Nephritis refers to an inflammation of the kidneys. It is a serious condition and may be either acute or chronic. A synonym for nephritis is “Bright’s disease,” for Bright (1789-1858) described examples of many different diseases which can be included under the term.
This disease most often strikes during childhood or adolescence. It can become progressively worse and result in death, if not treated properly in the initial stages. In the alternative, it may subside into a chronic stage where the patient gets better but not too well.
The main symptoms of acute nephritis are pain in the kidneys extending down to the uterus, fever, dull pain in the back and scanty and highly coloured urine. Often the urine may contain blood, albumin and casts consisting of clumps of red and white cells, which come from damaged kidneys. The patient suffers from puffiness in the face and swelling of the feet and ankles.
In the chronic stage of nephritis, which may drag on for many years, the patient passes large amounts of albumin in the urine. Later there may be rise in blood pressure and the patient may develop uremia. There may be frequent urination, especially during night.
Nephritis usually follows some streptococcus infection of the throat or an attack of scarlet fever or rheumatic fever. The underlying causes of nephritis are however, the same as for diseases of the kidneys in general, namely wrong dietary habits, excessive drinking, the suppressive medical treatment of former diseases, the habitual use of chemical agents of all kinds for the treatment of indigestion and other stomach disorders and frequent use of aspirin and other painkillers.
Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to nephritis. The disease has been produced in many species of animals by diets deficient in the B vitamin, choline. Animals lacking essential fatty acids and magnesium also develop nephritis. When vitamin B6 and magnesium are under supplied, the kidneys are further damaged by sharp crystals of oxalic acid combined with calcium. Nephritis also occurs if vitamin E is deficient.
The safest treatment for acute nephritis is fasting. By means of the fast, the toxins and systemic impurities responsible for setting up of the inflammatory kidney conditions are removed rapidly. The patient should resort to juice fasting for seven to ten days till the acute symptoms subside. Mostly vegetable juices such as carrot, celery and cucumber should be used during this period.
A warm water enema should be taken each day while fasting, to cleanse the bowels of the toxic matter being thrown off by the self-cleansing process resulting from the fast.
After the juice fast, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for four to five days. Juicy fruits such as apples, grapes, oranges, pears, peaches and pineapples should be taken during this period at five-hourly intervals. After the all-fruit diet, the patient may adopt fruits and milk diet. In this regimen, milk, preferably raw goat’s milk, may be added to the fruit diet for further seven days. The patient may thereafter gradually embark upon a well- balanced low protein vegetarian diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw and cooked vegetables.
In case of chronic nephritis a short juice fast for three days may be undertaken. Thereafter, a week or 10 days may be spent on a restricted diet. In this regimen, oranges or orange juice may be taken for breakfast. Lunch may consist of a salad of raw vegetables which are in season, and dinner may consist of one or two vegetables, steamed in their own juices and a few nuts.
Thereafter, the patient may gradually adopt a well- balanced low protein vegetarian diet.
Further short juice fasts followed by a week on the restricted diet should be undertaken at intervals of two or three months until such time as the kidney condition has shown signs of normalization.
The patient should avoid vegetables containing large quantities of oxalic acid such as spinach and rhubarb. Chocolate and cocoa also contain oxalic acid and must not be used. Garlic, asparagus, parsley, watercress, cucumber and celery are excellent vegetables. The best fruits are papaya and bananas. Both have a healing effect on kidneys. A small amount of soured milk and home- made cottage cheese can be included in the diet. All salt should be eliminated from the diet. Five or six small meals should be taken in preference to a few large ones.
A glassful of carrot juice mixed with tablespoonful of honey and a teaspoonful of fresh lime juice is a very effective home remedy for nephritis. It should be taken every day early in the morning before breakfast.
Bananas are also valuable in nephritis because of their low protein and salt content and high carbohydrates content. In this condition, a diet of bananas only should be taken for three or four days, consuming eight to nine bananas a day.
Smoking and drinking, where habitual, must be completely given up. Studies have shown that smoking impairs kidney function. The patient should avoid white bread, sugar, cakes, pastries, puddings, refined cereals, greasy, heavy or fried foods. He should also avoid tea, coffee, all flesh foods, condiments, pickles, and sauces.
All measures should be adopted to relieve the kidneys of work by increasing elimination through other channels. Hot Epsom salt bath should be taken every alternate day to induce elimination through the skin as much as possible.
Fresh air and outdoor exercises will be of great benefit in all cases of nephritis and where possible, the patient should have a walk for atleast three kilometers once or twice daily. The sufferer from chronic nephritis should never exert himself when doing anything. He should avoid all hurry and excitement. He should also avoid late hours.
If the above treatment is faithfully carried out, the patient of acute nephritis should soon be on the way to recovery. Even in advanced cases of chronic nephritis, the sufferer’s condition should improve with this treatment.