Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, such as E. coli, traveling up into the urethra and then gaining access to the rest of the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections are more common in women due to the proximity of the urethra to the anus and because they have smaller urethras. Although most urinary tract infections can be treated effectively with antibiotics, there are some alternative remedies that many people use. There is not sufficient evidence, however, to support the use of herbal supplements as a treatment for urinary tract infections.
Drink cranberry juice. Many people drink cranberry juice or take supplements containing cranberry extract in order to treat or prevent urinary tract infections, the Mayo Clinic explains. Although there is some evidence that cranberry juice can have a preventative effect for urinary tract infections, more research still needs to be done to determine if it is effective as a treatment for a UTI.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that some of the compounds found in cranberry can help keep bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract. Patients taking the blood-thinning medication known as warfarin should not consume cranberry products, however, because cranberry can interact with the medication.
Alkalize your urine. Reducing the acidity of the urine can hinder the growth of bacteria, the Urology Channel explains. Patients can take vitamin supplements, which will increase the pH of the urine, such as calcium and magnesium citrate. Although many patients use this technique to cure urinary tract infections, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of minerals that alkalize urine to treat an UTI.
Take antimicrobial herbal preparations. Patients can make a tea out of 1000mg of goldenseal root, the Urology Channel suggests. Two to 4g of a herb called Uva Ursi can also be used to treat UTIs, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. These herbs may kill harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. Patients can also try to use buchu, cleavers, marshmallow root, corn silk, horse tail and Usnea Lichen in order to treat urinary tract infections. Although these herbs can be purchased at many health food stores, there is not sufficient evidence to support their use for urinary tract infections.
Take enzyme preparations. Some patients take special supplements called proteolytic enzyme preparations, Peace Health explains. Patients should take 400mg of either bromelain or trypsin in order to help enhance the effectiveness of the immune system and any herbal supplements being taken. There is not enough evidence yet to support the use of this enzyme preparations for the treatment of UTIs, however.