Are you looking for a natural antibiotic or antifungal? If so, you’ll be interested to know that there are a number of effective, proven natural antibiotics for infections.
Why Avoid Conventional Antibiotics?
Since the discovery of the first antibiotic compounds, their use has skyrocketed. Conventional antibiotics are commonly prescribed by doctors for conditions where they are not directly indicated. For example, antibiotics are still commonly prescribed for viral infections, upon which they have absolutely no effect at all.
Antibiotics are also often prescribed for very minor bacterial infections, where they are undoubtedly effective, but often unnecessary. Exactly why this happens is unclear, but studies indicate it arises from both the healer’s desire to “do something”, and the patient’s unstated but still obvious desire for a “medical” cure.
Our bodies have an inbuilt system for dealing with pathogens – the immune system – and many current treatment patterns ignore this natural method of defence. There appears to have developed an unnecessary dependence on antibiotics to treat ailments that can be easily cured by the body itself.
This is not to say that pharmaceutical antibiotics and antifungals have no place in treating illness. They are fantastically powerful drugs, which have been used to great effect to save millions of lives. No, the point is simply that they are over-prescribed. This undesirable state of affairs has a number of undesirable results.
Firstly, antibiotics wipe out the body’s own natural populations of bacteria, enabling opportunistic infection by more lethal microbes.
Secondly, with repeated exposure to antibiotics and antifungals, bacteria and fungi develop resistance to the drugs. This is an alarming trend which has resulted in drug resistant strains of some very nasty pathogens. Drug resistant microbes are evolving faster than we can come up with new antibiotics with which to treat them.
As a result of the above, it is preferable to treat minor infections naturally. This method aids and assists the immune system, instead of depleting it, as opposed to conventional therapy with antibiotic and antifungal preparations.
Natural Antibiotics and Antifungals
So how then can one treat an infection without resorting to the use of standard antibiotics and antifungals? There are a number of highly effective natural remedies with antibiotic and antifungal properties. Not only are they generally safe and without the ill effects of pharmaceutical compounds, they are readily available and inexpensive. Some of the simplest are described below.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is sourced from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, a native Australian tree with many remarkable properties. The oil, which is extracted from the plant’s crushed leaves, exhibits both antibiotic and antifungal activity, as well as expectorant and immune-stimulating activity.
Tea tree oil first came to the attention of Australian researchers during the 1920s, when its antiseptic properties were discovered. During World War II, Australian soldiers were actually issued tea tree oil for use as a disinfectant. Today tea tree oil is one of Australia’s most popular herbal extracts.
Tea tree oil can be recommended as the agent of choice in the topical treatment of infection. Clinical trials have shown the herb to be effective in the treatment of acne and toenail fungus. It has also successfully been used to treat athlete’s foot, dandruff, yeast infection, boils and lice.
In addition to topical treatments, tea tree oil can be added to baths or vaporizers for use in the treatment of respiratory infections. It has also been made into lozenges for the treatment of sore throats, and into suppositories for the treatment of vaginal infections.
Honey has been used to treat skin infections for centuries. However it faded from favor following the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s. Today some doctors are trying to bring it back into circulation as medicine, particularly when treatment with modern pharmaceuticals has failed.
Manuka honey, also called Leptospermum honey, comes from the hives of bees that collect nectar from the manuka and jelly bushes in Australia and New Zealand. Manuka honey is believed to be a particularly potent type of honey with regards to its antiseptic and healing properties.
Honey has three ingredients that make it ideal for treating wounds. Due to the very high sugar content, it absorbs much of the moisture inside wounds, making it hard for bacteria to survive. In addition, many honey varieties (including Manuka honey) contain large amounts of hydrogen peroxide, a potent disinfectant. Thirdly, some honeys (Manuka honey being one of these) contain propolis, a compound in nectar shown to kill bacteria.
In a study conducted by the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikoto in New Zealand, honey was added to seven types of bacteria that commonly cause skin and wound infections. The honey very effectively killed all seven types.
Honey is also good for you on the inside. Manuka honey has been shown to kill the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. In one small study, people with stomach ulcers who took a tablespoon of Manuka honey four times a day all found that the honey relieved the ulcer symptoms.
