Response to the enquiry about “bitter melon and kidney” and “causes of kidney pain at night”.
I am posting the response here because of the important significance of kidney pain at night, the importance of kidney health, and the extensive discussion about kidney health in Chinese medicine.
Bitter melon as a vegetable and bitter melon tea are bitter, alkaline, and are considered a cool food, i.e., it is a cleansing and detoxing food for the liver, the kidney, and the blood.
Now let us talk about kidney pain at night. Chinese medicine places a lot of emphasis on kidney pain and there are specific herbs to cleanse the kidneys and to alleviate kidney pain. Eucommia as a medicinal herb and as Eucommia tea (du zhong, du zhong cha) is the specific herb to cleanse the kidneys and alleviate kidney pain. Eucommia tea is now widely available in Asian food markets.
The significance of kidney pain at night varies depending on the causes of the pain. If there is kidney pain, urination should be very weak. (1) The first thing to check is the color and the smell of the urine. If the urine is yellow or yellowish, if it smells and looks cloudy, if there is a burning sensation during urination, then they indicate possible internal “fire” or fever, infection, inflammation, toxicity in the kidneys, overwhelming acidity in the kidneys, weak kidneys, and weak kidney function. (2) The second thing to check is the softness and firmness of the bed. If you have been sleeping in the same bed on the same mattress for more than 5 years, THROW AWAY THE BED. Get a new firmer bed or sleep on the floor. Go get three or four $19-dollar rugs, place them on the floor and sleep on them. The Japanese and many Southeast Asians do not sleep on beds. They always sleep on floors. (3) When you get up in the morning, does the nighttime kidney pain go away? If it does, then THROW AWAY YOUR BED. (4) If the nighttime kidney pain does not go away after you get up in the morning, then the kidneys may have been compromised by kidney infection. (5) In this case, drink plenty of hot bitter tea like bitter melon tea, jasmine tea, chrysanthemum tea. Go check the herbal tea section in your neighborhood Asian food market and look for so-called “kidney health tea” or “kidney cleansing tea” or “kidney strengthening tea”. Drink them hot. Their taste will be bitter. (6) Greatly increase the intake of garlic, onion, chives, cranberry juice, vinegar (white distilled vinegar, not apple cider vinegar). (7) Start an exercise routine to make you sweat. Sweating is detoxifying and improves one’s health. Not sweating is very bad for health. (8) Try rolling a baseball bat over the sides of the waist, the sides of the stomach, and the sides of the lower back to see if you still feel the pain when you are awake. (9) If you feel some pain, it indicates weak kidney function or some kidney inflammation. (10) If you do not feel pain while you are awake, then THROW AWAY THE BED!
A general biotic like aspirin which thins the blood and fights infection and inflammation is a good remedy if you are not allergic to aspirin. Prescription antibiotics, especially those containing corticosteroids, must be adamantly avoided and rejected.
I personally prefer a gallon or two of cranberry juice, several shots of good whiskey or vodka (at leat 40% alcohol by volume), or some good quality Chinese gao liao (56% alcohol by volume). I may also try some bamboo liquor zhu yeh qing (47% alcohol by volume).
Kidney pain must be taken care of immediately. Lingering kidney pain indicates kidney infection, kidney stones, inflammation of the kidneys, all of which will affect urination and may lead to urinary tract infection.
Kidney pain at night might indicate kidney stones. Get the doctor to check the kidneys to see if there are any kidney stones. Then drink acidic drinks, jump rope, and find a good Chinese herbal remedy to get rid of the kidney stones.
Aciduria, acid toxicity in the kidneys, acid toxicity in the blood (acidosis*), and Renal Tubular Acidosis** may affect the kidneys at night during sleep.
*Page 654, Table, The Merck Manual of Medical Information
**Page 673, The Merck Manual of Medical Information
Renal Tubular Acidosis
The causes of renal tubular acidosis (Type 1 renal tubular acidosis) may be triggered by (1) autoimmune disease, certain drugs; (2) fructose intolerance, heavy metal poisoning and certain drugs (Type 2), and (3) diabetes, autoimmune disease, obstruction of the urinary tract (Type 4***). ***There is no type 3 renal tubular acidosis [Merck, page 673, Table]