While there are medications and behavioral therapies to treat overactive bladder (OAB), some people may also turn to herbal remedies, such as Gosha-jinki-gan, crataeva nurvala, and saw palmetto.

OAB causes a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, leading to frequent trips to the bathroom. It is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage, but certain lifestyle changes and prescription medications can help alleviate symptoms.

In addition to these standard treatment options, some people may also use herbs to manage their OAB symptoms. However, the research on the efficacy of herbs for OAB is limited and largely anecdotal.

People interested in alternative remedies should consult their doctor before starting any herbal treatment for OAB.

This article provides examples of herbs that might help OAB symptoms, and lists potential side effects, and other treatment options.

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Although research is limited and many are based on animal studies, the following herbs may help treat OAB.


Gosha-jinki-gan (GJG) is a traditional Japanese blended herbal medicine containing 10 herbs, including Rehmanniae radix, Achyranthis radix, and Corni fructus.

A small 2019 study found that GJG improved OAB symptoms, as measured by the Overactive Bladder Symptom Score (OBSS), in 56 females with OAB within 4 weeks.

In an older study, researchers found that males experiencing one or more episodes of urgency per day showed improved symptoms after taking 2.5 grams of GJG mixture three times daily for 6 weeks.

Crataeva nurvala

Crataeva nurvala (Varuna) is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for its potential urinary and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a 2018 study, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of Urox, a combination product containing Crataeva nurvala and other herbs, in managing OAB symptoms. Those who took Urox experienced a decrease in daytime urination compared to those who took a placebo.

This study does not definitively prove that Crataeva nurvala alone is an effective treatment for OAB, but it suggests that it may be a beneficial component of a combination product such as Urox in managing OAB symptoms.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is a palm tree native to the southeastern parts of the United States.

A 2020 study found that taking 320 milligrams (mg) of saw palmetto extract per day for 12 weeks eased urinary symptoms in men.

Additionally, a 2022 study examined the effects of 320 mg of saw palmetto berry extract on 75 females with urinary symptoms, compared with a placebo. The researchers found that those who took saw palmetto experienced a significant decrease in urinary symptoms.

Verbascum thapsus

Verbascum thapsus (mullein) is an herb traditionally used to treat tuberculosis and respiratory conditions, but it may also have potential benefits for OAB.

Older, limited research has suggested that Verbascum thapsus may have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the urinary tract, which could potentially help alleviate OAB symptoms.

Other herbs

A 2024 review suggests the following herbal remedies may be able to treat OAB:

However, it is important to note that much of this research was conducted on animals or animal organs.

Additionally, spicy foods and caffeine can irritate or worsen symptoms of OAB. Those wanting to try green tea may wish to choose decaffeinated tea.

While research on specific side effects of individual herbs used for OAB is limited, it is important to remember that they can still cause side effects and interact with other medications.

Other potential side effects may include:

Additionally, some people may experience allergic reactions.

People considering herbal treatments for OAB should consult with a healthcare professional, especially if they are pregnant, nursing, have pre-existing medical conditions, or are taking other medications.

Ultimately, the decision to use herbs for OAB should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on the safety, potential efficacy, and appropriate dosage of herbal remedies for OAB.

Other treatments are available for OAB, including lifestyle and behavioral changes and medical interventions.

Natural remedies

Natural remedies for OAB include:

  • Avoiding bladder irritants: Caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods can irritate the bladder and worsen OAB symptoms for some individuals.
  • Limiting fluid intake: Staying hydrated is important, but drinking too much fluid, especially before bedtime, can lead to more frequent urination for people with OAB.
  • Double voiding: This technique involves emptying the bladder as much as possible, pausing for a few moments, and then trying to urinate again to ensure the bladder is fully emptied.
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises: Kegal exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can improve bladder control and reduce OAB symptoms.


If first-line treatments such as lifestyle changes and natural remedies are ineffective, doctors may recommend prescription medications for OAB.

These medications may include:

  • oxybutynin (Ditropan)
  • solifenacin (Vesicare)
  • tolterodine (Detrol)
  • fesoterodine (Toviaz)

The next treatment step may include minimally invasive procedures such as Botox injections into the bladder muscles or nerve stimulation techniques.

Surgical options, such as bladder augmentation or urinary diversion, might be a consideration for severe cases of OAB that do not respond to other treatments.

OAB is not life threatening, but it can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of OAB should consult a doctor if they are affected by frequent urination, urgency, or incontinence — especially if these symptoms interfere with daily activities or sleep.

What is the best herb for OAB?

There is no definitive “best” herb for OAB, as the efficacy of herbs in treating OAB may vary from person to person.

Can a person treat OAB naturally?

A person can try natural remedies for OAB, such as avoiding bladder irritants, limiting fluid intake, practicing pelvic floor muscle exercises, and double voiding.

Scientific evidence supporting the use of herbs for treating OAB is currently limited.

While some traditional remedies, such as Urox (containing Crataeva nurvala) and Gosha-jinki-gan, have been used for urinary symptoms, they should not replace professional medical advice or treatment.

Managing OAB often involves lifestyle modifications and natural remedies, such as avoiding bladder irritants, limiting fluid intake, and practicing pelvic floor muscle exercises.