Antibiotics have changed the way we treat illnesses and are stars in modern medicine. Infections such as cholera and pneumonia that used to be killers are no match for antibiotics. Prescription medications like penicillin have improved life expectancy rates and reduced the severity of illness.
Natural antibiotics are also effective at treating a variety of bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. They are best suited for treating common irritations and can help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Read on to find out how natural antibiotics can make a difference in your healthcare.
History of Antibiotics
As modern medicine took the world by storm, traditional medicines were left to the wayside. Plants and herbs that used to treat everything from a cough to gastric problems were replaced by the use of antibiotics. Soon, antibiotics were prescribed for things as simple as a runny nose. They were prescribed to treat viral infections, even though they’re only effective in eliminating bacterial infections. As with everything that seems too good to be true, cracks began to form in antibiotics’ shining reputation.
Studies began to show that excessive consumption of antibiotics could alter healthy gut flora. The effects lasted for months and sometimes years after taking the antibiotics. People developed antibiotic resistance as they gobbled up antibiotics to cure even the tiniest symptoms of discomfort. What once was a quick solution to feel better soon became ineffective.
Perhaps the worst blow to antibiotic use was the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. Diseases such as the flu began to mutate to develop resistance to prescription antibiotics. These diseases became known as superbugs. As research began to show the problems with prescription antibiotics, interest in effective natural antibiotics skyrocketed. Traditional medicines moved to the forefront once again.
Why Use Natural Remedies
Interest in natural cures has increased as people look for alternative ways to feel healthier. That doesn’t mean that antibiotics as a whole are bad. In fact, antibiotics are an essential component of why humans live longer than in previous centuries. The problem with antibiotics is they were prescribed to treat everything without enough research on potential side effects. Today, antibiotics are essential for treating serious illness such as cholera and diphtheria. They play a central role in maintaining overall health, but should be used sparingly.
Prescription antibiotics should only be used for serious illness. Natural remedies are great for treating everyday infections and discomfort. Many of these natural remedies are also antiviral and antifungal, unlike prescription antibiotics. That means you can treat symptoms of cough and cold whether its caused by bacteria or a virus. Read on for the best antibiotics you can use to treat common symptoms of cold and flu.
Best Natural Antibiotics
1. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is made from the leaves of the plant known as Origanum vulgare. Oil of oregano alleviates sore throat pain caused by viruses and fungal infections. It also kills the bacteria that cause pneumonia. Oregano oil is an expectorant that helps to reduce congestion and the production of mucus. The anesthetic properties numb throat pain.
Oregano oil contains silver nanoparticles that are known as colloidal silver. Studies showed colloidal silver could eliminate bacteria that cause strep throat. It can also fight E. coli and candida albicans infections. A study published in 2016 showed that oregano oil and colloidal silver helped to treat drug-resistant bacteria. The two compounds reduce cell density to allow antibacterial agents to target infections.
2. Garlic Oil
Garlic is a superfood and one of the top herbal remedies when it comes to immune health. It has antibacterial properties and is particularly useful for gastrointestinal infections. Garlic was used in the Middle Ages to treat the Bubonic Plague with mixed results. Garlic alleviates feelings of nausea and stimulates bile production to help breakdown food more easily.
Studies have shown garlic is effective in treating bacteria that can cause food poisoning. A study conducted by Washington State University found that garlic is more effective that antibiotics in fighting Campylobacter bacterium that causes stomach problems. This bacteria is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in America.
3. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil contains powerful antibiotic properties and a delicious scent and taste that can help you feel better. Cinnamon also boasts antiseptic qualities that make it useful for use in hospitals. The chemical compounds of cinnamon increase the production of white cells, which fend of infections.
One study published in the international Journal of Pharmacology examined the use of cinnamon oil in conjunction with the antibiotic doxycycline. This antibiotic is used to treat urinary tract infections, early Lyme disease, and bacterial pneumonia. The results showed that the combination of cinnamon oil and prescription antibiotics eliminated bacteria faster than when used alone.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been hyped as a cure-all for everything from dry hair to stretch marks. Research has debunked many of the purported health benefits of coconut oil, but has shown it to be a powerful antibiotic. Coconut oil contains fatty acids that help to eliminate bacteria that can cause acne breakouts.
Dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by dry, red, itchy skin. Skin affected by dermatitis is a breeding ground for antibiotic resistant bugs like Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. A 2008 study examined the effects of coconut oil and olive oil in treating dermatitis. The researchers examined 26 individuals who were either given virgin coconut oil or olive leaf extract. The results showed that coconut oil was proactive in treating dry skin that can breed disease colonization.
5. Grapefruit Seed Oil
Grapefruit seed extract is high in antioxidants that support overall immune health. Compounds like vitamin C help to ward of infections and speed up recovery time. Grapefruit seed oil is also effective in treating fungal infections such as Candida albicans. This bacteria causes diseases such as oral thrush and can disrupt healthy digestive processes.
In one study, grapefruit seed oil was compared to topical antibiotics in treating bacterial skin infections. Researchers used grapefruit seed oil to treat 67 different types of bacteria. The results were compared with the use of five commonly prescribed topical antibiotics including Silvadene and Nystatin. Researchers found that the grapefruit seed oil was as effective as the antibiotic ointments.
