12 Home Remedies for Kidney Infection (Backed by Science)

cranberry-juice-for-kidney-infectionAlso called pyelonephritis, kidney infection is a form of urinary tract infection (UTI) that occurs in one or both of the kidneys [1].

It occurs when the UTI in the lower urinary tract progresses and travels all the way up to the kidneys [2].

Although various strains of viruses and bacteria can cause kidney infection, the most common cause is a bacterium called Escherichia coli [3, 4].

Kidney infection is detectable with signs and symptoms such as fever, frequent and painful urination, vomiting and nausea, chills, and pain in the side, back and genital area.

This condition requires immediate medical attention as it can leave permanent damage in the kidneys, or prompt the bacteria to invade the bloodstream and put your life at risk [5].

It’s a must to get medical treatment should you be diagnosed with this condition.

Along with this, you can help improve symptoms and feel better with these tried-and-tested home remedies for kidney infection that are listed below.

1. Water

water-for-for-kidney-infectionOne of the simplest ways to alleviate kidney infection is to drink more water. The premise is: the more water you take in, the more urine you produce.

According to a 1965 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, water diuresis or the process of excreting urine after intake of water is an excellent way to prevent renal infection [5].

How does this work?

Remember that it is through urination (and bowel movement) that the body gets rid of harmful substances inside the body including those infection-causing pathogens.

So drinking water flushes out bacteria from the kidneys and keeps them functioning optimally.

Take note, however that coffee, soda and alcoholic beverages don’t work the same way water does, and may only aggravate your condition.

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 to 10 glasses of water
  • Slices of cucumber, lemon, and watermelon
  • 2 to 3 glasses of coconut water

Recommended Directions:

  • Drink eight to ten glasses of water a day.
  • You can also try infusing the water with flavor by putting slices of fruits.
  • Chill the water for several minutes before drinking.
  • It’s also a good idea to drink coconut water.

2. Cranberry Juice

cranberry-juice-for-kidney-infectionCranberry juice is often recommended for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTI) [6, 7, 8].

In fact, it even works for recurrent cases of UTI that cannot be treated by antibiotics [9].

As you have probably heard, some strains of bacteria have already grown resistant to antibiotics, which means that they’ve become stronger and can no longer be controlled by medication.

This juice is also an effective preventive measure, and can keep the kidneys healthy and working to their full power [10].

Now, for more severe infections such as those that have progressed to the kidneys, cranberry juice can also help.

Published in the Annals of Saudi Medicine Journal is a set of guidelines for inpatient care of children with infection of the kidneys [11].

One of the interventions suggested is drinking cranberry juice, which contains active compounds such as proanthocyanidin and fructose that work to inhibit the adhesion of E. coli in the kidney cells [11].

The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry juice have also been confirmed in a 1991 study that investigated the effects of various juices in the kidneys [12].

Of all the fruit juices tested (blueberry, grapefruit, orange, mango, pineapple, guava and cranberry), only cranberry and blueberry have the ability to stop bacteria from adhering in the kidneys and causing infection [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 to 3 slices of cranberry
  • 1 glass of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Squeeze cranberry slices to extract the juice.
  • Add to a glass of water.
  • Mix well.
  • Do not add sugar or any sweetener.
  • Put in the refrigerator for several minutes.
  • Drink the juice once a day for one to two weeks.
  • Do not drink more than the recommended amount and period.
  • Drinking more than a liter of cranberry juice for extended period can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

Related: 12 Cranberry Juice Benefits (Backed by Scientific Evidence)

3. Yogurt

yogurt-for-kidney-infectionEating a cup or two of yogurt a day is good not only for your tummy but also for your kidneys.

According to a 2001 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, overuse of antibiotics can make bacteria stronger and more resistant, which in turn, puts people at higher risk of being infected [13].

Natural remedies like yogurt, which is known to control bacteria effectively, can come in handy in these situations.

Many strains of bacteria that are found to cause infection have not yet grown resistant to yogurt and other natural antibacterials, at least not yet.

