Category Archives: urinary tract infection

Fall’s A’Comin’!

Y’know, I swear Fall comes earlier every year. Admittedly, we’ve had a really cool summer (at least for Georgia) but as I look out the window (and listen to the thunder of the storm rolling by), I see that the dogwoods are already starting to change and some of the Joe Pye Weed is as tall as a small tree! I do hope the roots are as big as the aerial. That will ensure a nice supply later this Fall when I harvest (the root is the most medicinally-active part of the plant).

In case you’ve traversed these hills called the Appalachians and aren’t sure what you’re looking at, Joe Pye Weed grows in disturbed soil, generally by the side of the road. It has a straight, single stem from 3 to 12 feet tall with a cluster of pink to purple flowers at the very top. Some of the clusters are large enough to be a floral bouquet all by themselves. It smells something like vanilla.

Joe Pye Weed (aka Gravel Root or, in some places, Queen of the Meadow) Eupatorium purpureum is one of the best herbs for kidney issues. It’s been used by the mountain folk around here for ages to break up kidney stones and to clear up urinary tract infections. It’s also astringent and diuretic so has been used for menstrual pain (although I can think of other herbs better suited for that issue).

Magically, it’s used to attract love – but love comes in many forms. Although it’s said to assist you when “making love advances”, the best use I’ve found is when you want to be respected by those you meet. You can carry a few of the leaves in your pocket but since I tend to change clothes and forget pocket contents (or wear something without pockets), I keep a few leaves in the box holding my business cards. That way some of its essence is on every card I hand out.

Just another example of a perfectly useful “weed”!

Cranberry & Urinary Tract Infections

I subscribe to the American Herbalists’ Guild daily email of herbal abstracts from PubMed and one this morning caught my eye.

The abstract is from the journal “Drugs” and states at the end “However, in light of the heterogeneity of clinical study designs and the lack of consensus regarding the dosage regimen and formulation to use, cranberry products cannot be recommended for the prophylaxis of recurrent UTIs at this time.”

OK, they use scientific terminology rather than plain English. But what they’re trying to say is that, due to arguments between scientists, they can’t recommend cranberry products to prevent Urinary Tract Infections.

Perhaps …

However, anecdotal evidence (people telling me it works for them) suggests that cranberry can prevent UTIs in some people. The “dosage regimen and formulation to use” depends on the individual. Personally, I can’t tolerate straight cranberry juice – it’s just too tart. But taking two 1600mg capsules of concentrated cranberry fruit once a day has done the trick for me.

There are a lot of reasons for recurring UTI’s. Poor hygiene used to be the assumption but that’s not necessarily the case. There are many other physical conditions that allow the bacteria to proliferate regardless of your hygiene practices or how much water you drink to flush your system.

If you get a UTI, be sure to see your doctor to determine exactly what it is. Some serious bladder conditions can mimic an infection. If it’s simply a bacterial infection, you might try cranberry before resorting to antibiotics.