What we have seen in the past several years is that antibiotics have become a common ingredient in our daily life. The overuse of antibiotics has reached levels we could never imagine. We are at a point that no matter what the problem is, we take an antibiotic and we expect to feel better. As a result, we have drug-resistant bacteria that evolve faster than we can develop new antibiotics and drugs.
But that has not always been the case. Antibiotics were developed in the 1940s, and long before then, foods and herbs were used as part of the medical treatment. Many of those natural antibiotics are still available to us, but we often overlook them.
So, why should you use natural antibiotics and forget about prescription drugs? There are three main factors, the first one being that antibiotics often carry side effects. Some of the common side effects are gastrointestinal distress and allergies. The two other factors are the development of multi-drug resistant bacteria and gut imbalance due to the overuse of antibiotics.
Now might be the time to get back to basics, to herbal and other natural antibiotics. Here are some herbs and foods that you can use instead of antibiotics.
Around the 18th century, Echinacea was the most popular herb in the United States. With the development of antibiotics, however, the use of Echinacea began to decline. But there is no reason to overlook this plant anymore, as there have been several studies that have shown that Echinacea is very effective against bacteria. The best way to consume it is through tea. The only thing you need to remember is that Echinacea can slow down your body’s metabolism.
Arguably the most potent and best natural antibiotic out there. Garlic is superior to any other antibiotic, and studies have shown that it can be more potent than over-the-counter prescription drugs. But don’t consume the supplement form.
Be natural and take garlic in crushed or chewed form. This way, you get the most benefits out of the “magic” compound in garlic, which is called allicin. This compound has almost the same properties as penicillin.
Aside from antibiotic properties, garlic also has antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Garlic can be used to treat anything from inflammation and cold to serious infection. And we haven’t even mentioned the number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that garlic contains.
If garlic is a bit strong for you, there is always a more friendly option: onion. Onions contain almost the same properties as garlic, just not as potent. Onion is also easier on your stomach, and the odor is not as strong. And as with garlic, onion is very inexpensive. Compare that to the money you pay for doctor visits and prescription drugs.
The use of honey as a natural antibiotic dates back to Ancient Rome. Back then, doctors used it to treat wounds on the battlefield as well as to prevent infection that might occur as a result of wounds. Our civilization has developed, but honey remains one of the best natural antibiotics because of its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Honey not only boosts the immune system, but it can also work as an energy booster. All the natural benefits of honey come from the enzyme that releases hydrogen peroxide, which helps to fight bacteria and heal skin. Consuming honey starts the process, which, in essence, helps your body fight off infection.
Oregano, or more specifically oregano oil, has a number of healing properties. In the past few years, people have begun to understand the benefits of oregano oil, and consume it in a way to improve their immune system. That’s the prevention aspect of oregano oil. But you can also consume it when you have infections within the GI tract. A word of warning: do not consume oregano oil for long periods of time. If overconsumed, oregano oil can lead to a healing crisis due to bacteria die-off.
When you think of healthy cruciferous vegetables, you think of broccoli and kale first, and then everything else. But cabbage is the one with the most potent antibiotic properties. Cabbage contains 75% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. And that is in only one cup.
You can consume shredded cabbage as a salad or as a side dish in the form of slaw. You can even go outside the box and prepare fresh cabbage juice. Add some honey as a sweetener, and you have an even more potent natural antibiotic.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is right at the top of the best and most potent natural remedies. Thanks to the acid in it, ACV can regulate the pH value of your body, which is the key to preventing and curing many diseases. Vinegar has antiseptic and antibiotic properties, and helps alkalinize your system. Add apple cider vinegar to salads as an easy way to use it.
There are two spices that you can use on a daily basis. One is cinnamon and the other is ginger. Cinnamon is the sweet one, while ginger is the sour one (and you can use both in sweet and sour dishes).
Cinnamon cannot be consumed on its own; you need to add it to certain dishes to get the full benefit. The best and easiest way to use cinnamon is to add it to a glass of milk with some honey. Honey and cinnamon make for a powerful combo for fighting infections. Note, though, that some people can develop an allergy to cinnamon.
Coconut oil, like apple cider vinegar, is one of the healthiest home remedies. You just cannot list all the diseases that coconut oil can help with. Coconut oil is considered to be a natural antibiotic thanks to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. In addition, coconut oil is an antioxidant that can be used to boost your immune system. Just one spoonful in your morning coffee or milk is more than enough to keep you healthy.
People in India consume turmeric on a daily basis thanks to their curries. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that gives food a rich color and smoky flavor. But aside from Indian cuisine, turmeric has been used holistically for centuries. In the past few years, the Western world has discovered turmeric, and the spice is now called a “miracle spice.” Turmeric not only has anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also effective against some of the worst bacteria, like Helicobacter pylori. When you consume turmeric as a natural antibiotic, a dosage of 400 to 500mg is all you need.
Cayenne pepper is another miracle spice that deserves a spot on the list, thanks to an ingredient called capsicum. For thousands of years, cayenne pepper has been used as a natural antibiotic. Additionally, cayenne peppers are extremely rich in vitamin C.
The antibiotic and anti-allergic nature of silver has been known for centuries. But it wasn’t until the 1970s when intensive research into the use of silver in medicine started. Back then, Dr. Robert O. Becker found out that colloidal silver kills bacteria that no other antibiotic could kill, and there were no side effects.
The medical suggestion for colloidal silver is that you use it only for external situations (e.g., ear infections and gargling).
With so many diseases and conditions that goldenseal can help with, the herb has been called “the cure for everything” in recent years. Found in herbal remedies, goldenseal is as good a natural antibiotic as they come (you’ll have an easier time to write a list of conditions that goldenseal cannot heal). Some of the common infections that goldenseal can help with include fever, gum infections, fever, diarrhea, eczema, excessive menstruation, bladder infections, intestine infections, candida, conjunctivitis, and hemorrhoids.
We talked about cinnamon earlier, and I said that ginger is the sour version. Or more precisely, a little hot version of cinnamon. In Asian culture, ginger is always served with sushi because of its natural antibiotic effects. Ginger helps with food poisoning, but the health effects of the spice go much deeper. One way to consume fresh ginger is by adding it to smoothies.
The name might sound strange, but this herb is one of the most effective against candida. It wasn’t until relatively recently that Pau d’Arco got a stamp of approval from the medical world. In 2010, a study found that the herb has powerful natural antibiotic properties and can be used to counteract fungal overgrowth. The best way to consume this herb is via tea. The taste might not be delicious, but the health effects cannot be dismissed.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
The extract in its raw form is very concentrated. That means that it is best to dilute the extract to reap the full antibacterial and antifungal properties. There are some companies that make a commercial GSE, but it includes a chemical called “diphenol hydroxybenzene,” which is of questionable safety.
But you can make your own grapefruit seed extract by grinding grapefruit seeds and mixing them with some glycerin. You can easily find articles describing how to make your own GSE at home.
*This information was gathered from various websites. I wish I could remember which ones, but it's been a while.
Debbie Krejci E-RYT
Yoga Teacher Training Mexico, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka
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