Pharmaceutical antibiotics save millions of lives every year. While these powerful drugs are highly effective wen they are used cautiously, but most health care providers agree that they are grossly over-prescribed.
Because of antibiotic overprescription, more “superbug” strains like methicillin-resistent staphlyococcus aureus (MRSA) are cropping up in healthy populations. If you have a minor bacterial infection, such as mild strep throat, sinusitis or an ear infection, consider using a natural alternative to antibiotics. By doing so, you will do your part to reduce the incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and you’ll experience fewer side-effects.
If your infection is severe or persists for more than a few days with holistic treatment, contact your physician promptly. You may need to use pharmaceutical antibiotics as an adjunct to your natural antibiotic regimen.
The following are among the best natural alternatives to antibiotics.
Garlic supplements fight bacterial infections and help to prevent the spread of pathogens. In vitro studies have demonstrated that allicin, a compound found in garlic bulb, combats the strains of bacteria responsible for ulcers, plaque and ear infections. Consider applying garlic to the site of an external infection, taking garlic supplements orally, or using garlic oil as a topical remedy.
Ginseng is hailed by herbalists as an adaptogen, or an herb that improves the body’s response to stress. People taking ginseng experience fewer fluctuations in sleep, appetite and immune function during times of stress than people who are not using the product. When used internally, ginseng helps to improve immune response while easing symptoms like fever and inflammation. This popular Asian herb may be an ideal alternative antibiotic for people with mild infections.
This popular natural antibiotic alternative appears to boost immune response to both viral and bacterial infections. Compounds found in echinacea can stimulate disease-fighting compounds, reduce inflammation and treat pain associated with bacterial infections. Some herbalists recommend echinacea as a preventative treatment for bacterial sinusitis and bronchitis, which often occur after a viral infection.
Oil of oregano outperforms 18 conventional antibiotics as a surface treatment for pathogenic microbes. In addition to targeting antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, oil of oregano can hinder the reproduction of fungi and a few viruses. There are not enough studies to prove the benefits of oil of oregano as an oral alternative to antibiotics, but many fans of the product swear by its efficacy.
While medicinal herbs can be highly effective as natural alternatives to antibiotics, they may cause unanticipated side effects or drug interactions. Do not use any medicinal herbs without your health care provider’s approval if you are taking medication or coping with a medical condition.
University of Maryland Medical Center: Garlic
National Institutes of Health: Ginseng
University of Maryland Medical Center: Echinacea
Medical News Today: Himalayan Oregano Effective Against MRSA