External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

Sauerkraut Bladder Compress

Kind of substance


Guiding principle for the application

The urinary bladder, as the lowest organ underneath the peritoneal cavity, may be noticed in times of mental stress (examination anxiety, separation, trauma) due to its special sensitivity, e.g., as an irritable bladder or as bladder weakness (especially in connection with general exhaustion). 
In healthy people, the soul body connects with the region of the digestive, metabolic and sexual organs (the “lower human being”) through the kidneys and bladder. In the event of prolonged stress, severe exhaustion or serious illness, the soul body can withdraw too much from this area. Symptomatically, the bladder’s tonus and irritability may change, resulting in a permanent, unproductive urge to urinate. The first signs of the developing tonus disorder are often listlessness and a lack of drive.

Sauerkraut and warmth can help to restore balance. The sulfur contained in sauerkraut (which can be smelled) has a local invigorating effect. Strengthening the person’s etheric forces in the bladder area promotes a healthy ability to fall asleep and reduces symptoms of irritation.  The acidity directly addresses the soul body and contributes to a regulation of the tonus disorder. The deep warming caused by a sauerkraut compress can help to overcome chronic disorders of the bladder and urinary tract. Through the interaction of warmth, sulfur and acidity, the person becomes comfortably present in his lower body again, which can help him to fully experience himself.

The use of sauerkraut as a wrapped bladder compress was originally an idea of the doctors Astrid Sterner and Klaus Wilde.

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Bladder voiding disorder
  • Depression, reactive
  • Exhaustion
  • Incontinence
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Irritable bladder
  • Residual urine
  • Traumatization in the genital area
  • Postpartum depression
  • Cystitis, chronic and acute



  • 1 inner cloth, ca. 20 x 30 cm
  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 hot-water bottle
  • 3 heaped tablespoons raw lactic-acid-fermented sauerkraut
  • 1 small pot with a little water
  • 1 sieve

  • Wrap the hot-water bottle in the bath towel
  • Heat the sauerkraut for 15 minutes without boiling (lactic acid bacteria are destroyed at temperatures above 70°C or 158°F).
  • Fold the warm bath towel horizontally once and lay it ready on the bed; the patient lies down on it
  • Drain the sauerkraut in the sieve and squeeze out, place on the cotton cloth and fold in all 4 sides of the cotton cloth so that the packet corresponds to the size of the patient’s hand.
  • Place the compress on the patient’s bladder and wrap the towel snuggly over it from both sides; cover the patient
  • Duration: ca. 30 minutes
  • If the compress feels cool before that, it must be removed
  • Remove all the cloths after 30 minutes
  • Post-treatment rest 30 minutes

Wash and dry the cloths; discard the sauerkraut

Well-proven in many patients
Daily, once a day to start with, then see “Duration of the therapy”
Onset of effect
Length of therapy
Once the symptoms have improved, continue to apply at longer intervals (3x/week, then 2x/week, later as needed)
Other recommended therapies
If the compress needs to be dry, apply a lemon oil bladder compress
Risk of burns, the temperature of the sauerkraut must be checked before it is applied!

Instructions to download

Case example

Example case 1
An 81-year-old woman, still very mobile, occasionally suffering from incontinence with recurrent urinary tract infections. Her recurrent cystitis was mainly associated with fatigue. There was then approx. 150 ml of residual urine and an attenuated urine stream. The patient was given a sauerkraut bladder compress, which immediately resulted in a stronger urinary stream (her bladder tonus was reduced after every serious illness).  The effect of the single compress lasted a few days. The patient said: “I was more present in the area of my bladder.”

Example case 2
Half a year after the first application of a sauerkraut bladder compress, the patient was given the same compress at home, i.e., on an outpatient basis, to treat the same symptoms. This brought additional observations to her awareness:
The room in which the compress is applied and the cloths give off a strong sauerkraut smell, which the patient inhales throughout the application. This only works if the patient likes it – ask.
The compress lies near the symphysis over the bladder region. From there, the body experiences itself as being addressed as a whole. A pleasant feeling of warmth also develops from there to the soles of the feet.
As the patient you absolutely want the compress cloths to be wrapped snuggly.
You want your whole body to feel enveloped, both your upper body (with your top pulled down) and your legs (wearing tights, or similar), but the lower body only as far as the lower edge of the compress pack. If this sense of protected envelopment is interrupted, the compress is less tolerable, you want to break the treatment off prematurely or you do not sink enough into it.
After half an hour, remove the sauerkraut pack and all the wrapped cloths and then, as described above, restore a continuous warm cover.
The following was also clearly experienced in this case, as can also happen with other applications (see liver compress): the sense of timing happens on its own, you experience how part of the compress effect ends after the first half hour. This is followed by the half-hour rest, during which the organism comes to terms with the compress.
A secondary experience: the chosen sauerkraut was “too fine”.
The patient hadn’t opened her bra for the compress. In a very short time she developed a heart rhythm disorder in the form of bigeminy, later tachyarrhythmia, as well as tightness in the thorax with the feeling that it could not expand with her individual breaths.
The following observation should also be mentioned: the sauerkraut pack could only lie on the patient’s bladder, not over her symphysis, because the patient experienced the heat in the pubic area as being too strong and unpleasant. Perhaps this is especially important for older women.


Red., MK


  • Roggatz M, Maaser A, Zerm C, “Blase und Seelenleben”, Der Merkurstab, Heft 2 2016.