Can Hibiscus Extract Help UTIs?
When you get a urinary tract infection and head to the doctor, what are they going to give you? Antibiotics. Just about every single doctor’s UTI go-to treatment is a round of antibiotics for the occasional UTI affliction, or many rounds for the chronic condition.
But antibiotics come with a whole slew of negatives: from antibiotic resistance to uncomfortable side effects.
Could there be an all-natural alternative to save us from the horrendous experience of a UTI? Let me introduce you to hibiscus extract. That’s right: Hibiscus, just like the beautiful flower or the tasty tea.
Turns out, the extract of this plant is a health powerhouse. Let’s see how hibiscus extract can help combat urinary tract infections, especially the recurrent kind.
What Is Hibiscus?
The hibiscus plant can often be found in tropical locations. It’s a native to tropical regions of Africa. Both there and in other nations, hibiscus has been a traditional medicinal supplement for years.
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- Africans have used hibiscus throughout history for everything from a nice-smelling perfume to a health tonic
- Egyptians used it for heart and nerve conditions and to keep a comfortable body temperature
- Iranians have also used it for heart support and sleeping help
It also has a long history of supporting the bladder and kidneys – doing everything from deodorizing urine to preventing urinary tract infections. And that is exactly what we are going to focus on – how it can help you with these infections.
For many familiar with hibiscus, they think of it as delicious and refreshing tea. And the tea does produce helpful health benefits. In a study comparing drinking hibiscus tea and drinking black tea, hibiscus won out by improving blood lipids, lowering hypertension, etc.
But in our pursuit of finding potent solutions to urinary tract infections, we are focusing on the extract of this lovely plant.
How Hibiscus Helps UTIs
Since urinary tract infections are bacterial, we are going to hone in on a specific set of hibiscus extract health benefits: this plant has antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiparasitic properties.
Two types of bacteria in particular seem to be killed off well by hibiscus extract: E. coli and Staphylococcus. These bacteria also happen to be two of the most prevalent culprits of a urinary tract infection. In fact, these two bacteria make up around 90% - 95% of UTIs.
Though this is by-and-large an “alternative” or “herbal” remedy, that does not mean there has not be some real research showing hibiscus effectiveness.
- One study put Hibiscus against E. coli – that common UTI bacteria – and the results “proved to have potential antibacterial activity,” meaning “the flower material can be taken as an alternative source of antibacterial agent against the human pathogens.”
- Another study did the same and found hibiscus was “effective at all levels in inhibiting coli” and it “possesses antimicrobial activity.”
Though it is a less common main culprit of the occasional UTI, candida albicans have been shown to be a problem with chronic UTIs. How does hibiscus pair up against this issue?
- One study in particular paired hibiscus extract with candida albicans in recurrent urinary tract infections (remember – these are the kinds that often ends in months and months of continuous antibiotics). Hibiscus proved to be an antifungal agent.
Aside from these direct UTI benefits, hibiscus extract is also:
- A slight diurectic, helping you flush out your system more regularly
- An immune system booster, helping your body keep bacteria from causing infection
Health Benefits Of Hibiscus Outside of UTIs
While you may be reaching for the hibiscus to help save you from UTI pain, the extract actually has a long list of other health benefits recognized in today’s medical world. It’s worth noting what a powerhouse this supplement can be.
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- Potential anti-cancer effects
- Antioxidant benefits
- Kidney stones and liver protection
- Metabolic syndrome
- Aid in weight control challenges
- Help support memory and concentration
- Promote a healthy heart
- Support your immune system
Is Hibiscus Safe?
Hibiscus has been a go-to supplement for years and years. Most likely you have probably had it in tea already.
But as with any sort of food, supplement, or medication, it’s good to know what you are taking. WebMD does offer a few precautions you may want to consider:
- There may be some complications with hibiscus and pregnancy, so talk to your OBGYN first
- Hibiscus may have some effect on lowering blood sugar, so any diabetics should consult their doctor first
- Since hibiscus can be used to help lower blood pressure, those with low blood pressure may want to consult their doctor before using the extract
- As always, make sure to list the hibiscus as a supplement you are taking before any operation or surgery
How To Take Hibiscus For UTIs
If you are lucky enough to have a hibiscus plant in your own yard, you may consider making your own want to create your own hibiscus tea from the petals.
Here is a video guide to making your own hibiscus tea:
But for many of us who do not have the access to the plant or the time to continually brew tea, we want to go straight to the potent extract.
Taking a UTI supplement that includes hibiscus is a great option, especially when paired with the other UTI fighter: D-Mannose.
Should You Turn To Hibiscus Extract For Your UTIs?
There is no reason to not try hibiscus extract for your urinary tract infections, especially when you suffer from one right after the other (Unless, of course, you are pregnant, always consult your OBGYN first).
Without natural supplements like hibiscus, you are left with yet another round of antibiotics.
When you are plagued with recurrent UTIs searching for anything that can bring relief and healing is a must. With its track record of naturally combating UTI bacteria, it’s a great place to start.