Using juniper berries for urinary tract infections
Using a natural remedy such as juniper berries for a urinary tract infection (UTI), especially if you catch it early enough, is a great alternative to antibiotics. Juniper berries have long been used to treat both kidney and bladder conditions, as they contain both antibacterial and antifungal properties. They are also a natural diuretic which helps the body flush the bladder and urethra in order to aid in clearing an infection.
Research has shown that it may be most effective in treating a UTI when one drinks juniper berries as a tea or takes them in the form of a supplement. However, you can eat juniper berries whole or in a tincture as well. A UTI is a common infection in both men and women; the following are symptoms that may indicate that you have one:
• A feeling of having to urinate frequently with little urine coming out or none at all
• Pain in the form of burning in the urethra or bladder
• Pain and/or pressure in the lower abdomen
• Fever: This is an indication of a more serious infection and can indicate that it has moved into the kidneys
• Cloudy urine with or without blood
• Intense odor to urine
• Nausea and vomiting (especially common if the infection has moved into the kidneys)
• Lower back pain
How to make juniper berry tea
To make juniper berry tea, boil one cup of water and add one tablespoon of juniper berries. Let the juniper berries steep for approximately 20 minutes before drinking. It is common for those who wish to treat a mild UTI to have the tea twice a day in order to alleviate symptoms.
You can also use juniper berries in the form of supplements. When specifically used for bladder infections, these supplements may also contain other herbs such as dandelion root, golden rod and uva ursi; however, you can easily find juniper berry supplements without other ingredients.
Juniper berry tinctures
Tinctures take several weeks to make, so having them on hand before an infection occurs is best. To make a juniper berry tincture, gently rinse the juniper berries and place them in a glass jar (a one quart canning jar is ideal). Place the berries in a solution of 50 percent alcohol (medicinal alcohol works best, but you can also use vodka or brandy) and 50 percent water, until the berries are completely submerged.
You can also add Bidens such as Spanish needles or beggar’s ticks for added potency. Once the ingredients are in the jar, seal it and do not allow air to get in, as it can cause the tincture to spoil. Then store the tincture in a dark area for five days, shaking the contents once per day.
On the fifth day, use a blender to blend the tincture and then pour back into the bottle and store for four weeks. Finally, strain the tincture through cheesecloth and put the alcohol into the freshly cleaned bottle and store in a cool, dark location to be used when needed. When a UTI begins, most find that using 6-12 drops in a beverage or under the tongue three times daily does the trick.
Safety precautions when using juniper berries
Juniper berries can be taken by most adults safely for up to four weeks. It is discouraged to use them longer than that, as they can put a great deal of strain on the kidneys and cause other health issues. Also, some may find that they have sensitivity to juniper berries, so using it in small amounts first to see if it causes stomach irritation is always a good idea.
If you are unsure whether you are a good candidate for such a remedy, make sure to ask your physician in advance to be sure that you are not overlooking something that is more serious than you suspect, as UTIs can become dangerous as they spread to the bladder and kidneys.
Examples of people that should avoid juniper berries
• Pregnant women should (they can induce labor and cause a miscarriage)
• Those who have kidney disease
• Those taking lithium medications
• Those with blood sugar issues (as it may decrease blood sugar)