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Using herbs to treat bladder and urinary tract infection


Cornsilk tea can increase urine flowCystitis, bladder, and other urinary tract infections affect millions of people every year. Symptoms include painful urination, frequent urination, cloudy urine, fever, and backache.

Causes range from poor hygiene to sexual intercourse to overuse of antibiotics. Eighty-five percent of bladder infections are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacteria is spread from the rectal area when wipping the wrong way with toilet paper. Always wipe from front to back. When this bacteria passes through the urethra (the narrow canal that connects the bladder to the outside), it causes a bladder infection.

Many times bladder infections develop after taking antibiotics. Other causes include venereal disease, endometriosis, stress, contraceptives, kidney malfunction, food allergens, aluminum cookware, constipation, and female deodorant products.

Bladder infections can also be caused by waiting too long to urinate. The bladder is a muscle that stretches when full and shrinks when empty. “Holding it” can cause the bladder to stretch past its capacity. This leaves old urine in the bladder and results in bacterial growth.

Bladder infections may also be due to a depressed immune system. Antibiotics do not help in these cases and may actually attack the bladder lining.

Many urinary disorders can be treated with herbal remedies. Various herbs are chosen according to their ability to reduce inflammation, soothe, repair damage, and flush out toxins.

At the first sign of a bladder infection, take yellowroot or echinacea tea. Increase urine flow by drinking lots of water. Chamomile tea, corn silk tea, dandelion tea, nettle tea, and fennel seed can help increase urine flow. Add flax seed oil, blueberries, celery, watermelon, green drinks, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and yogurt to the diet. Urinary stones call for gravel root, parsley, corn silk, cleavers, and couch grass.

Cranberry juice is a well known remedy for bladder infections. Cranberry juice prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls. Cranberry juice contains natural antibiotics and is an effective diuretic. Be sure not to buy anything labeled “cocktail” as it contains lots of sugar and small amounts of cranberry juice. Try shopping at a health food store.

Acidic fruit juices, such as orange and grapefruit juice, should be avoided. Sugar, carbonated drinks, concentrated starches, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, salty foods, pasteurized dairy products, and red meat all aggravate bladder problems. Yeast products should be avoided during healing stages of bladder infections.

Massage can help. Use sandalwood, juniper, tea tree, cypress, thyme, eucalyptus, or lavender essential oil diluted with olive or almond oil and gently massage stomach area. These essential oils can also be used in the bath. For associated back pain try applying a hot comfrey compress across the lower back.

An old remedy for bladder infection is to immediately take one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water followed by 12 more glasses of water throughout the day. White wine at night is also considered beneficial.

To avoid bladder infections, urinate as soon as possible after sexual intercourse (even just a few drops pushes out harmful bacteria) and never use colored toilet paper.

Urinary incontinence is another bladder problem and is caused by weak muscles. Symptoms include leakage when laughing, coughing, or lifting. Do exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles. Exercising can really can help - try just squeezing those muscles while driving or sitting at a desk throughout the day.

*Always consult with a health care professional before taking any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.

Janice Boling
322 EV Farm Drive
Blairsville, Georgia 30512


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