Antibiotics are a group of medicines that are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites and they are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.
Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria and they don’t differentiate between good or bed bacteria. As a result every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria within your intestines. Good bacteria in the gut help people in many ways, including helping make vitamins and boosting immunity. Some researchers think that killing them off with antibiotics may be contributing to an increase in chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma and cancer. If you do need to take antibiotics you should also take probiotics which will help to restore the good bacteria in your gut.
Nature has several other highly effective substances with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, all able to protect the human body safely and with deep healing powers.
Here are 13 natural antibiotics still in use around the world. I would like to note that this article is not intended to replace medicine, a doctor’s care or in place of medical treatment.
Goldenseal is easily grown in the United States and has become a popular natural method of killing bacteria. Uses include treating digestive problems, UTIs, eye infection and canker sores. It’s also sometimes mixed with echinacea to alleviate cold symptoms. The berberine found in it can destroy bacteria, parasites, and even strengthen white blood cells.
Use – There are several forms of Goldenseal including pills, extracted liquid and glycerites. The most popular method of ingestion is mixing liquid extract to wash over your skin since it doesn’t absorb effectively when taken orally.
Ask your doctor before taking goldenseal if you’re currently on any other type of medication. It may cause irritation of the skin and heighten it’s sensitivity to sunlight in some users. Avoid use if you have high blood pressure.
2. Oregon Grape
This antibiotic functions a lot like its close relative goldenseal. Medical practitioners are beginning to shift toward this herb because it’s less difficult to produce. The alkaloid berberine is the most effective ingredient in the root. It aides in digestion and can kill a variety of harmful microbes that cause viral sickness.
Use – People tend to use this supplement in tincture or tea form. The root can be chopped into hot water and actually tastes pretty good thanks to the alkaloids.
The dried root shouldn’t be exposed to much light or heat and should be thrown away after a year of storage. Some people experience nausea after the first few doses.
3. Andrographis Paniculata
The root and leaf of this South Asian plant has a commonplace in relieving cold symptoms. It’s also been used to treat insect bites, hemorrhoids and a wide variety of infections. The active ingredient in most andrographis supplements is called andrographolide.
Use – The best bet for this supplement is to search for capsules and tablets containing no less than 20% andrographolide. Look at the recommended dosage on the label.
Don’t use the product for longer than three months. If you experience diarrhea, upset stomach, or a headache stop taking immediately.
4. Manuka Honey
Interestingly enough this natural antibiotic comes from New Zealand bees that pollinate the manuka bush. It can be used to repair infected tissue, reduce cholesterol and treat diabetes. Methylglyoxal is the compound identified as the active ingredient primarily responsible for the antibacterial action of Manuka honey. The UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) level in manuka products measures the concentration of methylglyoxal and should be no lower than 10 UMF for medical benefit.
Use – You can apply manuka honey directly to a wound or burn for optimal results.
Manuka honey may elevate blood sugar or cause an allergic reaction. It also interacts negatively with chemotherapy medication.
5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil extracted from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree is now becoming a widely-used natural health remedy thanks to its versatility. The most recurrent use is treating cuts, acne, toenail fungus, infections and lung issues. It works effectively in both infection preventing and healing bacterial issues. Read my article about the top 5 medicinal uses for tea tree oil.
Use – You can find tea tree oil in in many products such as toothpastes, hair products, lip balms, lotions, soaps, and pure essential oil. It shouldn’t ever be taken by mouth. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Test the oil on a small area of your skin to check for allergies prior to use.
While it may not actually ward off vampires, garlic still has much more use than simply adding flavor to your meals. It fights heart disease, cold symptoms, boosts your immune system, and has effective antibacterial properties. Research found that some sulfuric compounds in garlic contribute to heart health but the main medical component is allicin, a chemical that also contributes to its trademark smell. Garlic is one of the superfoods mentioned in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.
Use – The most popular way to use garlic is by cooking it into your meals, eating it raw or in powdered form. There are also garlic oils, extracts, and freeze-dried tablets available. Find more information in my article how to use garlic as a medicine.
Some people that take too much garlic may experience a burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor and diarrhea. These side effects are often worse with raw garlic. Also garlic might prolong bleeding, so stop taking garlic at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. It can also interfere with certain medications.
Native Americans have used echinacea as a way to fight off infections and treat injury for over 400 years. Studies have revealed its ability to lessen pain, diminish inflammation, and act as an antiviral as well as an antioxidant. The glycoproteins, volatile oils, flavonoids, and alkamides in the root all help treat athletes foot, UTIs, ear infections, and injuries that heal slowly.
Use – Echinacea is available in tinctures, pills, extracts, and ointments. It’s commonly found in capsules and tablets mixed in with other natural health supplements. The root can also be put into hot tea. See here the recipe for echinacea tea to boost your immune system.
Some supplement companies use misleading labels with products that contain very little echinacea so read carefully. Avoid taking if you have diabetes, HIV, liver troubles or multiple sclerosis. Echinacea can also cause a rare allergic reaction in some people.
