The Many Wonders of Chanca Piedra

Picture of a tropical beach with trees and light blue sky.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Imagine you contracted typhoid in the jungle a thousand years ago and you woke out of a delirium to find yourself laying on reeds in a dark cave, with an oval of blinding light at the opening. An indigenous medicine woman is trying to get you to drink a mysterious concoction out of a coconut shell. You sip and cough. She gestures sternly to drink the whole thing and you struggle to choke it down. You cough and sputter, hoping it doesn’t regurgitate and force you to taste it twice. You have vague recollections of this happening more than once. Days later you wake with a lightness. You can tell whatever befell you is gone. You are weak, but on the mend. What was that seeming miracle of a concoction?

It was probably Chanca Piedra. I’ve been raving about this herb for the last four years, maybe longer. I can’t even remember whether I initially bought it because I was noticing some tiny kidney stones or because I was having an uptick in gallbladder problems. Both things happened and Chanca Piedra is the answer to either condition. Either way, I have wanted to shout this herb’s praises from the rooftops. At the time, I felt like it saved me. I don’t take it unless I have a need for it, but I will never be without Chanca Piedra in my house.

What the heck is Chanca Piedra?

It’s a plant called Phyllanthus Niruri that grows in the Amazon and in other coastal and tropical areas. It’s pretty enough that I’d love to grow it in my house or garden. It’s known as “the stone breaker.”

What does it do?

Chanca Piedra has been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Here’s why you should use it too:

  • reduces fever
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases urinary frequency
  • stimulates the immune system
  • soothes inflammation in the respiratory tract
  • reduces swelling and water retention
  • breaks fevers
  • prevents anemia
  • relieves dizziness
  • increases recovery from bronchitis
  • reduces constipation
  • eases symptoms of asthma
  • boosts liver health
  • shrinks and prevents gallstones
  • reduces oxidative stress
  • increases appetite
  • reduces blood pressure
  • reduces symptoms of diabetes
  • prevents the formation of kidney stones
  • helps break down kidney stones

As you can see, if you have kidney stones or gallstones, Chanca Piedra will be your buddy. I can personally attest to its effectiveness in both of these, but your mileage may vary. There was a study that showed it didn’t necessarily break up kidney stones, but made them smaller and easier to pass. This has been my experience as well. When I noticed the tiny ones, I started on Chanca Piedra and have never gotten any larger ones.

My experience with Chanca Piedra

I have a long history with gallstones, which is probably what I originally bought it for. My doctors recommended surgical removal, like the rest of my family, but I chose to keep my gallbladder and fight the good fight (15 years later, I still have my gallbladder). I got to the point I could go months and only have an attack when I ate something that triggered my gallbladder. However, I haven’t had a gallbladder attack since I initially started taking Chanca Piedra. I used up a couple of bottles when I first started taking it, but then transitioned to not taking it unless my gallbladder starts acting up.

Lately, I’ve been using it to help with my asthma. When I remember to take it, my coughs are more productive and I have fewer asthma attacks. My biggest problem is remembering to take it.

When my mom died a couple of years ago, I didn’t take very good care of myself for more than half a year afterward. I got a case of bronchitis so persistent that it gave me pleurisy. I hadn’t had bronchitis or asthma in about 10 years and this came on like a freight train. Chanca Piedra and an asthma inhaler were my two main fighters. If you have similar issues, you may want to give it a go. Please note that this is not a substitute for medical care. If you are sick, it’s advisable to see your doctor and use supplements in accordance with your doctor’s advice.

Combine with other healthy changes

If you are thinking of taking Chanca Piedra for any of its benefits, it’s important to combine it with other healthy lifestyle changes. I have never been an advocate of popping supplements to cover symptoms but never dealing with the underlying issue. If we want to have a healthy life and actually heal an issue, we must combine our supplements with healthy, lifeward lifestyle changes. This is especially true with any kind of stone, such as gallbladder or kidney stones. Even with something like bronchitis that seems out of our control, we can clean up allergens, stop eating foods that increase phlegm and inflammation, do breathing exercises, increase our water intake, and more. Getting better takes the whole body and consciousness, not just pills to affect disparate parts.

Some side effects

Chanca Piedra can reduce blood pressure in those who already have low blood pressure and increase bleeding in those who are prone. It can also increase the risk of diabetes. All of these occur above the recommended dosage unless you have a sensitivity that makes them occur at lower doses.

Plants are real things with real properties that have an effect on the body. More is better does not apply here. As with medications, you should always stick to the suggested dose unless your doctor or pharmacist says you can go higher.


If you are planning to have surgery, you should stop taking this supplement at least two weeks before your scheduled date due to the risk of increased bleeding. Advise your doctor you have been taking Chanca Piedra and ask how long before surgery you should stop taking it. If your doctor doesn’t know, ask your anesthesiologist or pharmacist.

If you are on blood pressure medication, at risk for diabetes, or are prone to bleeding for any reason, you should ask your doctor before taking Chanca Piedra. Adjustments may need to be made to your medication and your doctor may want to monitor your blood pressure until they know whether you are okay on this supplement.

Have you ever taken Chanca Piedra? Share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear about your experience!

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Cindi Clinton

Cindi Clinton is a full-time writer for hire, specializing in articles and blog posts that help health and wellness companies connect meaningfully with consumers. Find her writing portfolio at
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