The 12 Most Effective Natural Antibiotics And How To Use Them
Antibiotics are a great thing and it’s undeniable that they’ve saved countless millions of lives since penicillin was first introduced in the 1920s. However, it is equally apparent that we’ve become far too reliant on this class of drugs. They’re widely overprescribed and this abuse has led to the evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes including MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylycoccus aureus) and TDR (totally drug resistant) tuberculosis.
Our overuse of antibiotic medications for even minor infections is also thought to be responsible for the growing number of autoimmune diseases and GI issues. Even a single course of antibiotics can completely upset the natural microbial balance of the digestive tract, causing problems which can persist for years. Basically, antibiotics should be used only when they are absolutely necessary and in most cases, they’re not needed. There are plenty of natural alternatives which are very effective against common, non-life threatening infections. The following list isn’t exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. Oregano Oil
Oregano is good for much more than cooking; this common culinary herb also has potent antibiotic properties. Look for oregano oil which has a strong odor and is golden or dark yellow. Oregano oil can be used in a number of ways. Remember that like most other essential oils, oregano oil should always be diluted before using.
For sinus infections or sinus inflammation, you can add a few drops of oregano oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.
Add a few drops of water to a basin of water and soak your feet or hands to treat foot or nail fungus or apply topically after diluting a drop of oregano oil in a teaspoon of olive or almond oil.
It can also be taken orally when diluted as directed above – place the oil under your tongue and hold it in your mouth for 2-3 minutes before rinsing out your mouth. This can be done four or five times daily to treat systemic infections.
2. Chili Peppers
Essential oil from cayenne peppers is an effective treatment for bacterial vaginitis and can also be used to treat strep throat and a variety of other minor infections. Remember to dilute this oil well if using topically to prevent burns. You can also add hot peppers to your food to give your immune system a boost.
3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract has been studied for its antibacterial properties and some studies have shown it to be as effective as currently available topical antbacterials. The extract seems to be more effective on gram-positive bacteria than on gram-negative bacteria, but has a wide spectrum of applications.
Grapefruit seed extract can be used topically, but if you plan to use it internally, you should make your own by grinding grapefruit seeds and mixing with glycerin, since commercially available extract often contains potentially problematic ingredients.
The Danish bacteriologist J.M.C. Gram (1853-1938) devised a method of staining bacteria using a dye called crystal (gentian) violet. Gram’s method is used to distinguish between different types of bacteria. A Gram-positive bacteria retains the color of the crystal violet stain in the Gram stain. This is characteristic of bacteria that have a cell wall composed of a thick layer of a particular substance (called peptidologlycan). Gram negative has a thinner layer.
The Gram-positive bacteria include staph, strep, pneumonia, and the bacterium responsible for diphtheria and anthrax as well as other pathogenic diseases.
4. Colloidal Silver
Silver has long been known to have antibacterial properties. In fact, it’s effective on a wide range of harmful microbes, including some which are resistant to conventional antibiotics, without having as harmful of an effect on beneficial bacteria in the GI tract.
However, since it can still kill beneficial bacterial, it’s recommended that colloidal silver be used only externally, although it can be used to treat ear infections and to gargle with; as long as you don’t ingest it, you’re in the clear.
Garlic is one of the most potent and useful natural antibiotics around. Not only does it kill pathogenic microbes (including fungi and viruses as well as bacteria), it works without hurting beneficial bacteria and upsetting your digestive system’s microbial balance.
Garlic also offers a wealth of other health benefits. It can help remove heavy metals like cadmium and lead from your body, kill parasites, offers antioxidant properties, improves digestion and also provides a wide variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytochemicals.
If it’s not already, garlic should be a regular part of your diet and when you’re trying to fight off an infection, experts recommend eating and entire bulb of garlic daily.
You can also apply garlic infused oil topically to treat ear infections and other minor infections. Just crush 1 clove of garlic in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes before straining out the garlic. Use a few drops in the ears hourly to fight off ear infections.
It’s safe, effective and can also be used as an earwax removal aid.
Fresh ginger has been proven to be effective against bacteria including listeria, salmonella and campylobacter which are common culprits in food borne illnesses, which may be part of the reason that it’s long been a traditional accompaniment to sushi.
Raw, pickled ginger seems to have the most potent effects; you may want to make it a regular addition to your diet in order to benefit from its antibacterial properties.
Make Pickled Ginger:
To make sugar free raw pickled ginger, peel or scrape the skin from about 2 large pieces of ginger and cut into thin strips. Put the ginger strips into a jar, cover with 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar and tighten the lid. Let set for 12-48 hours and then enjoy! If its too bitter tasting you can try the recipe again with 2 tablespoons of raw sugar mixed with the vinegar. Try to shake the jar every 12 hours to make sure the mixture is coating all the finer as well.
This close relative of ginger has long been a staple of both Ayurvedic medicine and South Asian cuisine. It’s a very effective natural anti-inflammatory and immune modulator as well as having antibacterial properties.
Turmeric extracts have been found effective against H. Pylori (the bacteria responsible for many ulcers) in studies. For the best results, it’s recommended to take turmeric extracts (curcurmin) in 400 – 600 mg dosages three times daily as well as adding turmeric to your cooking; it’s always nice to have an excuse to eat more curries!
8. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive oil’s health benefits are well known, but did you know that olive leaves contain a natural antibiotic phytochemical called oleuropein? Dutch researchers have found that elenolic acid, which is a component of oleuropein, acts as a broad spectrum antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal agent.
The recommended dose of olive extract is 1000 mg capsules three times daily with meals.
9. Raw Honey
Honey has been used as both food and medicine for millennia; just make sure that your honey is completely raw and has never been heated. Manuka honey from New Zealand is considered to be the most effective at fighting infections, but local raw honey is also a good choice.
Manuka honey has been extensively studied and has found to be effective against MRSA, H. Pylori and over two hundred other bacterial strains, including many drug-resistant strains. Manuka honey has also received FDA approval for use in wound dressings.
You can ingest honey in teas, by the spoonful or apply it to open sores and wounds to help the healing process. A good choice for ill children as long as they are over the age of 2.
10. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is a potent natural antibiotic and all around antimicrobial, can be used topically as an antiseptic and according to some studies, it may even help you to maintain a healthy weight!
If you drink a glass of water with 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before your meals, the insoluble fiber with help you feel full with less food. The fiber will also decrease the likelihood of you eating unhealthy foods between meals. Drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4% which is great for those with insulin problems or high blood sugar.
Just like garlic, its cousin in the lily family, onions contain the antimicrobial compound allicin which can help to fight infections. You can use onion in the same way as garlic as well as including more of it in your diet – it is more effective when eaten raw.
Through a high supply of nutrients and antioxidants — including flavonoids and polyphenols — onion nutrition can work to stabilize blood sugar levels, help in building strong bones and be protective against inflammation, which we know is at the root of most diseases.
Studies have linked onions to cancer and heart disease prevention, plus lower risks of developing arthritis, asthma, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.
According to many clinical studies looking at onion nutrition benefits, onions can actually help reduce the risk of developing colon, ovarian and mouth cancers through their rich supply of antioxidants that prevent cell damage. They might not make you popular with the freshest breath but the overall benefits go well beyond using a breath mint!
12. Eucalyptus Oil
You can use it in the same ways as oregano oil or other essential oils – just remember to dilute it with a neutral carrier oil like olive oil or almond oil before use.