The following herbs have different, but all beneficial, effects on the kidney and urinary system.
Some are very nutritious, some help reduce inflammation and promote healing of the urinary tract, whilst others are antibacterial, antiseptic, and increase the removal of waste products specifically. Most have a diuretic effect.
Couch grass– Couch grass is a diuretic and the mucilage helps soothe an inflamed and irritated urinary tract. It also helps heal the urinary tract. Couch grass increases the amount of urine by the osmotic process. It has some active constituents with an antibiotic effect, and can be used in gout and rheumatism. It is also used in cystitis, prostatitis, nephritis, calculus (stones), urethritis, and benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Uva Ursi (Bearberry)– Uva ursi is a urinary antiseptic, and an astringent herb. It has an antibacterial effect on the kidney, that is effective against e. coli, proteus, klebsiella, staphyloccocus, and pseudomonas. The antibacterial effect is at its strongest 3 to 4 hours after taking the herb, as some of the active constituents are converted in the kidneys to activate the antiseptic effect. Uva ursi is used in cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis and dysuria. But it is not to be used in kidney diseases, or if the infection has progressed up the urinary tract.
Horsetail– Horsetail is high in silica, and is used as an astringent in the genito-urinary tract. It is also a diuretic. It has been found to reduce the levels of lead in the body, and there is “evidence of an anti-rheumatic effect and a positive effect on lipid [fat] metabolism”. (Fisher and Painter) The increased volume of urine helps flush out irritants and infectious agents. The astringent action may help with bladder tone and the reduction of prostate enlargement. The high levels of silica help with tissue repair. Horsetail is used in cystitis, prostatitis, prostatic enlargement, incontinence, edema with menopause or arthritis, and urethritis. It helps prevent damage to the ureters, bladder, and urethra, and the prostate.
Parsley– Parsley is an excellent diuretic and as such it is used for edema and urinary stones. It is believed to increase the elimination of waste products like urea, and other acidic metabolites, and thus used for gout and arthritis. Parsley should not be used in pregnancy, nor is it recommended in painful menstrual periods. It is fine for nursing mothers, however, and is believed to encourage milk production. Fresh parsley is very nutritious.
Nettle– Nettle is highly nutritious, with vitamins and minerals including chlorophyll and beta carotene, vitamins A, B2, C and E, calcium, potassium, and iron. Nettle has been proven to increase the elimination of the waste product, uric acid. It is a diuretic, and has been found successful in managing the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy, particularly in combination with saw palmetto. Nettle has an antibacterial effect, and has been found to be effective against staphylococci and other bacteria. It is useful in arthritis and rheumatic problems because it helps get rid of metabolic wastes. It is also used in chronic cystitis.
Corn Silk– Corn silk has a lot of vitamin K and potassium. It is used for acute or chronic inflammation of the urinary tract, cystitis, prostatitis, night time urination, and urethritis. Corn silk is not a well studied herb, but it is a diuretic. In China, it is used for edema. It also has antiseptic properties, and is soothing to the urinary tract.