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Treating Interstitial Cystitis with Herbal Teas

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 9/20/2011

Although there is no cure, using herbal teas for interstitial cystitis can help relieve painful and annoying symptoms. Learn about this condition and know what herbs are commonly used to treat IC naturally.

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    Corn Silk Over 1 million people in the United States suffer from interstitial cystitis (IC). It is a chronic inflammation of the bladder that can feel like an urinary tract infection (UTI). Unlike an UTI, IC is not caused by a bacteria. The cause is unknown. It can occur at any age but is generally seen in middle-aged adults, particularly women. Many people who have IC also have other painful conditions such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

    Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:

    • Pain in the bladder, perineum and pelvic region. Women may experience more pain during menstruation and sexual intercourse. Men may experience pain in the penis and scrotum which can cause painful ejaculations.

    • Urgent need to urinate, even when the bladder has very little urine in it.

    • Frequent urination. An average healthy adult urinates about seven times a day and a person with IC may urinate as much as 60 times a day.

    Because the cause is unknown, there is no cure. Therefore, treatment is geared toward relieving symptoms.

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    Herbal Teas

    Gotu Kola

    Gotu kola (centella asiatica) is a member of the parsley family and has been used to treat a number of problems for thousands of years. Today, it is commonly used to treat chronic venous insufficiency but is also used to treat interstitial cystitis. It has been shown to improve the integrity of the connective tissue that lines the bladder wall and heal ulcerations.

    With normal use, side effects are rare. Women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant should avoid gotu kola. According to animal studies, it has been shown to impair fertility. Women breastfeeding should also avoid taking. If taking medications, consult with a health care provider before use.

    To make this herbal tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried herb, cover and steep for 15 minutes. For this particular condition, taking an extract may be more beneficial than drinking tea. The recommended dose is 30 milligrams standardized extract triterpenes three times a day. Gotu kola should not be taken for more than six weeks without taking a break.


    The following herbs can also be helpful in treating interstitial cystitis as herbal teas:

    Corn silk (the silky tassels on an ear of corn). Corn silk is a well known herbal remedy for treating urinary problems. It acts as a diuretic and has soothing properties. To prepare a cup of tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried corn silk or 1/4 cup of fresh, cover and steep for 10 minutes.

    Marshmallow root. This herb has demulcent properties and can provide a soothing coating to the bladder. For best results, soak the herb in cold water for a few hours and strain.

    Cleavers. Cleavers has astringent and anti-inflammatory properties and has been traditionally used as a tonic for the urinary tract. To prepare this herbal tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried herb, cover and steep for 10 minutes.

    Buchu, horsetail and usnea are other herbal teas for interstitial cystitis.

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    Interstitial Cystitis:

    Interstitial Cystitis > Alternative Treatment:

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