Alternatives To Antibiotics For Treating Urinary Tract Infections

by Linda Woolven

You just went to the washroom and yet you feel like you have to go again, and when you do, very little comes out and it burns. You may also have a temperature, hack and/or abdominal pain and a reduced appetite: this can be what it is like to have a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are usually caused by the bacterium called escherichia coli ending up in the urinary tract, often from improper wiping that leaves the bacteria on the urethra opening. More women than men suffer from urinary tract infections because of the shorter urethra in women than in men. Although antibiotics can help to cure the infection, they do so by wiping out the friendly flora in your colon leaving you susceptible to an overgrowth of candida yeast, which can lead to poor digestion, immune system difficulties, possibly food allergies and still other problems. Yet you may be able to avoid the antibiotics and treat the infection using herbs, a controlled diet, vitamins and supplements, juices and teas.

According to Michael Tierra, you should treat the infection by going on a fast for three days, using only warmed vegetable broth and herbs. Some herbs to try are marshmallow root, a diuretic and a demulcent, which protects the urinary tract from the harsher action of diuretics; plantain, which is used to treat urinary tract infections and is anti-inflammatory and helps to promote the secretion of uric acid; parsley root and leaves, which can be used to treat urinary tract infections; pau d'arco, which can be used for treating inflammation of the urinary tract; buchu, juniper, and urva ursi, all diuretics with anti-bacterial properties; nettles, and hawthorn both diuretics; horsetail, a diuretic that can also help to stop bleeding, if there is any; red clover, a blood detoxifier and it will also help clear up infections; echinacea, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and can be used to treat inflammations; dandelion, a very powerful diuretic and unlike conventional diuretics, dandelion's high potassium content helps to replace the potassium lost by diuretics and is excellent for treating urinary tract infections; couch grass, which is a diuretic that also has demulcent properties to protect and soothe an inflamed urinary tract; and ginger, which can be applied externally as a poultice on the abdomen to help treat urinary tract infections. Another good possibility is chaparral, which is an excellent anti-biotic that can be used to treat urinary tract infections. Try combining it with other antibiotics like golden seal, osha, echinacea or garlic for maximum effect. Or you may want to try bladder, made by Nature's Answer, which is a very good tincture combination formula for treating infections of the urinary tract. Or try mixing your own herbs and place them in capsules. You could try 1 part echinacea, 1 /2 part marshmallow root, 1 part plantain, 1 part urva ursi, and 1 part nettles. Fill capsules and take every four hours for a few days or until the symptoms begin to go away, then reduce the dosage.

You should refrain from eating a diet high in protein, as protein causes the kidneys to excrete calcium, which could cause kidney stones. It is a good idea to eat a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables, or even go on a short fast, using broths, juices, teas, and herbs. A simple broth you can make is 2 cups of water; 2 sticks of celery, chopped; 2 carrots, chopped; 2 sprigs of parsley, chopped; a potato, chopped; and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and drink. You should also consider avoiding dairy products, meat products and foods high in oxalic acid like spinach, which may lead to kidney stones; and salt, to prevent fluid retention.

It is also important to keep warm; you may want to soak several times a day in a hot bath, with a little baking soda added to soothe and help clear up the infection. Pick cotton clothes, especially underwear, as cotton allows the skin to breath and helps to prevent bacteria from growing.

Some vitamins and supplements to consider are vitamin C, which helps to make the urine acid, and aids in healing; calcium and magnesium; B6, which aids in fluid reduction; acidophilus, which replaces the friendly flora in your colon and may help to prevent future infections; beta carotene, to heal the urinary tract; zinc, necessary for healing; vitamin E, needed for healing and strengthening the immune system; inositol and' choline, which can reduce fluid retention; and a multivitamin/mineral complex, to ensure that there are no deficiencies. Another possibility is aloe vera gel, taken internally, as it has anti-bacterial properties and also has the ability to soothe and heal.

Some juices to try are watermelon juice, which is an excellent diuretic, as are parsley, cucumber, dandelion leaves and celery juice. Other possibilities include carrot juice, which is high in beta carotene and can help speed healing, and papaya and grapefruit juice, which will help with digestion, as your body is already working hard enough trying to clear up the infection and you may find that you are having digestive trouble. And of course the most important juice of all is pure unsweetened cranberry juice, at least four glasses a day, which helps to prevent the bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder. Consume as many fluids as you can, including pure water, to help flush out the bacteria.

If you prefer your drinks hot, try using any of the herbs already suggested and brewing them into a tea, or go to a health food store where they will have already mixed and single teas specially for treating urinary tract infections. One mixture that can be really useful is, 1 tsp each of marshmallow, nettle, red clover, couch grass, and 1/2 tsp of urva ursi, boiled and then simmered in 20 oz of water, for 40 minutes, strained and consumed several times a day.

Check out your local health food store for herbs, supplements, teas, juices and books to help you get over your urinary tract infection.

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