If you’ve ever suffered from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) you know how uncomfortable it can be. If left untreated, UTIs can advance to a more critical and dangerous situation if the bacteria spreads to the kidneys. Even though I’m a big proponent of using antibiotics sparingly due to the issue of antibiotic resistance, this is a case where antibiotics need to be used.
However, with that being said, there are several herbs that can help address the early stages of a UTI, so it never gets that bad. And if you get recurring UTIs, herbs can be particularly helpful – so you don’t have to turn to antibiotics every time.
Herbs to Use for UTIs
At the first sign of infection, start consuming the following herbs as much as possible. The key is consistency here.
Corn Silk: I have always found corn silk to be the most effective when treating UTIs. Corn Silk is useful in any kind of urinary irritation or disorder, as it both soothes and tones the urinary tract at the same time. It can be used to treat cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis and oedema.
Damiana: Drink very strong damiana tea regularly. I’m talking half of a bag of dried damiana in a big brew. Damiana is an amazing kidney tonic and is a mild diuretic so it helps flush out your system.
Uva Ursi: A very effective UTI aid, although it is now harder to get as a herbal extract because of TGA restrictions. Uva Ursi generally soothes, tones and strengthens the tissues of the urinary tract, as well as alkalising the urine.
Chamomile: Possess a diuretic effect and contains plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Peppermint: A cooling, soothing herb that relaxes the nervous system and is a mild anesthetic. Nice to drink to help flush out the systme.
Parsley: A natural diuretic to flush out the system and rich in iron to reduce cramping.
Other Things to Consume
WATER. Drink lots and lots of water. Keep your system extremely hydrated, and try to pee as much as possible. This will help flush the bacteria out of the system and also ease bladder pain. I’ve heard that a teaspoon of baking soda in the water can also help.
Cranberry Juice. Recent research suggests that beneficial compounds in cranberries can reach the urinary tract and prevent bacterial adhesion within eight hours.
Vitamin C & Garlic. Boosts the immune system. Vitamin C’s acidity may also help destroy bacteria.
Probiotics. Increases the good bacteria and prevents the bad ones from taking over. Especially important to take after completing an antibiotic course.
Suggestions for Recurring UTIs
First, it is key to investigate why you are getting UTIs so often.
Luckily, some of them are simple preventative actions, such as staying hydrated and urinating often. It is also pertinent to urinate IMMEDIATELY after sexual intercourse, to clear out a partner’s bacteria.
Another habit, which unfortunately most mothers don’t tell their daughters, is that females must wipe from front to back.
Also a partner should have the same treatment for the UTI, as you can keep reinfecting each other. This happened to me on my honeymoon — hence why quite often UTIs are called “Honeymooner’s Disease!”
If the UTI happens frequently after sex it could be even due to an allergy to her partners sperm, or high amounts of friction and certain positions (such as the woman on top etc). Friction can also come from tight pants or underwear, so it’s best to wear loose pants or skirts to promote air circulation and reduce bacterial growth.
Some evidence indicates that it is best to shower over taking a bubble baths, as baths can be associated with recurring UTIs as well.
Food is medicine as well, so here are some superfoods I’d recommend incorporating in your diet, especially if you are prone to frequent UTIs.
Cranberries or pure unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberry supplements are also available.
Apple cider vinegar – each morning!
Probiotics such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, or yoghurt
Things to Avoid
Everything you put into your body has an effect. Avoid black tea and coffee, as caffeine irritates the bladder. Replace your morning coffee routine with a cup of herbal tea.
Best to stay away from alcohol as well, as it dehydrates you and makes it harder to flush out the bacteria. Similar to caffeine, alcohol also suppresses the immune system. Drink damiana and chamomile tea to wind down at the end of the day instead.
Additionally, avoid lemonade type drinks, spermicides, artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, bubble baths, and acidic fruits (lemons, grapefruits, tomatoes). I’ve also heard it’s best to avoid apples, peaches, grapes, plums, strawberries or juices of such.
Happy Herb Co Products to Try
These two products consist of herbal extracts, for potent and effective relief. I’d recommend carrying either or both with you at all times, for emergencies. They are most effective at first sign of infection.
Urinary Infection Spagyric: Formula to support the body’s response to infections of the urinary tract in men and women. Spagyric Blend of Uva Ursi, Echinacea, Cranberry, Peppermint, Slippery Elm and Juniper.
Kidney and Bladder Formula: A disinfectant and diuretic for the Kidneys and Bladder, Help Combat Incontinence. Extracted blend of Uva Ursi, Juniper Berry,Horsetail herb, Burdock root, Corn silk and Parsley leaf/root.