A particularly (though not exclusively) female malady, urinary tract infections can cause great discomfort and suffering, even leading to kidney infection, unless treated quickly and thoroughly. Many wonderful sources provide information on the causes, symptoms and natural treatments of UTIs, so I will not belabor the information. Needless to say, UTIs tend to be a “sexual” complication for women who do not know how to prevent them. Often called “Honeymoon cystitis” because a woman’s first encounter with UTI follows the beginnings of and frequency of sexual relations, bladder and urinary infections are preventable with good hygiene practices, and are treatable with herbal medicine.
My own history with UTIs began our first year of marriage. Once I cracked the code on always showering immediately following intercourse (using a handheld shower head to thoroughly douse the area), as well as having my husband clean his hands and “etc.” well (using essential oil soap and hydrogen peroxide) before sex, I did not suffer UTIs. But the random UTI snuck in over the years after childbearing (another common time for women to develop UTIs as the vagina can become distressed) and getting a little “forgetful” of the protocol. Years ago, I could easily defeat a brewing UTI by eating a head of garlic and drinking a quart of cranberry juice in eight hours. But over the years, as my body and stress levels changed, the required treatment became more complicated. UTIs (also commonly referred to as bladder infections) are caused by a handful of bacteria (E. coli, Proteus, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella) that migrate into the urinary tract…these are foreign agents, never the flora from your own body, which is why sex is the most common cause of UTIs for women. The urinary tract and vagina like and need to be slightly acidic; healthy vaginal flora assist in maintaining this natural acidic balance, preventing UTI development. Aside from pharmaceutical antibiotic use, our beneficial flora can be negatively affected…even wiped out…by stress.
A year ago, after a nasty UTI bout that developed into kidney infection (my own fault for not jumping fast enough and hard enough onto the infection), I determined never again to be irresponsible with treatment protocol. I recently incurred another UTI (menopause is another time UTIs can occur more easily because of vaginal distress and imbalance), and the minute I felt the tell-tale signs, I hit it hard. Common symptoms of UTI are burning in the bladder, burning whilst urinating, heaviness or pressure in the bladder, the constant urge to urinate, and cloudy and/or foul-smelling urine. The minute you suspect or feel a symptom, you want to aggressively treat yourself for potential infection. The first and most important course of action is constant, massive hydration. You want to flush the bladder…sitting in the bathroom, drinking and peeing for hours is a good treatment protocol. Water, herbal tea, cranberry juice, broth…any and all in combination…just guzzle and flow. Yes, you’ll pretty much have to live in the bathroom for a day, but you’ll be past the infection within 24 hours, and that’s so much better than developing a full-blown bladder/kidney infection and/or taking pharmaceutical antibiotics and dealing with those consequences. Remember, when dealing with a UTI, do not hold urine in your bladder…the instant you feel the urge to go, go! To keep things simple, I will share my successful UTI protocol. Be aggressive and dedicated, and you can rout the infection. The various remedies/treatments listed here work by increasing necessary acidity in the bladder, increasing flora, providing agents to attach to and flush UTI-causing bacteria, boosting immunity and killing microbes, and soothing pain/discomfort.
The following is what I used, but as my remedy profile may seem overwhelming, I will underline what I believe to be absolute necessities for healing the UTI. (The following protocol could need to be altered for a pregnant or nursing woman. Please use these recommendations at your own discretion and do your own research. I tend to avoid weighing in publicly and stating with assuredness on the internet whether an herb/botanical is “safe” or potentially unsafe during pregnancy and nursing because a great deal of controversy as well as lack of evidence exists on the topic. You can find lists naming herbs that can be harmful during pregnancy and lactation. Some claims are not borne out by evidentiary science. I encourage everyone to do their own study and make educated choices.) To learn more, check out the links/books at the end. And be sure to enact a good UTI prophylactic lifestyle, such as the tips I mentioned above, as well as using vaginal probiotics.
HerbalistMama’s UTI Protocol
*Constantly drink throughout the day: water, unsweetened organic cranberry juice, umaboshi plum juice (can be made from concentrate), echinacea or other herbal tea, broth.
Urinary Health/UTI Pain Herbal Tea Blend:
1 Tb. each dried herbs of corn silk, horsetail, nettle, marshmallow root, cramp bark, parsley, yarrow, uva ursi berries. Steep for 20 minutes in a pint of water. Make and drink throughout the day. If you do not have all these ingredients, use which of them you DO have and drink the tea…it will still have benefits.
Three doses daily:
1/2 tsp Cod Liver Oil
1/2 tsp Black Seed Oil (black cumin seed)
1 capsule Young Living Inner Defense
1 capsule doTerra OnGuard gelcap
Good quality probiotic both orally ingested and vaginally inserted (I used one capsule Biokult and one capsule RenewLife Women’s Vaginal Ultimate Flora)
Every Hour all day (ingest):
1,000 mg Wild Blueberry Extract (magnet for UTI infectious agents)
1,000 mg Cranberry Extract (I like Cran-Actin supplements) (magnet for UTI infectious agents, provides acidity)
1,000 mg Vitamin C (I prefer soy-free liposomal C) (kills infectious agents, boosts immunity)
1,000 mg Garlic (if you cannot eat fresh cloves, use a tummy-friendly supplement like Kyolic) (boost immunity/antibiotic)
1,000 mg Oregano (I like OregaMax caps) (fights infection)
1,000 mg D-Mannose (magnet for UTI infectious agents)
3 drops Young Living ImmuPower essential oil blend (boosts immunity, fights infection)
30 drops St. John’s Wort herbal tincture (pain)
30 drops Uva Ursi herbal tincture (increases acidity, fights UTI infectious agents)
30 drops Usnea herbal tincture (antibiotic)
30 drops Mushroom blend herbal tincture (boosts immunity)
30 drops Echinacea/Red Root/Goldenseal or Oregon Grape Root herbal tincture blend (boosts immunity, fights infection)
30 drops Silk Tassel herbal tincture (smooth muscle pain reliever)
Essential Oil UTI Pain rub (apply to abdomen and back):
5 drops each thyme, geranium, ginger, lavender, sandalwood, rosemary in a tablespoon of carrier oil. Make and apply liberally.
Homeopathic Cantharis 30C for discomfort, 3 pellets every 20 to 30 minutes.
NaturalCare UTI-Care Homeopathic supplement, 2 capsules every 3 hours.
If you aggressively, thoroughly and zealously apply this protocol and flush your bladder constantly and you do not feel better within 48 hours, or you develop a high-grade fever and/or kidney pain and/or bloody urine, you may need to seek medical assistance. Listen to your body and choose the course you feel is best for you.
A few helpful resources: