The human body is basically a complex machine. When it works, it works superbly, much to our delight. It does what we want it to do, when we want it to do it. Sadly, as we get older, the machinery becomes sluggish and sometimes non-responsive. We, like those machines that make our lives easier, start to falter and fail after a certain point. However, some ailments can cause our machinery to break down regardless of how old we are. Take for instance, the urinary tract infection (UTI). By itself, it is not one of the more lethal or harrowing illnesses that can befall a body, but neither is it fun. Most folks in civilized societies can go to a doctor, dose up with antibiotics and call it good – the infection clears up within a few days in most cases. However, for those of us living off the grid, or in preparation to do so, that may not be an option – either because of personal choice or unavoidable necessity. Before we talk about methods you can use to rid yourself of this unpleasant visitor, let us talk about what precisely a UTI is.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common culprit of a urinary tract infection is the bacteria, E. coli. You have probably heard of that nasty little fellow. Well, a urinary tract infection is little more than a bacterial infestation that sets up shop anywhere along your urinary tract – from the kidneys to the urethra. While the infection by itself is little more than a painful annoyance, serious complications can arise if it moves to your kidneys. Thankfully, the infection typically manifests in the bladder or urethra only. Depending on the age of the person suffering a UTI and the location of the infection, symptoms can vary. In young children, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, a loss of appetite and fever are common. Older children may experience abdominal pain as well as incontinence. Both adults and children will likely endure dysuria, or a burning sensation when attempting to ‘go’. You may feel an increased desire to go as well (whether or not you ‘can’), as well as cloudy or even bloody urine. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Well, even living off the land, you can take some cues from Mother Nature or even from native remedies that have been in use for centuries.
All Natural Preventatives and Remedies for a Urinary Tract Infection
In some cases, you can help to prevent a urinary tract infection before it even becomes an issue. From fruits to vegetables and herbs, Mother Nature’s bounty shall provide.
Baking Soda: Adding a teaspoon of baking soda to an eight ounce glass of water helps to reduce the acidity of urine and relieve some of the discomfort that a UTI brings with it.
Blueberries: Blueberries as well as unsweetened blueberry juice contain antioxidants, which help boost the immune system. You can never have too many antioxidants.
Cranberries: Both cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice can go a long way towards preventing or alleviating the symptoms of a UTI. In addition to being very good for you, the components that make up the fruit break down in the body and help to keep bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder.
Lycopodium: This plant has also been known as Lamb’s Tail, Fox Tail and Witch Meal. It is also known as Wolf’s Foot (or Claw) due to the shape of the root structure. The spores of the plant are harvested and treated in alcohol over the course of several days. After this, the spores are filtered, diluted and thoroughly mixed up. This ensures only the most beneficial parts of the plant remain. With a diverse array of uses ranging from aiding with digestion troubles, anxiety and the alleviation of pain from kidney stones, when properly prepared, this proves a highly beneficial substance.
Sarsaparilla: When your infection includes cystitis (or inflammation of the bladder), sarsaparilla root is a viable means to alleviate discomfort. The root possesses anti-inflammatory agents and functions as a decent diuretic. The root contains such beneficial additives as vitamins A, B complex, C and D as well as several minerals that the body craves, like iron and magnesium. One of the best ways to prepare it is to make a tea from the root.
Uva Ursi: This plant, whose berry is a favorite of bears (hence its name) has been known to ease the distress of urinary tract infections since about the 2nd century. Modern research has shown that the herb contains, among other things, quantities of arbutin and hyrdoquinone that aid in boosting the immune system and fighting off infections. Uva Ursi is an evergreen plant which grows in alpine regions of North America, Europe and northern Russia. The leaves are used in treatment, though care should be taken – in high doses, hydroquinone tends to be toxic to humans.
Water: That’s right – plain old, clean, pure water. Normally, you should try and drink about 8 ounces a day, but sick or not, water helps flush out your urinary system and keep it clean so nasty bugs like E. coli can’t move in and give you grief.
Even with these tried and true methods of maintaining your health and ridding yourself of that nasty infection once you get it, care must be taken to make sure it doesn’t spread. Prompt action and treatment on your part can help make sure it stays a minor incident. If it does spread to your kidneys, you may have to bite the bullet and visit the doctor anyway. Once the infection reaches your kidneys, it opens you up to a whole other mess of problems – kidney failure and death being the worst of the lot. Just remember to eat a diverse, healthy diet and drink plenty of liquids to keep yourself hydrated and your innards suitably lubricated to stave off this unwelcome guest and that machine of yours should continue working bug-free for years.