Kidneys The kidneys are involved in several vital body processes including cleansing and filtering toxic wastes out of the blood and excreting them from the body in urine, controlling the balance of potassium and sodium in the blood, and regulating the amount of fluid in the body. If any of these functions break down the build-up of poisons in the body can become life threatening. The kidneys also help to regulate blood pressure, by means of the amount of water extracted from the bloodstream, and are helpful in the production of red blood cells. They are twin, bean-shaped organs located towards the back of the body on either side of the spine, protected by the lower ribs. They connect with the urinary bladder by means of two tubes called the ureters, which carry the urine produced in the kidneys to the bladder.

Essential oils have a profound effect on the kidneys, because the oils circulate in the bloodstream, and all the blood in the body passes through the kidneys twice in each hour. The dangerous practice of taking essential oils by mouth and even the use of excessive amounts on the skin (through which the oil is quite soon absorbed into the bloodstream) can overload the kidneys and cause damage to them.

Oils which are beneficial to the kidneys reach them in the same way, but obviously we need to be careful about the amounts used, keeping to the proportions, methods and quantities described.

Camomile, Cedarwood and Juniper have an affinity with the kidneys, and are valuable for their tonic effect on these organs, and for kidney infections such as pyelitis and nephritis. However, it cannot be stated too strongly that nobody should ever attempt to treat such infections by means of aromatherapy alone. All kidney ailments need prompt medical attention, proper diagnosis and supervision. By all means use the essential oils as first-aid until a doctor can be called, and continue with them parallel to any medical treatment, to strengthen the kidneys and help their recovery.

Diuretic essential oils increase the flow of urine, and can be helpful where there is retention of fluid, or when the body needs to get rid of a lot of toxic waste, but they should be used with care, and never for a long period. Over dependence on diuretics can not only mask serious conditions of the kidney which should be urgently treated, but is dangerous also because artificially increasing the amount of urine produced can disturb the mechanisms which control fluid balance, potassium/sodium balance, etc. The diuretic oils include the three already mentioned, and Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium and Rosemary.

See also entries for CYSTITIS and URINARY TRACT.

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Essential Oils