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Nephritis is also known as the inflammation of the kidneys. It can be both chronic as well as acute and is accompanied by pain in the kidneys, dull pain in the back, presence of blood in the urine, dropsy, rise in blood pressure, frequent urination and uremia.

The term Nephritis is used to denote a serious disorder of the kidneys which may be acute or chronic in nature. It is characterized by inflammation of the kidneys. This disease is more common during childhood and younger ages of life. If not treated properly in the initial stages, Nephritis may become more worse. When this disease becomes chronic in nature, the patient may feel a little better but not too well.

The major symptoms of acute Nephritis are pain in the kidneys which may extend down to the ureter, mild backpain, fever and urine may become scanty and highly colored. Many times urine may also contain blood and casts containing dumps of white and red cells which may be a result of damaged kidneys. Other symptoms may include swelling of the ankles and feet and puffiness of the face.

When this disease progresses to a chronic stage, large amounts of albumin is passed through urine. The patient may also suffer from frequent urination, high blood pressure and he may also develop uremia.

The main causes of Nephritis are use of suppressive drugs for former diseases, excessive alcohol consumption, faulty style of living and wrong dietary habits and habitual use of chemical substances for the treatment of indigestion and other disorders of the stomach. Excessive use of painkillers and aspirin may also lead to Nephritis. Many times this disease may also follow an attack of scarlet fever or throat infection. In many cases, deficiency of essential vitamins and trace minerals may be a cause of Nephritis.

The treatment for acute Nephritis should first commence by putting the patient on a short juice fasting for about nine days till the acute symptoms subside.  Juices of vegetables such as cucumber, carrot and celery should be used for this purpose. A warm water enema should be administered daily during this period for cleansing the bowels.

The patient may thereafter switch to an all fruit diet after the juice fast. During this period fresh juicy fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, peaches, pears and pineapple may be taken at an interval of five hours throughout the day. The patient may adopt a diet of raw goat’s milk and fruits after the all fruit diet for further six days. After this the patient may gradually embark upon a well balanced diet with more emphasis on raw and cooked vegetables and fresh fruits.

In case of chronic Nephritis, the treatment should commence by putting the patient on a short juice fast for about four days. The patient may thereafter adopt a restricted diet for about eight days. In this regimen raw vegetable salad available in the season may be taken during lunch and dinner may consist of one or two steamed vegetables and a few nuts. The patient may gradually embark upon a well balanced diet with more emphasis on fruits and vegetables.

These short juice fasts, followed by a restricted diet may be repeated at an interval of two months if there is improvement in the condition.

Foods such as tea, coffee, white sugar, white flour products, cakes, puddings, pastries, fleshy foods, fried foods, condiments, sauces and pickles should be totally avoided by the patient suffering from Nephritis. He should also avoid vegetables such as rhubarb and spinach containing large amounts of oxalic acid. Cocoa and chocolate also contain oxalic acid and so they should also be avoided. Daily intake of salt should also be eliminated from diet. It is necessary to take frequent small meals instead of few large ones. The patient should also give up smoking and drinking completely if it is habitual.

Natural cure for Nephritis:

The juices of carrot, celery and cucumber are highly beneficial for treating nephritis. Fruits such as apples, grapes, oranges, pears, peaches and apples are also recommended for treating this condition.

All foods containing oxalic acid such as spinach, rhubarb, chocolates and cocoa should be eliminated from the diet of an individual suffering from kidney inflammation.

Wild Yam root is an excellent natural remedy for treating Nephritis. Using wild yam root in the form of dietary supplement helps combat this condition effectively.

Avocados are an excellent natural remedy for treating this condition. Eat one avocado on a daily basis for about a month to cure this problem completely.

Take 1 glass of carrot juice and add 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp fresh lime juice to it. Take this daily on an empty stomach for best results.

Bananas are low in protein and salt content and high in carbohydrates. This makes them an ideal choice for patients suffering from Nephritis. It is recommended to take a diet comprising only of bananas for 8-9 days in order to cure this condition.

If you happen to be suffering from kidney inflammation, you must avoid smoking, intake of alcohol, white bread, tea, coffee, fried foods, sugar cakes, pastries, meat products, pickles, condiments and syrups.

Hot Epsom Salt baths improve the overall functioning of the kidneys and should be taken every alternate day for combating Nephritis.


Medical Notes

Much ado about spirulina


May 10, 2010, 5:35am

Q: What is spirulina? There are claims that it can cure certain diseases? Is this true? Has there been any research conducted, local (FNRI) or otherwise on the health benefits of spirulina?

A: Spirulina is a tiny blue-alga or plankton that naturally grows in warm water alkaline volcanic lakes. Like all plants containing chlorophyll, Spirulina is able to synthesize or manufacture nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals from water and air in the presence of sunlight.

Spirulina is a traditional food of many indigenous people of Mexico (i.e., Aztecs) and some African countries.  However, modern man has largely ignored the value of the plant until about 40 years ago when it was rediscovered by the public and some members of the scientific community. At present, it is available commercially in tablet or capsule form in many countries including the U.S., Japan and the Philippines. Its principal use for which it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is as a food supplement.

