Kidney failure

arttulip(New Zealand)August 31, 2007

Do you know any herbal remedies for this or nothing will help?

Our friend on a hemodialysis now :(

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Well if I were on hemodialysis, I sure wouldn't be asking for tips from strangers on the internet! He may need a new kidney, but I'd let his doctor work that one out.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 5:38AM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

The kidneys filter the blood removing various toxic elements that are the byproducts of the normal metabolism of food and drugs. They also have important functions in controlling blood pressure and body fluids.

Kidney failure results from many causes most of which damage the actual cells and structures of the kidney. As the kidneys fail, various drugs will be prescribed to control blood pressure and fluids; special diets will be needed to reduce the filtering demands on the kidneys. Once the kidneys have failed, the blood needs to be filtered by a dialysis machine.

If your friend's kidneys have failed, you would not want to introduce any drugs, including herbal drugs, into his body as he will not be able to metabolise them and the dialysis machine may not be able to remove them. Even if you find an herbal remedy that has been extensively tested and found to be effective and safe, you should not use it without his doctor's knowledge and permission.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 11:59PM
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check out the link below on a kampo herbal medicine that has been used on a widespread basis in Japan with good results. I don't know for sure if it would help your friend, there are many different types of kidney disease with different causes. This study showed that Onpi-to (aka Wen-Pi-Tang) could dramatically slow the decline in pre-dialysis kidney failure. I don't know if docs in Japan use this once dialysis is necessary.

There are some relevant pages at I can add the term 'dialysis' to the search program, and it should generate a page specifically on that in a few days. Shrubmed is an index to the research on natural therapies; it makes it easier to find the research for a particular topic, but doesn't interpret it (the results for any one thing mentioned might be good, bad, or have no effect on what is being studied - Shrubmed only knows that the terms occured together).

Here is a link that might be useful: Clinical evaluation of kampo medication, mainly with wen-pi-tang, on the progression of chronic renal failure

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 8:20AM
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Here's a study that found yoga helps people undergoing hemodialysis.

"After a 12-week intervention, significant improvements were seen in the variables: pain -37%, fatigue -55%, sleep disturbance -25%, grip strength +15%, urea -29%, creatinine -14%, alkaline phosphatase -15%, cholesterol -15%, erythrocyte +11%, and hematocrit count +13%; no side-effects were seen."

Here is a link that might be useful: A modified yoga-based exercise program in hemodialysis patients:

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 8:25AM
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I'm not getting the same message from the study on Wen-Pi-Tang as apollog,

Based on the linked abstract (the study itself is in Japanese), a grand total of eight patients were involved. The authors reported "only a tendency to improve" in the "slope of the reciprocal of the serum Cr concentration plot against time" - this sounds like a highfalutin way of saying that the patients on the herb suffered a progressive decline in their renal function, only maybe not as rapid a decline as untreated patients. This apparently was not a double-blind controlled study, involved few patients and we can't tell what drugs the non-herb-treated patients got, so the study's results are questionable, to say the least.

Also, the person described by arttulip is already on hemodialysis and the study is on a different class of patients prior to hemodialysis so there's a lack of relevance on that basis.

Add to this the current well-founded worries about what the Chinese are adulterating their drugs and food products with, and you have a recipe for making a bad problem (kidney failure) worse.

The yoga sounds like a decent idea. Hard to see how it would hurt (unless you got a cramp from a yoga position).

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 10:39AM
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if you read my post, I said it dramatically slows decline. That is a common metric for kidney disease studies, as various kidney diseases tend to be progressive. I also made it clear that this was for pre-dialysis, and that I don't know if it is used once a person needs dialysis. I'm not prescribing for a friend of a friend that I have never met, I am discussing herbs that can help with kidney disease.

As far as your criticism of the size and design of the study, maybe. But that was merely one study on one formula. In China and Japan, those herbs are routinely used, both in the formula mentioned, and in other combinations. There are plenty of studies showing that the ingredients in Onpi-to can help with some types of kidney disease.

As far as the adulteration of Chinese products - yes, there have been problems. But there are some brands that have ISO QA/QC procedures and have not been plagued by problems. And the Japanese Kampo brands are regulated by the government and have the highest standards - Onpi-to is the Japanese equivalent of the wen-pi-tang.

Most vitamin C, as well as a good chunk of all the aspirin and antibiotics consumed in the west are now made in China.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clinical evaluation of kampo medication, mainly with wen-pi-tang, on the progression of chronic renal failure]

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 12:56PM
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I reread the abstract you are again linking to, and the authors still aren't using phrases like "dramatic decline", instead referring to "only a tendency to improve".

And it still involves a tiny number of patients and doesn't appear to be a placebo-controlled double-blind study - problems which would exclude it from serious consideration by specialists in much of the world.

Any links to quality studies (especially involving those already in renal failure) would be welcome.

"Most vitamin C, as well as a good chunk of all the aspirin and antibiotics consumed in the west are now made in China."

This is not reassuring. At least these products do not represent mixtures of herbs as is common in traditional Chinese medicine.

"What proportion of Chinese herbal remedies contain adulterants is not clear. Analysis of 2,600 samples in Taiwan showed that 24% were adulterated with at least one synthetic medicine. In a series in the USA it was 7%. The case reports showed that two or more adulterants were present in 14 of 15 Chinese herbal medicines.

There was one death reported in these reports, and at least six potentially life threatening events. Suspicion of adulteration was based not only on adverse effects, but suspiciously good efficacy. Chinese herbal medicines may work because of the adulterants."

Taking these medicines when they've been adulterated with prescription drugs denies the patient the knowledge necessary to help avoid harmful side effects and bad reactions with other medicines.

Being in renal failure (as described in the opening post) potentially makes one even more susceptible to adulterants.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:18PM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

I just started hemodialysis Aug 20. My doctors cut back some of my medications, but not all. They advised me to eat lightly but normally, there are no "forbidden" foods. But I was tlkd to watch my intake of liquids, no more than a liter and a half a day, that's about 6 cups. I don't mess with anything herbal. I don't even take aspirins.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 5:48PM
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