By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
November 26, 2012
- Filling the antibiotic gap wisely
- Strange new additions to your medicine cabinet
- The protective herbs to hide in winter stews and teas
It’s no secret that we have an antibiotic problem.
Even conventional physicians are acknowledging it – and are slower to prescribe than they were even 2-3 years ago. And this week’s “Get Smart About Antibiotics” – sponsored by none other than the CDC – makes a powerful statement to both providers and patients alike: limit the use of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
Even the over-the-counter antibiotic creams and ointments are contributing to the overuse, along with the 25 million tons of antibiotics found in our food. It all adds up, and it raises your risk that they won’t work when you most need them
If you can reduce your exposure to antibiotics when you don’t really need them, they are more likely to work when their effectiveness becomes a matter of life and death. Which is critically important for both public health, and your own personal health.
But when pharmaceutical antibiotics are a last resort, you’ve got a gap. What can you do after you get sick, but before you need pharmaceuticals, to get better, faster?
Fortunately, Mother Nature has this one figured out. There are numerous herbs, essential oils and plants containing antibacterial, antiviral, antibiotic properties – and are highly effective. The problem is, much of this traditional wisdom has been lost in conventional medicine.
Today, I’ll reveal the 7 natural antibiotics I have found to be the most effective.
And don’t forget, many of the everyday herbs you use in cooking have healing properties as well. So scroll down to find out which herbs belong in your winter stew in the cold months ahead…
I recommend you assemble these seven natural antibiotics, familiarize yourself with how and when to use them, and place them in your medicine chest, the same way you might store the Advil, Neosporin, and cough syrup.
You see, a big step in using natural remedies more easily and readily is having them on hand when you need them:
Natural Antibiotic #1: Tea Tree Oil:
This essential oil, also known as melaleuca oil, has been used for years in traditional medicine. It is used for numerous conditions ranging from acne to head lice. It shouldn’t be ingested, but has myriad topical uses for external conditions that require an antibacterial or antifungal agent. You will also find tea tree oil in cosmetic preparations, toothpastes – any products that benefit from a natural antifungal, antibacterial agent. Unlike antibiotics, however, tea tree oil does not get less effective over time. So, as long as the smell isn’t unpleasant to you, you can use it liberally for both medicinal and hygienic reasons, and get great results.
Natural Antibiotic #2: Neem Oil:
Neem oil is considered a vegetable oil, and it is pressed from the fruits and seeds of an evergreen tree native to India. It can be used as an insect repellent, a fertilizer or a safe and natural pesticide. It is also commonly used in cosmetics because it is a natural antiseptic, and also, has moisturizing properties and contains vitamin E. Pet owners appreciate having a non-toxic repellent for ticks and fleas, and in light of the increasing risk presented to humans by ticks and mosquitos, I highly recommend using Neem as a non-toxic alternative to DEET during buggy times of the year.
Neem oil has also been used as a natural contraceptive, and thus, should not be used by pregnant women or infants. For home use, stick to topical applications in place of antibiotic cream. But consult an herbal specialist before trying it for internal use.
Natural Antibiotic #3: Manuka Honey:
While honey is usually a staple in the kitchen, keep this variety in your medicine chest. You can apply it to a wound, under the dressing or bandage. Studies have shown that manuka honey is particularly effective in fighting the three biggest bacterial threats: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Slowly, conventional medicine is recognizing that manuka honey may have a role in fighting infections where pharmaceutical antibiotics have failed. You can purchase manuka honey online, or in many health food stores. Look for labels with a high UMF rating (10 should be the minimum), which indicates the concentration of the product. Manuka honey is not unlike pomegranate and other foods that are getting popular – just claiming it on the label doesn’t mean you are getting enough for it to be effective.
Natural Antibiotic #4: Goldenseal:
One of the main reasons people head to the doctor for antibiotics is for a sore throat, and their fears of it turning to strep throat or an upper respiratory infection.
In such cases, goldenseal should be your first line of defense. It comes as a dried powder than can be added to water, along with a punch of salt, and used as a gargle. Or some prefer to take it in a capsule, as it is extremely bitter. It contains the chemical berberine, which prevents bacteria from adhering to cell walls. It also is used for ulcers and gastrointestinal problems. It should not be used by pregnant women without consulting a knowledgeable herb specialist.
Natural Antibiotic #5: Andrographis:
Another herb that is grown in India and Sri Lanka, andrographis has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Now science is backing up traditional uses. It’s particularly good for sinus and upper respiratory infections, and should be part of your arsenal when seasonal colds and viruses pay a visit. You can make the tincture into a tea and drink 3-4 times a day. Or take in capsule form, according to the label instructions. Studies have also shown that it protects both the liver and the stomach from toxins, and further research is being done on andrographis as a possible weapon in the fight against cancer.
Natural Antibiotic #6: Colloidal Silver:
We’ve known about the benefits of colloidal silver for over two thousand years. The ancient Romans stored their water in silver urns because it seemed to protect them from dysenteries. Newborn babies still get silver drops in their eyes to protect them from potential STD’s and burn units still use silver creams to prevent infection on their patient’s skin. It has been used to kill bacteria, fungal infections and fight viruses for generations. However, it’s been on the FDA hit list for years, and suffers in popularity because of it. And yet, the World Health Organization recommends it for disinfecting water in Third World countries. Quite a disconnect.
Many scientists, researchers and health providers agree that when used according to safety guidelines, colloidal silver is a highly effective natural antibiotic. You can find the guidelines at http://www.silversafety.org. And also, be sure to stick with products designated as “true colloidal silver,” since these will be the purest, safest preparation. Note that this will also be the more expensive variety, but it is also the highest quality and safest. My best experiences with silver come from using a product called “Argentyn 23”. You can get it as “Sovereign Silver” on the website: www.natural-immunogenics.com.
Natural Antibiotic #7: Elderberry Liquid Extract:
Also known as sambucus, this herb is often used to combat the flu. Take it at the first sign of symptoms. You may still get the flu, but you’ll get a milder case of it, with symptoms disappearing in as little as 2 days, rather than lasting for over a week. But don’t be fooled by lozenges or other remedies that feature elderberry. Only the liquid extract does the job. If you are diabetic or taking any kind of steroids, check with your doctor before taking elderberry extract. Over 150 years ago, this extract saved countless lives during an influenza outbreak here in the U.S. Be sure to keep it in the house.
And once your medicine chest is stocked, be sure to place a few important items in your kitchen as well…
Foods and herbs you can use in cooking during the winter months have antibiotic properties in low levels. Garlic and onions have long been considered a staple, especially in winter cooking when colds and viruses often breed and spread when we spend so many hours indoors.
Here are the other herbs to have on hand, and use liberally in your cooking. They are not only delicious, but each has healing properties as well:
If you consider the natural remedies in your medicine chest and the healing herbs in your kitchen as a first defense – and important part of your bug-and-flu-fighting arsenal – you will be less likely to turn to pharmaceutical antibiotics for average illnesses.
Which means if you were to get something far worse, your body will respond to the heavy artillery.
Crawford GH, Sciacca JR, James WD. Tea tree oil: cutaneous effects of the extracted oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. Dermatitis. (2004) 15 (2): 59-66.
Gabrielian ES, et al. A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis. Phytomedicine. 2002 Oct;9(7):589-97.
Zakay-Rones, Z; Thom, E; Wollan, T; Wadstein, J, Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. The Journal of International Medical Research 32 (2): 132–40.