Nutrient analyses of Spirulina are very revealing. It contains 55 to 70 percent protein, four to seven percent fat including the essential fatty acids linolenic and linoleic acids, 15 to 25 percent carbohydrate, considerable amounts of vitamins especially provitamin A, Vitamin E and the B complex vitamins (it is reportedly the world’s richest natural source of vitamin B-12), and traces of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. Spirulina is easy to digest, thus, it is a remarkable source of nutrients for humans.

Recently, Spirulina has been gaining more attention because many anecdotal reports and some scientific studies—mostly on animals—have suggested that aside from its nutritional value, it has some therapeutic effects. Incidentally, these scientific studies were conducted abroad. I have not come across a study that has been done in the Philippines.  In any case, the studies are preliminary and by no means conclusive, but they indicate that Spirulina can help (with emphasis on the word help) shrink and prevent cancers, fight some viral infections, strengthen the body’s immune system and prevent anemia.

Spirulina may help regress and prevent cancer because some common forms of cancer are the result of damaged cell DNA and in vitro studies show that Spirulina enhances repair of damaged DNA. Furthermore, studies on animals with induced cancer report high levels of suppression of the malignancies after being fed whole Spirulina or treated with its water extracts.

Another in-vitro study using a purified water extract from Spirulina called Calcium-Spirulan indicates that the alga has some anti-viral activity because it inhibited the replication of HIV-1, herpes simples, human cytomegalovirus, influenza A virus, mumps virus and measles virus.

Spirulina evidently perks up the immune system. Several studies have shown that feeding animals with Spirulina increases the number and the activity of these animals’ protective cells against germs and parasites.

Chinese scientists have suggested that Spirulina can help prevent anemia because they have documented the presence of phycocyanin in Spirulina. This is a chemical that stimulates red blood cell formation much like the hormone erythropoetin (EPO) does.

All told, I am convinced that Spirulina is indeed a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals and that it is can serve as a good nutritional supplement for optimum health and wellness. But I seriously doubt whether on its own, it can prevent, much less cure, any disease, encouraging preliminary scientific evidence notwithstanding. If at all, it can simply help prevent some chronic diseases in the same way that other plant-derived antioxidants do.

By the way, there is a group in our country—the Spirulina Foundation of the Philippines—that is dedicated to producing the alga in massive quantities by scientific cultivation.

(Email inquiries on health matters to:

You are What You Eat


May 10, 2010, 5:32am

Many of us must have experienced once in our life meticulously removing onion strips or rings from our dish. Some simply don’t want the taste while others wouldn’t want the bad odor it will leave in our mouth. The pungent smell it brings about is due to its sulfur-containing compounds; but onions can’t simply be neglected for its health-promoting effects.

Onions are known for its chromium content, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin, and numerous flavonoids, most notably quercitin. However annoying its smell is, onions deserve a high degree of respect when it comes to considering good health that it can bring about.

By its smell, one would immediately think that onions can easily irritate the gastrointestinal tract and would not be good at all to consume, but on the contrary, onions can actually support gastrointestinal health.

Some scientists have looked into the positive association of onion consumption (twice or more per week) with reduced risk of developing colon cancer. The quercitin in onions was seen as able to halt the growth of tumors in animals and to protect colon cells from the damaging effects of cancer-causing substances.

For this reason, it has been recommended to cook meats with onion to help reduce the amount of carcinogens that may be produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Anti-cancer properties

In human studies, quercitin helped reduce the size and number of pre-cancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract (research published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology).

Another interesting thing about onion is its ability to be of help in lowering blood sugar levels. Clinical evidence suggests that an active substance in onion (allyl propyl disulfide) helps increase the amount of free insulin available. The active substance actually competes with insulin to occupy sites in the liver where insulin is inactivated. This then results in an increase in the amount of insulin available to lead glucose into cells bringing about decrease in blood sugar levels.


As onion is a good source of the mineral chromium, this makes onion a good friend to diabetics. Different researches have shown that chromium can decrease fasting blood sugar, improve glucose intolerance and even help decrease blood levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing “Good Cholesterol” levels.

Natural food preservative

These days, there is another interesting goodness that we should know about onions: onion extracts are now being studied as potential natural food preservative. The anti-microbial and antioxidant activity of compounds derived from onions may slow spoilage of foods by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, says a new study from Spain.

What makes onion a good candidate for use in food preservation is the anti-microbial properties of its flavonoid contents. Researchers are looking into onion’s ability to delay factors that cause spoilage of foods like margarines and mayonnaise. In the study, it is the yellow onion variety that has the highest flavonoid content and antioxidant property, and that it exhibited anti-microbial properties. Having such property, onion extract can enhance the stability and preservation of foods. Interesting isn’t it? When we have all thought that the best preservative for foods are salt and sugar, now comes a better alternative.

Having known all these beneficial things from onion (and its extract), the next time you see this humble vegetable in the supermarket, smile and get a handful of it. It will help preserve not only your foods but also your health.

(Email author at


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