Juniper Extract for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infections are painful but too common conditions, particularly in women. In fact, women are nearly 50 times more at risk compared to men. Juniper has a long history of therapeutic uses to treat and prevent various types of urinary tract infections as an effective traditional herbal remedy for centuries.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of juniper extract for urinary tract infections along with recommended dosages and precautions. But, let’s get started with the basics of urinary tract infections first.
Table of contents
- What is a urinary tract infection?
- Types of urinary tract infections
- Symptoms of urinary tract infections
- Causes of urinary tract infections
- Risk factors of urinary tract infections
- Complications of urinary tract infections
- What is Juniper?
- How juniper extract can help with urinary tract infections
- How to use juniper extract
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection, also known as UTI, is a painful and annoying infectious condition of any part of the urinary system. It may affect the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. While most UTIs occur in the urethra and bladder, serious cases may involve the kidneys.
Types of urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are majorly classified into three types depending on which part of the urinary system is affected. A UTI may affect one or several parts of the urinary system.
Types of UTIs are:
Cystitis - When the infection occurs in the bladder.
Urethritis - When the infection involves the urethra, a tube that carries urine from the bladder towards the outside of the body.
Pyelonephritis - When the infection spreads up the tract often due to any obstruction in the tract and affects the ureters and kidneys.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections
Many people may experience a urinary tract infection without any symptoms. This condition is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria often found in older people. Symptoms of UTIs vary depending on which part is infected.
Symptoms of UTIs that involve bladder (cystitis) may include:
- A burning sensation and pain during urination
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Frequent urge to urinate but passing very small amounts of urine
- Urine looks red or pink and cloudy with a bad smell
Symptoms of UTIs that involve the kidneys may include:
- Pain in one or both sides (flank) or in the back just below the rib cage
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fever and chills
Causes of urinary tract infections
The most common cause of urinary tract infections is bacteria that enter the urinary tract via the urethra.
Causes of UTIs include:
- Bacteria that reside in the large intestine and are found in stool (feces) are the most usual underlying source of urinary tract infections.
- Catheters might be a common origin of urinary tract infections especially in people who are in hospitals or in care facilities for a prolonged period. Catheters are flexible soft tubes implanted into the bladder to drain out urine.
- Sexual intercourse may transfer bacteria into the urinary system.
- Sometimes bacteria may travel through the blood or lymph system and cause bladder or kidney infections.
Risk factors of urinary tract infections
Various factors may increase the risk of developing urinary tract infections. Some of the most common risk factors of UTIs may include:
- Blockage in the urinary tract
- Urinary surgery
- Catheter use
- Urinary tract abnormalities
- Female anatomy
- Sexual activity
- Certain types of birth control
- Lower immune response
Complications of urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections should be treated immediately. If left untreated, they may spread to other associated parts and lead to serious consequences.
Common complications include:
- Permanent kidney damage
- Urethral narrowing
- Sepsis, a life-threatening complication that results from infections
- Recurrent infections
What is juniper?
Juniper is a coniferous shrub native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Though there’s a large number of juniper species, Juniperus communis is widely popular for making medicines.
Juniper extract has traditionally been used for many yearS to treat various health conditions including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, bladder stones, diabetes, snakebite, gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, stomach upset, bloating, and gastrointestinal infections.
How juniper extract can help with urinary tract infections
Juniper extract shows strong anti-bacterial, diuretic, and antifungal actions in the body. It has been found effective in increasing kidney filtration rate, thus can be helpful in flushing infection out of the body.
Several studies have found that juniper extract and oil can reduce urinary tract infections by inhibiting bacterial growth in the body. Therefore, juniper extract can be used as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment and prevention of several urinary tract infections.
How to use juniper extract
The actual dose of juniper extract for urinary tract infections depends on the severity of the infection and other health conditions. Juniper works well both alone or along with other beneficial compounds such as cranberry extract and deglycyrrhizinated licorice.
In general, 100 mg to 500 mg of supplementary juniper extract can be taken one to three times a day preferably before meals. To determine your best dose, consult with your healthcare specialist.
Precautions and side effects
Juniper is possibly safe when taken appropriately by mouth. Some uncommon side effects of juniper extract may include skin irritation, kidney issues, and seizures.
Juniper extract may interact with other medications such as diabetes medications, blood pressure medications, and liver medications. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid taking juniper since there’s not enough data about the safety profile of juniper on pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It’s strongly recommended to discuss with a naturopathic doctor prior to using juniper extract for urinary tract infections especially if you're considering juniper with other medications.
Juniper extract has traditionally been used and found highly beneficial in different types of urinary tract infections. Modern studies have also reviewed the benefits of juniper extract for urinary tract infections.
Since juniper may interfere with several bodily functions and interact with certain medications, it’s recommended to ask your naturopathic doctor before using juniper extract for urinary tract infections.