Herbal Treatments for Bladder Infections
Bladder infections, also known as cystitis or urinary tract infections, are bacterial infections that cause painful and frequent urination, fever, and backache. The majority of bladder infections are caused by bacterial contamination with E. Coli, a microorganism that resides in the digestive tract. Bladder infections occur more often in women than in men, and tend to recur. If left untreated, bladder infections can spread throughout the rest of the urinary tract and result in a more serious infection of the kidneys.
A doctor should always be consulted if you believe you might be suffering from a bladder infection. Antibiotics are the most common treatment of bladder infections, but many herbs may work just as well and can potentially be used instead of, or in addition to, antibiotics. Make certain to tell your doctor of any herbs you are taking, as some may interfere with prescription medications, making them less effective or causing adverse reactions. Some herbs often used in the treatment of bladder infections are listed below:
Probably the most widely known herb for treating bladder infections is cranberry. Studies have shown that compounds in cranberry juice prevent the bacteria that cause bladder infections from adhering to the walls of the bladder. Cranberry also contains a chemical compound, arbutin, that is both an antibiotic and a diuretic. Most practitioners of herbal medicine suggest drinking a minimum of 16 ounces of cranberry juice a day for the treatment of bladder infections.
Germany's Commission E, which is similar to the American FDA, suggests taking ten grams a day of this herb to treat bladder infections. Bearberry contains arbutin, just like cranberry, and can be very effective in the treatment of bladder infections.
Taking Echinacea in addition to antibiotics can help speed recovery from a bladder infection. Echinacea has long been known to boost the immune system, and is often mixed with goldenseal and taken in tincture form two or three times a day.
Dandelion does not help treat bladder infections by fighting the bacteria that causes them, but by helping to clean out the urinary system. Dandelion is a very powerful diuretic, and is believed to help remove bacteria from the bladder by flushing the bacteria out along with urine.
Other herbs used in the treatment of bladder infections: A number of other herbs can be effective for some in treating bladder infections, including birch, goldenrod, marsh mallow, and stinging nettle.
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