by Jessica Burdg
f you visit the doctor with a viral infection like the flu, a sore throat or an ear infection, there is no need for a prescription for antibiotics. In fact, it’s widely recognized that antibiotics may be over-prescribed in the US, and that fact can contribute to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a situation in which the bacteria actually resist the antibiotics and continue to cause harm within the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million people each year are infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Of that 2 million, at least 23,000 people each year die as a result of the antibiotic resistant bacterial infection.
There are, of course, many situations in which antibiotics are appropriately prescribed. When taken correctly, these antibiotics (such as Azithromycin, Amoxicillin or forms of Penicillin) are effective at treating bacterial infections.
Before heading to the doctor and requesting a prescription, though, there are natural antibiotics you can try that do not require a prescription.
Echinacea can be purchased over-the-counter at most health food stores and pharmacies. Because it contains alkylamides, Echinacea supports your immune system and can ward off infections. In addition, it contains phenols, which are excellent for your health and act as antioxidants.
Consuming garlic promotes a healthy immune system in the first place, but it also boasts specific properties that make it well suited as a natural antibiotic. Garlic contains allicin, which is the component that gives the spice its pungent odor. In addition, it also kills harmful bacteria.
3. Manuka honey
Honey is a health powerhouse, and one particular variety from New Zealand is also a natural antibiotic. Manuka honey is produced specifically by bees that pollinate the manuka bush. This particular variety of honey contains a high concentration of methylglyoxal, which gives it antibacterial properties. It is so powerful that it has also been used topically to treat wounds and skin infections. (Note that all honey has some methylglyoxal and therefore antibacterial properties, but this particular variety has a higher concentration of the compound.)
Goldenseal can soothe sore throats and help with digestive issues that lead to diarrhea. Particularly, this herb helps when applied to the mucous membranes located in the area of infection. Historically, Native Americans used goldenseal to remedy a number of conditions including respiratory or urinary tract infections. Today, you can find it at your health food store or pharmacy.
5. Oregon Grape Root Extract
Oregon Grape Root Extract is an herbal remedy that has antibiotic qualities because it contains berberine. Berberine can stop bacteria from sticking to your intestine or urinary tract. It is also used to treat stomach ulcers and to cleanse the bowels. You purchase Oregon Grape Root Extract and use it to make a tea, or you can consume it in capsule form.
6. Andrographis paniculata
Andrographis paniculata (Andrographis) is a powerful bacteria-fighting agent found in nature. It is traditionally used in Chinese medicine. Andrographis is used to treat issues involving your upper respiratory system, sinuses and the common cold. In addition, it can help fight fever, fatigue and sore throat. Andrographis can be found in capsule form (most commonly consumed) or powder form, and both can be purchased at your health food store.
7. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver has bacteria-fighting properties when used topically. Do not ingest this compound, as it could cause internal damage. Use colloidal silver to treat ear and skin infections.
Fresh ginger has been shown to have an antibiotic effect when combatting some foodborne illnesses like salmonella. As a natural antibiotic, consuming fresh ginger after eating raw fish or simply a food that did not agree with your stomach can help stave off potential negative digestive ramifications.
9. Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper can help rid your system of toxins, while turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial. Sprinkle a combination of these spices onto your food if you’re beginning to feel ill.
10. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for its health-inducing qualities. As a natural antibiotic, Vitamin C plays a large role in the development of white blood cells in your body. When white blood cell production is increased, so is your body’s ability to fight infection. You should consume a large amount of Vitamin C for maximum effectiveness. Vitamin C can be purchased as a supplement and is found in citrus fruits, among other foods.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Antibiotics Aren’t Always The Answer. http://www.cdc.gov/features/getsmart/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the US. http://www.cdc.gov/features/antibioticresistancethreats/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance. http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/index.html
Pina LoGiudice, Herbal Antibiotic Alternatives. http://www.doctoroz.com/article/herbal-antibiotic-alternatives