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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Herbal and Dietary Help for Urinary Tract Infections

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Author Topic: Herbal and Dietary Help for Urinary Tract Infections
MariaA
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I posted this on Lymefriends where someone was talking about a urinary tract infection that was resistant to her Lyme antibiotics. Some of these suggestions, like cranberry juice and uva ursi, are for immediate relief (in my experience, usually something like a day of heavy cranberry use helps the pain, but my UTI's haven't been as bad as those of other people here, so it might take you longer).

Some of these suggestions, like cranberry juice, marshmallow, and uva ursi, are for immediate relief (in my experience, usually something like a day of heavy cranberry use helps the pain, but most of my UTI's haven't been very bad compared to what people with IC experience).

Some of the other suggestions, like adding celery, corn, and parsley (and more water!) to the diet, are more of a long-term 'tonic' to add in order to prevent future infections and to help your urinary system fight the infections better. If you're prone to them, you probably want to add these dietary changes as well as fighting infections when they're active:
:
Best short-term remedy: drink cranberry juice or take cranberry pills from the health food store (try to get juice that isn't overly sweetened). It'll upset your stomach if you have a lot of it, but you're probably not far from a bathroom anyway. Cranberry and blueberry juice keeps some of the UTI bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract. you should be able to find cranberry pills in even a local drug store or a WalMart, I think - this remedy is quite proven and mainstream, so there are products available that aren't a juice. Please drink extra water if just taking the cranberry pills- the remedy depends on 'flushing' your system, even if it hurts to pee. Regular cranberry 'juice' from the supermarket works too, it's just very sugary.

Also very, very good: an herb called uva ursi really helps in some cases. It might take a few days to help. You basically make a tea of the leaves. there might be a tincture or pill form in the health food stores. it's very common. I only use this in active attacks of UTI's, not every day. It's related to cranberries and blueberries, the leaves look similar to blueberry leaves. It contains antimicrobial agents that are excreted in the urinary tract and are very effective in 'normal' people's cases of UTI. It works better if you also add a mild herbal diuretic such as dandelion tea or corn silk. Drink lots of water with it.

Marshmallow root: is a demulcent that's useful for reducing both urinary and digestive tract inflammation (so if all the other stuff you're doing is causing stomach upset, this might be a good thing to add). I think this is quite safe long-term.

Nettle tea: this is a very useful, low-side-effects herb that is helpful for many conditions and as a source of minerals. It won't help UTI's by itself, but it can help restore mineral balance if you're drinking a lot of water and flushing your body while trying to deal with a UTI, and has a lot of other useful benefits. I think it's one of the herbs Buhner recommends for dealing with kidney stones, too (which is a very different issue than UTI). You can drink nettle tea daily- it's very good with peppermint as a tea, and lots of people swear by it as a good way to deal with poor nutrition. Nutritionally it's basically like eating lots of spinach.

Dandelion leaf tea: this is a diuretic that also happens to contain lots of potassium, which is usually lost when you're taking a pharmaceutical diuretic. It's AWESOME for helping deal with UTI issues. It won't help all on it's own, but as part of an antimicrobial/diuretic/extra water regimen such as cranberry/uva ursi dandelion combo. It's basically a food (you can find commercially cultivated leaves in supermarkets, or pick them yourself if you live rurally and don't use herbicides on your lawn, or buy it dried as a tea from herbal suppliers or at the health food store.

drink LOTS of water. When you're actively suffering from a UTI, drink way, way more than you think you should. I drink water till I nearly have diarrhea when I'm dealing with a UTI- drinking large amounts of water will help flush the bacteria out of the system faster even if it's very unpleasant to deal with this. Get a good book or something and spend the day in the bathroom, you're probably needing to do so due to the frequent urination issue. I've talked to lots of people with UTI's who seem resistant to the idea of drinking extra water because it's so painful to urinate, which is why I stress this issue here. Unfortunately, you really need to flush the urinary tract when you're actively infected so there's no way around drinking and peeing. Really.

eat lots of yogurt, or take probiotics.

