Unfortunately urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are common, with around one in two women and one in 20 men suffering at least once in their life. To make matters worse, for women it is usually a recurring illness. The main symptoms, which sadly we are all probably familiar with, include burning when passing urine, increased frequency in the need to urinate, cloudy, smelly or blood stained urine and general discomfort.
UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract, this can occur during intercourse and commonly for women wiping from back to front after urination. The tissues of the urethra and bladder thin and become dry as women age, especially after menopause and this can lead to a greater chance of infection.
Antibiotics are the most common way to treat UTIs but they can also cause disruption to gut flora and could lead to more susceptibility to infections. To avoid this there are some herbal remedies that can help prevent and even treat symptoms of UTIs.
This herb is a diuretic and can be used to flush the bladder and relieve symptoms of UTIs
Bearberry acts as a urinary antiseptic, and healer of mucous membranes of the urinary tract. It also has antibacterial properties and works as a diuretic. It has been found to effectively suppress further infections.
Marshmallow root has the ability to soften and soothe mucous membranes of the urinary tract.
Cornsilk is said to have soothing properties, which work on the mucous membranes. It is also a diuretic and has silica which helps strengthen tissues.
Horsetail is very similar to cornsilk, acting to soothe, as a diuretic and tissue strengthener.
This herb has strong antibacterial and healing properties which are thought to work wonders for the urinary tract.
Although this is technically not a herb it has been used by herbalist for a long time to prevent UTIs. Cranberry can help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract, and helps flush out bacteria that may be present.
Dandelion Leaf, bearberry, marshmallow root, cornsilk and horsetail can be consumed in the form of herbal tea, by adding a teaspoon of each into one litre of boiling water. Goldenseal and cranberry can be purchased from the pharmacy in capsule form.
*This is general advice, if you have symptoms of a UTI that worsen or notice blood in your urine, fever and back pain this could be a sign the infection has moved to your bladder and you should seek medical advice. If you are concerned about how these herbal remedies will interact with any prescription medication please talk to your doctor before trying.