WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
April 9, 2007 -- Forskolin, an herbal medicine made from the Asiatic coleus
plant, may help treat urinary tract infection.
That's according to preliminary tests done in mice.
The researchers who conducted those tests included Duke University
microbiologist Soman Abraham, PhD.
They note that forskolin has been used for centuries in traditional Indian
Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments, including painful urination.
The scientists tested forskolin in female mice with bladder infections
caused by E. coli bacteria, which cause most urinary tract
Twenty-four hours after the mice were infected with E. coli, the
researchers injected forskolin directly into the mice's bladders or their
For comparison, the scientists injected saltwater into the bladders of other
female mice with E. coli bladder infections.
One day after treatment, the mice in the forskolin group had less E.
coli bacteria in their bladders than the mice that got the saltwater
The forskolin group also had lower levels of inflammatory chemicals in their
urine, the study shows.
"This type of treatment strategy may prove beneficial for patients with
recurrent urinary tract infections," Abraham says in a Duke University news
He notes that antibiotics get rid of most bacteria that cause urinary tract
infections, but some bacteria may hide in the bladder's lining. Forskolin may
force those hidden bacteria out of the bladder's lining, where they could be
targeted by antibiotics.
"Ideally, use of this herb would expel the bacteria, where it would then
be hit with antibiotics. With the reservoir of hiding bacteria cleared out, the
infection should not occur," Abraham says.
The researchers didn't test forskolin on people.
The study appears online in Nature Medicine.
SOURCES: Bishop, B. Nature Medicine, April 8, 2007; advance online
edition. News release, Duke University Medical Center.
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