Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common, around one in two women and one in 20 men. A urinary tract infection can range from an infection of the bladder to an infection of the kidney. Cystitis, an infection in the bladder, is the most common UTI. The most common symptoms of UTI are: burning sensation when passing urine, frequent urination, a cloudy, bloody or very smelly urine and general discomfort in the area. High fever, back pain and vomiting occur when the infection becomes more serious and moves to the kidney. UTIs are not a serious threat if they are treated in time. However, if the infection spreads to the kidney it can be lethal and even cause death in some unfortunate cases.
Why do infections occur in the first place?
Bacteria do not normally live in the urinary tract, as it is a sterile area, but they can enter the urinary tract and multiply, causing an infection. This can occur during intercourse or wiping back to front after urination (for women). The urethra is fairly short and straight, making it easier for germs to travel into the bladder.
Treatment is usually a course of antibiotics. However, recurrent infections are common and studies have shown that women are at a 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher risk of experiencing a recurrence of infection within three to four months of an initial UTI. Moreover, overuse of antibiotics can cause a disruption in gut flora health leading to a greater susceptibility to more infections. Gut flora makes up two thirds of our immune system. This is where herbal remedies can be useful. Herbal remedies use to improve health and prevent and treat illness. They are a great resource for those of us suffering from UTIs. Humans have used herbal remedies for millennia and therefore, herbs have a much longer track record than all modern medicine’s antibiotics put together.
Therefore, keeping the above in mind, AIMIL Pharmaceuticals India Ltd has developed a poly herbal formulation (NEERI) for corrective and preventive management of urinary problems from small itching or burning sensation in urination to the chaotic or turbid urine with occult blood with painful conditions. NEERI is also helpful to the elderly males having dribbling or uncomfortable or painful condition during micturition; thereby NEERI tends “Resolves & Dissolves Urinary Problems. NEERI also relieves symptoms of UTI within few minutes, Soothes Urinary Tract and regulates Urinary pH, A natural Lithotriptic acting Multi-dimensionally, Helps prevent Recurrence in UTI & Urinary Stones, Acts as Nephroprotective, Reduces complications in Prostatic Enlargement, Take a quick look at the ultimate UTI supplement guide for an overview.
The following major herbs are recommended for successfully treating the UTI infections.
Varun (Crataeva nurvala Buch. -Ham.)
The bark of the Varun is mostly used and contains saponins, flavonoids, and plant sterols. Its use in the natural treatment of urinary tract infections is recorded as far back as the 8th century and in later times has been used to treat kidney stones. Varun is a key herb in the treatment of chronic or recurrent bladder infections and should be used in combination with urinary tract antiseptics. The tonic effect on the bladder will decrease the residual volume of urine and assist the effective removal of micro-organisms from the bladder. In turn, this decreases the risk of chronic infection or re-infection. Varun is also beneficial in the treatment of hypotonic or atonic bladder, and works well in benign prostatic hyperplasia in combination with pygeum. Very recent (2018) a scientific study of the Varun extract against renal ischaemia reperfusion injury in rats via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities had shown effectively amelioration the deleterious effects of renal ischaemia reperfusion by mainly counteracting oxidative stress and presumably inflammation.
Punernava (Boerhaavia diffusa L. nom. cons)
Punernava is one of the renowned medicinal plants used to treat large number of human ailments. The Boerhaavia diffusa contains a large number of bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, triterpenoids, lipids, lignins, carbohydrates, proteins, and glycoproteins. The plant has gained lot of importance in the field of phytochemistry because of its various pharmacological and biological activities such as immunomodulatory effects, immunosuppressive activity, antimetastatic activity, antioxidant activity, antidiabetic activity antiproliferative and antiestrogenic activity, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity, antibacterial activity, antistress and adaptogenic activity, antilymphoproliferative activity, nitric oxide scavenging activity, hepatoprotective activity, anti-viral activity, bronchial asthma, anti-fibrinolytic activity, chemopreventive action, genetic diversity analysis, anticonvulsant activity etc.
