The majority of urinary tract infections start in the bladder and urethra, which are the lower portions of the urinary system. Untreated infections may spread to the kidneys and cause serious damage. The first line of treatment for a minor urinary tract infection is a round of antibiotics. Complicated infections occurring on a frequent basis may require additional antibiotics, according to a report from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Uva ursi, or bearberry, is an alternative and natural approach for treating urinary tract infections. This herb contains active ingredients, such as hydroquinone and arbutin, which provide antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties useful for treating urinary tract infections. Consult your physician before using uva ursi.
Determine the pH of your urine. High acidity prevents the active ingredients in the uva ursi from fighting the infection, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Test body acidity with urine pH strips, which may be found at health food stores. Use test strips at least one to two hours before eating a meal. Compare the test strip with the pH range chart provided on the packaging of your test strips. A result of 7.0 or above is considered alkaline and will yield best results when you use uva ursi to treat the urinary tract infection.
Use dried leaves to make a hot tea. Boil 5 ounces of water. Place 3 grams of uva ursi leaves in a tea infuser, then place the infuser inside a mug. Pour the hot water over the infuser and steep for 15 minutes. Drink this tea three to four times a day for no more than five days at a time. You can also drink the tea cold using the same amount of leaves and water. However, before consuming the tea, the dried leaves need to soak for 12 hours in room temperature water. Consult your physician regarding precautions and the recommended length of time for drinking this tea to ensure safety.
Take dried herb capsules or tablets. Buy capsules that contain 400 to 800 milligrams of the active ingredient arbutin, which has the strongest level of antibacterial properties. As an alternative to drinking uva ursi tea or tincture, take the capsules two to three times a day for no more than five days to treat the infection. Consult your physician before taking capsules or tablets of uva ursi.
Drink uva ursi tincture. Mix 10 to 20 drops of tincture in water and drink three to four times a day. Tincture is available at local health food stores. Use the tincture as an alternative method of taking uva ursi to drinking tea or taking capsules. Consult your physician before using uva ursi tincture.
Things You'll Need
Uva ursi dried leaves
pH test strips
Using uva ursi may cause a diuretic effect. Expect to use the restroom more when taking this herb. Uva ursi is also beneficial for reducing symptoms of bronchitis and it also decreases kidney inflammation.
Avoid acidic foods, such as citrus fruit, when taking uva ursi. Do not drink cranberry juice while also taking uva ursi, as it may counter the effects of the herb. Do not use uva ursi if you are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Uva ursi contains hydroquinone, which can become toxic to your liver. Consult your physician before taking this herb.
Pregnant women and individuals with kidney disease are not recommended to take uva ursi.