6. Myrrh Oil
Myrrh essential oil is extracted from the resin of the myrrh tree. It is a woody, herbaceous essential oil that has powerful antibiotic properties. It boasts cleansing properties that help to eliminate toxins and bacteria that can make you sick. Myrrh oil is often used in mouthwash and toothpaste due to its cleansing properties.
Studies have shown that myrrh oil may be effective in treating bacteria that cause skin infections as well as MRSA. A study published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology analyzed the use of myrrh oil in treating antibiotic-resistant staph infections. The results showed that myrrh oil markedly inhibited the formation of staph bacteria.
7. Mustard Oil
Mustard oil may help treat infections such as salmonella, staph, and listeria. It is popularly used in Germany as an herbal remedy for food-borne disease. German doctors also argue that mustard oil is effective in treating respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
A study published in the Journal of Food Protection found that mustard oil inhibits growth of bacteria in selected foods. Researchers believe this is due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate in mustard oil. The oil was even more effective in treating food-borne bacteria when combined with oregano oil and thyme oil.
8. Goldenseal Oil
Goldenseal is a popular herb that is often combined with Echinacea to treat the common cold. It is used to treat canker sores, eye infections, and digestive issues. Goldenseal oil is derived from the root of the goldenseal plant. Goldenseal contains compounds known as berberines that have been shown to kill bacteria in the lab. These compounds are effective against parasites that cause Giardia as well as tapeworms.
Most of the research on berberines and goldenseal has been conducted in the alb. There are few human studies and most are not large enough to draw science-based conclusions. While more research is needed, the lab tests show the potential for goldenseal in replacing antibiotics for minor disease symptoms.
9. Manuka Honey
This raw honey is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics. Manuka honey is produced mainly in New Zealand. The honey is derived from bee pollination of the manuka bush. Manuka honey may treat staph infections, gingivitis, and soothe a sore throat. It is often combined with apple cider vinegar in tea as an immune-boosting tonic.
A study published in the Journal of Wound Care analyzed the use of manuka honey to treat MRSA. The researchers examined 108 individuals over a 4-week period. All participants had leg ulcers that were subjected to treatment with either manuka honey or a hydrogel dressing. The leg ulcers all had the presence of MRSA bacteria. At the conclusion of the study, 70% of the MRSA cases were cured by the manuka honey. In comparison, the hydrogel dressing only reduced MRSA cases by 16%.
How to Use Natural Antibiotics
Many of these natural antibiotics can be consumed orally, but this should be done with extreme caution. Manuka honey can be added to a cup of tea or spread on toast for its antibiotic effects. Essential oils are highly concentrated forms of natural plants. It can take several hundred pounds of each plant to produce one single bottle of essential oil. That makes the consumption of essential oils potentially dangerous. Taking oils orally should only be done by experts or under the supervision of a physician.
One of the best ways to reap the antibiotic effects of these natural remedies is to inhale the essential oils. These oils are used in aromatherapy and Ayurvedic medicine to improve overall health and eliminate bacteria. Add a few drops to your diffuser and breathe in the aromatic health benefits for 10 to 15 minutes.
If you are feeling really sick, you can make a steam bath to clear congestion and eliminate bacteria faster. Just add 4 drops of essential oils to a pot of hot water. Make a tent over your head using a towel and lean over the pot. Breathe in the essential oil steam for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the bathtub and soak away the common cold.
Another common way to inhale essential oils is to use them as a hand rub. Place 2 drops of essential oils in your hands and rub them together. Cup you hand beneath your nose and mouth. Inhale deeply and focus on relaxation for 5 minutes. Add a few drops of oils to your pillow to get a better night’s sleep and eliminate bacteria while you get your beauty rest.
All of these essential oils can be applied topically to treat skin infections. Mix a few drops of essential oil with carrier oil such as almond oil. Grapefruit seed oil is also a carrier oil itself so it can be combined with other antibiotic oils for increased potency.
Side Effects of Natural Antibiotics
Natural remedies are generally safe for consumption, but there are a few things to watch out for.
Plants and plant-based products can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. Avoid these natural antibiotics if you have allergies to the native plants. Keep an eye out for signs of allergic reaction including redness, itchiness, and difficulty breathing. Stop use immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Always apply essential oils to skin using carrier oil such as rosehip, jojoba, or avocado oils. Test the oils on a small portion of skin before applying to larger areas. Stop using these natural antibiotics if you experience a rash or redness during topical application.
Stay Healthy With Natural Antibiotics
The immune system helps to fend off bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Keeping your immune system working at peak performance is one of the best ways to improve overall health. Fortunately, there are many natural plants that can be used to boost immune health. The antimicrobial properties can help you treat ear infections, skin infections, and sinus infections. Try these home remedies to cure a bacterial infection and feel better the natural way.
Natural antibiotics aren’t a total replacement for prescription antibiotics, but they can help you get healthier faster. A good health care regimen combines both modern medicine and natural remedies. Save the prescription antibiotics for serious disease and use natural antibiotics for minor health problems.