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General characteristics

General characteristics

Cystitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bladder. The symptoms can include pain or burning when passing urine, foul smelling, cloudy or blood streaked urine, frequent urge to empty the bladder, passing small drops of urine when feeling desperate to go, fever, general unwellness and pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen. It is usually acute, that is comes rapidly and goes with treatment quite quickly but can become more chronic and deep seated if general vitality is low.
It usually results as a response to infection or from irritation by stones or gravel in the bladder. The kidneys, prostate and urethra may also be affected. Women are more prone to it than men because of the close proximity of the urethra (the tube that  urine passes through) to the anus - intestinal  bacteria  is a common cause. It can also result from chronic candida overgrowth. Chronic constipation also seems to exacerbate it.
Herbal and natural treatments aim to help soothe the bladder lining, eliminate infection and raise the general vitality/immunity thereby lessening the likelihood of re-occurrences.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Drinking a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice daily helps with cystitis when it is active and can help prevent it occurring again. It lubricates and soothes the bladder walls.

Eat a small salad of dark green leaves with each meal including lettuce, rocket watercress etc, and eat homemade soups with plenty of organic vegetables with their skins on.

Make homemade barley water every other day by simmering a tablespoon of barley in a pint of water for 20 minutes and drink while cool.

Have a small unsweetened natural yoghurt every other day to help with any candida overgrowth.

Apples and freshly juiced apples are excellent in cystitis. Eat at least 2 apples daily or have a glass of fresh juice at lunch.

Make sure you are getting enough plant fibre as constipation and bowel stagnation are never conducive to good health. See also 'fibre' in the 'natural healing' section of this site for some food ideas.

Foods that encourage acidity of the urine should be avoided whilst suffering and intake watched carefully if you are prone to regular cystitis attacks. These include fizzy drinks, coffee, tea, alcohol, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, white flour products like bread, cakes and pasta, chocolate, junk and processed foods and meat and animal protein.

Citrus fruits are often said to be acidic but lemon juice seems to have an acid neutralising effect in the body. Fresh lemon juice can be added to barley water or fruit juices daily.

Drink plenty of water in its pure form or through herbal teas. Water helps to flush the bladder.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A formula to soothe inflammation, see off infection and improve the bladder could include buchu, cornsilk, dandelion leaf, cleavers, marshmallow leaf or root,  yarrow, bearberry/uva ursi, couchgrass and juniper berries. Use equal parts (25g say) of all the dried herbs except juniper and combine. Use a heaped teaspoon of the mix per cup and add 3-5 crushed juniper berries to each cup of tea. Stand for 10 minutes and drink 3 cups daily.
Violet leaf tea can also be used to soothe irritation and burning.
To raise general vitality make a formula of echinacea, siberian ginseng, astragulus, gotu kola and liqourice tinctures using 50ml of each except for 25ml of liqourice. Take a teaspoonful in a little water twice daily alongside the above herbal tea. Add a small splash of sage tincture to your mix for a few days to fight any pathogens.
Nettle, plantain leaf and alfalfa tea will provide large amounts of vital nutrients and act as a general tonic.
Mullein root (or leaf) can be very helpful when infection is suspected but tests come back negative. Damiana is also a good urinary antiseptic herb.
Celery seeds taken as a tea or added to other tea mixes are cleansing to the urinary system, are warming and soothing and relieve pain.
Burdock root is a deep down cleansing remedy that can help the genito-urinary system overcome congestion and infection. Use in conjunction with urinary antiseptics and start slowly, building up the dose over time.
If cystitis becomes chronic or occurs regularly you might consider doing a kidney cleanse at some point in the near future. See kidney cleanse in the natural healing section of the site.
Irish moss as a tea can help to soothe and protect aginst the burning sensations and cleanse the urinary passages generally, leaving them in a healthier state. The same can be said for marshmallow root and slippery elm powder.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take a teaspoon each of cider vinegar and honey in warm water 3 times daily.
When urinating, sit back against the toilet seat and tilt your pelvis forward a little to encourage full emptying of the bladder.
Use 2 drops each of essential oils like thyme, juniper and lavender in your baths and washing water.
Avoid wearing tight fitting underwear and constrictive trousers or tights . Wear cotton or other natural fibre underwear and allow your crotch to 'breathe' regularly.
Keep your body warm in winter and cool in summer and get plenty of rest and relaxation.
Try to urinate soon after sex to flush away any lurking bacteria.
Synthetic chemical bubble baths, soaps and cleansers can irritate the urogenital area so use only pure plant based cleansers, soaps and bath additives made with essential oils.
Try a half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in a little water twice daily to neutralise the acidic urine and ease the burning sensation.
For women, wipe from the front to the back after using the toilet, doing the reverse pulls bacteria from the bowel across the vagina and urethra.

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