naturally.” There’s nothing more natural than changing your diet. I’m asking you to eat better foods, lower your salt, lower your added sugar, drink more fluids, get enough calcium to lower oxalate and also to keep your skeleton functioning, and don’t overeat meat.
And then the oxalate portion of this is don’t eat spinach and almonds all day. So what I’m asking–it couldn’t be more natural than what I’m asking. “Well, she’s selling something, though, that Kidney Stone Prevention Course!” You don’t have to buy the course. You just stay right here on YouTube and get all this information for free. So this isn’t about business. This is about: there’s not enough science anywhere to say that Chanca Piedra is a fix-all for kidney stones. If that were true, why would we have all these ER visits every year, over a million, for kidney stone formers.
Everybody would just burn this leaf, smoke this leaf, drink this leaf; they would take the pills. Chanca Piedra just translates to “stone breaker,” so everyone always has this idea that it’s going to break up their stones. It does not break up stones. The only stones that can be broken up are uric acid stones, and uric acid stones can be broken up by alkalinizing your urine by, typically, products like Moonstone, or LithoLyte, or potassium citrate. These products can make your urine more alkaline, that will inhibit crystals from growing, and also can help break up uric acid stones. Uric acid stones are the only stones that can be broken up.
Otherwise, you need lasers and guess what, guys? Sometimes those lasers, those surgeries, don’t even break up the stones all the way. So, would I ever suggest that a patient don’t do anything, except Chanca Piedra? Absolutely not. Would I say never try it? No. I mean, if you want to buy it, buy it. Who am I? You’re grown! Buy it, that’s fine, but don’t be thinking that’s a kidney stone prevention aid. And what I get upset about is all these products that say they do something, and we spend our money–and you’ve got to remember, I’m a patient with my own medical stuff, my cancer stuff. I’m in remission, but the last thing–when I was going through all my cancer stuff, I went to naturopaths, nothing against them, but I’m just saying all the supplements, I was spending hundreds of dollars a month and all these things that I thought would take away stuff.
So, it’s not like I don’t understand when you’re scared, you will do absolutely anything to take illness away. It’s not like I haven’t been there. I hear you. It’s not like I’m against it. I’m just saying it’s not going to break up your kidney stones. And for all the people that say I took Chanca Piedra and I passed my stone, was it also because you were drinking so much water? Were you moving around? Was it just that–I don’t know. Let me see something. I had a stat on this one time in my life. I think it’s like, I don’t know, it’s a very high percentage of kidney stones, that they’ll just spontaneously pass when they’re damn well good and ready to do it. So was it Chanca Piedra or was it just your stones time?
So, most stones pass. If it’s under five millimeters, it most likely will pass. Believe me. Some people will have to still have a surgery if it doesn’t. Some people have passed bigger ones, so I’m saying most, okay? But the Chanca Piedra, why I get upset about it is people start spending all their money, you may not have money, and now you’re spending on something that you think is going to break up a stone. It’s not. Anybody who has passed the stone while taking this herb, like I said, maybe it was just stone’s time to pass, you were drinking copious amounts of water, you were exercising, you were moving. There’s a lot of different reasons that it could have passed.
Could it have helped dilate your ureters? It could have, it could have. But there’s not enough research to show that this is true. So, what I will say if you want to take it, good luck and God bless. That’s absolutely fine. I don’t have a problem with it, but do not spend a lot of money thinking that that is–the other reason why I get a little red-cheeked is because people think that’s the only thing they need to do. That makes me upset. It’s not going to prevent new stones. The Kidney Stone Diet, lowering your sugar–added sugar–salt, getting your calcium, lowering meat protein, getting enough fluids, not eating spinach and almonds, that’s going to prevent kidney stones. And sometimes you may need medications, but don’t think Chanca Piedra is something to prevent kidney stones because it does not.
Look, maybe they’ll do more clinical trials, maybe they’ll find out something about it. And if they do, I’ll be the first one to say, “Everybody take Chanca Piedra!” You’re still gonna have to be in the diet, though, so you don’t get new stones. So, it doesn’t affect, if you just want to be crass about it, it’s not affecting my business. So don’t think, “Oh, she don’t want us to do that because it’ll affect her.” It’s not going to affect my business. I just don’t want you to spend more money that you don’t necessarily need to spend. If there’s a good study that someday says, “Look, we took all these people and showed that stones just went poof,” then I’ll say, “Everybody, take it!” Why wouldn’t you? But that’s not going to happen.
So, that’s my two cents. Again, this is my humble opinion. A lot of people in the kidney stone world will also have their humble opinion, which is the same as mine, but if it worked for you, please say something about it in the comments. If it didn’t work for you, please say something about in the comments. I look forward to reading your comments and, again, it’s a great way to boost the community here at the Kidney Stone Diet YouTube channel. So, all about that.
Also, we’re 210 members away, so if you watch this five years down the road, this won’t apply. What we’re trying to do right now is get 5000 subscribers. So, press the red button to subscribe. If you do that, and we haven’t gotten to 5000 subscribers yet, email me and say, “Jill–” at firstname.lastname@example.org– “I subscribed to the YouTube channel. You still didn’t have the 5000, so I’d like to be entered for the raffle to get a free consult with you.” So, subscribe. I bet the next batch we do, Jeff, we’ll have our 5000. That’s gonna be really exciting. We have the best community in the whole wide world right here.
Jeff Sarris: Oh, yeah, absolutely! Everyone’s so supportive. Like, there’s the Kidney Stone Prevention Group on Facebook, where everyone is there sharing. It’s more than just kidney stones, it’s the shared life experience that everyone can connect over, which is hugely valuable. Just like your group calls within the Kidney Stone Prevention Course, people are able to connect because not everyone in our lives has experienced maybe what we’re going through, but you know, everyone here, everyone within the community has or is going through it now. So it’s hugely valuable all around.
Jill Harris: It’s very helpful when you’re going through any kind of illness to find other people that understand you. I found that with my stage four rectal cancer. And you guys who are watching, you who is watching, when you have kidney stones, it’s like, your husband may be sick of hearing and about almonds and spinach. Or your wife is like, “Oh my god, I can’t use salt in the cooking anymore? What the heck!” I mean, so they may get tired of it. There’s many different reasons why they’re like, “Oh!” Or they feel so bad because they really don’t know how to help you. There’s many different things.
So, it’s really helpful, and why I’m such a big believer in community, whether it’s on Tik Tok or Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, wherever. I believe in community, especially when we’re sick because you are with like-minded people. You’re with people who are trying to do the same changes that you are. And, look, it feels good to be supportive and it’s helpful. You feel like you’re not in this alone and that’s an important part of life anywhere, for all of us as human beings. I’m a big supporter of community. I love it, especially around illness. It’s very important.
Jeff Sarris: Finding our people, it’s such an important part of life.
Jill Harris: Finding our tribe!
Jeff Sarris: Absolutely, on that note, just one more time, the phone number is 773-789-8763. If you want to add your voice to a future episode, we’d love to feature you and answer your question. Sometimes we have these other episodes where they’re sort of frequently asked questions because we do–well, Jill,–I’m just here for the show. But Jill gets questions every day and sometimes we might just not get them in a voicemail, so we want to pop these in to make sure that the right information is getting out.
If you have any questions whatsoever, whether you leave a voicemail, whether you pop in the Facebook group and ask it, there’s a good chance that we will address it on the show because we want to help as many people as we possibly can.
Jill Harris: That’s our goal.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, so thanks again for listening, and we will see you next time!
Jill Harris: Thank you for being here!