Two of the most common microbial health issues facing women today are bacterial infections of the urinary tract (UTI’s) including medically diagnosed cystitis, and yeast infections. An imbalance of one microbial species over another can upset the fragile symbiotic relationship with you ‘the host’, resulting in a cascade of uncomfortable symptoms. The herbs Cranberry and Pau d’arco, plus probiotics can all help.
Cystitis & Cranberry
Cystitis is commonly caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli), generally found in the digestive system. Cystitis can occur in either the upper or lower urinary tract with more women than men being affected due to the close proximity of the urethra to the vagina and anus where high levels of bacteria exist. When the balance is disturbed, the bacteria begin to proliferate and create inflammation, leading to the characteristic burning urinary symptoms that may be accompanied by increased urgency and frequency, cloudy or strong smelling urine, or blood in the urine.
Cranberry is considered the ‘go to’ herb for medically diagnosed cystitis which, due to its active constituents known as proanthocyanidins, may stop bacteria from adhering to the cell wall of the urinary tract, so may help reduce the risk and frequency of recurrent cystitis and help to support urinary tract health. Cranberries provide a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which helps to protect against free radical damage and oxidative stress, and helps to maintain a healthy immune system. See Herbs of Gold Cranberry 60000.
Yeast infections & Pau d’arco
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast, either on the skin, or mucous membranes. These organisms live quite harmoniously in warm, dark, moist environments including the mouth, intestinal tract and in particular for women, the vagina. This overgrowth of yeast leads to a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
Pau d’arco has a long history of use as a herbal remedy in South America where it is traditionally used as an antifungal for the symptomatic relief of yeast infections. Pau d’arco is also traditionally used for the relief of bacterial infections and digestive disturbances. See Herbs of Gold Candida Relief.
Probiotics for healthy, balanced intestinal flora
Probiotics, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, and Saccharomyces boulardii (SB), a yeast with probiotic-like activity, play an important role in helping to maintain balanced, healthy intestinal flora by inhibiting the growth of unwanted intestinal bacteria and helping to re-establish friendly intestinal bacteria. Probiotics also help to support healthy immune and digestive function. See Herbs of Gold Probiotic 55 Billion.