Beyond Cranberries: Natural Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common form of bacterial infection, accounting for 7 million office visits, 1 million emergency room visits, and 100,000 hospitalizations each year.1 Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, wrote in an article for Life Extension® that one third of all women will contract a UTI by the age of 24, and that once a woman has had one UTI, her risk of recurrence is 20%.1,2

Conventional medicine typically calls for aggressive treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, including trimethoprim, cephalexin, or ciprofloxacin. And though these drugs often succeed in killing bacteria, they also come at a pretty heavy price.

As a matter of fact, such antibiotics are well-known for causing a number of negative effects such as fatigue, nausea, digestive distress, and secondary infections. And, worse yet, the more you take them, the less effective they become. Why? Because bacteria develop a resistance to antibiotics at an alarming rate.

The Vicious Cycle of Repeated UTIs

Women suffer from repeated urinary tract infections all too often. This can induce unwanted and potentially dangerous outcomes, ranging from pelvic inflammatory disease to the destruction of beneficial bacteria throughout the body.

Interestingly, disorders of the digestive tract, including diarrhea, colitis (inflammation of the colon), and abdominal pain are also commonplace in chronic UTIs. Is there a connection here that’s not being recognized by doctors?

Lastly, women often require additional medications to treat their secondary infections, like from yeast. This type of infection often stems from the antibiotics used to treat the UTI. And these anti-fungal medications can produce even more unwanted and detrimental side effects.

So is there any better way to manage UTIs? Yes, there is. As a matter of fact, recent studies show that extracts from the hibiscus flower can exert powerful anti-bacterial effects for this purpose.

New Research Shows Promise for Hibiscus Flower

A low-cost, natural intervention has recently crossed the pond from Europe to the US market. This extract from the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower exerts antibacterial action against the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.3

The natural compounds in hibiscus complement the already well-documented efficacy of cranberry.4 In women suffering from more than 8 infections per year, 200 mg of hibiscus per day reduced the recurrence of UTIs siginifcantly.5

Forty women participated in a 6-month study, and all 40 women completed the entire study. All of them had a history of frequent UTIs — defined as more than four per year, including one or more in the three months prior to the start of the study.

Compared to the placebo group, the hibiscus produced an overall decrease in the incidence of infection by 89% and a decrease in the number of infections by 77%. The women in the hibiscus group experienced improvements in urinary comfort.5

Cranberry & Hibiscus Pack a Powerful 1-2 Punch for UTIs

For decades now, women have successfully treated UTIs with cranberry extract. However, cranberry is often not enough for women suffering from chronic, repeated infections.

For this reason, in order to protect women from the devastating effects of ongoing UTIs, we suggest a combination of both cranberry and hibiscus. This combo offers a natural and powerful “1-2 punch” that may very well help you break the cycle of UTIs once and for all.

Have you yourself suffered from repeated urinary tract infections? Have you tried hibiscus yet? Please let us know in the comments.


  1. Am J Med. 2002 Jul 8;113 Suppl 1A:5S-13S.
  2. Drug Ther Bull. 2005 Mar;43(3):17-9.
  3. Phytother Res. 2005 May;19(5):369-75.
  4. Phytomedicine. 2007;14(4):237-41.
  5. Allaert F. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Hibiscus sabdariffa L extract in the prevention of recurrent cystitis in women. Poster presented at the Federative Pelviperineal Diagnostics and Procedures Meeting: Convergences in Pelviperineal Pain. Nantes, France: December 16-18, 2009. Available at:


UTI -Medical Test Service said...

Hi, I appreciate your writing. It's nice to find such an important topic here. I'd like to share. I have one and it's the worst thing I've ever experienced. And trust me, for anyone who's had it, I'm not being dramatic. You feel like you have to pee every 5 seconds. It BURNS like hell when you go. And it just sucks! thanks~Jaqob

LifeExtension said...

UTI -Medical Test Service - We're glad you liked it! Thanks for reading. :)

Shining star said...

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return. karen

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