According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of people with incontinence have turned to a natural complementary treatment at some point. Relief from an overactive bladder can surprisingly be found in nature’s fields and meadows.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. The use of herbs in reducing symptoms and illness has been documented for thousands of years. Each individual herb can provide multiple medicinal benefits. Marshmallow root, for example, has been proven to soothe irritated mucous linings, including that of the urinary tract and can help reduce irritations and inflammations. The herbs corn silk and Buchu also have similar properties and can soothe irritation. The herbs goldenrod, nettle and cleavers have also been proven to have urinary ‘tonic’ properties that are effective in clearing residual urine in the bladder. A common effective herb used in men with prostate-related overflow incontinence is sawed palmetto, as it helps to reduce the prostate size and to clear residual urine from the bladder. Herbal treatments are an increasingly popular alternative for treating an overactive bladder. Often, naturopathic doctors recommend herbal remedies to target underlying processes that may contribute to an overactive bladder, including inflammation and oxidative stress.
If you are considering taking herbs for incontinence, you should always tell your primary care doctor or urologist about any supplement you’re thinking about taking. They can then ensure the herbs do not mix badly with any medication you’re taking.
Here are some of the popular herbs that are used for treating incontinence if your Doctor agrees with you taking the supplement:
> Buchu (Barosma betulina)
The buchu plant has been used for hundreds of years by South Africans to treat bladder and kidney infections and many other ailments. Remedies made with Buchu act like tonics, improving the overall health of the urinary system, nourishing the bladder tissue and making it healthier. Buchu is particularly good for the urinary incontinence problem triggered by a bladder infection thanks to the powerful diuretic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties it contains. In addition, it can help to ease the systemic irritation and strengthen the tissues that are associated with urination. If your Doctor has recommended you use buchu to deal with urinary incontinence, you should follow the following steps:
- Put 1 teaspoon of short-leaf buchu in one cup of hot water and let it steep for five to ten minutes
- Strain this herbal tea and consume it about 2 – 3 times every day until you see good results as desired
In addition to effectively treating incontinence, buchu leaves a positive effect on your overall health and body.
Cleavers is an ingredient often used in herbal remedies for treating urinary problems. In addition to its diuretic effect, Cleavers acts as a soothing coating along the inside of the bladder wall that can protect against irritation which causes an overactive bladder. To use cleavers as a treatment for an overactive bladder, you should take it as a tincture. Add 0.25cc of tincture to cold or hot water and drink three times per day.
> Corn Silk
Cornsilk is gathered from the silky, hair-like threads of the corn stalk. It has been a remedy for urinary infections dating back to ancient times, including being used by the ancient Incas. Cornsilk is used in preparation of many herbal medications designed for urinary tract disorders including incontinence and UTI. It effectively soothes the urinary tract and prevents irritation. To take corn silk, gather two tablespoons of corn silk and add them to two cups of boiling water. Boil for ten minutes and then steep for fifteen minutes. Strain and drink the tea 2-3 times a day for treating incontinence.
Traditionally, bladderwrack’s main stem or thallus is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is said to soothe the irritated tissues of the body. Bladderwrack is a form of seaweed. Due to its high iodine content, this herb is most recognized in treating underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It’s also used in the treatment of overactive bladder when the tissues of the bladder are irritated.
Gosha-jinki-gan is made from a combination of several different herbs and is one of most largely studied herbal remedies for treating bladder problems. The herbal concoction acts on your nervous system, directing the nerves and muscles in the body to have better control over the muscular contractions of the bladder. The herb also helps to increase the size of the bladder, making it possible to hold more urine for a longer time.
This fern relative descends from gigantic plants that existed 400 million years ago and has been used to treat kidney and bladder stones, urinary tract infections, and incontinence. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb make it an effective treatment for an overactive bladder.
> Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is contained in small, dark palm trees and may help diminish symptoms of urinary incontinence in men. Used primarily for impotence, saw palmetto is also effective against incontinence because it targets the enlarged prostate gland.
How effective are herbs for an overactive bladder?
Herbal remedies are becoming increasingly common as a natural treatment for incontinence. They are a less complex and more natural form of treatment in comparison to medication and surgery. However, herbs are not always fully safe and effective. Though these herbs do show some promise in helping to treat overactive bladder, you should always consult your doctor before starting any complementary treatments.
It is would be a good idea to begin addressing an overactive bladder by first seeing a qualified medical professional to rule out any potential culprits such as drug side effects.