It’s good to grow in our knowledge of simple foods, plants, flowers, and herbs that can be used to protect us against illness as well as cure us from infections and disease.
Some of these foodstuffs can be consumed in their organic state…some gain highest potency when brewed into teas or tinctures…while others are best used as essential oils…or made into 100 % vegetarian, non-GMO capsules by using a capsule machines.
The Downfall of Pharmaceutical Antibiotics
Who can deny the benefit of antibiotics?
Since the accidental discovery of penicillin in 1929 by Alexander Fleming, antibiotic use has saved countless lives.
Yet strains of bacteria once thought to be conquered are reemerging despite our antibiotics, and healing resources are disappearing faster than we can discover them.
This excerpt from an article published in March 2011 by The Economist — titled “Resistance to Antibiotics: The Spread of Superbugs“— quotes Fleming at the end of his Noble lecture giving a warning to the world:
On December 11th 1945, at the end of his Nobel lecture, Alexander Fleming sounded a warning. Fleming’s chance observation of the antibiotic effects of a mould called Penicillium on one of his bacterial cultures had inspired his co-laureates, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, two researchers based in Oxford, to extract the mould’s active principle and turn it into the miracle cure now known as penicillin. But Fleming could already see the future of antibiotic misuse. “There is the danger”, he said, “that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”
Penicillin and the other antibiotics that its discovery prompted stand alongside vaccination as the greatest inventions of medical science. Yet Fleming’s warning has always haunted them. Antibiotic resistance has now become a costly and dangerous problem. Some people fear there may be worse to come: that a strain of resistant bacterium might start an epidemic for which no treatment was available. Yet despite Fleming’s warning and despite a fair understanding of the causes of resistance and how they could be dealt with, dealing with them has proved elusive. Convenience, laziness, perverse financial incentives and sheer bad luck have conspired to nullify almost every attempt to stop the emergence of resistance.
In addition of our current overuse of antibiotics…
…their inclusion in animal feed may actually be the main cause to blame.
Antibiotics — when given to animals raised for mass food production (in horrible conditions that pose a constant threat to their health) — are used primarily not to stop infection, but to make the animal grow bigger and faster…artificially.
In a recent statement published only days ago by The Cap Times, titled “Stop using antibiotics for animal production,” Donald Kennedy — former FDA commissioner from 1977 to 1979 — writes this about antibiotic use in “Big Ag Business”:
When I [Donald Kennedy] was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency’s national advisory committee recommended in 1977 that we eliminate an agricultural practice that threatened human health. Routinely feeding low doses of antibiotics to healthy livestock, our scientific advisory committee warned, was breeding drug-resistant bacteria that could infect people. We scheduled hearings to begin the process of curtailing the use of penicillin and other antibiotics for this purpose, but Congress halted the effort.
Today, the science is even clearer that antibiotic overuse in agriculture is dangerous — yet the same risks persist.
Representatives of the livestock and drug industries try to dismiss part of the problem by saying that overuse of antibiotics in hospitals is responsible for the evolution of superbugs. Medical overprescribing is surely ONE piece of the puzzle. But those concerned with human health cannot dismiss or ignore the overwhelming evidence that agricultural practices also contribute to the problem.
About 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country are intended for food animals, not people.
The Good News :: There Are All-Natural Antibiotic Alternatives
The good news in all of this is…
…we can help the problem!
- avoiding pharmaceutical antibiotic drugs
- rediscovering the blessed gifts given to us in foods, plants, flowers, and herbs
- purchasing grass-fed meats from small, local farmers
A growing number of people are beginning to realize that much of the healing wisdom we seek will never be found in science and/or technology but within the ancient healing traditions of nature itself.
To access this awareness, we find ourselves turning to the old methods in an effort to relearn ways of healing that have been carefully passed down through hundreds of generations.
Ancient Peoples knew that healthy living, healing, and sound medicine cannot — nor should they ever — be gauged by how effectively people can exploit the medicinal properties of natural resources. But rather, they recognized human health for what it truly is…an integral part of living in harmony with the Earth.
Many common ailments that plague humanity, such as…
- a cold
- the flu
- sinus/upper respiratory problems
- sore throats
- simple urinary tract infections
- superficial wounds
…do not necessitate pharmaceuticals in most cases.
