All too often when people get sick with an illness or infection, they head to the doctors’ office for medicines that ultimately do more harm than good. Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, are types of medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. To put it basically, antibiotics are poisons that are used to kill bacteria, and we use them to treat infections caused by bacteria.
Bacteria are microscopic organisms, and some cause illness, and many people have benefited from using antibiotics, but, the bad bacteria are not the only organisms that antibiotics kill. We all have beneficial bacteria and yeast living within our intestines, and every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria located in your intestines, upsetting this delicate balance, and causing yeasts to thrive. Also using antibiotics can make food allergies more likely, allowing an array of intestinal disorders to ensue.
What To Know When You Take Antibiotics
Most antibiotics start having an effect on an infection within a few hours, but it is important to remember to complete the whole course of medication to prevent the infection from coming back. When you do not complete the course, there is a higher chance the bacteria may become resistant to future treatments.
If you are going to take antibiotics, you really need to boost your intake of antioxidants and be sure to include items in your diet that offer decent amounts of vitamin E, zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin A, because they all have antifungal properties.
Eat Your Fiber
Keep your bowels moving, because when antibiotics kill off your friendly bacteria, you’ll run a higher risk of infection by the “Bad” bacteria quickly exploiting pockets of debris that collects and putrefies in your intestines if you happen to become constipated. So, be sure to keep your digestive tract as free of waste as possible until you can repopulate it with friendly bacteria. To do this you need to consume extra fiber as long as you don’t have a history of intestinal obstruction. Psyllium fiber is wonderful for this as it not only relieves constipation, it also slows diarrhea by absorbing excess water.
Consume More Probiotics
Most disease, both physical and mental, originate in the digestive system and healing your gut lining will help your digestive system work properly again. To do this you need to replace the good bacteria in your intestines by adding an acidophilus (probiotic) supplement for a few weeks, following any course of antibiotics. Do not take them simultaneously with your antibiotic, or you will just end up with a lot of dead, yet friendly bacteria in your intestines. Taking probiotics in between antibiotic doses or after you have completely finished your prescription will offer the most aid.
Types Of Probiotics
Probiotics can be found in capsule, liquid, powder, or tablet form. Acidophilus drinks can be found in health food stores, grocery stores and Asian specialty stores. Probiotics can also be found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt or kefir, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut however, and the number of live organisms varies greatly from product to product due to differences in processing methods. Two of my favorite products providing very impressive probiotic benefits are Lifeway Kefir Smoothies and GoodBelly Probiotic Juices.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to consume foods rich in natural probiotics, especially if you have an infection of any kind. Your gut acts as a second brain, even producing more serotonin than your brain, which enhances your mood. It is also home to countless bacteria, good and bad, that maintain the ideal balance, creating the foundation for good health; physical, mental and emotional.
Most Common Side Effects
If you are taking an antibiotic do not take other medicines or herbal remedies without discussing them with your doctor first. OTC (over the counter, non-prescription) medicines may also clash with your antibiotic.
Penicillins, cephalosporins, and some other antibiotics may undermine the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. If the antibiotic has caused diarrhea/vomiting the absorption of contraceptives may also be disrupted. If you are taking any of these drugs you should consider taking additional contraceptive precautions.
The most common side-effects of antibiotics are:
- Allergic Reactions (Ranging from a mild rash to severe anaphylaxis resulting in death.)
- Fungal Infections of the Mouth, Digestive Tract and Vagina
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Sensitivity to Sun (when taking tetracyclines)
Other rare side-effects of antibiotics are:
- Formation of kidney stones (when taking sulphonamides)
- Abnormal blood clotting (when taking some cephalosporins)
- Blood disorders (when taking trimethoprim)
- Deafness (when taking erythromycin and the aminoglycosides)
Some patients, especially elderly ones, may experience a type of colitis or inflamed bowels, which can lead to severe diarrhea. Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used for the most serious forms of infections and it commonly has this side effect, along with (although much less common), penicillins, cephalosporins and erythromycin.
If you would rather use something natural that functions as an antibiotic,you don’t need to look any further than your refrigerator, cupboard or pantry to find safe, delicious foods and herbs to eradicate the most virulent bacteria and viruses. Nature’s infinite wisdom has supplied us with many highly effective substances with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, all able to protect the human body safely and with deep healing powers.