That’s not all, the probiotics that can be found in yogurt can also restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the kidneys, and can therefore bring back its optimal function [13].

It’s important, however, not to consider probiotics a “panacea in treating urogenital infections”. Researchers recommend further investigation on this matter [14].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 to 3 cups of plain yogurt
  • Slices of apple, strawberry or mango

Recommended Directions:

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  • Add fruits to your plain yogurt.
  • Consume yogurt during the day.
  • Do this for several weeks until condition improves.

4. Marshmallow

marshmallow-for-for-kidney-infectionAs mentioned earlier, diuretics like water play a crucial role in maintaining kidney health as it helps get rid of the impurities inside the body.

Another type of diuretic that can help curb the problem of kidney infection is marshmallow.

Its seeds are said to be efficient in increasing urine output, according to a review of herbal products in Pakistan [15].

It is also a potent antibacterial that fights E. coli and other bacterial strains the can cause infection in kidney. It does so by preventing them from growing and spreading [16].

Moreover, it has a high amount of mucilage content that protects the bladder, preventing infections and complications [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 piece of marshmallow root
  • 3 seeds of marshmallow
  • 3 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put water in a pot, and boil.
  • Add marshmallow root and seeds.
  • Lower heat.
  • Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove pot from the stove.
  • Strain the solution.
  • Drink it two to three times a day for four to five days.

5. Vitamin C

vitamin-c-for-for-kidney-infectionAntioxidants such as vitamin C protect the tissues of the body from oxidative stress, thus preventing a number of serious ailments [18].

Emerging studies also show that vitamin C can reduce peroxidation of lipid and boost the antioxidant enzymes in the kidneys [19].

Apart from this, vitamin C has also been proven capable of preventing kidney scars during cases of acute kidney infection, reports a study conducted in Poland [20].

Kidney scars can cause recurrence of the infection, so it makes sense to exert extra effort in preventing these from forming in your kidneys.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 to 2 pieces of citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit)
  • 2 servings of vitamin C rich vegetables (broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes)

Recommended Directions:

  • Snack on vitamin C fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
  • You can also take vitamin C supplements but be sure to consult your doctor first regarding proper dosage.
  • Large doses of vitamin C can also lead to kidney stones particularly among men.

6. Aloe Vera

aloe-vera-juice-for-kidney-infectionSince historic times, aloe vera has been utilized for its wide variety of therapeutic purposes [21].

The gel derived from its fleshy leaves demonstrate anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, UV protective, and wound-healing properties, among many others [22].

It has also been found to be a strong antifungal agent, combating Candida albicans, a type of fungus that can cause infection in the kidneys [22].

Kidney failure due to Candida infection is a potentially life-threatening condition that should be given immediate medical attention. It’s a must to visit your doctor right away [23].

Apart from getting medical treatment, you can also rely on aloe vera as adjunct treatment for fungal kidney infections.

Indian researchers also confirm the efficacy of aloe vera also against E. coli and other strains of bacteria that can harm the kidneys [24].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 glass of 100 percent aloe vera juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Drink aloe vera juice once a day in the morning.
  • Follow this treatment until symptoms subside.

7. Garlic

garlic-for-for-kidney-infectionKnown all over the world for its antibacterial and antimicrobial powers, garlic is used to treat countless of infectious diseases, whether minor or serious.

Several studies document the potent bactericidal effects of this herb against E. coli [25, 26, 27].

Most of the microorganisms tested in these studies were susceptible to the inhibitory effects of garlic, but its effects were strongest against E. coli [28].

It also works for pathogens that have grown resistant to antibiotic medications [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic

Recommended Directions:

  • Eat garlic cloves in the morning before eating anything.
  • You can also try taking garlic supplements if you don’t like the taste of raw garlic.
  • Just make sure that you consult your doctor first regarding this.
  • Do this remedy for one to two weeks.

8. Parsley Juice

parsley-juice-for-kidney-infectionFor most people, parsley is nothing more than a garnish to make one’s dish appear fancy and attractive.

What many do not know is that this herb is packed with nutrients that can benefit the health in more ways than one.