The roots of the plant have been used as anti-inflammatory and tonic in urinary infections, ascites and uterine bleedings since antiquity. Recently crude aqueous, ethanolic and methanolic extracts of the roots of the Punernava exhibited significant activity against UTI pathogens. It was also found that all the alcoholic extracts of plants parts were effective in in-vivo anti-urolithiatic activity on induced calcium oxalate crystals in rats and found noteworthy in treatment of renal calculosis.
Panchtrin Mool consisting of five herbal drugs namely daabh or kusa, (Desmostachya bipinnata), Ikshu Mool, (Saccharum officinarum), Munja (Saccharum munja), Kans (Saccharum spontaneum) and Darbha (Imperata cylindrica). Pharmacological and clinical studies carried out on a composite herbal formulation was found to be effective both as prophylactic in preventing the formation and as curative in dissolving the pre-formed stones in albino rats. The antiurolithiatic activity of this formulation has been attributed to its diuretic activity.
Gokshru (Tribulus terrestris L.)
Gokhru is one of the traditional herbs with immense medicinal properties. It has long been in use for different ailments of musculoskeletal, urogenital, gastrointestinal, central nervous and Integumentary systems as it possesses diuretic, emmenagogue, anti-inflammatory, and aphrodisiac properties.
Saponin extract of Gokhru showed antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, indicating presence of broad spectrum antibiotic compounds or simply general metabolic toxins in the plant. Gokshura is a mild diuretic widely used to promote the flow of urine, cools and soothes the membranes of the urinary tract and inhibits the production of oxalate, a substance that cause microcrystals. Gokshru is effective against major urinary tract pathogens namely E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus faecalis.
Chharilla (Parmelia perlata (Huds.) Ach.)
Chharilla are lichens growing in rosettes or spreading irregularly over the substratum, which gives the appearance of a flower. It is mainly composed of fungal mycelia, which forms a network enclosing algal cells. The plant has astringent, bitter, acrid, cooling, anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac properties. Usnic acid is the key active component of Stone Flowers, which have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
It is a potent antibiotic effective against Gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pneumococcus, other bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and some pathogenic fungi. It also exhibits antiviral, antiprotozoal, antimitotic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity. Recently Chharila showed antiurolithiatic activity against Ammonium Magnesium Phosphate Hexahydrate (AMPH) crystals.
Kulatha (Dolichos biflorus L.)
The antilithiatic activity of the aqueous extracts of the seeds of Kulatha is a well-known folklore medicine in India. The seeds contain a dimeric protein of 98 kD molecular weight which is a crystal growth inhibitor. Recently it has been reported that the aqueous fractions of the seeds have very good capacity to dissolve calcium oxalate crystals. The seed extract is antihistamic and the seed lecithin has lipoxygenase activity.
Pashanbheda (Bergenia ligulata (Wall.) Engl.)
Pashanbheda, popularly known as to dissolve the stone. In Indian systems of medicine the rhizomes of Bergenia ligulata have been used for centuries in herbal formulations for dissolution of kidney and bladder stones. In Ayurveda and Unani medicines, the roots of B. ligulata are used in treatment of vesicular calculi, urinary discharges, excessive uterine haemorrhage, diseases of the bladder, dysentery, menorrhagia, splenic enlargement and heart diseases. Hot water extract of whole dried plant of B. ligulata has been employed orally for renal or urinary calculi and decoction of fresh roots is taken orally by human adults to treat urinary disorders, stomach disorders and urogenital complaints.
Rhizomes contains various bioactive compounds like, Coumarins, Flavonoids, Benzenoids, and Lactone. Recent scientific studies showed that the methanolic extract of rhizomes inhibited CaC2O4 crystal formation as well as crystal aggregation and also exhibited antioxidant effect against 1, 1-diphenyl2-picrylhydrazyl free radical and lipid peroxidation in in-vitro condition. The active principles like flavonoids and saponins present in alcoholic extract of roots might be responsible for diuretic activity. Aqueous as well as 50% ethanolic extract of B. ligulata showed anti-inflammatory as well as the antibacterial activity.
Palashpushp (Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub.)
