Natural Antibiotics

By Serina Marshall

Many natural resources have properties of antibacterial substance. These resources can be found naturally in the world around us. Antibiotics such as penicillin have been helping treat people since the 1940’s. However, these antibiotics can also produce harmful side effects to the body. According to the NHS, 1 in 10 people experience side effects that harm the digestive system after taking antibiotics. Additionally, according to the NHS, around 1 in 15 people are allergic to this type of medication. With natural remedies, these effects are not as prominent, unless you are already allergic to the resource itself. These various natural substances range from foods to plants, and each deliver healing properties that are just as good as produced antibiotics.

One such natural resource is garlic. All over the globe, people have praised garlic for its preventative powers. Research has shown that garlic can be an effective treatment against bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.

Another disease for which the use of garlic has been considered is tuberculosis. Multiple drugs have been used to treat this very aggressive disease, and it is thought that garlic can help in the fight to combat it. Different compounds within garlic are believed to be able to reduce cardiovascular diseases, assist with high blood glucose, and have anti-tumor and anti-microbial effects. Ancient Chinese and Indian medicine suggest garlic be used for respiratory and digestion issues. It is also recommended for leprosy. The healing effects garlic can have on the body have been proven throughout history by many different civilizations and cultures.

Another resource many use as a remedy is honey. In ancient Greece, honey was used as an ointment to help heal wounds and to bring out, or even prevent, infection. In modern medicine, it is still found to be helpful in treating wounds, burns, bedsores, ulcers, and skin drafts. A 2016 study states that a topical application of honey on surgical wounds can accelerate wound care and healing. The presence of honey provides a damp environment with its protective coating. The hydrogen peroxide content contributes to the antibacterial effects of the honey. In 2011, a study showed that the best-known type of honey can inhibit 60 various kinds of bacteria. It is also reported that honey can treat wounds with methicillin resistant MRSA. In addition to antibacterial purposes, honey is also a good treatment for sore throats, coughs, and seasonal allergies.

Spices are also a natural antibiotic that are used to fight many strains of bacteria. Clove, thyme, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin help to battle antibacterial and antifungal symptoms.

These spices help against food spoilage bacteria like Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, fungi like Aspergillus flavus, and antibiotic resistant microorganisms such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Spices are safe resources to use when fighting off resistant bacteria. Clove has also been used in dental procedures. If you are looking for an immune system boost, oregano can also act as an anti-oxidant and provide anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is another spice that can be as a remedy for different afflictions. It has been reported that ginger can help with nausea and seasickness. The healing property of ginger calms the stomach and eases the feeling of becoming sick. Also, if you are looking to lower blood sugar levels, ginger can also help in that respect as well.

For many years, Native Americans, as well as other traditional healers, have used the echinacea plant to treat infections and to heal wounds. The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology published a study that reports the extract Echinacea purpurea can kill various bacteria, including S. pyogenes, which is the bacteria responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and the “flesh eating” disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. All of these bacteria can become dangerous quickly, but Echinacea can help rid them from the body. Echinacea can also assist in fighting inflammation associated with bacterial infection. Anyone looking to use Echinacea as a natural remedy can locate it in stores or online.

Another plant that can be used as a natural resource for an antibiotic is goldenseal. This herb’s dried root is commonly used to make medicine. Usually consumed in teas or capsules to help with digestive or respiratory problems, goldenseal can help combat bacterial diarrhea and urinary tract infection. A study from 2015 supports the use of goldenseal to treat skin infections as well. In a lab report, goldenseal extracts were used to prevent MRSA from damaging tissue. Goldenseal also contains berberine, which is an important component of natural antibiotics. However, this alkaloid is not safe for infants, or for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. If someone is taking prescription medications, the physician should be consulted before taking goldenseal, as this supplement could cause interference with the medications.

Myrrh extract is another natural remedy that can help to ward off harmful germs. A study conducted in 2000 reported that the extract of myrrh could kill various pathogens, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans.

Though myrrh is usually well received, ingesting it may cause diarrhea. When applying myrrh to the skin, it may cause a small rash. Also, if taken in large dosages, myrrh can cause heart problems. When used properly, myrrh can assist in getting rid of bacteria and infection. Thyme and lavender oils can also help to kill infection and bacteria. Thyme is not to be ingested; it is for external use only. Before applying thyme to the infected area, dilute the essential oil with equal parts of a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. Applying thyme oil to an infected area before diluting can cause skin irritation or rash. Those who suffer from hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure, should not use thyme as an essential oil.

In addition to the many different types of antibiotics in the world of medicine, there are many that exist in our everyday lives that can also provide the same healing and remedies that those produced medicines can. Natural resources can become an essential part in healing, and also an easier way to get the relief needed. It is a less expensive, and sometimes more readily available, way to obtain healing antibiotics.