Parsley juice is in fact a proven diuretic that can increase the amount of urine to help the body get rid of toxins and bacteria more efficiently.

A Lebanese study conducted in 2001 confirms its diuretic effects [29].

Results show that the animal subjects that were made to drink parsley juice excreted a much larger amount of urine within 24 hours than those who took in water [29].

Since this juice also acts as an “antiseptic of the urinary tract”, it can also prevent recurrence of the condition [30].

It does so by removing the bacteria and fungi that exist in the urinary tract [30].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Crush fresh parsley, and set aside.
  • In a pot, bring water to a boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Transfer liquid to a cup.
  • Add crushed parsley.
  • Cover and steep for five minutes.
  • Strain the solution.
  • Let it cool a little before drinking.
  • Drink this twice a day for several weeks.
  • Consult your doctor to find out if parsley may interfere with any medication that you’re taking.

9. Apple

apple-for-for-kidney-infectionHigh in fiber and nutrients, apples are a great way to keep oneself healthy and strong.

These fruits can help ward off numerous ailments, particularly those that commonly affect people with weak immune system.

If you’re at risk of a kidney infection, or if you already have one, it’s a good idea to incorporate apples into your diet.

Because of their acidic content, they can help maintain acidity in the urine to prevent the growth and spread of infection-causing bacteria.

In addition, apples also contain active compounds that have significant anti-inflammatory properties that can also help alleviate kidney infection [31, 32].

These include procyanidins, triterpenes and flavonoids [31, 32].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 to 4 organic apples
  • 1 glass of apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon of applesauce

Recommended Directions:

  • Snack on apples throughout the day.
  • Drink apple juice in the morning.
  • Add applesauce to your dishes.
  • Do this remedy for three to four weeks.

10. Warm Compress

Warm compress will not kill the microbes causing the infection inside your kidneys. But it can do so much in alleviating your pain and suffering.

As you know, pain in the abdominal area, in the back, and on your sides are just few of the many symptoms of kidney infection. Fortunately, you can find immediate relief from heat therapy.

Various studies show how warm compress can minimize pain in different conditions and situations [33, 34, 35].

A 2002 clinical review reports that heat therapy is a viable method for pain management not only in the hospital setting but also at home [35].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bowl of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Soak a clean towel in hot water.
  • Wring out to get rid of excess water.
  • Place towel on top of your abdomen for several minutes.
  • Re-apply every hour until pain subsides.

11. Baking Soda

baking-sodaIn 2009, scientists from Japan, USA and Belgium conducted an extensive review of 19 studies that investigated the effects of baking soda on kidney infection [36].

Summative findings favor the use of baking soda, particularly for preventing kidney injury among those with chronic kidney disease [36].

A different team of researchers performed a similar study on the same year, probing the efficacy of baking soda as treatment for contrast-induced nephropathy, which is a common cause of acute kidney injury [37].

Of the 17 randomized controlled trials that they have assessed, it was found that this natural method reduced the incidence of damage in the kidney [37].

However, both teams recommend further research to be done on this matter.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 8 ounces of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add baking soda to a glass of water.
  • Mix well to dissolve powder in water.
  • Drink the mixture daily for two to three weeks.

12. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple-cider-vinegar-for-for-kidney-infectionThe use of vinegar in traditional medicine and culinary dates back to 300 BC [38].

It has been used in many parts of the world including Asia, Europe and Western societies as a method for preserving and adding flavor to food as well as for curing many types of ailments [38].

Some people say that you can benefit from a type of vinegar called apple cider vinegar if you have kidney disease.

A 2014 study sheds light on apple cider vinegar’s benefits on kidney function [39].

Results from this animal trial reveal that apple cider vinegar can prevent kidney oxidative injury in mice fed with high cholesterol diet [39].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two ingredients.
  • Consume the mixture daily for up to one month.

Kidney infection is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease. While the home remedies can definitely help make you feel better, you should not rely solely on them for treatment. Be sure to get medical help.

Although some of these can control the bacteria causing the infection, keep in mind that they are not meant to replace medical treatment.