(BeWellBuzz) Millions of people take prescription antibiotics each year, bypassing natural alternatives. While prescription antibiotics can be life-saving medications, they can also be detrimental to your health, as well as being ineffective in many cases. According though the Center for Disease Control, prescriptions are commonly written to treat viral infections, such as cold and sore throat. As prescription antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, they are completely ineffective in such cases.
One of the greatest benefits of natural antibiotics is that most are anti-viral as well. That means eating a clove of garlic (proven anti-viral, antibiotic) will treat your cold where prescription medications do not. Natural antibiotics are also considered to be safer, as some prescriptions carry warnings of allergic reaction, sever gastrointestinal distress, and yeast growth. However, the greatest risk of excessive or unnecessary prescription antibiotics is the cultivation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, commonly known as superbugs. According to USDA botanist, James A. Duke, the wide array of bacteria fighting phytochemicals found in whole, natural antibiotics, are much more difficult for bacterial strains to develop resistance. In fact, natural antibiotics may be the only effective treatments for these superbugs.
If you are looking for a safer, more effective alternative to prescription antibiotics, here are some natural remedies worthy of consideration.
One of natural medicine’s wonder-workers, garlic has more than 70 medicinal compounds. One of the most effective, Allician, is also one largely responsible for the foul smell of fresh garlic. Deodorized supplements are likely to be less effective than whole oil, powder, or best of all fresh cloves.
In addition to fighting of bacterial infections, possibly better than prescriptions, garlic has strong antiviral and anti-fungal compounds. It is a recommended treatment for any kind of infection.
Treats – Infections, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure
Dosage – Up to 5 cloves fresh garlic or 1200 milligrams of supplements daily, divided in two or three doses
Side Effects – Virtually none in reasonable quantities; possible dizziness, bloating and headache with exceptionally large dosage
As a proven immune system booster, Echinacea stimulates the body’s natural production of antibacterial and antiviral compounds. Two varieties – Angustifolia and Purpurea are commonly sold. Both have proven medicinal properties, though herbalists debate which is better. Many blends of the two are available, and may be the best option if you are uncertain.
Treats – Infections, respiratory ailments, weakened immune system
Dosage – Three cup of tea, or 1000 milligrams of standardized supplement daily, divided. Echinacea is believed to loose effectiveness after several weeks and a 14 day break is recommended for long-term treatment.
Side Effects - Possible harmless tingling sensation on the tongue; excessive doses will slow the immune system rather than stimulate it.
Containing a wide array of infection-fighting compounds, goldenseal is one of the most popular natural antibiotic and antimicrobial treatments.
Treats – Infections, canker sores, gastrointestinal complaints, pneumonia
Dosage – Three cups of tea of 1000 milligrams of supplement daily, divided. Goldenseal can build up in the system, and therefor is not considered safe for long-term(over three weeks) use.
Side Effects - Extremely high doses may result in gastrointestinal distress, convulsions and vomiting.
- Oregon Grape
Although an entirely different species, Oregon Grape contains the same active phytochemicals as Goldenseal, with a typically lower price tag. Dosage, uses, and side effects listed for Goldenseal are applicable.
- Manuka Honey
Raw honey has long been a favorite of health food and alternative medicine advocates. Recently gaining popularity, Manuka Honey is produced by bees of the Manuka bushes of Australia and New Zealand. It is believed to have greater healing properties than hones such as clover and apple blossom.
Treats – Infections, burns, ulcers, asthma, wounds
Dosage – Two tablespoons daily or one teaspoon as needed to sooth cough/ sore throat. Apply externally for wounds. Never feed honey of any kind to an infant less than 12 months of age.
Side Effects - Virtually none (aside from excess calories and carbs in your diet if you eat too much) except in those with allergies.
Although nor a honey derivative, propolis is another honey-bee produced natural antibiotic and all around tonic for both external and internal use.
Treats – Infections of all kinds, burns, allergies, cough
Dosage – 500 milligrams extract daily, divided. For external application, use a poultice treated with tincture.
Side Effects - Lozenges containing propolis may cause mouth irritation.
This kitchen favorite is also quite medicinal. In addition to killing germs, it help break up mucus congestion often accompanying a cold.
Treats – Infections, coughing, bronchitis, ache
Dosage – Three cups of tea, two tablespoons syrup, or one-half tablespoons extract daily, divided.
Side Effects – Straight thyme oil should not be ingested. No apparent side effects of other forms.
Well known as a relaxing tea, chamomile has a surprisingly wide range of medicinal properties, many topical. Studies have shown chamomile extract to be superior to hydrocortisone in easing inflamed skin.
Treats – Infections, gastritis, indigestion, insomnia, sore throat, gum disease, wounds
Dosage – Three cups of tea, 1000 milligrams of supplement, or one half teaspoon of extract daily for internal use. It is generally recommended that supplements be divided in two or three doses and taken with meals. However, chamomile acts as a sedative; therefor you may wish to take it within one hour of bedtime.
For external use, apply tincture or a poultice of herb. If you drink 100% chamomile tea, your teabag can be an easy poultice.
Side Effects – None apparent, though individuals suffering pollen allergies may react to chamomile as well.
Natural antibiotics can provide safe and effective treatment where prescription medications fail, usually with additional health-giving benefits and a lower price as a bonus. However, always use caution and common sense with natural, or any other, medicine. The most benefit from natural antibiotics and other medicine are gained in conjunction with a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and positive attitude.
Consult your physician before beginning any treatment plan. Be aware that allergies are possible to any natural or synthetic compound. An excess dose is never advisable, even if there are no known risk factors. Never assume any medication is safe for your child or pet, just because it is safe for you. If you are pregnant, consult your physician before taking any medicine.