Chanca Piedra: Benefits, dosage, side effects, others you need to know

Chanca piedra is an herb that grows in tropical areas, like the rainforests of South America. Its scientific name is Phyllanthus niruri.

It also goes by a number of other names, such as:

stone breaker
quebra pedra
shatter stone
chance pierre

The plant has thin, leaf-covered branches and can grow up to about 2 feet (61 cm) tall. It gets the name “seed-under-leaf” because its seed pods, which bloom into small green flowers, grow beneath the leaves.

The entire plant — including the leaves, stems, and flowers — is used to make chanca piedra supplements.

As a supplement, chanca piedra is reported to help with a variety of conditions related to the digestive system, liver, and kidneys.

Supposedly, it contains phytochemicals — or plant compounds — that can increase urine flow, kill harmful bacteria and viruses, and relieve inflammation (1Trusted Source).

However, there’s little evidence that it’s effective.

Chanca piedra is available in teas, liquid extracts, capsules, or tablets.

Benefits and uses


According to some claims, chanca piedra may have several beneficial effects on different body systems. However, there’s little research to support these claims.

Kidney stones

Chanca piedra is best known as a potential kidney stone cure — which is how it earned the name “stone breaker.”

The herb is alkaline, so it may help prevent acidic kidney stones. It’s a less expensive, over-the-counter alternative to prescription potassium citrate, an alkalizing agent that’s commonly used to prevent acidic kidney stones. It may also help you urinate more (2Trusted Source).

In one study of 56 people with kidney stones who took 1 cup of hot water infused with an herbal sachet containing 4.5 grams of chanca piedra twice daily, researchers found that the kidney stones decreased in size and number in about two-thirds of participants (3Trusted Source).

What’s more, other small human studies have observed some benefit to taking chanca piedra for kidney stones (4Trusted Source).

Stomach ulcers


Chanca piedra extract can kill the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers from Helicobacter pylori in test-tube studies. However, this doesn’t necessarily translate to an oral supplement being effective against stomach ulcers in humans (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Test-tube studies like these typically involve highly concentrated extracts being applied directly to bacterial cells, which isn’t how oral chanca piedra supplements would work.

High blood sugar


In animal studies, the antioxidants in chanca piedra have been able to improve fasting blood sugar levels, which can help with blood sugar management (1Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean that chanca piedra would have the same effect in humans.

More research is needed to understand the effect of chanca piedra on blood sugar levels in humans.



For the same reason it may help with kidney stones, the alkalizing properties of chanca piedra may help prevent gallstones as well. It’s used in some traditional medicine practices as a gallstone treatment.

Yet, there’s no scientific evidence to support the use of chanca piedra specifically for gallstones.


Gout flare-ups can occur when high levels of uric acid build up in the blood. Chanca piedra may help balance out these levels and prevent gout attacks.

Some animal studies have shown a decrease in uric acid levels in animals receiving chanca piedra supplements (1Trusted Source).

Liver disease


Due to its antioxidant content, chanca piedra may improve liver function and help protect the liver from cellular damage caused by free radicals — unstable compounds that can cause damage when they build up in your body in high levels (1Trusted Source).

The herb also appears to be helpful for treating hepatitis B, an inflammatory viral infection of the liver — at least in animal and test-tube studies (1Trusted Source).

Because some other herbs in the Phyllanthus genus exhibit strong antiviral activity against hepatitis B — potentially rivaling that of the antiviral medication interferon — researchers theorize that chanca piedra may have similar effects (1Trusted Source).

Still, most of this research has been done in animal or test-tube studies. More human studies are needed to assess the effects of chanca piedra on liver health.

High blood pressure

Some animal research indicates that chanca piedra may help relax the blood vessels, which could lead to reductions in blood pressure (1Trusted Source).

Yet, one human study noted a slight, but not clinically significant, increase in blood pressure in participants while taking chanca piedra for 12 weeks. However, these participants saw a significant reduction in blood pressure over the 12 weeks after they stopped taking the chanca piedra (3).

