Herbs have long been used as botanical medicine. Herbal alternatives have been popular throughout Europe and Asia. Here in the U.S., there has been growing interest in natural supplements that may help overactive bladder and urinary leakage.
If you decide to try supplements, read labels carefully, take as recommended, and always consult with your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
Here are six of the better-known bladder-friendly herbs and plants that may help.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus). It is revered for its anti-inflammatory abilities. And since urine leakage is often related to bladder inflammation, proponents say Bromelain may have a positive effect on the inflammation.
Buchu (Barosma betulina) is a South American herb prescribed by herbalists to treat recurring urinary tract infections and support overall bladder health. Buchu is a soothing diuretic that also has mild antiseptic properties. Known to have an antibacterial effect, Buchu may also help with prevent bladder inflammation.
Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a wildflower with small hooks on its stems, leaves and seeds that attach to anything that comes in contact with the plant. It can have a diuretic effect that may also reduce bladder inflammation and protect the bladder wall against irritation.
Cornsilk (Zea Mays) is hair-like thread found atop ears of corn and beneath cornhusks. High in flavonoids, it can be an effective solution for women who get frequent urinary infections. Cornsilk reduces inflammation and can reduce the accompanying urge to urinate. It can also have a soothing effect on the urinary tract.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), also known as bottlebrush, is a natural diuretic with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been used by herbalists to treat a variety of urinary, bladder and kidney problems and is touted for its tissue-healing properties.
Pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) has been the subject of significant clinical investigation for the treatment of urinary incontinence and is considered the natural “treatment of choice” for overactive bladder. The research points to the seed’s fatty acids and phytosterol compounds that help maintain hormonal balance and support healthy bladder strength.
Use supplements wisely
To learn more about herbal remedies, talk to the knowledgeable staff at a trusted health food store and visit the National Institutes of Health website for the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at http://nccam.nih.gov. Always read labels carefully, take as recommended, and consult with your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
Also keep in mind that every woman is unique, therefore not everyone responds to herbal remedies in the same way. Additionally, effectiveness and potency can vary greatly between brand names. In most cases, you may have to take a supplement for several weeks before you begin to notice an effect.