Hydrangea, a flowering shrub that adorns lawns and gardens in many parts of the country, also has medicinal properties. Alternative health practitioners use hydrangea extract to treat a variety of bladder ailments. If you are interested in a natural, alternative treatment for bladder irritation, you might want to consult an herbalist about using hydrangea, but only after consulting your medical doctor first in order to rule out more serious diagnoses.
Causes and Symptoms
Inflammation of the bladder is also called cystitis. Causes can include bacterial infection, the presence of foreign objects–such as a catheter–drugs, radiation, and exposure to chemicals, such as feminine hygiene products or spermicides. With interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome, the condition is chronic and the cause is unknown. Symptoms include a strong urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, voiding only small amounts, discomfort in the pelvic area, and blood in the urine. Another cause of bladder irritation is bladder stones, which affect primarily men, with symptoms of bloody urine, painful urination, and abdominal pain.
The use of hydrangea as a medicine for bladder ailments was first introduced by Dr. S.W. Butler of Burlington, New Jersey. Holistic practitioners recommend hydrangea to fight cystitis, urethritis, and acute nephritis, as well as for problems such as too-frequent urination and bed-wetting. Although herbalists do not claim that hydrangea can dissolve kidney or bladder stones, they do claim it can prevent them from forming by painlessly flushing out the alkaline or phosphate deposits–or calculi–that would eventually crystallize into stones. Hydrangea may also help prevent bladder stones by lowering uric acid levels, and is believed to help nourish the tissues of the urinary tract.
Since hydrangea has tonic, cathartic, diuretic and analgesic qualities, you may find it helpful in relieving your symptoms of bladder irritation.
Don’t start a vitamin or herbal regimen without consulting your doctor, and don’t reduce or stop use of prescription medication unless your doctor advises it. You should use alternative medicine as a complementary therapy, not a replacement therapy. Untreated bladder infections can sometimes travel to the kidneys and cause pyelonephritis, a severe, even life-threatening complication. According to Henrietta’s Homepage, taking an overdose of hydrangea can cause dizziness and a feeling of pressure on the chest. To learn more about the side effects of herbal preparations and vitamins, visit the U.S. Library of Medicine (see Resources).