Natural First Aid For The Home
Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) is another condition that is quire commonly experienced in many a home. The usual orthodox approach to this condition is to treat with antibiotics. However, as is becoming more frequently known, the use of antibiotics is not without its risks. Certainly, they cannot be justified when there are many effective natural alternatives growing outside your back door (and possibly even some outside your front door at that!)
There is a general assumption that cystitis is caused by a bacterial infection. This is not always true. The term “itis” means an inflammation. From an orthodox viewpoint, it is often stated that bacteria invade part of the body, causing irritation and subsequent inflammation.
Firstly, bacteria take hold where the soil is right for them. A seed that lands on good soil will grow strong and proliferate. A seed that lands on poor soil will not. We create the soil in our body through our diet, our lifestyle…and even by the way we think. If we remove the soil that attracts bacteria, we should be able to avoid the conditions that allow bacteria to proliferate and contribute to inflammation.
Secondly, not all cases of cystitis have a bacterial presence. The inflammation can already be in progress due to changes in the nature of the urine through toxic concentrations or the presence of gravel or stones. Given this knowledge, antibiotics are not a blanket solution. The underlying cause needs to be dealt with to alter the nature of the urine.
It seems to be quite commonly agreed that women suffer more frequently with the condition than men. This is attributed to, in part, by the shorter urethra and the impact that physical characteristic has with respect to sexual activity or personal hygiene habits.
Diet is also known to play a role in frequently occurring cases of cystitis.
Our diet affects the make up of the fluids and tissue in our body. It has an impact on the nature and concentration of the urine we pass. If the nature and concentration of our urine changes, it can have an irritating affect on the lining of the bladder.
The idea of the impact toxic urine can have in precipitating cystitis became wholly evident to me when I used herbs to detoxify patients. As the toxins stored in the tissues of the body are released, the nature of the urine becomes more toxic and cystitis will often develop as a result. I found this particularly evident when detoxifying smokers.
Even excesses of coffee or tea are said to have a possible link to cystitis. This is not surprising as I have long since suspected coffee as having a link to conditions of the prostate gland.
There are already two herbs in our Natural First Aid kit that are effective in resolving cystitis: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Clivers (Galium aperine).
For those of you just joining this series, Yarrow is at the top of the list of pictures. Yarrow functions by being an anti-inflammatory, diuretic and a urinary antiseptic. Its impact on the smaller blood vessels will also help to speed up the process of toxic expulsion.
Where Yarrow influences the blood, Clivers (second picture from the top) influence the lymphatic system. So the two herbs combined will have a deep cleansing action. However, it is important to isolate and resolve the underlying cause so as to avoid recurrences.
Both Clivers and Yarrow are diuretic. Diuretics increase the flow of urine from the body. In cases of cystitis it is often common to have a strong and frequent desire to urinate. This sensation in the bladder is the equivalent to what diarrhoea is to the bowels. The body is irritated by a toxic or microbial presence and attempts to expel them. In a holistic treatment diuretics along with the intake of large quantities of good water will support the body in this natural healing process.
If there is a bacterial presence, the inclusion of Echinacea (already in our Natural First Aid kit) will strengthen the immune system. In acute cases it is better to take lower dosage but more frequently.
You can combine equal parts of dried Clivers and Yarrow and add one heaped teaspoon to a cup of boiled water. Infuse for 10 minutes. In acute cases this can be taken every 2 hours. Supplement the tea with water intake between doses.
Finally, I have added a picture of Couch grass ( Agropyron repens, third picture down) and Broad Leaf Plantain (Plantago major, last picture).
These two herbs are so common that they offer an easily found substitute should you find your supplies have run out of either, or both, of the other two.
Couch Grass contains much mucilage in its roots that acts to sooth and protect the mucous membrane of the bladder, especially where gravel or stones are involved.
Plantain is the best example of the Doctrine of Signatures with respect to conditions of the bladder. Its leaf has a rubbery texture and shape that is loosely similar to that of the bladder. Although surviving on open paths, Plantain actually thrives in cooler moist and shaded areas, where the leaves grow to a considerable size. This reflects its affinity with the water element and its soothing action on inflamed states.
Plantain is rich in mineral nutrients needed to neutralise toxins. It is also anti-bacterial, lymphatic, diuretic and a blood tonic. Plantain contains tannins which, as I mentioned on the effects of tannin in cases of diarrhoea, will bring about a resolution to the condition through their affect on bacteria as much as through their binding properties.
I hope this inspires you to get out locally and find, identify and familiarise yourself with these valuable plants.
Health and Happiness
The Green Man