If you've ever suffered from a urinary tract infection, you know how painful they can be. You also may know how sick they can make you. It's a miserable infection. Most doctors will immediately give you a hefty dose of antibiotics to fight the infection. But you may have one of the most powerful antibiotics you can use for both viral and bacterial infections in your kitchen right now. And it can work wonders on urinary tract infections.
However, you have to use the right kind. In its bulk form, this herb is not very effective. But the concentrated oil of this herb is something else. And a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry gives us some insight into why this herb is so effective for urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections come in many flavors. The most common bacterium is e-coli. But infections with klebsiella, proteus, and staphylococcus are also common. All of these bacteria have one thing in common. They secrete a protein called urease. That's why doctors often use the presence of urease in the urine, which you can detect by using a simple urine dipstick, to diagnose an infection.
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Scientists don't completely know the exact mechanism. But, essentially, the urease that these bacteria make allows them to adhere to the epithelial cells. These are the cells lining the urinary tract. Without this ability to adhere to tissue, these bacteria would flush out of the kidneys and bladder every time we urinated. So if it were possible to block the way these bacteria were making urease, they would never be able to maintain an infection. And that's where the oil of oregano comes in.
Oregano contains active biological substances called phenols. And many of these phenol compounds have the ability to stop bacteria from producing urease. Many other herbs, such as cranberries and uva ursi also contain phenols. But studies have shown that oregano has some of the strongest urease-inhibiting phenols.
In the study I mentioned earlier, the researchers gave several volunteers a single dose of oregano extract. This dose had a known amount of phenolic compounds. They then analyzed the urine of the subjects. They noticed a very surprising result. The amount of phenols that came out in the urine was greater than the amount that they gave in the dose of oregano. The explanation was that the original, molecularly larger phenols had metabolized into smaller ones, thus yielding a net increase. And also helping to explain why oregano is such an effective treatment for kidney, urinary, and bladder infections.
But don't immediately go out and buy some oregano oil and start taking it to treat your infection. There are a few things that you need to know.
The first thing is that not all oregano oils are the same. In fact, many companies use marjoram or thyme oil, and mark the bottles as containing oregano oil. They are not the same, and will not work.
The other thing is that it is very important to buy the right kind of oregano oil. Its label must say it is mountain grown organic wild Mediterranean oregano oil. This is the form of oil that most of the studies use. And it has its own very particular phenol composition.
And lastly, the oil must be correctly concentrated. This means that on the label it must say that the carvecrol content is at least 70%. Oils that are produced with lower concentrations of carvecrol may be toxic, and may not be effective. The best oil that I have found is produced by Bio-Alternatives. You can order it from them at 866-882-0213 or at www.bio-alternatives.net.
The dose for urinary and kidney infections is the same — five drops of oil in a glass of water, taken five times a day. Some people may notice an irritated stomach with this dose. If so, reduce the dose to an acceptable level.
Although oregano oil is very effective for acute infections, it may become toxic when used continuously for more than a month. Since it takes only a few days for it to clear up most infections, this is not a problem. For those who are plagued with recurrent urine infections, one good approach is to take five drops of oil twice a week as a preventive.
And finally, because it is a uterine stimulant, don't take oregano oil if you're pregnant.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
REF: Nurmi A, Nurmi T, et al. Ingestion of Oregano Extract Increases Excretion of Urinary Phenolic Metabolites in Humans.ÿ J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54 (18), pp 6916-6923.