It is almost instinctual for us to head to the doctor’s office to get a prescription when faced with an infection or other illness. However, the antibiotics often prescribed usually wind up doing much more harm than good, killing off healthy bacteria and the bad pathogens.
While antibiotics do have their place in medicine, why not think about reaching for a natural solution when you can? Here are 15 natural antibiotics that you’ve probably already got around your kitchen.
Of all the natural antibiotics, garlic is my personal favorite and my family’s go-to for internal use. The reason is that it kills the pathogens, not just bacteria but also fungus and viruses too without harming beneficial gut flora.
- Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
- It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
- It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
- Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
- Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
- It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
- Garlic fights worms and parasites.
- It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
- It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).
The phytochemical allicin in garlic is so powerful that it is one of the best natural antibiotics effective against MRSA.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD suggests consuming a whole head of garlic a day when using for natural antibiotic purposes. She also outlines how to make garlic infused olive oil as a remedy for ear and other external infections.
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 1 – 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Place the crushed garlic in the oil and let sit for 30 minutes, then strain. The oil can be warmed slightly by placing it in a cup and setting the cup in warm water (don’t overheat or this will destroy beneficial properties). Use a few drops of this oil hourly in the ears to treat an ear infection. Garlic oil is a safe remedy for children and can also be used daily (just a couple of drops) to soften ear wax buildup.[Related: How To Use Garlic For Acne]
Onions are closely related to garlic and have similar health benefits, reducing pain and inflammation as well as illnesses like colds and touches of the flu. (source)
Similar to garlic, you’ll get the best results by eating onions raw. Cooking onions releases many of their healthiest nutrients, robbing your body of their help.[Related: The Magic Onion: Things You Didn’t Know Onions Could Do]
3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract, referred to as GSE, is conventionally used as an anti-microbial compound. It has shown great promise in preventing the growth of various fungi and bacteria, even being recommended for use in bathroom cleaning. (source)
You’ll need to dilute the extract when using it. The site I’ve linked to above lists a few helpful pointers for determining how much extract you need for specific applications.
Horseradish gives your body energy; this stuff is potent! Horseradish helps your body defend itself against potential illnesses. It also promotes healthy blood circulation and has antibiotic properties when broken down in the stomach.
Horseradish can treat everything from urinary tract infections to kidney stones and bronchitis. (source)
Consume it raw (blended or juiced) or diced up with a light amount of vinegar for best effects.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can be found in a wide variety of fruits including oranges and pineapples. It is known for its ability to strengthen the immune system —that is why orange juice is so relieving when you’ve got a cold.
Vitamin C works wonders in areas of skin repair and prenatal health. (source)
Getting your hands on a 100% natural organic orange juice is one way to consume vitamin c — also consider eating an orange or two a few days each week.
6. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is made by bees in New Zealand and, like other types of honey contains peroxide that gives it its antibiotic properties. This property is present in many other kinds of honey, its just that New Zealand has marketed their honey better than anyone else.
It also contains several other antibiotic components that are not found in other types of honey such as methylglyoxal. (source)
The downside to manuka honey is that it can be a bit costly. You can find it at Whole Foods or online for about $50 a bottle.
Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar in folks dealing with adult onset diabetes tendencies. It also contains antibiotic properties and can help treat yeast infections. (source)
There are many ways to consume cinnamon. One of my favourites is to simmer Sri Lankan cinnamon bark in a pot of water and pour the contents into a mug. You can then refrigerate the drink and consume it over several days. Quite refreshing!
8. Apple-Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, known to possess anti-biotic properties. It can assist greatly in preventing and relieving a sore throat helping to kill the germs that cause the condition. (source)[Related: Amazing List Of 40 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar – Plus Instructions On How To Use It!]
Have you ever wondered why pickled, raw ginger is nearly always served with sushi? This is likely because of historical folklore concerning ginger’s natural antibiotic effects which help prevent food poisoning.
Studies have shown that fresh ginger really does have an antibiotic effect against food borne pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. Fresh ginger also increases stomach acid production and helps calm indigestion when a meal just doesn’t agree with you.
