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Everything You Need to Know about Herbal Remedies & Herbs for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common type of infection that occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract. The bacteria that cause the infection normally comes from the skin or rectum, impacting the urinary tract through the urethra. While they can occur in both genders, UTIs impact women far more often than men. 

Some people are more at risk of getting a UTI based on genetic characteristics. For instance, UTIs are more common amongst women because the distance between their urethra and rectum is shorter. With that being said, there are other factors that can increase the chances of a UTI occurring:

  • Sexual activity 
  • A previous UTI
  • Pregnancy 
  • Age (older adults are typically more prone to getting UTIs)
  • Poor hygiene 

Common symptoms of UTI include:

  • Pain or burning during urination 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Bloody urine
  • Cramping or pressuring in lower abdomen
  • Feeling the need to urinate even with an empty bladder

Addressing UTIs with Chinese Medicine 

In Chinese Medicine, UTIs fall under the categorization of “Lin Syndromes.” All Lin disorders involve painful, “dribbling” urination and are caused by problems in the bladder, kidneys, heart, liver, or spleen. 

Chinese Medicine has 5 different classifications of UTIs:

  • Damp Heat: Occurring in the lower jiao (bladder), damp heat is considered to be the most common classification of UTI. Damp heat is characterized by all the most common UTI symptoms, including frequent urination, burning, pressure on the bladder, bloody urine, and more. 
  • Heart Fire: Characterized by frequency and urgency, thirst, red chest and face, insomnia, and irritability. 
  • Liver Fire: Symptoms include painful burning during urination, headaches, ringing in ears, constipation, feelings of frustration, and more.  Learn more about Liver Fire or Liver heat from this blog.
  • Fatigue Lin: This classification covers a wide range of disorders associated with the urinary tract. Most UTIs stemming from fatigue lin are less common however, and are normally due to an enlarged prostate or problems with the pelvic organs. 
  • Stone Lin: Most commonly associated with “kidney stones,” this classification stems from an obstruction, or buildup of materials in the bladder or urethra. 

Chinese Medicine has produced much evidence that the some of the most effective methods for treating UTIs include a select diet, acupuncture, and most importantly, herbs to clear the heat, dispel dampness, and restore healthy urination. 

A series of studies on the effects of Chinese Medicine for UTIs concluded that, “herbal medicines can be effective at the first sign of infection… because of their probiotic and antibacterial properties.”

The Best Herbal Remedies for UTIs

Throughout the thousands of years Chinese Medicine has been practiced and the dozens of studies completed around it, there have been several herbal remedies proven to treat UTIs effectively. Try these UTI herbs now!

 

1. Juniper

The juniper plant has shown remarkable antimicrobial properties. It has been reported that the juniper leaf can have an antibacterial and diuretic effect of women and men suffering from UTI related symptoms. Although consumption of the juniper berry can be effective as well, it is advised to consume the juniper plant by brewing a tea with juniper leaves. 

2. Cranberry

Cranberry is one of the most common dietary suggestions by medical professionals when it comes to treating UTIs. Research has shown that the properties of cranberries can reduce the bacteria attached the walls of the bladder, which makes bacteria more likely to be washed out of the system during urination. Cranberry is most commonly consumed in a juice and is most effective in a concentrated form. 

3. Blueberry

Blueberry has been shown to have effects on UTIs similar to those associated with cranberry. It has been proven that blueberry has an anti-adhesive property when consumed, which can help make uropathogenic bacteria much less likely to adhere to the walls of the bladder. This quality of blueberry comes from tannins, which are the active constituents that protect against UTI. 

4. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon has been known to have the properties of an antibacterial and antioxidant, making it a powerful herbal remedy for UTIs. These bacterial-fighting properties come from special compounds in cinnamon, that include, eugenol, trans-cinnamyl acetate, and proanthocyanins. It is widely used in different formulatd herbal remedies for urinary tract infection and other health issues.

5. Buchu 

An herb that is more commonly known in eastern cultures as herbs for urinary tract infection, Buchu is one of the oldest herbs known to be used in treatments for UTIs. The leaves of this herb contain certain compounds that have been used to relieve pain and discomfort in the urinary tract because of diuretic and antiseptic properties. Buchu also showed anti-adhesive effects similar to that of blueberry and cranberry, which can help diminish the chances of bacteria remaining in the bladder. 

6. Horseradish 

Used in the cuisine of many cultures, horseradish has been used to effectively treat UTIs. Most notably, horseradish shows great evidence in preventing recurring UTIs in pediatric patients. It’s profound impact on pediatric patients comes from bioactive and antibacterial compounds found within the herb. Such compounds help to block the pathogenic process of human cell penetration by the bacteria associated with UTIs.

7. Nettle 

Nettle, a perennial plant found around the world, has been used to treat a number of different illnesses, including arthritis, rheumatism, UTI, kidney stones, and more. It’s effectiveness in treating UTIs comes from antimicrobial compounds that protect the body against UTI bacteria. Like many of the other herbs for UTIs on this list, nettle also has diuretic qualities. 

8. Bearberry Leaf

Coming from a small shrub found across Europe, Asia, and North America, the bearberry leaf has been used as an herbal remedy for UTIs for centuries. Several studies show the bearberry leaf has antimicrobial capabilities that can protect against UTI symptoms. The bearberry leaf is best consumed when dried, steeped, and used in a tea. 

Other Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms 

Outside of herbal remedies, there are several other “home-remedies” that those suffering from UTI symptoms will likely gain relief from. The most common of which include:

  • Staying hydrated 
  • Eating foods high in Vitamin C (citrus, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, etc.)
  • Using a heat pad on the lower abdomen
  • Cutting out bladder irritants (alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, etc.)
  • Urinating whenever possible 
  • Wearing loose cotton underwear 
  • Practicing proper personal hygiene 
  • Cutting back on meat – meat and poultry can have E.coli bacteria that can cause UTIs

Battling the symptoms of a urinary tract infection can seem difficult at first, but with the right herbal remedies and daily practices, anyone can find relief from UTI symptoms. 

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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