Herbs and UTIs
A reader with frequent Urinary Tract Infections asked if there are herbs that can help them. Let’s take a look at UTIs and see.
A UTI is most often caused by bacteria and symptoms of infection can be a burning sensation and frequent urination, strong urine odor, pelvic pain and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. A doctor usually prescribes antibiotics to manage the situation. But is there something we can do to keep the infections from coming back?
We hear all the time about overuse of antibiotics and how it results in bacteria becoming resistant, so it is smart to find ways to keep those pesky infections at bay. A study on the usage of the common cranberry looks promising. “As a natural alternative, the intake of cranberries as fresh or dried fruits, as well as products derived from them (i.e., juices, extracts, etc.) has been extensively recommended. Cranberry consumption has been indicated to be effective in decreasing the occurrence and severity of UTIs in women and to prevent the adherence of pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract,” González de Llano, D., Moreno-Arribas, M. V., & Bartolomé, B. (2020). Cranberry Polyphenols and Prevention against Urinary Tract Infections: Relevant Considerations. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(15), 3523. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25153523. However, it is stressed that the cranberries be unsweetened. Sweets cause bacteria to go wild because they feed off of sugars. That also means that it is best to cut out sugars in your diet as much as possible. It may be a warning sign if you get a lot of UTIs that you are eating way too many sweets.
Vitamin C is often recommended, and Cranberries carry a high amount of that. Antioxidants like vitamin C help rid the body of harmful free radicals. But if you don’t really like cranberries, you can also use Rosehips to get your daily hit of antioxidant. It is super high in vitamin C, with just two tablespoons giving you 76% of your daily recommended value, and while it’s at it, strengthens your immune system to boot.
Making a Rosehip tea is pretty easy and has a sweet, slightly tart flavor. You can add Stevia to sweeten. Remember, you are trying to cut out sweets, and Stevia is a natural sugar alternative. This tea also combines well with other teas. If you are drinking it daily, you will want to make a concentrate that you can grab from the fridge and dilute. Take 2 cups dried Rosehips and grind in a food processor. Cover with four cups boiling water. Cover and let steep overnight. Bring mixture up to a boil in the morning and then turn down heat and simmer 25 minutes. Cool and strain squeezing all the liquid out. Place liquid in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator. To make add equal amounts of concentrate and water.
Two final tips can be added to try to banish those pesky UTIs and here they are:
*Garlic is antibacterial according to numerous studies, so be sure to add lots to your dishes. Not only is it good, it is good for you. You can make garlic vinegar to preserve your chopped garlic to add to your cooking, and the garlic vinegar can be made into delicious dressings for your salads.
*Last, don’t forget the powerful healing effects of Tea tree essential oil. It is best known for its antibacterial activity. To help stave off any bacterial infections “down there”, once a week soak in a warm Epsom salt bath with the essential oil added. Just toss in 1 ½ cups Epsom salts as the tub fills and add 8-10 drops of Tea tree essential oil. It is relaxing as well, so take a good long soak.
Add these healing herbal agents to your arsenal and you will be embarking on a healing journey. I’ll raise a glass to that (Rosehip tea of course).
If interested in making Rosehip tea, get your organic, dried Rosehips here: