URINARY TRACT HEALTH
Essential Oil, & Homeopathy Therapies
Laurance Johnston, Ph.D.
This two-part article summarizes various natural
alternatives for fighting urinary tract infections (UTI), an
aggravating, recurring health problem for many individuals with spinal
cord injury (SCI) and dysfunction. Part 1
underscored how these
natural alternatives can help preserve the future effectiveness of
life-saving antibiotics, and specifically discussed how certain foods
and nutritional supplements, such as cranberries, blueberries, and the
naturally occurring sugar D-mannose, contain substances that inhibit
infection-causing bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining. This
part describes other naturopathic UTI-fighting alternatives, including
herbal medicine and essential oil and homeopathic remedies.
Before modern medicine started emphasizing
chemically synthesized drugs, herbal remedies were the cornerstone of
most of the world’s healing traditions and even today, are used by 80%
of the world’s population who cannot afford Western pharmaceutics. As concern grows about adverse drug side effects, over a
third of all Americans are once again turning to herbal remedies to
treat diverse ailments, including UTI’s.
Although both conventional and herbal medicine have
botanical connections, the latter relies on natural substances of
infinite complexity to address a broad sweep of bodily experiences. In
contrast, pharmaceutically manufactured chemicals target specific
disease symptoms and are more likely to produce side effects because
they lack the complexity of the natural product that provides buffering
for a slower and more diffuse action.
Many urinary-system herbal remedies have a long
history of use by both Western and indigenous (e.g., Native American)
cultures; have been listed in numerous official medical resources before
our focus on synthesized drugs pushed them to the sidelines; and even
today, have been often sanctioned by European governments in efforts to
reconcile and integrate herbal and modern medicine perspectives.
Although little focus has been on the use of these
herbal remedies to treat SCD-specific UTI’s, many of these remedies
act against E. coli bacteria, the primary UTI culprit in the general and
spinal cord injury and dysfunction population. Available as capsules, extracts, tinctures, herbal
infusions/teas, or combination products, several UTI-fighting herbal
remedies or medicinal foods are listed below:
Ursi or bearberry, isolated from a small shrub related to
blueberry and cranberry plants, contains a urinary antiseptic called
isolated from a prehistoric-looking plant that resembles a horse’s
tail, supports general urinary tract health;|
berries contains volatile oils that serve as urinary
an indigenous South African remedy often combined with
cranberries in commercial products, contains volatile oils that are
urinary tract antiseptics;|
especially the wild type, is a traditional remedy for promoting
urinary tract health;|
the familiar garnish, provides urinary-system nutritional support
and contains apiol, a volatile oil urinary tract antiseptic;|
Seed possesses antibacterial agents, including apiol;|
an herbal heavyweight in many respects, has significant
Seal Root, isolated from a North American woodland plant,
contains an anti-bacterial compound called berberine.|
root, isolated from a plant that grows in wet, marshy areas,
possesses a high mucilage content that sooths mucus membranes;|
Silk, prepared from the stigmas of corn plant female flowers, is
valued for urinary system support.|
the deciduous tree, possesses many antibacterial substances.|
(also goosegrass), a common succulent plant, is beneficial for
treating diverse urinary-system problems;|
Root, isolated from the elegant shrub, contains substances that
nutritionally support the urinary system|
antibacterial agents in herbs, volatile essential oils are extracted
from plants using steam distillation and used in aromatherapy. These highly concentrated oils
are often complex mixtures of chemicals possessing wide-ranging
properties. The chemicals in one drop of essential oil can be the
equivalent to thirty cups of an herbal tea.
Essential oils can fight diverse infections,
including the UTI-causing E. coli bacteria. UTI’s can be treated with
baths and massages using, for example, sandalwood, pine, chamomile,
cedarwood, juniper, bergamot, fennel oils, tea tree, and niaouli, and
cajeput . For example, a massage oil containing sandalwood, niaouli or
cajeput can be rubbed directly over your lower abdomen above your pubic
bone and lower back kidney region. These concentrated essential oils are
usually diluted with some sort of vegetable oil or lotion before being
applied to the skin.
is a popular alternative healing tradition developed by Dr. Samuel
Hahnemann in the early 19th century. He discovered that
substances causing illness symptoms in a healthy person could be used in
exceedingly low doses to cure similar symptoms when they result from
remedies can be prepared from both organic and inorganic
substances. Although organic remedies are often confused with herbal
products that bear similar names, these remedies are based on
fundamentally different principles. Specifically, prepared by a process
of a successive cycle of dilution and shaking, homeopathic (unlike
herbal or essential oil), remedies are virtually bereft of
physiologically active molecules.
healing effects are mediated through a retained energy imprint of the
original, pre-dilution substance. Because this runs counter to
molecule-dependant pharmaceutical principles, conventional medicine has
shunned homeopathy in spite of a long-history of often very effective
use and documentation through some rigorously designed clinical studies.
to obtain the most effective remedies, see a professional homeopath (see
www.homeopathy.org), who will attempt to assign remedies based on your unique symptoms.
However, if this is not feasible, many homeopathic remedies are
indicated for UTI’s, including Aconitum napellus, Apis, Berberis,
Belladonna, Cantharis, Equisetum, Eupatorium purpureum, Mercurius vivus,
Nitric acid, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sarsaparilla.
decision-making less complicated, many readily available, urinary or
bladder homeopathic products have combined a number of these individual
remedies. For example, Progressive Laboratories (Irvine, TX), who
markets the aforementioned D-mannose, sells a homeopathic combination
product that combines six of these individual remedies.
Do yourself a
favor. Help preserve the power of life-saving antibiotics by using when
prudent more natural alternatives to enhance urinary tract health.
Reclaim responsibility for your own health and educate yourself on these
alternatives. You won’t receive this information from physicians, who
receive most of their education on medicines from the pharmaceutical
industry and who have had little training in nutritional, herbal, or
alternative healing approaches. With these inexpensive, often
surprisingly effective, safe alternatives, there is little to lose and
potentially much to gain.
Resources: Most of these alternatives can
be readily obtained from nutritional stores or Internet sources. For
D-mannose (MannoplexTM) and the homeopathic remedy referenced
above, call Progressive Laboratories, (800) 527-9512.