Terry's Articles

Terry's Articles

The Power of Icelandic Angelica for Bladder Ailments


Angelica archangelica, also called “Angel’s Herb,” grows all over Iceland. Researchers believe that exposure of the plant to 24 hours a day of sunlight in arctic midsummer plays a role in concentrating key compounds and spurring growth. The Vikings once used this healthy herb as currency in trade, and it has been used as a natural remedy in Iceland for over 1100 years.  Angelica was considered so precious that Iceland’s first book of law specifically banned angelica theft.

Angelica close-up by ocean cliffs
Now, modern medicine is exploring the use of this historic herb to address a variety of bladder problems. A special standardization of this herb may help both men and women with overactive bladder, frequent night time awakenings to empty the bladder, bladder spasms and inflammation,  urinary incontinence, stress incontinence, adult bed-wetting (and potentially, some forms of older child bed-wetting), incomplete bladder emptying and even a bladder disease called interstitial cystitis. While more research is needed to continue to explore the amazing effectiveness of this herb, preliminary clinical data and anecdotal reports indicate that the mode of action is the same in both men and women. It does not exert hormonal effects.

Icelandic Angelica archangelica has been found to:

  • Have anti-inflammatory activity via a very specific pathway in the bladder that results in overproduction of leukotrienes. This is not the same kind of inflammation as occurs in arthritis, or twisted ankles, or sunburns. By reducing leukotrienes, inflammation is reduced in the bladder.
  • Calm the nerves that transmit bladder signals, and improve function. If these nerves are compromised in anyway, they affect bladder sensations. If irritated, they over fire, sending erroneous signals about the need to void. If damaged, they under fire and the necessity to void may not be noticed until it is too late.
  • Improve bladder strength and capacity
  • Improve the ability to fully empty the bladder. Retention of urine is a problem that occurs sometimes with prostate enlargement, and also in diseases like multiple sclerosis.

 Angelica and lupines in Hrisey

There is one published human study on Icelandic Angelica archangelica on men with reduced bladder capacity, not just prostate enlargement. This is one of the most difficult groups in which to effect change. In men with the worst bladder capacity, this herbal extract significantly improved their ability to hold urine. It tripled the time to first awakening to urinate, and reduced nocturnal awakenings for urination by up to 50%. That is great validation for a very difficult problem.

[S Sigurdsson, G Geirsson, H Gudmundsdottir, P Egilsdottir, S Gudbjarnason. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of [Icelandic Angelica archangelica ed.] on nocturia in men. Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology. 1-7, 2012]

Mt Hekla Iceland Angelica archangelica

This is the single most efficacious bladder product I have ever encountered. I am impressed with its ability to help such a wide variety of issues. I am grateful for this natural intervention also, because the class of drugs (anticholinergics like Ditropan®, Vesicare®, and Detrol®) used to treat overactive bladder have been found in a recent, rather alarming study to cause cognitive impairment after only 2 months of use. Worse yet, if a person is using a drug for overactive bladder or incontinence, and then also takes an over the counter drug like Benadryl (diphenhydramine, also an anticholinergic) for allergies, or Advil PM, Tylenol PM, etc. for sleep, the potential for dementia is magnified!

[Cai X, Campbell N, Khan B, Callahan C, Boustani M. Long-term anticholinergic use and the aging brain. Alzheimers Dement. 2012 Nov 22. doi:pii: S1552-5260(12)00081-7. 10.1016/j.jalz.2012.02.005.] Affiliations

In this case, the important news is not just about how much Icelandic Angelica archangelica can transform bladder health, but also the ridiculous dangers of the drugs we are currently using. You should not have to choose between remembering your address and not making it to the bathroom on time.


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