Urinary health is an indication of the body’s overall health. The urinary system is made up of two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. Urinary disorders include everything from bed wetting to bladder cancer. Bladder infections, kidney infections, cystitis, urinary stones, and incontinence account for millions of doctor visits every year.
Symptoms of an infection may include cloudy urine, blood in the urine, discharge, swelling, a burning sensation, backache, fever, nausea, or itching. Symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain that usually comes in waves that last up to an hour and then stop. In cases of tumors or cysts there may not be any early symptoms if flow of urine is not blocked.
Herbal remedies for urinary infections usually include an antiseptic herb to reduce bacteria, soothing herbs to reduce painful inflammation, and diuretic herbs to increase urine flow (which flushes out toxins and dead bacteria).
To protect against urinary infection, add more celery and celery seed (great in cole slaw) to the diet. Organic celery only costs a little more and is well worth the price. Celery tincture is also available. For best results also drink cornsilk, bearberry, juniper, chamomile, or yarrow tea.
Other herbs to try include couchgrass, gravelroot, parsley, wild carrot, dandilion, ura-ursi, watermelon seeds, cleavers, barley grass, alfalfa, marshmallow, stinging nettle, goldenrod, fennel seed, slippery elm, oregon grape root, and hydrangea.
Cranberry juice is well known for helping heal and prevent urinary tract disorders. Pure cranberry juice prevents bacteria from sticking to bladder walls. It also contains natural antibiotics and is a diuretic. Drink 16 ounces per day for best results.
Prevent reoccurring bladder infections by keeping the urine too acidic for bacteria (like E. coli) to survive. Eat more plums and blueberries to increase acidity. Also add garlic, nasturtium leaves, rose hips, papaya, and carrots to the diet.
Women suffer many more bladder infections than men. To reduce the chance of a bladder infection, always urinate as soon as possible when the urge strikes and always urinate after sexual intercourse (even if it’s just a few drops). Drink eight glasses of water every day. Do not douche. Wipe from front to back and take showers instead of baths.
Warm sitz baths can help relieve painful bladder infections. Add sandelwood, tea tree, and chamomile essential oils to the water along with two cups of vinegar. Itching can be relieved with an application of olive oil, rosemary essential oil, and tea tree oil. Add lavender essential oil for added benefits.
Urinary incontienence is cause from weak muscles. Symptoms include leakage when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or lifting. (In men, these symptoms can also indicate a prostate problem.) Try exercising regulary to strengthen pelvic muscles. Other things such as loosing weight, good diet, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding constipation can help.
* Do not use uva-ursi for more than two weeks. Do not use uva-ursi if you have kidney disease. Always consult with your healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially when pregnant or nursing.
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