The Power Garlic
Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic that doesn’t kill off the healthy bacteria like the drug forms do. Unlike chemical antibiotics, garlic is also an effective antiviral and antifungal, so by just taking just a few cloves of garlic each day, you can rid yourself of infections. Garlic has a proven track record for being an excellent item to fight bacteria including, viral, fungal and parasitic infections even eliminating staph, strep among others. To put the power of Garlic into perspective, one study took seven AIDS patients, who all had normal T-cell activity (which is a key indicator of the active AIDS infection) after taking the equivalent of two or four garlic cloves each day for three months. While AIDS may be a rather extreme affliction, being one of the most dreaded conditions on the planet, it’s helpful in demonstrating the powerful effects of garlic. These patients also showed improvement with other problems like chronic diarrhea, candida overgrowth, genital herpes and chronic sinus infections. Garlic has also been found to be helpful for conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies, toothaches, cancer, impotence, cold & flu, heart disease and high cholesterol. And one major point is the fact that a one month supply would be only a few bucks at your local store or organic market.
How To Use Garlic
For garlic to be effective as a healing agent and general antibiotic, it needs to be raw. It should also be crushed and exposed to air for ten minutes before it’s consumed to fully activate its key germ-killing compound. Cooking garlic does cause it to lose some of the medicinal benefits.The active compound in garlic is allicin, which is similar to penicillin. Applying garlic oil to the skin can treat scrapes and burns, and dropped in the ear to fight ear infections. The most effect treatment methods have been placing raw garlic under the tongue, or drinking the juice to rapidly absorb the healing properties, but because this herb is rather strong and pungent, taking garlic pills might be a better option.
Using raw garlic doesn’t have to taste awful, many simple recipes can be whipped up rather easily. If you have an infection, you can enjoy drinks or soups each day to battle illness away without the use of chemical antibiotics that will destroy your good bacteria.
If you don’t have a juicer, simply toss the ingredients into a blender and make a tomato and garlic soup. To either, just add some sea salt; it’ll be delicious.
A relative of garlic, onion has similar medicinal properties, and can be eaten to help reduce pain, inflammation, and increase circulation. Onions have also been shown to be beneficial as an herbal analgesia and anti-inflammatory substance, that increases circulation, alleviates angina, and is used in the treatment of the common cold and flu, and for a persistent cough.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract was originally developed as an antiparasitic, but quickly showed that it could inhibit the growth of fungi, viruses, and bacteria as well. The active ingredients of Grapefruit Seed Extract or GSE, are non-toxic and gathered from the seed and pulp of certified organically grown grapefruit. The process converts the grapefruit bioflavonoids into an extremely potent compound that can even be used to kill strep, staph, salmonella, E. Coli, candida, herpes, influenza, parasites, fungi, and more.
Habañero and Horseradish
These are stimulants that quicken and excite and energize the body (benefiting it’s defenses against invading viruses). In addition, they help to carry blood to all parts of the body, and they also help raise the temperature of the body, which increasing the activity of the immune system.
Horseradish, in particular, contains volatile oils that are similar to those found in mustard. When broken down in the stomach, the volatile oils in horseradish have shown antibiotic properties, making it very effective in treating throat and upper respiratory tract infections. Horseradish oil has also been shown to kill bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections.
Fruits and Vegetables Containing High Levels Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to help strengthen the body’s immune system and ability to fight disease, and throughout the years, studies have shown vitamin C to even help heal snake bites, bacterial and viral infections. Fruits high in vitamin C are recommended because they can help stave off or eliminate certain infectious bacteria. Vitamin C is essential for growth and development, and serves in the function of skin repair, making it very important in wound healing, strengthening the human immune system and increasing the body’s ability to resist infection.
Fruits rich in vitamin C Include: Acerola or West Indian Cherry, Currants, Guavas, Oranges, Lemon, Kiwi, Strawberries, Pineapple, Honeydew, Mangoes, Plums and Watermelon.
Vegetables rich in vitamin C: Peppers, Chives, Parsley, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Spinach.
Honey has a long history of being used as a topical treatment for infections, because this wonderful sweet substance has been shown to be effective against fighting certain antibiotic resistant strains. The most deadly type is Manuka honey, which comes from Australia and New Zealand. It is derived from nectar collected by honey bees that forage the manuka bushes of New Zealand, and it contains unique antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, stomach-healing, wound-repairing, and overall health-promoting properties that make it an amazing superfood!
