Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is very similar to the same process as the increasing resistance of pests to pesticides and herbicides. These 20th century technologies have only created an accelerating and unwinnable war against every living thing on earth. Natural alternatives are becoming the only real and effective approach to controlling the over-growth of all types of organisms and to restoring the balance between us and the world we live in.
The use of antibiotics for every type of infection whether it works or not, is one of the biggest problems in medicine today. Most respiratory infections are viral, not bacterial, and antibiotic drugs have been proven to be ineffective. Many sinus conditions are related to candida or viruses, not bacteria. And for many bacterial infections, antibiotics are unnecessary to effect a cure. In fact, more and more bacterial infections are becoming unresponsive to any antibiotic drugs.
When we borrow antibiotic compounds from plants, it is essential that we borrow them all–not just the one that is deemed the active ingredient in the herb. We lose the synergy present in herbal antibiotics when we extract single compounds and so-called active ingredients. Multi-directional action is the great strength of all herbal medicines, preventing side effects and totally eliminating the dangers of resistance. It is the use of single action antibiotics that, in just a little over 50 years, has given rise to such a high level of microbial resistance that antibiotics as we know them are at real risk of becoming completely ineffective in the next 35 years.
Mono-chemical medicine facilitates bacterial and other microbial resistance because bacteria are the oldest forms of life on earth. They have been coping with millions of antibacterial substances for at least three billion years. The world is filled with antibacterial substances produced by other bacteria, fungi and plants, and bacteria learned how to respond to them a very, very long time ago.
Herbal medicine is the first line of defense in controlling our common, normal infections. It works for viral, bacterial and fungal infections. The other important issue in the case of any infection is, why is it happening? What has created the susceptibility in the person who is infected? Even with severe epidemics, only a portion of any population actually contracts the infection. A weakened immune system can be due to chronic stress, toxicity, exhaustion, allergic conditions that disturb immune function and dietary practices that feed pathogens such as a high sugar diet.
No antibiotic drug addresses any of these underlying conditions. And antibiotic drugs greatly disturb the beneficial gut flora that are so important for a strong and effective immune system. About 80% of our immune cells are located in the gut. They are dependent on the good gut flora for their health and ability to function. Chemical antibiotics are very well known for their devastating effect on these beneficial flora. It can take many months to recover gut flora balance even when taking probiotics to replace them.
These powerful and life-saving antibiotic drugs need to be used with respect, and only for those cases where they are a life saving therapy such as for surgery. If we lose these medicines completely through overuse and abuse of them, many modern medical procedures could become impossible to do safely. Using them for every ear and upper respiratory infection that comes along, or to increase agribusiness profits is misuse. If we don’t recognize the benefits of effective natural alternatives and implement them world-wide, we will suffer the consequences.
All natural antibiotics have many other health benefits besides killing microbes. They are often combined with immune boosting herbs and anti-inflammatory and pain relieving herbs. It is the combination of restoring immune function, controlling inflammation, and the antibiotic or antiviral effects that can make natural treatment of all types of infections so effective. Natural antibiotics are also safe enough to be used for prevention.
When dealing with more severe infections, consult with a natural health practitioner or herbalist who is experienced with the natural treatment of infections. Chinese Herbal Therapy is a particularly powerful system for treating nearly all serious infections and health conditions. It’s proper use does require many years of study and practice so consult a professional.
There are many other effective herbal antibiotics and antivirals, but these are some of the best known and most well studied of them all. They can be combined to target specific types of infections and to better improve the symptoms of the infection.
Echinacea and Golden Seal are a famous combination that are often sold together in one pill for all types of respiratory infections. Astragalus can be taken long term as a general tonic to strengthen immunity and used along with other herbal antibiotics to improve the body’s healing powers. This also true of the Rei Shi mushroom.
Since each herbal antibiotic also treats many other conditions, you might want to choose one that addresses another health condition you have. Some of these are best for viral infections, others will treat every type of infection including fungal conditions, candida, and parasites. Click on each heading to see more comprehensive information on the health benefits.
A very broad spectrum and powerful natural antibiotic, oil of oregano contains two powerful compounds, carvacrol and thymol. These compounds have been proven in many hundreds of studies to have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Unlike broad spectrum chemical antibiotics, oregano oil does not cause the terrible side effects we all know such as causing antibiotic resistance, destroying good bacteria (probiotics), reducing vitamin absorption and damaging the digestive lining causing leaky gut. Carvacrol has been proven to reverse or reduce all types of infections including bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, viral infections, and candida over-growth in the gut. Studies have also proven carvacrol’s healing powers for allergies and tumors as well as its anti-inflammatory abilities.
