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Herb May Stop Bladder Infection Recurrence

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April 9, 2007

Forskolin Flushes Out Hidden Infections

A study at Duke University says that a common herbal extract could greatly reduce urinary tract infections and boost antibiotics' power against the bacteria that cause them.

Encyclopedia: What Are Bladder Infections?

Researchers studying mice found that forskolin, an exract from the Indian coleus plant, kills bacteria that can hide in the bladder's lining, leading to reinfections.

The researchers said in a news release that about 90 percent of urinary tract infections in the bladder are caused by E. coli. Women are four times as likely to have them.

"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," said author Soman Abraham.

Forskolin has the ability to force the bacteria out of their niches and into the urine, where they can be killed by antibiotics.

Abraham said the herb heightens some cellular activity, which causes the specialized pouches to "flush out" their contents.

"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."

Forskolin 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 forskolin are not tested nor regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so Abraham recommended that anyone with a urinary tract infection should contact his or her physician before trying forskolin.

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