There are also several common foods that are very helpful for the urinary tract and kidneys, and help prevent the UTI and similar conditions and help soothe the symptoms while you're actively suffering. One is an "herb" called corn silk- it's literally the threads that you pull off a corn cob when you're husking the cob- and one old remedy is to make a tea with these. you can literally get them off of corn on the cob from the grocery store (I dry them and later can use them as a tea). Right now when I'm writing this, it's not the right season for fresh corn, but you can get corn silk from herbal suppliers (also available as a liquid tincture in a bottle). It's great. It acts as an anti-inflammatory to the kidneys and urinary tract. My grandmother used to make us save the silks when we cooked corn in the summer.

Stephen Buhner, the author of the herbal book called Healing Lyme, addresses the issue of UTI's in another book (a book about men's health, actually, even though men don't get UTI's as often as women, they still have kidney issues and the treatment is similar). He suggests using celery juice (and celery seed, the very common spice), and corn 'juice' (run some frozen or fresh corn through a juicer or a blender, basically) eaten daily, as a urinary and kidney tonic. I think we all know that corn kernels don't digest well and sometimes just pass through you, so you probably want to do the blender or juicer method rather than just eating corn as is.

avoid coffee while dealing with a UTI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

short term, acute care for serious conditions (with precautions!): juniper berry tea or tincture. I haven't done this myself (although juniper tea is great for lung conditions when you have the flu, and I've used it plenty for that). Buhner suggests taking this short-term if you have a truly stubborn condition. He also said that it is NOT good if you have serious kidney disease. I'm not sure where Lyme patients with mystery IC type conditions fall in all of this. He says to watch the dosage, don't overdo it.

here's his suggestion for juniper use for acute UTI's, from the Vital Man book: 10-20 drops of tincture up to 3 times a day for up to 7 days
OR
swallow the berries whole: 1-3 berries per day for up to 7 days
OR
a tea made from powdered berries- 1 teaspoon of powdered berries in a cup of water, 1-3 times a day, up to 7 days

I had serious UTI's and kidney problems when I was an infant in Russia where healthcare was fairly poor at the time, and one of our child-safe herbal remedies for my serious condition involved near-daily addition of parsley and parsnips to the diet (I think parsnips are a parsley root or a relative of parsley). Many herbalists in the US recommend parsley in various forms too- it's cheap and you really can't overdose on it. You might want to try eating it regularly as tabouli (search for a recipe) or juice it, or put it in a blender with some other juices and drink it as part of a juice or smoothie. Parsnips can be made into a 'mashed potatoes' sort of soup or side dish. Do that regularly for long-term urinary tract support.

non-herbal: there's an over-the-counter pain reliever at the drug store, while you're waiting for slower remedies to work. It's going to stain your urine red, so be careful with these if you have blood in the urine or anything like that. I think there are other side effects possible, so make sure your doctor knows you're taking it if you're dealing with serious or recurring UTI issues. This is probably the best solution to the 'I want to curl up and die and not pee yet again' feeling that keeps you from drinking water while suffering from active UTI.

If you need to order these herbs and can't get them locally, one supplier that is very good is www.mountainroseherbs.com/

Some suggestions for 'tonic' (long-term) use:

try to work some of this stuff into your diet. Nettle tea is a great base for soups if you aren't used to drinking herbal tonics daily. Fresh nettles when available are also a good spring 'greens' to use in spinach recipes or other greens recipes. The water from boiling them is eggy tasting and great when added to soups. Dandelion leaves, like nettle, are a vegetable and very good for you because of the high mineral content. You can also add dandelion tea to soups.

Parsley, celery, corn: if you own a juicer and make carrot juice, these are good additions to it. Otherwise, I discovered that 'smoothies' made with vegetable juices like these, along with some fruits thrown in, can be really good. I usually make a banana or frozen mango or frozen berry smoothie and add a little bit of the desired vegetable. It's still sweet like a fruit smoothie but makes the other stuff more interesting.

Puree'd soups like cream of mushroom or cream of potato soup are a great place to hide your parsley/parsnip and celery.

[ 11-28-2009, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: MariaA ]

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Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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Lymetoo
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Good info, Maria!!

For prevention.. take D-Mannose with Cranactin. Works wonders .. You can also take this when you have an infection.. just in higher dosages.

I take one a day for prevention. So far, so good .. been doing this for about 9 months or so. Prior to that, I was having infections about every 3-4 months.

PS.. If you have IC, you may not be able to tolerate ANY cranberry. Mine is WAY better and I can tolerate the one pill per day.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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MariaA
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wow, interesting about intolerance to cranberry. What form does that intolerance take? I luckily haven't dealt with IC.

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Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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gwb
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MariaA,

I've been dealing with prostatitis the past few days. Been looking for a natural remedy to treat it as I don't want to take antibiotics. Wonder if some of your suggestions will work for this?

I've been drinking cranberry juice (unsweetened) and mangosteen juice and taking more vitamin C. Starting to feel better but not sure if I'm killing the bacteria with this.

My urine test showed no bacteria to begin with, so apparently I have a different form of prostatitis. I think there's four different kinds of prostatitis if I remember right.

Anyway, I'm going to try some nettle tea and see if that helps too. Already taking tons of Theralac probiotics and plain yogurt.
Thanks for all the good information, Maria.

By the way, been tested for candida too and it turned out negative, so I know that's not an issue with me.

Gary

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MariaA
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Hi Gary,

I highly, highly recommend Stephen Buhner's book Vital Man- I'm reading it right now, after realizing I don't know much about this aspect of herbalism (men's hormonal changes and men-specific health issues, especially as they change with aging). It's a spectacular book.

He's got a lot of info about herbal (and other) treatment for prostatitis. I'm sorry to say it's out of print, so, annoyingly, it's $35 book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Vital-Man-Natural-Health-Midlife/dp/1583331360/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1259455531&sr=8-1

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Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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MariaA
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I just did some searches and can't find Buhner's men's health book cheaper anywhere, and it doesnt' seem to have been scanned by Google Books yet. Here are a couple of other options that came up, though:
Men's health herbal book by James Green (I don't know anything about this one)- you can partially look through it using Google Book Search (and search for prostate- and prostatitis-specific info to get the correct page):

http://books.google.com/books?id=oXTUm1POAV8C&pg=PA4&dq=herbalism+men's+health&ei=VccRS4LICYm4kwTlyvSRDA#v=onepage&q=herbalism%20men's%20health&f=false

Buhner's got another book, still in print and cheaper, on managing men's hormone balance issues, and I'm guessing that he'll talk about prostatitis in that one, since he says in Vital Man that it's a hormone balance problem: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Testosterone-Plan-Sexual-Health/dp/1594771685

--------------------
Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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seibertneurolyme
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Maria,

Thanks for posting -- hubby does not have a UTI at this point, but some bacteria, and white and red blood cells have been showing up in his routine urine analysis so I have been reading about herbs for the kidneys as well. Plus he has a small kidney stone which has not moved for 4 years now.

I thought maybe I could find you a cheaper price on the book you mentioned, but this time Amazon was the cheapest.

Here is a really good site which compares book prices -- both new and used books from many online bookstores. You can include your zip code and find out the price with shipping as sometimes that makes a big difference.

http://www.fetchbook.net

You can also create a wish list and ask to be notified if the price of a book falls to whatever you list as the target price.

I would suggest the book I have in my library also, but it was even more expensive as it is also out of print.

I have a small book called "Herbs for the Urinary Tract" -- it is one of the Keats Good Herb Guide Series -- originally sold for 4.95 but the cheapest used copy is listed at 133.24

I own several other titles in the series and they are really informative little books -- Herbs for Detoxification, Herbs to Boost Immunity, Herbs for Men's Health, Herbs for Improved Digestion etc -- these are all much more reasonably priced -- from 33 cents to 4.95. There are a total of 15 titles in the series and 10 more books on individual herbs.