Honey may also be beneficial in the treatment of diarrhea. Not only does the sugary solution help combat dehydration, it can kill the intestinal bacteria that may be causing the problem in the first place. Researchers at the University of Natal in South Africa found that children with bacterial diarrhea given a honey solution got better in almost half the time of those given a traditional sugar solution.
Do not discount this very effective antibiotic! It may be common, but it packs a punch. Salt water is highly lethal to a large variety of common microbes (the exception being those that have evolved to live in salty water).
Salt water is particularly effective in the treatment of tooth and throat infections. Next time you need to treat a sore throat, or you feel a tooth abscess may be brewing, try gargling twice a day with a solution made from a teaspoon of common table salt dissolved in 1 cup of lukewarm water.
It goes without saying that salt water can also be used as a topical treatment for other bacterial infections – just apply to the affected part for a few minutes at least twice a day.
You will be amazed at the efficacy of this simple and cheap basic remedy!
Next time you have an infection, reach for the garlic. Raw garlic is a natural food that destroys harmful intestinal bacteria, leaving the intestinal flora intact to digest food.
Garlic contains allicin, a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal compound which gives garlic its hot and burning flavor. Studies have shown that allicin is a potent antimicrobial agent that effectively destroys even drug-resistant bacteria.
For people who enjoy eating garlic, chew as much as you can tolerate. You probably need to eat about a bulb of garlic a day to get the maximum healing benefits. If raw garlic doesn’t appeal, try cooking it first (check out the recipe for garlic soup on this website).
Garlic can also be used on the outside of your body, as an external topical application. As an antifungal, garlic has been shown to be effective in the treatment of fungus infections such as athlete’s foot, vaginal yeast infections, and oral thrush.
You can find out more about garlic here.
Goldenseal root is a highly effective antiseptic and antibiotic. It contains a compound called berberine which kills a wide range of microbes including many types of bacteria, fungi such as those that cause candida (yeast) infections and ringworm, viruses, and even parasites (eg. Giardia and tapeworms).
Berberine may also activate white blood cells, making them more effective at fighting infection and strengthening the immune system. For these reasons, berberine is used as an antibiotic and disinfectant, both externally and internally.
The usual dose is a third of a teaspoon with 1 glass of water; 3 times daily
Note that Goldenseal should not be taken over a long period of time because it may also affect healthy bacteria. Adding yoghurt or Acidophilus to one’s diet can help avoid this.
Echinacea is another excellent herb which both stimulates the immune system and inhibits growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Over 500 scientific studies have documented the effectiveness of this herb. Did you know that in one year German physicians wrote over two million prescriptions for this herb?
Echinacea is commonly used to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms, and for lessening the duration of the illness during cold and flu season. It is also often used for ear ache, strep throat and lymph gland problems.
Pau d’arco has traditionally been used by South Americans to treat many ailments including cancer, ulcers, syphilis, gastrointestinal problems and candidiasis.
The herb has been widely studied for its potential as an anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and immune system stimulant. Whilst the evidence is somewhat inconclusive, pau d’arco is believed to be a useful treatment for chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, fungal infections and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
The active ingredients in Pau d-arco are lapachol and beta-lapachone, so known as naphthaquinones. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that both lapachol and beta-lapachone have anti-fungal properties as potent as the common antifungal drugs used to balance yeast levels in the body.
Boil two tablespoons of bark at a medium setting for 20 minutes in half a liter of water; drink half a cup 6 times daily.
If you’re wanting to know more about this fascinating subject there are a large number of great books available. I’ve listed some below that you may be interested in. On the other hand, if you’re ready to try one of the suggested remedies above, you can get them from Amazon.
As you can see, there are a number of options available for treating infections without resorting to pharmaceutical drugs. As well as being cheap, simple and effective, remedies such as these lighten your footprint on the world and help prevent the rise of drug resistant microbes.
A note of caution however. Whilst natural remedies are effective, they can take time to work, and do not always work against every type of infection. If you have a serious infection, I recommend you do not hesitate to make use of modern medicine’s amazing arsenal of weapons! You can always return to the natural alternatives once the initial emergency is over.
I hope you found the above helpful. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me using the comment form below.