Palashpushpasava is used for the treatment of kidney stones, glycosuria (sugar in urine), nephritis, dysuria, and anuria. It improves kidney functions, reduces inflammation, and improves elimination of the toxins. Therefore, it is also used in the management of renal diseases – chronic kidney failure and uremia.
The crude extracts of various parts and pure isolates of Butea monosperma was reported to possess antibacterial, antifungal, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory activities and have been found to possess tonic, astringent, aphrodisiac and diuretics properties. The Seeds shows significant bactericidal and fungicidal effect in in-vitro testing. A scientific study revealed that ethanolic extract of Butea monosperma is a good source of phytochemicals like flavonoids, phenolics, and alkaloids present in the extracts may be responsible for antioxidant activity. By the virtue of antioxidant activity, Butea monosperma demonstrated nephroprotective activity.
Lajaloomool (Mimosa pudica L.)
The herb has been used traditionally for ages, in the treatment of urogenital disorders, piles, dysentery, sinus, and also applied on wounds. Mimosa pudica contains various bioactive compounds, terpenoids, flavonoids, glycosides, alkaloids, quinines, phenols, tannins, saponins, and coumarins which showed both antioxidant and antibacterial properties. The leaves are used in treating hemorrhoids and urinary infections. Decoction is efficacious in gravel and other urinary complaints. Urinary tract infections are treated by a decoction of leaves and seeds of M. pudica. Methanol extract of the plant inhibited growth of Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonous aeruginosa, and the mold Candida albicans. Growth of S. aureus, B. subtilis, P. aeruginosa, and P. vulgaris was also inhibited by the aqueous extract. Ethanolic extract of M. pudica leaves showed considerable antioxidant activity. Therefore, as it exhibited anti‐inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial,activities, the plant is used for Urinary Tract infections.
The whole plant used as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, cardiotonic, digestive, diuretic, laxative, diaphoretic, sedative, swelling, cough, asthma and also found effective in curing cardiopathy, leprosy, haemorrhoids, nephropathy, ophthalmopathy, dropsy and general debility. Phytochemical investigation of whole plant reported that the plant contains alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, glycosides, proteins, carbohydrates, coumarins & phytosterols. Recent scientific studies demonstrated that the water extract of Solanum nigrum contains several antioxidants, such as gallic acid, catechin, caffeic acid, epicatechin, rutin and narigenin, and possesses strong antioxidative activity in vitro.
Very recently ( 2018) a novel steroidal alkaloid, Solanine A, isolated from Solanum nigrum, exhibited an anti- inflammatory activity in animal models and suggested as a valuable leading compound in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Further, the study showed that the aqueous extract of Solanum nigrum fruits, exhibited antidiabetic and nephroprotective effects in diabetic rats.
Kakri Beej (Cucumis melo var. Uttilissimus (Roxb.) Duthie & Fuller)
Kakri seeds are described as cooling, edible, nutritive and diuretic, and are used in painful micturition and suppression of urine. The methanolic extracts of seeds showed significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC.)
Daruhaldi (Berberis aristata) is used in Ayurvedic medicine from long time. It has hypoglycaemic, antibacterial, antifungal, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and antioxidant activities. It is used as a tonic, alterative, demulscent, diaphoretic and diuretic, and in the treatment of diarrhoea, jaundice, skin diseases, syphilis, chronic rheumatism and urinary disorders. Scientific evidence suggests its versatile biological functions that support its traditional use in the orient. Phytochemical studies shows that plant Berberis aristata contains mainly yellow colored alkaloids Berberine, oxyberberine, berbamine, aromoline, a protoberberine alkaloid karachine, palmatine, oxycanthine and taxilamine and tannins, sugar, starch. Among the several compounds Berberine is main constitute having various pharmacological actions.
Scientific study suggest the presence of antiurolithic effects in berberine against calcium oxalate stones mediated through a combination of antioxidant, diuretic, urinary alkalinizing and hypocalciuric effects. The decoction of root bark of Berberis aristata use in the treatment of urinary troubles caused as a side effect of the anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. The plant is anti-inflammatory, treat urinary tract infections, and relieves painful urination. In vitro Berberine it exerts significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.