About 50 percent of women worldwide experience a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives. While many are prescribed antibiotics, there is a growing belief that essential oils for UTI should be considered part of the treatment.
A urinary tract infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the urinary tract. In the majority of cases, it is the bacteria known as Escherichia coli (E. coli).
In order to heal the infection, an essential oil has to kill the bacteria. There are some people who get recurring UTIs and become resistant to antibiotics. Essential oils can be an option but they must be used properly and they must be the right essentials oils.
Why Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils are liquid plant extracts that come from leaves, flowers, roots, and fruit rinds. Each of the oils has a different chemical make-up and scent that gives it therapeutic abilities. People use essential oils for UTI for a number of reasons, including the fact that they can strengthen the immune system, reduce fluid retention, have antibacterial properties, and can help rid the body of toxins.
19 Essential Oils for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
What essential oils are good for a UTI? Here we sort that out for you, so you can eliminate some of the guesswork. From earthy oils like sandalwood to sweet smelling oils such as lavender, there are a lot of good options.
Some essential oils in the following list have been examined in specific studies while others are backed by a lot of anecdotal evidence.
If you have suffered from a UTI or have recurring UTIs, you may want to consider some of the best essential oils for UTI in the list below.
Clove oil: A study in 2016 indicated that clove oil might help kill E. coli when it is resistant to antibiotics.
Oregano oil: Studies on oregano oil suggest that it can slow or stop the growth of E. coli. Oregano has antimicrobial properties, suggesting it can help fight UTIs.
Cinnamon oil: Some experts suggest that the chemical cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its amazing flavor, may prevent the growth of E. coli.
Lavender oil: One of the most popular oils, research seems to suggest that lavender can kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It is also an antioxidant.
Eucalyptus oil: It is believed that eucalyptus oil has the ability to fight various bacteria. In 2016, researchers discovered that eucalyptus could kill or slow the growth of E. coli, S. aureus, and Listeria innocua. Lemon-scented eucalyptus oil is considered best for UTIs.
Cumin oil: This oil may help fight bacterial infections. A study in 2016 compared cumin oil to chamomile and onion oils and found that cumin killed most bacteria. Some research indicates that cumin oil is most effective when used along with antibiotics, so it may make a good additional treatment.
Coriander oil: Like cumin oil, it has been suggested that coriander oil works best when used as an additional therapy.
Frankincense oil: This oil has high levels of healing compounds. It can keep the urinary tract clean and help the body fight off invading bacteria.
Lemongrass oil: Commonly associated with mental healing, lemongrass oil happens to support immune health. If you have a UTI, this oil just might speed up the healing and fight off new infections.
Juniper berry oil: This oil is known for its detoxifying strength. When taken early enough, it has been suggested juniper berry oil can prevent infection from getting worse.
Tea tree oil: The vapors from tea tree oil have the ability to prevent the growth of E. coli. It is important to keep in mind that this oil is not for consumption. Some people fighting UTIs add it to their bath water.
Myrrh oil: This oil has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties. It has been used for centuries to fight infections as well as other health problems.
Bergamot: Used to help treat lower abdominal pain, bergamot oil is also considered an infection fighter. It has the ability to soothe inflammation and itching associated with infections but is said to work really well for fighting urinary and kidney infections. When added to a bath, bergamot oil can help curb vaginal itching that can sometimes occur as a result of antibiotic use.
Cypress oil: An incredibly aromatic oil, cypress is used for liver and urinary health. It is known to help balance natural bacteria and microorganisms. It is usually used in a bath to help address the infection.
Sage: This oil acts as an antibacterial; however, it is thought to be really effective when it comes to tackling UTI bacteria.
Sandalwood: This oil can help with some of the symptoms associated with urinary tract infections. It has a pleasant, natural woody scent and is most effective when used in a bath or in a compress.
Cajeput oil: This seems to be one of the best essential oils for UTI when used in a bath. Simply add two to three drops of oil to your bath water.
