Herbal Health Information on Cystitis

A one off bout off cystitis is easily dealt with, with antibiotics and like any other acute infection such as earache that is the right course of action to take.

It is with the recurrent or chronic form of cystitis that the herbs can be of enormous help.

This condition can cause burning and stinging on passing urine, frequency of passing urine, a desperate urge to pass urine and is life affecting due to the need to be near a toilet all the time.

You may be surprised to know that urine is normally sterile and used in the past  for sterilising wounds inflicted by war. In olden days surgeons used to get the men to wee directly on to the open wounds as it was probably the only sterile fluid around with which to wash the wound out! Bacteria can only enter the bladder from the skin externally via the urethra, which is the tube carrying urine from the bladder to the outside. So no matter how clean you think you are, it is worth taking extra care with your personal hygiene if you suffer from cystitis. Unfortunately the vagina lies on top of the urethra and over enthusiastic sex can cause injury to the urethra leaving it more prone to infection, so you may need to be a little careful.

As usual I am starting with dietary advice.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Tea and coffee aggravate the kidneys

Do not eat any oranges or tomatoes or drink their juices. These two fruits seem to be too acidic for the urinary system and will irritate the bladder lining.

Cranberry juice is good and stops bacteria sticking to the wall of the bladder.

As with the gut it is a good idea to coat and protect the bladder wall lining to prevent it being further irritated by bacteria. There is nothing better than Marshmallow to do this job.

We saw the Marshmallow growing profusely in the Cuckmere river video, when I explained to you about the mucilage content of the marshmallow. It is this that coats mucous membranes and for the bladder, it is the leaf of the marshmallow that is used.

St John’s wort is antibacterial and anti viral and can be toning for the bladder.

The best urinary antiseptic is an herb called Buchu which I love to smell, as it smells of blackcurrants and is apparently the flavouring used in the old “Spangles” sweets.

The hairy bit that comes out of the top of a corn on the cob is called corn silk and is a diuretic, but also coats and protects the bladder due to it’s mucilage content.

An irritated bladder also needs relaxing as it goes into spasm causing a constant feeling of wanting to “go”.

We saw Crampbark in the West rise marsh video and I explained it was a muscle relaxant. Well the bladder wall is just a muscle and Crampbark works very well to relax it if it has gone into spasm. Pulsatilla works well as an anti spasmodic to prevent the bladder cramping up.

There is a form of Cystitis which, when the urine is cultured, is found to be sterile. This is often diagnosed as interstitial Cystitis and this form of cystitis needs a similar approach to above as well as herbs to heal the bladder lining. For this I use Marigold, just about the best healer in the herbal pharmacy.

A typical mix of herbs in tincture form I would use in clinic for someone presenting with Cystitis is:-

Marshmallow leaf




But it obviously depends on what the patient tells me and what the symptoms are.

You will find over the counter remedies with some of these herbs in them, but make sure they are licensed or visit a qualified Medical Herbalist .

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist

Herbal Health Information

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