- Cranberry is the most popular herbal remedy for bladder infections. Cranberry’s primary action is to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder. To stay in the bladder and cause infection, bacteria must adhere themselves to the cells of the bladder. Components in cranberry juice prevent this action. Drink 8-16 ounces of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice daily. Avoid commercial cranberry juice cocktail products. These contain little pure cranberry juice and have a high sugar content (high-fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners are added).
- Uva ursi (bearberry) is one of the best herbs to use. It promotes healing of the bladder and acts as a mild diuretic and antiseptic. It is effective against E. coli. Use the tincture amount in warm water and use in small amounts.
- The following herbs are natural diuretics, which increase urine output and remove irritations in the urinary tract: birch leaves, dandelion tea or extract, flaxseed tea, and hydrangea. Combinations of these herbs are often most effective in relieving bladder discomfort.
- Goldenseal cleans the urinary tract and is considered an herbal antibiotic. It is also good for bladder infections if there is bleeding. Caution: Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than a week at a time, and do not use during pregnancy. Do not give goldenseal to children under two. Do not use goldenseal without consulting a physician if you have had heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, a stroke, or high blood pressure.
- Echinacea tincture in water fights infection in the bladder
- Buchu tea is considered a urinary antiseptic and diuretic
- Marshmallow root helps to strengthen and cleanse the bladder. It increases the acidity of urine, inhibiting bacterial growth.
- Other beneficial herbs include burdock root, fennel, slippery elm, juniper berries, Joe-Pye weed, kava kava, rose hips, arrowroot, German chamomile, wheat grass (couch grass), gotu kola, grindelia, guarana, pipissewa, sheperd’s purse, watermelon seed tea, yarrow and yerba santa. Caution: Kava kava may cause drowsiness. If this occurs, discontinue use or lower the dosage. Do not use Joe-Pye weed during pregnancy.
- Alfalfa is good for inflammation of the bladder (cystitis) and also a natural diuretic
- Cornsilk strengthens and helps healing of bladder infections
- Golden rod tea is a natural urinary tract antiseptic
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially cranberry juice (see above). Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of quality water every day. This is extremely beneficial for urinary tract infections. Steam-distilled water is preferable to tap water.
- Include garlic and onions in your diet for their antimicrobial and immune-enhancing effects.
- Include celery, parsley, and watermelon in your diet. These foods act as natural diuretics and cleansers. Celery and parsley juice or extract can be purchased at a health food store or made fresh at home if you have a juicer.
- Take 2 teaspoonfuls of whey powder or 2 acidophilus tablets or capsules with each meal. This is especially important if antibiotic therapy is required.
- Avoid citrus fruits; these produce alkaline urine that encourages bacterial growth. Increasing the acid content in urine inhibits the growth of bacteria.
- Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, coffee, chocolate, refined or processed foods, and simple sugars during an active infection.
A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.
- Vitamin C: 1000 milligrams
- Bioflavonoids: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 25,000 IU during the infection. Caution: Vitamin A can be toxic in doses exceeding 15,000 IU daily and has been found to cause birth defects in doses of 10,000 IU daily when taken in early pregnancy. For this reason, the amount recommended here should be taken only under medical supervision, especially if you are a woman of childbearing age. Do not use this therapy if you are pregnant.
- Zinc: 50 milligrams. Caution: Avoid taking excess zinc and iron supplements until healed. Taking over 80 milligrams of zinc daily can weaken the immune system.
In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications. Such interactions can be dangerous. Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled. Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven. Consult your physician. Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking. Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs