I get questions about urinary tract infections (UTIs) more often after the winter holidays. I think it's probably the increase in sugar from holiday cookies and candies that can throw off the sensitive microbiome balance... though it could also be the stress of the winter holiday season. Stress measurably weakens the immune system and is known specifically to contribute to UTIs. As we age, the nervous system-immune system axis becomes more obvious as stressful situations are much more likely to lead to infection than when we were younger.
UPPER AND LOWER
With UTIs it's important to know that infections of the UPPER urinary tract can be desperately serious-- if the kidneys are involved antibiotics are needed promptly. Kidneys cannot repair themselves if they sustain damage. Signs of an upper UTI include nausea, vomiting, and back pain. (Also, please note that nothing here is medical advice or even close. Please talk to your practitioner if you think you have a UTI. Please do your own research if you're interested in anything I share.) Infections of the LOWER urinary tract, on the other hand, are generally way less serious than those of the upper and are incredibly responsive to herbal protocols. And happily, many weedy and easy-to-grow-and-forage herbs (my favorite kinds) are great in UTI protocols.
If you're like me and starting to plan your garden for the year, consider including these three easy-to-grow plants for a UTI protocol: yarrow, bee balm, and goldenrod. Actually, these three plants (all loved by pollinators) are exceptional at helping manage and balance SO MANY common ills. Goldenrod and bee balm are so easy to grow they will take a garden over if you're not careful. Plant these or sprinkle their seeds away from the rest of the garden. They're also available to wildcraft ethically almost anywhere (especially goldenrod).
CREATING A PROTOCOL
Teas and tinctures are the best ways to prepare a UTI protocol. Teas are slightly more preferable because they obviously increase urine output. This diuretic action flushes bacteria away and out of the body and they also get the herbs in direct contact with the affected tissues.
I go into far greater detail with creating a protocol for UTIs here, with more information on additional herbs, and a focus on tissue states.