Urinary tract infections (cystitis) are very common in women as the tubules from their bladder to the outside world are much shorter than in men so it is easier for infection to get in and take hold.  Symptoms include burning pain on urination, constantly needing to urinate but passing very little, blood in urine and fever.  Common triggers for developing a UTI (urinary tract infection) include stress, sex, alcohol, and generally being run down – many of these are applicable at Christmas!

Herbal medicines may be very effective at tackling UTIs, especially if they are caught early.  They can also help to prevent an infection taking hold if you think one is threatening.

Three herbal teas which are particularly helpful are:

Buchu (Barosma betulina)
Buchu is a strong urinary antiseptic and diuretic which helps to kill infection in the bladder.  It has been listed as an official medicine for urinary tract infections since 1821, so it has a long history of use in the UK!

Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Uva ursi is also a great natural antiseptic for the bladder.  However, it is not suitable if the infection has spread up the kidneys.  Experiments have shown it has an antibacterial effect which is thought to be more pronounced in an alkaline environment so following a diet high in vegetables and low in animal products at the same time should help it be even more effective.  (Not suitable in pregnancy)

Corn silk (Zea mais)
Corn silk are the brown fronds found around corn on the cob.  This herb is very soothing to the bladder and the bladder tubules and also has a mild antiseptic action.  It is very high in potassium and a safe diuretic.  It reduces irritation in the bladder and improves urine flow.  It is also thought to be helpful for the kidneys and kidney stones.

Cornsilk is the pale fronds which grow around the corn and go brown on drying.

Cornsilk is the pale fronds which grow around the corn and go brown on drying.


These three herbs can be combined together to make a herbal tea that is drunk throughout the day or you can use them separately.  Other useful herbs for UTIs include Chamomile which is a mild diuretic and a little soothing and Marsh mallow root or leaves which are very soothing to the bladder and urethras, calming irritation.  Yarrow is helpful if you have a temperature.  If you don’t like herbal teas at all, you can take these herbs as tinctures (herbal extracts in alcohol).

Other advice for urinary infections:

  • Drink lots and lots of the fluids
  • Avoid sugar and alcohol completely as these will make the infection worse
  • Barley in soups and stews will soothe the bladder and tubules
  • Keep warm and rest as much as you can

If you feel the pain worsening and spreading up to cause lower back pain or you have a high fever consult your GP or a herbalist urgently.


If you need an advice about UTIs or any other health problem feel free to call me on 07949463288 or email ellie@hollyhealthcare.co.uk