How To Use Medicinal Herbs

Teas are the optimal form of medicine for urinary problems.

| September/October 2000

In every issue of Herbs for Health, professionals from a variety of health-care fields answer your questions about using medicinal herbs. In this issue, Jill Stansbury and Terry Willard answer your questions on treating vaginitis, adult ADD, and urine reflux in children.

Jill Stansbury has been a naturopathic physician for more than ten years, with a private practice in Battle-ground, Washington. She is the chair of the Botanical Medicine Department at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and the author of many books including Herbs for Health and Healing (Publication International, 1997). 

Terry Willard is a clinical herbalist, president of the Canadian Association of Herbal Practitioners, and founder of the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is the author of eight books and a CD-ROM, Interactive Herbal. 

Soothing Treatments For Vaginitis

I need your help for a persistent problem. I have a strong fishy odor coming from my vagina. My gynecologist says it’s vaginitis. He gave me antibiotics and an external cream, but nothing works. I’ve also tried douching with tea tree oil. What else can I try?
D. L.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stansbury responds: A fishy odor usually means that the vagina’s ecosystem has become altered and supports undesirable bacteria rather than acid-loving lactobacillus, bifidus, and acidophilus.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil is a strong but usually nonirritating disinfectant and may help if you persist. Don’t use it very often, however, to avoid disturbing the beneficial bacteria. Consider tea tree oil suppositories or douching immediately following the menses, when the vaginal pH is least acidic. Avoid using tampons, if possible, as they may contribute to the infection.

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