What is a UTI?

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection, or commonly known as a UTI, is an infection of the kidneys, bladder, or tubes that run between them. How do you know if you have a UTI? The symptoms associated with a UTI include the frequent need to urinate, the sudden urge to urinate, pain or burning when urinating, strong smelling urine, blood in urine, and a feeling that the bladder is not fully empty after urinating. In addition, a general feeling of unwellness may accompany the previous symptoms.

What can cause a UTI and how can they best be treated? There are two schools of thought on this, so let’s take a look at them both, modern medicine vs. macrobiotics. 

The Modern Approach to UTIs

There are several primary causes of UTIs according to modern medicine. These include being sexually active, difficulty in fully emptying the bladder, having diabetes, previous UTIs, and having poor hygiene. Antibiotics are the most common treatment along with adequate hydration, cranberry juice, or probiotics. Unfortunately, UTIs have a tendency to return unless a healthier diet is adopted. 

The Macrobiotic Approach to UTIs

The main causes of UTIs from the macrobiotic perspective are dietary and include: dairy foods, fried and oily foods, refined flour products, sugar, and soft beverages. If someone has adopted a healthy diet and lifestyle, UTIs can be a way of naturally eliminating those foods from the past. A UTI can also be the body’s way of eliminating these foods due to healthier dietary practice. It can actually be very common when a person changes to a macrobiotic diet for them to have a UTI in the following months. Similarly, colds and sinus infections can also be common. 

The reason for this is that the body begins to try to eliminate the unhealthy toxins that have accumulated from an unhealthy diet. The bronchi, sinus, urinary tract, and intestines are the closest part of our bodies to the outside world and, hence, make them the easiest places for our bodies to eliminate toxins from an unhealthy diet. As an analogy, in our homes we put our trash in a bin that is easy to take out. Our body essentially does the same thing. 

Natural Remedies for UTIs

As a treatment, a universal remedy that almost always works, is to eat one umeboshi plum. In addition, eat 1-2 sheets of toasted nori, and take ume sho kuzu drink. Below you will find a recipe for that as well. These recommendations should be followed for 4-5 days until the symptoms subside. 

An alternate remedy is kombu tea. Take a 2-3 inch stripe of kombu seaweed (a variety of kelp), wipe it off with a damp sponge or towel to get any white powder off, simmer it in a quart of water for 10-15 minutes, and strain it. Then, drink one cup of warm kombu tea day and night for 4-5 days. There is no need to take both remedies at the same time. Please make sure to choose one or the other only.

If someone has a healthy diet and lifestyle, but they get a UTI, they may take antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. However, the UTI usually returns after some time. The reason for this is that antibiotics suppress the symptoms, but don’t address the root cause. On the other hand, a macrobiotic diet and home remedies do take care of the root issues, so the UTI usually doesn’t return. Again, these root causes are the food that build up the toxins that need to be removed. Macrobiotic remedies also strengthen the blood and lymph so that the body can naturally detoxify. 

Ume Sho Kuzu Drink Recipe

Ume-Sho Kuzu


To strengthen and promote good digestion and to restore energy.


1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu powder

1 cup of cold water

1/2 to 1 umeboshi plum

Several drops to 1⁄2 teaspoon shoyu 

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated ginger


Chop the pulp of 1⁄2 to 1 umeboshi plum and mash into a paste.

Dissolve the kuzu powder in 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water.

Add the cup of the cold water to the dissolved kuzu and the mashed umeboshi plum.

Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame, stirring constantly until the liquid becomes a transparent gelatin. Reduce the flame as low as possible.

Add from several drops to 1⁄2 teaspoon of shoyu, gently stir and simmer 1-2 minutes.

Grated ginger may be added near the end.

Drink while hot.