So, if you are going to eat something that has the potential for food borne illness such as sushi or raw oysters, always best to eat some fresh ginger (raw and pickled is most potent) too in order to make use of its natural antibiotic properties.
The Master Tonic, a powerful anti-viral and natural antibiotic, includes plenty of fresh ginger as well as fresh cayenne pepper and garlic. This tonic is a highly effective concoction to make and take with you when traveling overseas in order to have a handy formula available that packs the punch of several natural antibiotics synergistically combined and fermented for maximum potency.
Properly made ginger tea is helpful for digestive ailments such as the inability to absorb food properly and an overabundance of pathogens in the gut. Malabsorption of food can cause nutritional deficiencies that lead to disease over time. “Everything good is found in ginger” declares an ancient Indian proverb. (source)
When placed on the skin, eucalyptus has many antiseptic properties. It has also commonly been used in teas and inhaled to fight coughs, and it is great for killing fungus. (source)
11. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper also called capsicum is a strong spice used for thousands of years for its healing power and antibiotic effects. It’s not just an anecdotal, folklore remedy, however. Science is validating its use as a natural antibiotic as well.
Cayenne pepper is particularly effective at resolving vulvovaginitis, a common infection in women. One Czech study found capsicum essential oil exerts a considerable anti-fungal and antibiotic effect on this condition. It is important to properly use a carrier oil such as olive oil and thoroughly dilute cayenne pepper essential oil, however, as capsicum is quite burning upon initial contact with the skin.
Turmeric is a spice widely used in traditional Indian cooking that has been used holistically for centuries.
Dr. Kelly Brogan MD uses turmeric widely in her holistic psychiatry practice. She writes,
This wonder-spice is a mainstay of my anti-inflammatory work with patients in my practice where I use liposomal preparations of curcumin, the natural phenols responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, when I suspect their symptoms stem from a challenged immune system.
In research, the curcumin in turmeric was shown to be effective against Helicobacter pylori common in gastroduodenal ulcers regardless of the genetic makeup of the strain. The administration of curcumin also resolved any gastric damage caused by the infection. Turmeric is also highly effective in providing allergy relief from the symptoms of allergic rhinitis or hay fever.
If you wish to use turmeric as a natural antibiotic, Dr. Weil suggests to look for extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed.
13. Oregano Oil
There are over 40 different oregano species, but the most beneficial one to maximize the therapeutic antibiotic effect you need is the oil produced from wild oregano, called Origanum vulgare. Thymus capitatus, a variety that grows in Spain, is also very powerful.
Quality oregano oil made from these species is golden to dark yellow, with a strong spicy odor.
According to Dr. Mercola, the best uses for oregano oil as a natural antibiotic are the following:
- Foot or nail fungus. Put a few teaspoons of oregano oil in a small tub water and soak your feet. The oil can also be diluted (one drop of oil with a teaspoon of olive oil) and then apply directly to nails or skin.
- Parasites and infections: Dilute the oil as described above and place it under your tongue. Hold it there for a few minutes, and then rinse it out. Repeat at least four times a day.
- Sinus infections: Put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water or neti pot, and inhale the steam.
14. Olive Leaf Extract
Most people are aware of the health benefits of pure, 100% extra virgin olive oil. However, many in the health community are still in the dark about the antibiotic effects of olive leaf extract coming from the very same trees!
According to Dr. Ronald Hoffman MD, founder and Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York City, olive leaf extract as a healing modality was first realized in the 1800’s for malaria. Olive leaf extract may be best known for it’s ability to reduce fever even due to severe illness.
Early in the last century, oleuropein was isolated from olive leaf extract as this phytochemical was thought to give the olive tree its resistance to disease. Researchers from the Netherlands then learned that elenolic acid, a component of oleuropein, acted as a broad spectrum natural antibiotic, which safely and strongly inhibits the growth of not only bacteria, but also viruses and fungi.
15. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature.
Use it to boost your immune system, balance thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and even improve brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.
Stir a spoonful into your morning coffee for added energy and a clearer head all day.[Related: 101 Science-Backed, Evidence-Based Uses for Coconut Oil That Will Change Your Life]
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