8. Pau D’Arco
This supplement is extracted from the wood and bark of the Pau D’Arco tree. Evidence suggests that it can help treat intestinal worms, ulcers, yeast infection, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The main chemical extracted from the tree for medical purposes is called lapachol.
Use – Pau d’arco is sold as tablets, dried bark tea and tincture. The chemicals that give pau d’arco its medicinal effects don’t dissolve well in water, so a tea is not recommended.
Exercise extra caution when using this natural antibiotic. High doses can result in serious diarrhea, nausea and internal bleeding. It interferes with medications that slow blood clotting, so talk to your physician before using a Pau D’Arco product.
Ginger is a common staple in the culinary world that has a prevalent presence in holistic medicine. It’s considered an effective way to ward off nausea brought on by motion sickness or pregnancy. The phenol compounds like shogaols and gingerols are the main medicinal component in the root that contribute to the anti-inflammatory benefits as well as lowering cholesterol.
Use – Ginger is best known for use as a spice in the kitchen. You can also find ginger extracts, tinctures, capsules and oils. A popular method is brewing hot ginger tea and you can find here how to make anti-inflammatory and pain relief ginger turmeric tea, and find more information in my previous post how to use ginger as a medicine.
Pregnant women should consult with a doctor before taking a concentrated amount of ginger as in ginger supplement (ginger is considered safe when used in amounts found in food), and ginger should not be given to children under 2. Ginger may also interact with certain prescription medications. For example it may not be safe if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning drugs. Therefore talk with your doctor before taking it.
10. Olive Leaf Extract
The fruit, leaves, and seeds of the olive tree are packed with natural health benefits. It can treat infections, both viral and bacterial, and also increases healthy purifying bacteria in the stomach. The polyphenol called oleuropein and fatty acids found in the plant are the main components in medical use. Find more information in my article about the health benefits of olive leaf including how to make your own olive leaf extract.
Use – Olive leaf extract is most effective as a pill, topical cream, and liquid extract. It can be applied directly to the skin or consumed with a suggested maximum of 60g per day.
Generally one of the safest options on this list. The pollen created by the plant will sometimes irritate people with seasonal allergies.
11. Oil of Oregano
The leaf of the oregano plant has been used for a variety of medical purposes. The main use lies within respiratory health by treating symptoms of coughing, asthma and bronchitis. When the carvacrol is extracted from oregano it has the potential to fight off parasites, eliminate bacteria and alleviate acne.
Use – Oregano oil can be mixed with hand sanitizer, vaporized into the air, rubbed onto the skin, or taken in pill form. 600 mg a day is sufficient for stomach parasites.
Oregano is relatively harmless when found in recipes for cooking. In medical amounts it can cause upset stomach if too much is taken and can interfere with medications containing lithium. Also pregnant women should avoid taking it. There’s also potential for allergic reactions.
A relative to ginger, turmeric has a lineage of antibiotic use. It’s been suggested to help with stomach ulcers, indigestion, heart disease, and viral as well as bacterial infections. The curcumin found in the root of the plant is the main source of antioxidant and antibiotic benefits.
Use – Turmeric root can be consumed raw but is most commonly dried and powdered. The powder can either be ingested in a drink, sprinkled onto food, or simply found in a capsule. There are also tinctures dissolved in alcohol and liquid extracts of turmeric. Find more informetion in the article about the health benefits of turmeric, including a recipe for a golden milk.
Turmeric is considered a generally food safe herb but when used too much it can cause an upset stomach and even ulcers. If you have surgery scheduled within two weeks turmeric should be avoided because of the blood thinning properties. Also taking turmeric by mouth in medicinal amounts is likely unsafe in pregnancy.
13. Coconut oil
The saturated fats found in coconut oil contain antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties which strengthen your immune system. Coconut oil can further benefit the skin by treating and preventing skin infections and also helps in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and many more. Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties which help to fight indigestion-causing bacteria, fungi and parasites and has been effectively used to prevent and cure candida. Some of the most promising research in recent years has been in the area of using lauric acid or monolaurin, both derived from coconut oil, in treatments for antibiotic resistant super germs. One study was conducted at Georgetown University in 2005 and found the these substances can inhibit the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms. Lauric acid in coconut oil in combination with oregano oil, has even been found more effective in fighting the staph bacteria than antibiotics. Find more information in the article about the many health benefits of coconut oil.
Use – Coconut oil can be added to smoothies, hot drinks, stir fries or as a spread on a toast.
Always opt for organic, virgin coconut oil and avoid all the refined stuff. Coconut oil is safe for most people if used in amounts commonly found in foods, and despite the many health benefits of coconut oil, like many things in life, moderation is the key. This means that up to 3 tbsp. daily per adult is an appropriate dose.
Mother Nature gives us great natural alternative to antibiotics – next time the you feel unwell try these natural alternatives to antibiotics. if you are pregnant or breastfeeding please consult with your doctor before using any of these herbal antibiotics.