Top 8 Natural Antibiotics
Because we now know that antibiotics often cause more harm than good, researchers have begun investigating the effectiveness of probiotics and other natural supplements in treating and preventing various illnesses. This new field of research is more important now than ever due to the rampant overuse of antibiotics, which has led to the development of superbugs – a type of illness that is “resistant to all but the most powerful drugs, whose side effects are often dangerous.”
Luckily for us, we aren’t restricted to what Big Pharma would like us to think we are! Sure, antibiotics have their purposes and uses, but it turns out that there are various other substances in nature with similar antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. Keep in mind the difference between (link to internal article) an antibacterial or antibiotic and a probiotic: probiotics increase and build upon the good gut bacterial, while antibacterial agents decrease the number of bacteria present. One of the biggest issues with antibiotics is that they indiscriminately decimate both bad and good bacteria, throwing of the delicate balance of your gut’s microbiome.
There are a number of natural antibiotics at your disposal, and most are easily accessible, some are likely already residing in your refrigerator or pantry. For everyday nuisance illnesses, like colds, flues, sinus infections, and skin infections, you can try out natural remedies before dragging yourself to the doctor for an antibiotic prescription that might cause your gut long-term damage. According to a study cited by over 85 articles, taking even a short course of antibiotics can cause resistant bacterial populations to reside in the gut for up to four years or more.
- Garlic – This is perhaps the most beneficial of all the natural antibiotics, as it is able to be ingested without harming any healthy gut microbes while, at the same time, killing off pathogens, bad bacteria, harmful fungus, and viruses. Not only does it work to fight off nasty intruders without harming your microbiome, it also acts as a prebiotic, which means it strengthens the probiotic environment of your gut! Fun fact: A few drops of garlic oil in the ear each day can soften ear wax buildup.
- Oregano Oil – there are more than 40 oregano species all with their own benefits, but the most beneficial oils comes from wild oregano, referred to as Origanum vulgare. This specific oil is best used for treating nail and toe fungus, parasite infections, and sinus infections, as well as other minor infections.
- Cayenne Pepper – This spice has healing powers through its antibiotic-like effects. Because of its healing properties, cayenne pepper is effective at treating any number of common illnesses, such as strep throat. Typically, the spice is ground into a powder form and used in conjunction with a base oil to prevent accidental burning of the skin.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger acts as an antibiotic against many food borne pathogens, such as listeria, salmonella, and campylobacter. This is most likely why sushi is often served with raw ginger, as it has long been believed to prevent food poisoning. Ginger is a multi-purpose substance benefiting your gut in more ways than one. In addition to fighting off food borne pathogens, ginger also increases stomach acid production and can calm indigestion. Raw and pickled forms of ginger are the most potent, and therefore most effective at combating pathogens and indigestion.
- Olive Leaf Extract – Not to be confused with 100% extra virgin olive oil – which has a copious amount of health benefits as well – olive leaf extract has strong antibiotic properties. Olive oil and olive leaf extract come from the same tree, but serve different purposes! This leaf extract has been shown effective at treating malaria and reducing high fevers. Olive lead extract acts as a broad spectrum antibiotic, but is safer for your gut microbiome than pharmaceutical antibiotics. It serves as an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal treatment.
- Turmeric – This spice is traditionally and commonly used in Indian dishes. Turmeric’s health benefits are anti-inflammatory in nature, and it is often used to support a compromised immune system. Additionally, it’s effective in treating ulcers, even of the Helicobacter pylori strain and remedying any damage caused by the ulcer(s).
- Echinacea – The list of infections effectively treated by Echinacea seems endless: the common cold, upper respiratory infections, the flu, urinary tract infections (UTIs), genital herpes, vaginal yeast infections, gum disease, blood infections, syphilis, streptococcus infections, malaria, typhoid, and diphtheria.
- Manuka Honey – Organic honey, in general, offers healing benefits, but the most effective type of honey comes from New Zealand, called Manuka honey. It’s effective at treating more than 250 strains of bacteria, both internal and external. It’s even been shown to reduce the presence of cavity-causing, dental-plaque building bacteria.