Is especially effective for colds and flu and can be taken for prevention. A study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases and conducted at the University of Connecticut, performed a meta-analysis study that evaluated the results of fourteen studies on the effects of echinacea. This research determined that echinacea cuts the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent and reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days. German researchers have found the extract of echinacea to have anti-viral activity against the influenza pathogen. It increases the number of phagocytes, which are the type of white blood cells that “engulf” microbial invaders such as the flu virus.
Goldenseal can help control the inflammatory process. The immune system can actually be inhibited in its protective functions when inflammation is too strong. It can also help bring more blood into the micro-circulation in the areas that are infected, such as the sinus cavities or urinary tract. Goldenseal speeds up recovery from infection by bringing in more of the macrophages and helping to remove debris from the site. Goldenseal tea is an excellent and effective douche for vaginal yeast infections. Douche two or three times per day until the infection is gone. The alkaloid called berberine is an important constituent responsible for goldenseal’s effectiveness against bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and Streptococci. Berberine promotes easier removal of the bacteria by inhibiting their ability to adhere to tissue surfaces. It is also anti-fungal and strongly anti-diarrheal. It aids against the infection of mucous membranes such as the lining of the oral cavity, throat, sinus, bronchial, genito-urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract.
Olive Leaf is especially effective for viral infections, as an immune booster and for prevention of infections. In vitro studies have found olive leaf extract is effective against over 50 common disease causing organisms including viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa such as herpes, influenza A, Polio 1, 2, and 3, Salmonella typhimurium, Candida Krusei and Coxsackie A21. According to the Alternative Medicine Review, olive leaf extract has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and has the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication. Olive leaf extract is able to interfere with critical amino acid production that is essential for viruses. It is able to control viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses, or by preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane. Olive leaf boosts the immune system by increasing phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells ingest harmful microorganisms and foreign matter.
Thyme oil is an expectorant, and helps remove mucus from the airways and lungs. Thyme oil is approved by Germany’s Commission E in the treatment of bronchitis, whooping cough, and upper respiratory inflammation. Thyme oil has anti-spasmodic activity, relieving spasms and cramps. This is why it has traditionally been used to treat respiratory ailments and coughs. Thymol makes up 20 percent to more than 50 percent of thyme oil and gives thyme oil strong antimicrobial properties. Thyme’s essential oils include additional potent compounds including camphene, linalool, and carvacrol. Caryophyllene and camphene are powerful antiseptics that can protect wounds against infections. Due to its antimicrobial effects thymol is often used in mouthwash and in cosmetics as a preservative. A tincture made from thyme was more effective against the Propionibacterium acnes bacterium (causes acne) than tinctures made from marigold or myrrh. In addition, the thyme tincture had a stronger antibacterial effect than the common acne treatment benzoyl peroxide. Cinnamon oil and thyme oil were found to be the most successful against various Staphylococcus species, including MRSA. Researchers said these treatments can be an alternative to antibiotic use and minimize the formation of new resistant strains of bacteria.
Elderberry is a natural anti-viral and has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis. It has been shown in many studies to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. A 2011 study published in Bio Med Central (BMC) demonstrated that black elderberry inhibits the replication of both influenza A and B viruses, as well as three Gram-positive bacteria and one Gram-negative bacteria which cause upper respiratory infections. The flavonoids present in elderberries are the source of their remarkable ability to control virus infections and increase immune system effectiveness. The most active ones are anthocyanins cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside. In lab studies, elderberry anthocyanins were found to bind to H1N1 swine flu virus, blocking its ability to infect host cells, exhibiting activity comparable to that of oseltamivir (Tamiflu).
