Chanca Piedra: Uses, How to Make Tea & Side Effects

Updated in December 2023
Scientifically proven

Chanca piedra is a medicinal plant that can help to prevent kidney stone and gallstone formation (giving it its “chanca piedra” or “stone breaker” name). Because it is rich in alkaloids, flavonoids, triterpenes and lignins, chanca piedra also helps to protect the liver and improve constipation. This plant also contains diuretic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant and antispasmodic properties. 

Chanca piedra is scientifically known as Phyllanthus niruri and the parts of the plant that are most used include the flower, roots and seeds. These parts contain extracts with active substances that are used to prepare tea, or make tinctures or capsules. These can be purchased in natural health stores and some pharmacies. 

Although this plant contains many health benefits, chanca piedra should not substitute the treatment prescribed by a doctor. It should only be used under the guidance of a doctor or a medicinal plant specialist. 

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Common uses

Chanca piedra contains natural antioxidant, diuretic, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective, antiviral, antibacterial nad hypoglycemic properties. It can be indicated for: 

  • Kidney stones
  • Gallbladder stones
  • Water retention 
  • Cystitis
  • UTIs 
  • Heart burn
  • Constipation
  • Hepatitis B
  • Relaxing the muscles in the ureters or prostate
  • Diabetes, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance
  • Liver intoxication 
  • High blood pressure 

Chanca piedra should not substitute the treatment prescribed by your doctor, and should only be used as a complement to prescribed therapy. Use should be monitored by a doctor or medicinal plant specialist. 

How to make chanca piedra tea

Chanca piedra tea can be consumed to prevent kidney stones made up of calcium oxalate. It can also prevent pre-existing stones from increasing in size, as this plant contains properties that prevent crystal aggregation in the urinary tract.  

It is important to note that this tea does not treat or eliminate already formed kidney stones, and does not prevent kidney stones made-up of other substances. 


  • 20 g of chance piedra 
  • 1 liter of water 

How to prepare

Boil the water and add the plant. Allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain and drink while warm, preferably unsweetened. 

Other ways to use

Chanca piedra may start off with a bitter taste that turns smoothers. Other ways this plant can be used are: 

  • Infusion: 20 to 30 g per liter. Consume 1 to 2 cups per day. 
  • Decoction: 10 a 20 g por litro. Consume 2 to 3 cups per day 
  • Dry extract in capsule form: 350 mg, up to 3 times per day 
  • Powder: 0.5 to 2 g per day 
  • Tincture: 10 a 20 mL, divided into 2 or 3 daily doses and diluted in a small amount of water 

Chanca piedra use and duration should be oriented by a doctor or medicinal plant special. 

Possible side effects 

The most common side effects from chanca piedra use include abdominal pain, pain with urination, blood in the urine or nausea. 

In addition, chanca piedra can greatly reduce blood sugar levels and lead to hypoglycemia. This can especially occur in people who take medication for diabetes. 

Contraindications for use

Chanca piedra tea is contraindicated for children under 6 years old, and for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This tea contains properties that can cross the placenta and reach the baby, leading to spontaneous miscarriage. It can also enter breast milk and alter mik taste. 

You should not consume this tea for more than 2 consecutive weeks, as this can lead to the elimination of important minerals in the urine.