Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Urinary tract infections (UTI)

These infections are within the kidney and tubules, which carry urine from kidneys to the bladder and the urethra. Serious infections like glamerulonephritis and pyelonephritis may occur if early diagnosis is not done. This is often associated with pains in the loin, tenderness of the pubic area, back, waist, painful and frequent urination, and fever. Often there are blood stains and pus in the urine. It is very essential to go for laboratory tests to determine the proper cause.

Infections could be due to E. Coli bacteria. Transmission could be through sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and using a dirty toilet. Diabetic patients are easily prone to this infection because of excess sugar in their urine.

Symptoms of UTI include cystitis characterised by excruciating pain on passing urine, especially on finishing, and tendency to pass urine frequently.

Treatment

Herbal remedy should involve stimulating the immune system, relaxing and disinfecting the tubules, soothing and healing of the inflamed areas.

a. Immune system stimulants include yarrow, thyme, dandelion, catnip, sorrel, garlic and ginger. Take an infusion of any of these herbs three times daily.

b. Relaxants include bear grape/wild cherry/celery/parsley/onion. Take an infusion of any of these herbs three times daily.

c. Soothing herbs include corn or maize, marshmallow/celery/watermelon. Take an infusion of any of these herbs three times daily.

d. For bleeding and inflammation, use Aloe Vera or horsetail. The herbs should be taken as tea, three times daily. A mixture of any of these remedies (a-d) can be taken for treatment.

e. Horseradish is also good in kidney ailments. One heaped teaspoonful of grated root ˝ teacup of boiling water is taken twice daily.

Where stones are suspected in the kidney, the following remedy is effective:

Ewedu leaves/Ayayon daji/Dambiya: Use powdered leaves. 1 teaspoonful mixed with 3 tablespoonfuls of honey and 1 tablespoonful of Fulani butter (Hausa –maishanu). Mix all together and take at least once daily for seven days.

A strong infusion of dandelion leaves is drunk to clean the gallbladder and spleen, and to dislodge kidney stones and gall-stones.

Decoction of nettle leaves cures inflamed kidney and clears mucus from the urinary tract. The leaves and roots of parsley are used for urinary tract infections, with the root particularly helping to dissolve and expel stones. Take an infusion of the leaves two to three times, or ten to thirty drops of the tincture daily.

Fenugreek, an ancient solution to modern pollution, is also known as nature’s marvellous cleanser. 2 levelled teaspoonfuls of seeds to a cup of boiling water plus honey, is taken as tea and lime juice 23 times daily.

Watermelon is among the best and most beneficial foods that have high cleansing effect on the kidneys. An old remedy made by simmering watermelon seeds in water for thirty minutes has been a favourite for kidney and bladder. In the absence of watermelon, pumpkin seed tea may be substituted.

The mango fruit has long been used to treat nephritis and inflamed kidney. Other fruits used to treat ailing kidneys are apples, pears, blackberries, green beans, cabbage and turnip. Many remedies for kidneys are the same that have proved beneficial in liver disorders.

Hajiya Zainab Sheriff writes from Zee’s Herbal Pharmacy, Suite 12, Angels Plaza, Garki II, Abuja. E-mail:-zeeherbal@zwallot.com