These herbal antibiotics are systemic antibiotics proven effective against resistant bacteria. Sida acuta is effective for over 14 bacterial and viral species including E. coli, Herpes simplex, Salmonella, Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat), the Shigella bacteria, Plasmodium, Mycobacterium and more. The tincture is delicious tasting and has been traditionally used to treat anemia, blood cancers, diarrhea, dysentary, eye infections, fevers, wound infections, malaria, eczema, impetigo, systemic staph infections and tuberculosis. Cryptolepis is effective for even more bacterial species than Sida as well as candida. It effectively treats Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Proteus vulgaris, Enterobacter cloacae, Entamoeba histolytica and Aspergillus species. It is used to treat systemic infections, especially malaria, MRSA, streptococcus, babesia, campylobacter, urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and wound sepsis. Bidens pilosa is effective for over 19 bacterial species, viruses, and candida. It can effectively treat E. coli, Herpes simplex 1 and 2, Salmonella, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Entamoeba histolytica, Plasmodium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Human cytomegalovirus and much more. It is used to treat any systemic infection that is accompanied by problems in the mucous membranes especially chronic diarrhrea, dysentery, UTI, vaginitis and respiratory inflammation.
Propolis is a great cold and flu remedy and is especially helpful for sore throats and sneezing. Propolis tincture taken three times per day is an effective dose. Research in which propolis was given to rats for two weeks, found that it significantly inhibited histamine release from the rat’s mast cells. Histamine release can make you sneeze, and have watery eyes and a runny nose. The researchers noted that their results clearly demonstrated that propolis can be effective in the relief of symptoms of allergic rhinitis through the inhibition of histamine release. Propolis tincture has many therapeutic properties including stimulating the immune system, anti-microbial action, analgesic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory activity, along with its very powerful antioxidant effects. Current studies show that no other product or food analyzed has a higher antioxidant value than propolis. Propolis is one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world.
Cayenne can help prevent or shorten the duration of a cold or flu. It warms the body and promotes sweating. Using saunas or hot baths as well as internal medicines like cayenne are a long-celebrated way to stop a cold in its tracks. It also promotes mucous membrane secretions. Mucus is loaded with antibodies and is a powerful immune system response to an invading pathogen. Cayenne peppers will quickly drain stuffed up sinuses. Draining mucus lessens the possibility of a secondary infection in the sinuses. Cayenne supports the health of the lining of the stomach, promotes tissue healing by bringing blood to the area, and addresses secondary infections like the H. pylori bacterial infection that are often seen concurrently with ulcers. It also blocks substance P which transmits pain, thus relieving the pain associated with ulcers.
Astragalus root supercharges the immune system. Studies at the University of Texas revealed that astragalus enables viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells to be “picked up” or detected by the immune system. Astragalus enables the body to boost its white blood cell count, produce more antibodies and natural killer cells, strengthen its antiviral immunity, and increases the production of interferon. Astragalus is a powerful “non-specific” immune modulator. Instead of activating our defense system against a specific disease organism, astragalus modulates immunity by increasing the numbers and activity of macrophages, which are roving white blood cells that engulf invading organisms. This powerful ability to activate and tune the immune system accounts for the many benefits and uses of astragalus in cancer patients.
Rei Shi is well known as a tonic for supporting general wellness and vitality. Rei Shi is famous for its immune modulating abilities, balancing immune function whether it is excessive or deficient. It helps both auto-immune conditions and allergies yet can protect the white blood cells during chemotherapy. It stimulates the production of interferon and interleukin-1 and -2 which are our own potent anti-cancer fighters. Rei Shi has demonstrated potent action against sarcoma, stimulates macrophages and increases levels of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF-α). It is anti-HIV in in vitro and in vivo animal studies and protects against ionizing radiation. Rei Shi reduced liver enzyme levels (SGOT and SGPT) in hepatitis B patients. And 60-90% of 3,000 patients with chronic bronchitis showed clinical improvement, especially older patients with bronchial asthma. It regenerates the bronchial epithelium (bronchial tract lining).
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil’s main use and value is in its ability to kill many types of microbes such as bacteria, viruses and fungus. This is true when applied to any surface including garbage pails, counter tops as an all purpose cleanser and even to plants as a spray against mildew. Modern research has verified the anti-septic powers of the oil when used externally. Nearly all the known uses are for topical use only on the body so be extremely careful with internal use. The essential oil is quite powerful and just a few drops added to oils such as olive, grapeseed or coconut oil are enough to treat many skin issues from wounds to nail fungus. It can also be combined with water as a spray for various purposes including deodorant for body and home uses. There are many toothpastes, toothpicks and other dental preparations that contain it because it is excellent for gum diseases and bad breath because it kills the mouth bacteria that cause them.
For more advanced information and protocols on treating serious and resistant infections, Stephen Harrod Buhner’s books are the most in depth treatment available on how to truly replace antibiotic drugs with herbal antibiotics:
Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition
Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging and Resistant Viral Infections
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