Chamomile Tea for Bladder Infection

cup of chamomile tea with flowers
Chamomile tea is made from the blossoms of the chamomile plant. (Image: nambitomo/iStock/Getty Images)

A common form of urinary tract infection, bladder infections sometimes develop in men and children, but they primarily affect women. This potentially serious health condition generally develops as a result of bacteria entering the urinary tract. Although in certain instances chamomile tea may help minimize some bladder infection symptoms, it should never replace conventional antibiotic treatment.

Background

Once bacteria enters and attaches to the lining of your bladder, the bacteria proliferate, causing various symptoms of a bladder infection, which may include painful or frequent urination, blood-tinged urine and unusual abdominal pressure or pain, notes MayoClinic.com. Once these symptoms develop, your body has an active bladder infection that requires prompt antibiotic treatment in order to minimize your chances of developing complications.

Features

Commonly used to soothe digestive ailments, calm fussy children and relax stressed adults, chamomile--Matricaria recutita and Chamaemelum nobile--is a flowering plant that possesses a range of medicinal properties. According to Dr. Cindy L. A. Jones, author of the book “The Antibiotic Alternative,” chamomile’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may help improve the symptoms of urinary tract infections, which include bladder infections. When used to aid antibiotics in the treatment of bladder infections, chamomile tea is typically added to bath water for soaking, which also utilizes the herb’s antiseptic properties, according to Dr. James Balch, coauthor of the book “Prescription for Natural Cures.”

Efficacy

Studies investigating the effect of chamomile on bladder infections are both small and limited. Dr. Jones notes that evidence indicates antibiotic treatment may resolve urinary tract infection symptoms more quickly when coupled with chamomile-infused baths. The Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia states that preliminary evidence suggests chamomile baths and bladder washes seem to improve the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment for hemorrhagic cystitis, the bladder irritation and bleeding that often accompanies bladder infections, but notes that additional research is necessary in order to verify these findings.

Safety

Never attempt to treat a bladder infection solely with chamomile tea or any other alternative remedies or treatments. Failure to promptly treat bladder infections with antibiotics may allow the infection to spread to other parts of your urinary tract, including the kidneys, which may lead to a potentially life-threatening kidney infection. Talk to your health care provider before using chamomile tea to help relieve bladder infection symptoms, as it may interact with other drugs, including sedatives and blood-thinning medications, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Considerations

Although chamomile tea may help minimize certain painful bladder infection symptoms when used in conjunction with antibiotic treatment, it typically doesn’t seem to play a significant role in preventing bladder infections. To minimize your chances of developing a possible bladder infection, stick with time-tested prevention techniques, such as drinking plenty of fluids--like water and cranberry juice--to flush bacteria and other impurities out of your urinary tract. The American Congress of Gynecology suggests various prevention tactics, including practicing good bathroom hygiene, wearing cotton-lined underwear and urinating regularly, ideally every two or three hours.

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