I know I’ve been away for a while, and now I update twice in one day (see my earlier post!), but I wanted to share this. I was in Brazil for a few days, which involves two long flights, one 8-hour and one 10-hour. Now since I like to just sit and chill on a flight, I only got up once on both of those flights combined. Needless to say, in addition to the traveler’s tummy that hit me, I also came home with mild urinary symptoms. I wanted to share the routine I’ve been using to try to kick it on my own without having to figure out where my new primary care doctor is!
Garlic and Cranberry
Cranberries are the go-to for urinary problems. Back when I had recurrent UTIs, I drank cranberry juice or ate blueberries every day. Both of these fruits contain a substance that prevents bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder [source: my doctor from 3 years ago]. But sugar can exacerbate UTIs, so it’s important to get unsweetened juices. I used to buy Knudsen’s Just Cranberry and mix about 4 oz. into a glass of lime-flavored seltzer as a tart morning cocktail. But this time, I had cranberry capsules on hand, so I’ve been taking one of those with each of my meals.
Garlic is a natural anti-microbial, which can kill off strains of multiple-drug-resistant E. Coli [see this abstract], so I thought I might try it for my problem. If nothing else, garlic is anti-viral and might help prevent a seasonal cold/flu [Source]. But in order to have maximum potency, it’s important to crush the garlic and let it sit exposed to air for 10 minutes. So before 2-3 meals a day, I crush a clove of garlic, then I eat it with my meal.
This has the side effect of making most of what I eat taste like garlic, which I don’t mind, and I do tend to have garlic breath, even just after brushing my teeth. Oh, and garlic is a bit spicy, so take it slow and have water handy. The last thing is that it’s important to take garlic with a meal. I got wicked indigestion taking it before my meal rather than in the middle, but waiting until at least halfway through fixed that. And I’ve been eating plenty of yogurt because, hey, it’s still an antibiotic and might mess with my gut.
A Note about Uva Ursi:
The traditional UTI cure that gets a lot of press in herbalist circles is Uva Ursi. I first heard of this when my mother-in-law recommended it, but I looked it up and it seems tricky. First of all, it’s not recommended to take it often. Supposedly you’re not supposed to take it for more than 5 days in a row, and you’re not supposed to use it as a treatment more than 5 times in one year [Source]. So not a good preventative. And maybe a little scary/strong. Since I like a nourishing approach to herbalism, I decided to give Uva Ursi a miss and stick with foodstuffs first.
I took one day off work to treat myself with a focused effort of lots of fluid, cranberry pills, and garlic. I took garlic and cranberry 3 times that day, and made sure I was drinking such that I had to urinate strongly about once an hour. Then, I kept taking garlic and cranberry (although I sometimes forget my garlic with lunch, so it’s only 2-3 times a day), and have made sure I’m staying well-hydrated. I’ve also been avoiding alcohol and caffeine, but I’ve been drinking lots of strong nettle tea as part of my liquid, because it strengthens the urinary system. I’m so glad I was able to clear this up on my own, and I’m even considering keeping up with the garlic more long-term.
(Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, and have no medical training. Please don’t use this information as an alternative to the opinion of a professional.)