Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Herbal Treatment Effective For Recurring Urinary Tract Infections

Date:
April 10, 2007
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
A common herbal extract available in health food stores can greatly reduce urinary tract infections and could potentially enhance the ability of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause 90 percent of infections in the bladder.

A common herbal extract available in health food stores can greatly reduce urinary tract infections and could potentially enhance the ability of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause 90 percent of infections in the bladder.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, in a series of experiments in mice, believe they have also discovered why many urinary tract infections in the bladder return even after treatment with antibiotics. They found that some bacteria hide in cells lining the bladder, where they cannot be reached by antibiotics. But they also found that forskolin, an extract from the Indian coleus plant, flushes out hiding colonies of bacteria, making them susceptible to antibiotic treatment.

About 90 percent of urinary tract infections in the bladder are caused by E. coli bacteria. These infections afflict women four times as often as men, and in a large number of cases, the infection returns within weeks of antibiotic treatment.

The lining of the bladder is a highly impenetrable surface, Abraham said. Special pouchlike structures within the lining enable the bladder to stretch as it fills with urine. However, when infected, the pouches can create tiny niches that some opportunistic E. coli can slip into and hide.

"After customary antibiotic treatment, the vast majority of the bacteria are either killed by the antibiotics or eliminated during urination," Abraham said. "However, there are small numbers of bacteria that survive antibiotic treatment because they sneak into the lining of the bladder, waiting for the opportunity, after antibiotic treatment, to come out and start multiplying again."

The researchers found that forskalin has the ability to force the bacteria out of their niches and into the urine, where they can be killed by antibiotics.

Abraham said that forskalin's action makes intuitive sense, since the herb is known to rev up certain cellular activity. This heightened activity in the bladder causes the specialized pouches to "flush out" their contents -- in this case, the hiding E. coli.

"This herb has been used in Asia for centuries for a wide variety of ailments," Abraham said. "However, one of its constant uses has been for treating painful urination."

Today, forskalin is added to bodybuilding products and marketed for its ability to increase lean body and bone mass, as well as to increase testosterone levels. The herb also has been claimed to be an effective weight-loss aid. Herbal extracts such as forskalin are not tested nor regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Abraham recommends that anyone with a urinary tract infection should contact their physician before trying forskalin.

In the latest experiments, the researchers injected forskalin directly into the bladder or administered it intravenously. The herb appeared to expel more than 75 percent of the hiding E. coli. The researchers next will determine whether or not the herb is effective when mice receive it orally, since that is how it would be used in humans. The experiments also will combine the use of forskalin and antibiotics.

"This type of treatment strategy may prove to be beneficial for patients with recurrent urinary tract infections," Abraham said. "Ideally, use of this herb would expel the bacteria, where it would then be hit with antibiotics. With the reservoir of hiding bacteria cleared out, the infection should not recur."

Abraham said that a new and effective approach for treating urinary tract infections is needed, because constant antibiotic use has many drawbacks, including high expense, possible liver and kidney damage and the potential for creating strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The research was led by Duke microbiologist Soman Abraham, Ph.D., who published the results online April 8, 2007, in the journal Nature Medicine. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Other Duke members of the team were Brian Bishop, Mather Duncan, Jeongmin Song, Guojie Li and David Zaas.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Herbal Treatment Effective For Recurring Urinary Tract Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409082433.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2007, April 10). Herbal Treatment Effective For Recurring Urinary Tract Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409082433.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Herbal Treatment Effective For Recurring Urinary Tract Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409082433.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins