First of all, I’m not advocating that you should use home remedies for UTI treatment if you have access to antibiotics. UTIs could be dangerous & life-threatening if you do not treat them right. But what if you are trapped in a cabin in the woods with no immediate access to a pharmacy, and forgot your D-Mannose at home?
In this post, I’ll review only home remedies for UTI that are readily available in most households and emergency kits. If you’d rather read about natural bladder supplements or UTI over the counter products available in most pharmacies, then follow the links.
Home Remedies for UTI: Warning
Use these proven home remedies and (hopefully) watch your symptoms disappear or at least decrease. Remember, the earlier you act, the better! Also, please remember that if your symptoms go away completely you should still take a test to confirm full recovery.
And if you start feeling unwell (fever, nausea, flank pain) and your symptoms do not go away, then drop everything, and go straight to the ER.
Another important warning: before using any home remedies for UTI treatment consider your medical history (especially any issues with stomach, kidney, and liver) as well as known allergies. If you are pregnant or dealing with a UTI in kids or elderly, do not experiment with home remedies. If you are a male who has a UTI, your case would also be considered a complicated UTI and you should not postpone your visit to a doctor.
Also, the doses discussed below are based on anecdotal evidence and experience of others (aka “folk medicine”); most of them have never been tested in clinical trials. Therefore, act at your own risk.
When you are experiencing a UTI, several things happen in your bladder: bacteria start to multiply increasingly fast, as the result, your body responds with an inflammation and pain.
- While inflammation is an important defense mechanism, because it helps you to shed the bladder lining contaminated by pathogenic bacteria, it is important to control it. Too much inflammation prolongs the disease and produces all the unpleasant side-effects.
- Besides reducing an inflammation, you also need to include remedies with antibacterial properties that can help you to kill pathogenic bacteria in urine.
- To fight pain and prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria you could try to alkalize your urine.
- And last but not least, do you really know what caused your UTI? It’s much better to plan to prevent UTI naturally than try to treat it later.
Control bladder inflammation with these remedies for UTI
Did you know that a popular headache remedy can provide an effective first line solution for your UTI?
Surprisingly, Ibuprofen in some studies (here and here) demonstrated great results when a patient used it to treat uncomplicated UTIs. If you are camping in the woods, check if your friends have Ibuprofen in their medical kits. Patients that had success with this treatment took 400 mg three times a day, for three days.
#2 Chamomile tea or green tea
Both tees provide some anti-oxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects. Drink chilled or hot but do not add any sugar or milk. In fact, you can substitute half of your water intake while you are fighting a UTI with the tea.
Home remedies for UTI that alkalize your urine
Alkaline urine can help you to deal with the invading bacteria. In order to quickly alkalize your urine you can try the following options:
#3 Baking soda
Mix a teaspoon of soda in a glass of water. Drink about 3 glasses over the course of one day. This cocktail tastes nasty! But I bet you could find baking soda even in the smallest supermarket and in the most pantries.
Baking soda is effective as a urine alkalizer but you need to be aware of its possible toxicity. While the recommended dosage for using baking soda as an antacid is ½ teaspoon in 4–8oz of water every two hours is considered safe, it is still better to proceed with caution and stick to a lesser amount.
Don’t use baking soda if pregnant and do not overdose. Baking soda can lead to life-threatening complications when misused. If you noticed signs of vomiting, nausea or abdominal pain stop taking soda and get medical help ASAP.
#4 Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a known folk remedy for UTI. Mix 2 Tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar in 8oz of water and drink 4-5 times a day (OK to add raw honey to make the taste more bearable). This could be extremely upsetting for folks with a sensitive stomach so watch out for that and stop if you feel unwell.
Use the juice of a fresh lemon half in a glass of water (OK to add a bit of raw honey). Drink every hour.
Any of the above cocktails are going to help you to alkalize your urine, that in return should help you to reduce the symptoms of UTI. Remember to avoid coffee, alcohol, soda, and anything with sugar.
Snack on as many blueberries and raspberries as you can while fighting a UTI.
UTI remedies to fight bacteria back
Garlic, parsley, and ginger could theoretically help slow down the progression of your infection and maybe even eliminate the pathogens. Many of these medicinal plants have been used as folk remedies but are still lacking clinical proof. At the same time more in vivo (studies performed in a lab) promising results emerge demonstrating antibacterial effects of the plants.
Of course, we can’t expect that the findings in a laboratory setting will result in the same effect in real life. Since herbal compounds are not instilled into the bladder directly but are first metabolized in the liver, we don’t know how effective they are once they reach the bladder in the urine. But we can hope that some properties of medicinal plants could still be helpful if you have no other options for UTI treatment and have to turn to home remedies.
If you have any parsley or parsley tablets available you can start taking them to see if this helps with your symptoms. Parsley contains several flavonoids (such as apiin and luteolin), and its essential oil contains apiol and myristicin that have antibacterial properties.
You can also make a parsley tea.
- Boil 2 cups of water
- Rinse and chop 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves
- Add parsley to boiling water and simmer for 7-10 min on a low heat setting
- Drink parsley tea couple times a day.
Snacking on raw garlic might be the last thing you want to do (also pretty tough on stomach) but garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has potent medicinal properties and shown some promise in combating E. coli bacteria (a most likely cause of your UTI).
When consuming raw garlic, make sure that total weight of garlic per dose is no more than 5% of your food intake. Normally, taking the 2-3 average size of crushed raw garlic cloves three times a day is a safe dose. Read about how to calculate maximum non-toxic garlic dose.
In some cases, patients were given 2 softgels of garlic oil (4.6 mg, 500 to 1 concentrate equal to 2300 mg fresh garlic) and 6 parsley seed oil tablets (110 mg, 2000 to 1 concentrate equal to 220 mg fresh parsley) per day for UTI prevention along with other supplements. There were no experiments with a dose of garlic softgels for treatment of UTI.
Obviously, drink plenty of water (generally 2 glasses per hour, but depending on your weight and kidney health).
Make sure to stop eating sweets or drinking anything with sugar. Even if you have cranberry juice, don’t drink it! Sugar content in most cranberry juices will outdo any benefit that you might get from raw cranberries or unsweeten cranberry juice.
In conclusion, next time make sure to pack some D-Mannose when planning a trip away from home. Also, if you have any other proven home remedies for UTI, please leave a comment below to share your home remedy recipes to combat UTIs.
#8 Ginger tea
Since I personally cook with ginger, I can imagine you could have a ginger root stashed in a kitchen as well.
The ginger plant has been used for centuries as a spice and a condiment as well as for medicinal properties, particularly for anti-inflammatory and immune modulating properties (Ali et al., 2008). An alcohol-based extract of ginger was able to inhibit growth of E. coil, C. freundii, S. aureus, E. aerogenes, P. nigrium, and A. cepa in a lab and even show moderate activity against multidrug-resistant urinary tract infecting bacteria in another in vivo study.
You’ll need to grate a teaspoon of ginger, add it to a cup of boiling water and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Drink the resulted tea 2-3 times a day. You can add lemon and a bit of honey to make it a little tastier.
As with any home remedies, try it at your own risk and do not self-treat a UTI if you have any other health issues and for more than two days. Using the recipes above should help you to minimize the symptoms till you can get proper medical help.