(Natural News) Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common health problem anywhere in the world. According to studies, it affects about 150 million people each year. UTI occurs when bacteria get into the urine and make their way to the bladder. The resulting inflammation can cause pain in the lower abdomen and back or a burning sensation. Antibiotics are often prescribed to clear up the infection; however, these medications cause unwanted side effects, which make them unappealing for some. In a recently published study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, researchers from China present an ancient formula known as ba zheng powder as an alternative treatment for recurrent UTI (RUTI). They tested the herbal formula in a randomized trial and found that it can effectively get rid of bacteria and lower the rate of UTI recurrence.
The power of ba zheng powder
Ba zheng powder or ba zheng san is a combination of different herbs commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote urination and leach out dampness. It also addresses distension, pain, difficulty urinating and bloating in the lower abdomen. Also called “eight herb powder” or simply “dianthus formula,” this herbal medicine can be purchased in powder and capsule form (dietary supplement).
Despite its name, the number of herbs used to make ba zhen varies between eight to ten. Each of these herbs has its own therapeutic applications. The most common herbs included in the formula for ba zheng powder are:
- Chuan mu tong (Caulis Clematidis Armandii) – the stem of Clematis armandii; promotes urination and lactation; opens blood vessels.
- Hua shi (Talcum) – promotes urination; clears heat and damp.
- Che qian zi (Plantaginis Semen) – dried ripe seeds of Plantago asiatica of P. depressa; antioxidant-rich; treats blurred vision and ameliorates diabetic retinal injury.
- Qu mai (Herba Dianthi) – the herbal part of Dianthus superbus or D. chinensis; treats inflammatory-related diseases like cystitis, laryngopharyngitis, and urethritis.
- Bian xu (Herba Polygoni Avicularis) – aerial part of Polygonum aviculare (knotgrass herb); relieves common cold symptoms, mouth or throat inflammation, and urinary tract problems.
- Zhi zi (Fructus Gardeniae Jasminoidis) – fruit of Gardenia jasminoides (gardenia); used to treat jaundice, headaches, inflammation, hepatic disorders, and hypertension.
- Ji da huang (wine-treated Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) – wine-treated rhizome and root of rhubarb; has a purgative effect and anti-senility activity; improves mentality.
- Deng xin cao (Medulla Junci Effusi) – Juncus effusus (soft rush or lamp wick herb); relieves insomnia and promotes urination.
- Gan cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) – dried root of Chinese licorice; has anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer, and hepatoprotective activities.
In the West, ba zheng formula is used to treat acute UTI, bladder stones, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), urinary tract stones, acute nephritis, and acute pyelonephritis or kidney inflammation due to bacterial infection.
Ba zheng powder can eliminate bacteria and prevent the recurrence of UTI
To determine if ba zheng powder can be used as an alternative treatment for RUTI, the researchers recruited participants from a hospital and two community health centers for their study. A total of 122 females suffering from RUTI participated in their randomized, double-blind trial. The researchers used a blocked randomization scheme to decide which individuals would receive ba zheng and which individuals would receive antibiotics. Treatment with ba zheng lasted for four weeks while treatment with antibiotics only lasted for a week, followed by three weeks of placebo. The researchers evaluated the clinical rate and microbiological cure and recurrence after treatment. (Related: Avoid UTI altogether by drinking an extra six glasses of water a day.)
After a month, the researchers reported that the clinical cure rate was 90.2 percent in the ba zheng group and 82 percent in the antibiotics group. They also found that ba zheng managed to clear out bacteria in 88.5 percent of the participants in the ba zheng group while antibiotics were effective in 82 percent of the participants in the antibiotics group. Furthermore, the researchers observed during a 6th-month follow-up that the recurrence rate of UTI in recovered patients was only 9.1 percent in the ba zheng group. Meanwhile, in the antibiotics group, the recurrence rate was 14 percent. These data suggest that ba zheng is more effective than antibiotics in treating UTI and preventing its recurrence.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that ba zheng powder is a good alternative treatment for RUTI.