With the fantastic hot weather we have been having, we should be making sure that both our animals and ourselves are staying well hydrated, ensuring there is no additional pressure on the kidneys. In this blog we will look at four herbs that are particularly good at supporting the urinary system.
Scientific name: Solidago virgaurea
Best part to use: The leaves & flowering tops
Why is it good: This attractive plant is found in gardens and growing wild alongside country lanes and motorways throughout the UK, Europe and North America. Golden Rod makes a pleasant herbal tea and has traditionally been used for urinary infections, kidney stones, to aid digestion and topically as a wash for bathing wounds, particularly if infected. The plant has an affinity for the urinary system where it acts as a urinary antiseptic and helps support the microcapillary system of the kidneys.
Fun fact about Golden Rod: Golden Rod’s scientific name “Solidago” means to make whole or to heal.
Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale
Best part to use: The root & leaves
Why is it good: It’s no coincidence that the old English name for Dandelion is Pee- the- Bed! This plant has been used for centuries by Herbalists as one of the best non-irritating, nontoxic and powerful natural diuretics, providing support for the urinary, lymphatic, digestive and hepatic systems.
Diuresis can lead to Potassium loss from the body, but nature has this covered, and provides the plant with generous levels of Potassium to help replace the loss. In addition to Potassium, the plant is rich in Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamins A, B, C and D offering higher levels of Vitamin A than carrots!
Fun fact about Dandelion: The name dandelion comes from the French “dent de lion” – lion’s tooth, which refers to the serrated leaves
Scientific name: Agropyron repens
Best part to use: Root & Leaves
Why is it good: The plant is an all-round urinary herb and animals will make a “bee line” for it if they have any urinary or digestive upsets. In herbal medicine the roots are used for their diuretic and demulcent actions and no urinary formula would be complete without its inclusion. Containing generous amounts of silica to help strengthen the coat, hooves and nails as well as iron, mucilage and Vitamins A & B. The plant contains a volatile oil which is said to offer antiseptic properties.
Fun fact about Couch Grass: Couch Grass can grow up to 1.5m tall with spikes up to 15cm long.
Scientific name: Zea Mays
Best part to use: The dried silky flower threads of maize.
Why is it good: Corn silk is used traditionally by herbalists to help with any urinary, kidney, bladder or urinary tract concerns, where its soothing and demulcent properties provide a natural answer for any inflammation or irritation of the whole urinary system. So next time you buy your Sweet Corn and peel back the outer husks, take a moment to look more closely at something you usually discard without thinking. Those gleaming fragile strands are not only beautiful but can be extremely beneficial!
Corn Silk combines well with Burdock, Marshmallow leaf, Shepherds Purse and Dandelion root.
Fun fact about Corn Silk: Corn Silk originated in Central America and belongs to the grass family Poaceae.
Hilary SelfHilary Self BSc.MNIMH. Hilary is a Medical Herbalist who writes about the practical application of herbs and natural healthcare for horses and pets.