It’s important to note that most of the existing research on chanca piedra has been done in animals or test tubes, using highly concentrated extracts.

Although there’s a small amount of evidence to support the use of chanca piedra for kidney stones in humans, larger and more rigorous human studies are needed to determine if chanca piedra truly has any benefits.

Side effects and precautions


In one human study, some of the reported side effects of chanca piedra supplementation included:

abdominal pain
painful urination
blood in the urine

Abdominal pain was by far the most common, with the others being much less commonly reported (3Trusted Source).

Chanca piedra may also reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so it should be used with caution if you’re on a blood pressure or blood sugar lowering medication (1Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that supplements aren’t regulated by any government organizations, so there’s little oversight to ensure that the label is an honest representation of what’s in the supplement.

If you choose to take chanca piedra, you should buy a supplement that has been independently verified for quality by a third party organization. Some of these organizations include ConsumerLab, NSF International, and United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

Dosage and how to take


In one human study that showed improvements in kidney stones, the daily dosage was 4.5 grams of chanca piedra infused in one cup of hot water twice daily for 12 weeks (3Trusted Source).

Chanca piedra pills or capsules contain anywhere from 500 to 1,600 mg of the herb per dose, and liquid extracts contain a similar amount.

It’s difficult to tell how much of the herb you would consume from tea, as the amount of the herb that infuses into the tea depends on the temperature of the water and how long the tea steeps.

Chanca piedra can be taken with or without food


There’s no research on the long-term effects of chanca piedra, so it may be wise to limit the time you take the supplement to 12 weeks or less — a duration that has been studied in humans (3Trusted Source).

Stopping and withdrawal


In the studies that have been done on chanca piedra, there doesn’t appear to be any risks to stopping the supplement suddenly. There are also no reported withdrawal symptoms.

However, because there’s a lack of research, it’s possible that some complications simply haven’t been explored yet.

If you’re experiencing any issues when stopping chanca piedra, be sure to consult a healthcare provider.



There’s not enough research available to suggest that chanca piedra overdose is possible.

Still, you should limit the amount you take to the daily dose on the supplement label, as there could be safety concerns with high doses of chanca piedra that haven’t been studied yet.



Chanca piedra has the potential to interact with several medications, including:

Lithium. Chanca piedra may make you urinate more, which can affect the way your body gets rid of lithium (3Trusted Source).

Blood pressure lowering drugs


The herb may lower your blood pressure, which can potentially lead to low blood pressure levels, especially in people who are already on blood pressure medications (1Trusted Source).

Blood sugar lowering drugs. Chanca piedra may decrease your blood sugar levels. If you’re already on insulin or other drugs that lower blood sugar, this can lead to dangerously low levels known as hypoglycemia (1Trusted Source).

Blood thinning medications. Chanca piedra may inhibit blood clotting, which can lead to severe complications in people who are on blood thinners (1Trusted Source).

Storage and handling


Chanca piedra supplements in any form — tea, extract, or pills — should be kept in a cool, dry place where they won’t be exposed to excessive moisture or temperature changes.

Most chanca piedra supplements have an expiration date that’s set about 2 years after production. To ensure potency and safety, use your chanca piedra supplements before they expire.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding


There’s not enough evidence available regarding the safety of chanca piedra during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Therefore, it’s best to avoid it while pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Be sure to consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about chanca piedra and pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Use in specific populations


Because little is known about chanca piedra, you should consult a healthcare provider before giving the supplement to children or adolescents.

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should also use this supplement with caution, as it may decrease blood sugar levels. In people who are already taking insulin or other blood sugar lowering medications, this could lead to hypoglycemia (1Trusted Source).

Because it may affect kidney function, people with chronic kidney disease or other kidney problems should consult a healthcare professional before using chanca piedra.

Some alternatives to chanca piedra for kidney stones include other alkalizing agents like sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate. Potassium citrate is most commonly used for kidney stones, and it’s available over-the-counter or in prescription strength (2Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

Because there’s so little evidence available about the effectiveness of this herb, you should consult a healthcare professional if you have any health problems that you feel chanca piedra may help with.


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