Lemon and parsley, effective remedies against urinary tract infections? Beware of this misleading statement

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Viral posts on Facebook claim that a lemon and parsley infusion has the power to cure urinary tract infections. While experts interviewed by AFP recognize certain therapeutic advantages in these two ingredients, they warn against the risk of treating urinary tract infections with this type of natural remedy, as poor care can lead to serious health consequences.

The Emergence + page on Facebook shares the recipe presented as “.natural remedy for urinary tract infection“It consists of:”a bunch of parsley, 1 lemon and 1 liter of water“.”Bring the water to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the finely chopped parsley. Infuse for 20 minutes, then strain the water and add the juice of one lemon“, indicating that this post has been shared more than 5,000 times.

Dose is to drink”4 glasses of this drink every day for a week (cold or hot as desired).“.”You will start to feel improvement from the first three days of treatment, but it is recommended to follow it for at least a week.“, – assures the author of the recipe.

This same tool is virally shared by many accounts and pages on Facebook (1,2,3…).

Facebook screenshot created on February 02, 2023

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic agent. These infections fall into four main categories: cystitis (bladder infection); I’urethritis (infection in the urethra); the pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and prostatitis (prostate infection).

As the publication notes, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Pasteur Institute, women are the first to be affected by urinary tract infections. Depending on the location of the infection and the nature of the infectious agent, a special anti-infective treatment is prescribed, the dosage and duration of which must be followed.

In France, an infusion based on lemon and parsley for the urology department of the University Hospital of Bordeaux is not based on “has no scientific basis“. In a letter addressed to AFP, specialists of this care unit noted that “A urinary tract infection should lead to a consultation with a general practitioner who can independently determine the degree of severity, additional tests that may be needed, and whether or not to use a specialist opinion.“.

Antibiotics remain the only truly effective treatment for urinary tract infections“Coordinator of the Infectious Diseases Department of Hôtel-Dieu de France University Hospital Center in Beirut (Lebanon) Dr. Jacques Choucair says.

The doctor adds, “This Facebook post is very dangerous because it does not mention the many other preventative measures (prophylaxis, editor’s note) used by doctors and research to identify possible causes and risk factors for UTIs.“.

According to Dr. Choucair, treating yourself with this home remedy, can cause serious or even fatal medical consequences – for example, in cases where the infection is serious or severe, in a pregnant woman or in the immunocompromised“.

The natural ingredients of the elixir shared on Facebook have many healing properties that have been recognized by several scientific studies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Thus, parsley has a strong diuretic and depurative effect. It is due to its flavonoids and potassium salts. Its consumption increases the volume of urine and stimulates the work of the kidneys, at the same time it allows to fight against water retention, prevent urinary tract infections and prevent gout attacks.

Lemon is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic (1, 2), has an alkaline effect, which makes it effective against kidney stones or in cases of rheumatism where acidity prevails, and the vitamin C in lemon reduces the accumulation of fats. and studies have shown that it prevents obesity (1, 2, 3).

Dietitian Marion Ezzedine of Cabinet Nutrition Santé in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) explains, “a mixture of lemon and parsley gives a drink rich in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. Vitamin C strengthens immunity, improves iron absorption and has an anti-fatigue effect. Potassium is necessary for the normal functioning of muscles, nerves and cells. It also participates in the body’s acid-base balance.“.

He also states that “the Magnesium helps fight stress and cramps (muscle relaxant). It also participates in bone mineralization and ensures the transport of oxygen in the blood. A nutritionist-nutritionist believes that “However, infusion made from lemon and parsley cannot replace antibacterial or antiviral medicine in the treatment of urinary tract diseases.

Experts contacted by AFP agree that, like all natural herbs, lemon and parsley contain elements or components that can prevent several diseases, but should not be taken as a cure for urinary tract infections.

In the future, even if we are still far from the therapeutic application of lemon to urinary tract infections in humans, it is lemon above all that may open interesting possibilities. A 2018 study published by the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology with apples, papayas, lemons, and strawberries tested the effectiveness of these everyday fruits on urinary tract infections. “Methanolic and ethanolic extracts of lemon showed positive results for all bacterial strains tested on bacteria causing urinary tract infections.“, research shows.

Assays for each fruit were performed in vitro after extraction of the target components, rather than directly on human subjects. “Lemon and strawberry demonstrated antimicrobial power against the bacteria tested; therefore, looking for an alternative using fruit is a valid option. All we have to do is choose the right technique to identify the right component to use to treat the respective infection or disease.“Concludes the investigation.

While the study authors advocate a natural remedy approach to antibiotic resistance in pathogens, they are not presenting lemon as a miracle cure that can alone cure urinary tract infections in humans.

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