Bea Seibert

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gwb
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Maria,

Thanks for the information and links to the books. I am checking them out now.

Bea, thank you too for the information on the various books. I'll check them out too.

Gary

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seibertneurolyme
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Have been reviewing another book in my library today -- The Herbal Detox Plan by Xandria Williams. This book is by an English author and as a result the herbs suggested are a little different than the ones Maria listed.

The book has different chapters on detoxing the different systems in the body -- digestive tract, liver, immune system, lymphatic system, kidneys and bladder, lungs and skin.

The kidney an bladder chapter suggests using any of the following herbs--

diuretics -- dandelion, cleavers, boldo, buchu or couch grass

urinary antiseptics -- bearberry (uva ursi), birch, celery seed, juniper or yarrow

Gary -- This book pretty much suggests using any of the herbs above for either UTI's, cystitis or prostatitis. Hydrangea is another herb that is mentioned for the prostrate.

Bea Seibert

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MariaA
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Yes, Yarrow was just brought to my attention on another forum- it's another herb we used in Russia for this condition. Couch grass keeps coming up as I do more reading, too- I am not familiar with it but it's the common weed that might be in your lawn (I'm not suggesting picking your lawn if someone's sprayed pesticides or herbicides in recent years of course).

Cleavers is also a really good lymph-stimulating herb, which may be a good idea if you also have swollen lymph nodes from one of the Lyme/coinfection conditions.

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diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by MariaA:
What form does that intolerance take? I luckily haven't dealt with IC. [/QB]

PAIN .. super duper PAIN. The CranActin causes me some pain, but not so bad that I can't take it. Someone with bad IC (mine is better now with Lyme treatment) would not be able to tolerate it.

The D-mannose with CranActin changes the ph of the urine too. It was suggested I either take this or Vitamin C. I don't tolerate Vit C well, so went with the D-mannose.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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gwb
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Bea and Maria,

Lots of good information you've provided me with. I'm gonna get busy and do my homework now! : )

Thanks to you both for being so helpful!

Gary

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lymie_in_md
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Maria -- A great herb for uti, kidneys and many other things is gravel root. Here's some of the herbs I've used.

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail362.php

Goldenrod - for inflammation and is an excellent diuretic

http://drmikewellness.org/health-wellness/uti%E2%80%99s-bladder-infections-and-common-sense-solutions/

Eating or juicing lots of pineapple for the natural bromelain.

hyrdrangea root

http://www.vitawise.com/benefits-of-hydrangea-root.html

Celery seed

So in the morning I make 20 ozs of tea containing equal parts:

Hydrangea root,
Gravel root,
marshmallow leaf,
goldenrod leaf,
celery seed,
ginkgo biloba -- to increase oxygen

At night the combination of java and horsetail tea is very helpful.

--------------------
Bob

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WildCondor
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Try the D-mannose, it really works to both rid bacteria and treat infection and for prevention. It works way better than cranberry does. D-mannose prevents the bacteria from attaching to the bladder walls and flushes it right out of your system.

Try manno max. Google that, helps big time. [Smile]

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MariaA
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Just in case someone doesn't understand, "java" actually refers to an herb called java tea, and not to the slang name for coffee.

--------------------
Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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MariaA
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Here's an interesting article about D-Mannose and UTI's:
http://www.healingtherapies.info/D-Mannose.htm

--------------------
Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
diet: http://lymefriends.ning.com/group/healthylowcarbrecipes
Homemade Probiotics thread
Herbal Links Thread

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gwb
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Bob, great information you provided me with--thanks for the links and tea recipe!

WildCondor, I did some research on D-Mannose and am very impressed with what I've read about it. I have it on my list to purchase at the health food store tomorrow. Thanks for posting this!

Maria, thanks for the link on D-Mannose. I'm definitely sold on it!

Gary

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