Clove Basil Oil: A study conducted with Uganda hospital patients in 2015 showed that essential oils native to warm, tropical regions, including clove basil, have the potential to fight E. coli due to the antibacterial properties.
Rosemary oil: Research conducted five years ago by medical experts in Brazil shows that rosemary oil could be a viable option as an alternative treatment for urinary infections.
Urinary tract infections are not just associated with E. coli. While rare, S. maltophilia is a strain of bacteria also linked to UTIs. It can be difficult to treat.
A study carried out by medical officials in India back in 2015 showed that S. maltophilia, which can be resistant to some medications, might be inhibited by essential oils from plants like clove, cinnamon, and thyme. Still, more research is needed to pinpoint the chemical composition of the oils that allows for the fighting of bacteria.
Essential Oils Usage Tips and Warnings
There are certain precautions you should take when using essential oil for UTIs. If you know how to use the oils properly, you can avoid problems. First, we will look at how to safely use essential oils then we outline some warning you should review.
Here’s a look at how to use essential oils for UTIs:
- Dose and type depend on which oil is involved and what state your health is in so consult an expert before using essential oils to treat a UTI.
- When you apply essential oils topically, dilute them in carrier oil, such as coconut oil, grape seed oil, or avocado oil. If you have an allergy to nuts you will want to stay away from carrier oils that come from nuts.
- You can blend your favorite oils and use them in a hot compress placed on your abdomen. The best approach is to dilute one drop of essential oil with one drop of carrier oil.
- You can put drops of essential oil into a diffuser for inhaling. For those who tend to get irritated skin easily, this can be a good alternative.
- Adding a few drops of essential oils to a bath can help provide short-term pain relief and be very relaxing.
If you are considering the use of essential oils for the first time on your skin or want to try a new essential oil, it is wise to test it to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin. You can do this by mixing the oil with a carrier oil and then putting a little bit of it on your forearm. An area about the size of a quarter should suffice. You should wait 24 to 48 hours and if you don’t have a reaction, the oil is safe to use.
Here are some specific warnings associated with essential oil use:
- Some essential oils are toxic so don’t swallow them
- Do not apply essential oils directly to the vagina, urethra, penis, or any exposed skin.
- Children can be more vulnerable to the side effects of essential oils so use them on kids under a doctor’s guidance.
- Some oils can be dangerous to family pets. Consult with a pet care professional before using essential oils on your body or in a diffuser if you want to protect your furry friends.
- Some essential oils can be dangerous to those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- While many oils are toxic to consume, others are dangerous when applied to the skin. Camphor oil may be harmful when applied directly to the skin.
- Studies have shown that strong concentrations of lavender oil can be hard on the skin.
- Essential oils are more likely to cause an allergic reaction in people who already suffer from allergies, eczema, or sensitive skin.
- The sun interacts with certain oils, including those that come from citrus fruits. This means if you have the oil on your skin and are in direct sunlight, you could get a sunburn.
- Some essentials oils, such as tea tree oil and lavender oil, are endocrine disruptors, which means they can interfere with hormones.
One essential oil that seems to help with most types of bacterial infections is a citrus blend of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, and lemon, along with a hint of spearmint. For specific UTI blends, it is best to consult with a qualified aromatherapist.
Many people discover that using essential oils speeds up healing when they have a urinary tract infection while others believe that it prevents an infection from coming back. Much like any other remedy, certain doses are safe; however, it is always smart to speak with an expert and do some research before using any oils.
It is equally important to note that no matter what remedy you’re thinking about, improper treatment of a UTI can lead to sepsis – a dangerous blood infection. Sepsis can spread to other parts of the body, such as the kidneys. As infections spread, they become harder to treat.
If you suffer from frequent UTIs, severe UTIs, have a history of kidney problems, or allergies, seek medical advice about what treatments you should be using.
- Treat urinary tract infections naturally without antibiotics: Study
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