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Common Name: Wild Hydrangea | Scientific Name: Hydrangea Aborescens

Family Name: Caprifoliaceae


Wild hydrangea has a very specific use and an odd one at that. It is used to remove the unpleasant sensations associated with urinary tract infections and prostitis. Many people have found relief from these two irritating conditions with this simple herb.


Fact Sheet
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians

Fact Sheet

Part Used: Bark

In a Word: Prostatitis Solution


Prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate, can be acute or chronic. Some patients develop prostatitis and with a course of antibiotics, it clears up once and for all. For the most part, those that develop prostatitis suffer from the chronic variety. Allopathic physicians (conventional) will be quick to tell you that once a person develops prostatitis, they will have a hard time getting rid of it.

Perianal pain, testicular discomfort, unpleasant prostatic sensations, general tenderness in the region, and a constant desire to urinate become a day-to-day reality for the prostatitis patient. Patients complain that they spend their life looking for a toilet and sitting uncomfortably on a chair. Living with prostatitis is a bit like trying to live with a toothache (except you do not mind discussing a toothache with friends and family). Prostatitis, on the other hand, is something most would rather not mention. There is no need to suffer in silence when wild hydrangea grows on the banks of rivers in the USA.

Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea aborescens) is related to the garden variety of hydrangea, though a distant North American relative. Likely to have been first used by the Native Americans, wild hydrangea entered the medical world in the 1850′s as a treatment for any irritable condition of the urinary tract. In fact, it was used to treat one of the most uncomfortable conditions on the medical books, urinary stones. This quote from a doctor Scudder, writing in 1874, gives us a glimpse of Wild Hydrangea in the last century:

“This is a valuable remedy in diseases of urinary apparatus. It gives tone to the kidneys, improving their functional activity, and thus tends to arrest the formation of urinary deposits and calculi. It relieves irritation of the bladder and urethra and hence proves serviceable in cases of gravel.”

Everything in its proper context, passing urinary stones is said to be one of the most painful events a person can experience, and that includes childbirth. The doctors of the last century all said that when a person was passing stones, wild hydrangea made the experience bearable. The following quote comes from Dr. Ellingwood in his medical textbook written in 1905. He is quoting physicians from a much earlier day! “About the year 1830 experiments were conducted to prove its influence in relieving pain caused by the presence and passage of urinary calculi, and favourable reports were made of its direct usefulness. Its influence controlled the pain in a satisfactory manner, relieved general distress, and soothed irritation.”

If wild hydrangea can do that for a person passing rocks, imagine what it can do for a person suffering from prostatitis! Let’s take a closer look at the prostatitis problem to develop a better understanding of the role Hydrangea aborescens can play in the condition.

Prostatitis, in many ways, is a mystery to health care practitioners. We know that prostatitis starts with a bacterial infection. Bacteria take up residence in the prostate and as it proliferates, the person possessing the infected prostate becomes aware of a problem. The person with an infected prostate gland very quickly appears at the general practitioner’s surgery demanding treatment. They are given antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

It is at this point in the story things become mysterious. Even after the bacteria have been killed, or should have been killed, the sensations and discomfort continue. Course after course of antibiotic are used and still there is a constant desire to urinate and a long list of unpleasant sensations issue from below the belt. Some health care practitioners feel that the problem is that the antibiotics cannot get into the prostate and completely clear the infection. Other practitioners feel that the bacteria are actually gone but the nerves have been affected so that the sensations remain. No one really has an answer to this riddle, but the fact remains many people, despite having been treated with many courses of antibiotics, continue to suffer with prostatitis.

This is very much where wild hydrangea comes in. Though the scientific community may not know what the problem really is, the patient will tell you there is something wrong. Wild hydrangea, according to the physicians of the last century, was a tonic to the entire genito-urinary system, which includes the prostate. Tonics were medicinal plants that were seen to generally improve the health of a part, in this case the prostate. The doctors of the day did not entirely understand how tonics worked, but they observed that when they were used, the health of the lungs, the stomach, or the prostate was improved. Someone with prostatitis is in need of a prostate tonic, which is exactly what they get with wild hydrangea.

Beyond this tonic activity, prostatitis is very much about unpleasant sensations and discomfort. Wild hydrangea is very specifically active in reducing unpleasant sensations issuing from the urinary tract, whether due to a stone or prostatitis. This last quote from Dr. Ellingwood makes this fact clear that wild hydrangea removes many of the symptoms the prostatitis sufferer experiences: “Frequent urination with heat, burning, accompanied with quick, sharp, acute pains in the urethra, partial suppression of urine with general irritation and aching or pain in the back, pain from the passage of renal sand, are direct indications for this agent.”


History: Native American treatment for urinary problems
Science: Contains compounds that are antibacterial
Practitioners’ Opinion: One of the few remedies that makes a difference

Notes from the Eclectic Physicians

Syn – Hydrangea; Seven Barks

P. E. – Root

N. O. – Saxifragaceae

N. H. – United States

Properties: Tonic, diuretic, cathartic.

Indications:Frequent urination, accompanied by a sense of burning and sharp, quick pain in the urethra. Pain from the irritation of passing renal sand. Aching in the back with irritation and partial suppression of urine.

Use: It is a mild but permanent tonic to the mucous structure of the genito-urinary apparatus. Corrects the tendency to formation of calculi. We think of it in lithaemia, acute nephritis and irritation of the urinary apparatus, especially of an acute nature. It appears to have a favorable action in preventing the formation of calculi, and if formed relieves the pain when passing. In irritation from presence of uric acid and phosphoric crystals it is of value.

Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.