Researchers have discovered that Manuka honey applied topically can kill a wide range of pathogens, including MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria. Scientists also found that the treated bacteria didn’t build up any resistance, rendering the honey ineffective. Awareness about manuka honey is growing, and many health food stores, online vendors, and even grocery stores are beginning to carry products claiming to be medical manuka honey. To help you identify which varieties of manuka honey are truly medicinal and contain high levels of powerful UMF, (Unique Manuka Factor) The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA), independently tests and certifies manuka honeys to verify their legitimacy. They have created an official UMF trademark to verify the legitimacy of products claiming to be manuka honey. There are currently 44 UMFHA members, 29 of which hold separate licenses for using the UMF trademark.
If you find a manuka honey brand that does not bear this official logo, be sure to inquire as to who certified their honey for the presence of unique UMF.
Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine because it’s essential oils qualify as an “anti-microbial” food, and has been studied for it’s ability to stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, and possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. One of its most important medicinal benefits is on the pancreas, providing powerful effects on blood sugar and insulin levels, helping to control diabetes. If you crave cinnamon, your body may be signaling that your blood sugar levels aren’t what they should be.
Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. When you mix Cinnamon with Manuka Honey, the combination makes for a great decongestant, a topical paste that can be applied to the teeth and skin, reduce your susceptibility to colds & flu and stimulate digestion.
ACV or Apple-Cider Vinegar, Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which is a substance known for having anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. ACV is deadly to all kinds of germs that attack the throatm and acts like a sponge that draws out germs and toxins in the throat from the surrounding tissue. And finally, ACV stimulates a condition called acetolysis in which toxic wastes that are harmful to the body are broken down and rendered harmless.
Ginger has been traditionally used to treat colds and flu, but it has been found that when we consume it, are temperature is raised causing us to sweat. When we sweat a chemical is produced that fights bacteria causing a antimicrobial effect. Chinese studies have shown that ginger even helps kill influenza viruses (even avian flu), and an Indian report shows that it increases the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Health care professionals recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. It is also used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset, to reduce pain of osteoarthritis, and has even be beneficial fighting heart disease and cancer.
Eucalyptus may be used as a topical antibiotic, and has antiseptic properties when applied to skin. If essential eucalyptus oil is used, it should be diluted in a carrier oil, such as almond or olive oil.
This herb can also be consumed as a tea to fight infection and lower fever, and the steam can be inhaled to treat a cough. It has powerful decongestant properties, but it’s also a great natural antiseptic that kills fungus, bacteria, and viruses.
This herb contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. Because of these factors, professional herbalists recommend it to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections, athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever, and even slow-healing wounds. Studies have even suggested that echinacea extract had an antiviral effect on the development of recurrent cold sores triggered by the herpes simplex virus. Today it is used for fighting colds and flu, as this potent herb possesses the ability to destroy the most virulent bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus which causes deadly MRSA.
Olive Leaf has an amazing property unparalleled by modern medicine, it can inhibit or destroy a wide range of harmful bacteria, fungi and yeasts while allowing beneficial bacteria to multiply. This natural extract can be taken to help fight all types of infection.
Myrrh has been used by herbalists for centuries and is even mentioned in the Bible. It is antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral. It can be taken internally, used as a gargle or used as a wash for wounds. The Herb Guide recommends myrrh for bad breath, bronchitis, mouth sores and sore throats. It is a healing agent and helps increase white blood cell counts. Although, it warns not to use myrrh for more than 2 weeks as it is harsh on the kidneys.
Goldenseal is another herb that is often found in herbal antibiotic formulas. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is often used by herbalists to treat sinus infections, vaginal infections, ear infections and sore throats. It can be taken internally and used as a gargle or vaginal wash. However, it should not be taken during pregnancy, as it may stimulate uterine contractions. It also lowers blood sugar levels and should not be taken by hypoglycemics.
Other Herbs and Spices
There are also a whole list of herbs and spices that have natural antibiotic properties including: Wild Indigo, Allspice, Oregano, Thyme, Cumin, Tarragon, Cloves, Bay Leaf, Chili Peppers, Rosemary, Marjoram, Caraway Seed, Coriander, Dill, Basil, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Pepper, Anise, Fennel, Mint, Sage, Mustard, Parsley, Coriander.