We (by we I am mostly referring to women for whom UTI’s are much a much more common occurrence than in men – not to discount the male UTI, but it just doesn’t happen all that much because of our physical structure) have all felt the very beginnings of a UTI with a dreaded…..UH OH!, because we have a pretty good feeling of what is coming just around the corner. We often wait to see if it progresses into a full blown UTI, by which time, the best course of action is going to be seeking out a physician to get a prescription for antibiotics.
I’m an herbalist and I live and breathe plant medicine. However, I will direct you right to your doctor’s office if you have symptoms of a full blown UTI, as it is not something to mess with. UTI’s can be quite serious and can result in kidney infections, which can be very dangerous. The good news is that they can often be thwarted easily with herbs if caught at the first familiar unpleasant twinges.
Here are some things you can do to help calm an impending UTI, which will hopefully recede back into a harmonious balance.
- WATER. WATER. WATER. Often UTI’s have an aspect of dehydration involved. And sometimes water is all it takes. At the first sign of symptoms, drink 1-2 full glasses of water (and by full I mean 8 to 16 ounces!). And continue to increase your water intake throughout the day. Sometimes this dilution process is enough to help your body restore it’s balance and symptoms will disappear.
- ALKALIZE! Apple Cider Vinegar, and when I say Apple Cider Vinegar, I’m referring to the raw, unpasteurized organic ones that contain the Mother Culture. If you don’t have this unhand, you can use a regular ACV, however it will not contain all the good living stuff that is going to be most beneficial. Add 1 Tablespoon of raw organic ACV right into your water. This will help alkalize your body and give it a little nudge back towards balance – a bit more than water alone will do.
- EMPLOY YOUR HERBAL ALLIES. There are a variety herbal allies that are excellent at supporting a healthy urinary tract and give an even greater boost towards overcoming an impending UTI by supporting the immune system. Echinacea, Elderberry, Astragalus, Nettles, Uva-Ursi, Cranberry, Tulsi, are just a few. These can be taken in a variety of forms including capsules, teas, tinctures, and the good ol’ electuary. Regardless of the form of herbs you use, you will want to remember to still include lots of water.
- Other things that may be helpful are garlic – raw or in the form of capsules or oil caps and good ol cranberry juice – be sure to use the unsweetened kind, which can have quite a kick to it, as most cranberry sold as “juice” contains a great deal of sugar, which you want to try and avoid when any infection is present, and very little actual cranberry . You can also get cranberry capsules from a local health food store. Make sure to check the ingredients. If you see things such as rice flour, millet flour, etc skip that brand and continue looking. These are fillers and when they are in the ingredients list, you can be pretty sure that the capsule is mostly made up of fillers. This goes for herbal capsules of any kind.
This is all fine and well, but I can already feel the dread of having to take, drink, use, what are quite possibly less than tasty things. The great news is that they don’t have to taste bad! Good tasting medicine has been at the very core of my apothecary business. I believe that if a medicine tastes good, we will be more likely to take it, continue to take it, and even look forward to taking it. If you think this seems like a very far fetched utopian ideal, you clearly haven’t explored the area of herbal sodas!
I am in the process of designing herbal elixirs that can be used in sodas, tonics, and even cocktails as a delightfully pleasant way to bring more herbs into peoples lives. And because it is something I am still working on, and I really want the information out there, I have decided to share a simple recipe on how you can create a delicious herbal soda or tonic (without the bubbles) that will help support urinary tract health and the impending UTI if caught in the very early stages.
*I cannot stress enough that this is NOT for a full blown UTI. Please visit your doctor if this is your situation!!
IF you do not see improvement within about 4-6 hours of implementing any of the suggestions here, OR if symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately. UTI’s can progress rapidly.
Herbal Soda Recipe to discourage a beginning UTI
You will need the following:
- water or sparkling water
- some of the following tinctures: echinacea*, astragalus, nettles, tulsi, Chaga, Uva Ursi
- a syrup such as Beyond Elderberry or Traditional Elderberry (but any Elderberry Syrup will do)
- an oxymel (vinegar based syrup) such as Summer Cyder, Fire Cyder Oxymel, Turmeric Ginger Switchel, OR a high quality raw organic apple cider vinegar
- bitters (optional, helps to restore balance and some even provide anti viral & anti bacterial properties. Also adds a digestive support, and when we have any infection going on, our digestion can use a bit of extra support as the energy is usually directed towards combating the infection)
Fill a glass with ice. Add your water or sparking water. Add one to two droppers full of the tinctures you have chosen. I try and have about 3-6 droppers full for each glass, so adjust the amounts of each tincture accordingly depending on what I want to emphasize and the strength I would like to have. I add 1 Tablespoon of my choice of syrup, which is usually Elderberry. I then use 1 Tablespoon of either ACV or one of the switchels or cyders from my apothecary. I finish off with a dropper full of biters. Stir. Swirl. Sip.
I do this once or twice daily along with increasing my water intake and have found that it usually can fend off not only UTI’s but also the first signs of a cold or virus. It is often just enough of a nudge to tip the scale back towards balance, if we catch it when it has just shifted out.
For more information on the herbals I have mentioned above, please visit Sage Moon Apothecary.
*Echinacea should be used with great caution by individuals with autoimmune conditions. In this case, astragalus is a much safer choice.
The information contained here is not intended to replace medical advice. Please seek the care of a medical care practitioner in the event of a progressing UTI or other conditions.