Many times, these ailments can be safely and effectively treated with lifestyle changes and natural medicines.
The Right Lifestyle Changes
Harnessing the healing power your body possesses requires taking good care of yourself.
It is important to remember that in most cases, bacteria can take over only when its host and the environment it is in allows.
Keep your immune system strong and build its ability to fight infection by:
- creating a bedtime routine that fits your schedule so as to include at least 8 hours of quality sleep
- exercising regularly
- eating a traditional whole foods diet
- avoiding processed sugars
- consuming naturally fermented and cultured foods, increasing probiotic intake
- participating in stress reduction exercises — i.e. stop when your body says stop, rest, pray, meditate, do yoga, etc.
- spending time outdoors, breathing in deeply
- maintaining healthy relationships
- allowing your creativity room to grow
- finding that thing that makes you come alive and doing that!
These above listed tips — when followed properly — will help strengthen your body and likewise prevent infection.
Not to mention, when employed, they work synergistically to unlock the deepest powers of natural food and herb cures.
Natural Antibiotic Alternatives
*Unless otherwise noted, descriptions for these substances have been quoted from Philip Fritchey’s book Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers
Philip Fritchey defines the class of antibiotic substances as…
…agents that destroy or inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria. Some of these herbs destroy germs by their direct action. Others promote and support the body’s own immune responses. [And] They are sometimes called Antizymotics.
And they are as follows:
1. Oregano Essential Oils
High in antioxidant activity, Oregano essential oil contains antimicrobial properties that can help fight colds and coughs, improve digestive issues, and can support your immune and respiratory systems. In fact, one study shows that Oregano essential oil was found (along with a couple other essential oils such as thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, sage, and clove) to have the strongest antimicrobial properties. Click here to read the study.
There are even some poultry farms who have found success by using Oregano to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals. Click here to read more about these farms.
When used aromatically, Oregano essential oil can help decrease airborne pathogens, boost immunity, and can give a feeling of security. Oregano blends well with Basil, Geraniuum, Fennel, Lemongrass, Rosemary, and Thyme essential oils.
Use caution when applying Oregano topically. Oregano is very caustic and can cause skin irritation if not diluted. To avoid skin irritation when using topically, dilute 1 drop essential oil to 3 drops carrier oil.
Tips For Use:
Have a cough? Put 1 drop of Oregano is a teaspoon of honey or a small glass of water and swallow. If you don’t like the taste use an empty capsule.
Put one drop in 2 ounces of water and gargle for treatment of a sore throat.
If you feel like you are coming down with the flu…Flu Bomb! Mix 3 drops Oregano + 5 drops On Guard + 5 drops Melaleuca + 5 drops Lemon! Adults apply undiluted to feet (use carrier oil for children — I only use the BEST coconut oil on the planet) or add to an empty capsule to take internally. Use every two-three hours.
For pure, safe essential oils you can trust choose ::
- dōTERRA™ Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™ essential oils (I LOVE these oils)
- Beeyoutiful Essential Oils (a great cost-effective brand of pure oils — the Beginner Basics Essential Oil Pack is perfect for anyone just starting on the essential oils journey!)
- Mountain Rose Herbs…they have a the best, most complete selection of pure, organic oils
2. Colloidal Silver
The article “Research on Antibiotics Reveals Silver Acts as a Booster“ states: “The use of silver in the battle against pathogenic bacteria goes way back into antiquity. Hippocrates was one of the first to describe its antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C. Over the past few years, several studies have demonstrated the fact that silver is indeed one of the most effective agents in the battle against antibiotic-resistant super pathogens. Yet conventional medicine has largely dismissed such claims, relegating colloidal silver to the “woo-woo” section of medical myth. They may be inclined to change their tune however, in light of the latest research which shows that low doses of silver can make antibiotics up to 1,000 times more effective, and may even allow an antibiotic to successfully combat otherwise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” Note: This is the colloidal silver I keep stocked in our wellness pantry at home…colloidal Silver Immune Support
Echinacea is one of the best general remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. In conjunction with other “guiding” herbs (such as uva ursi, myrrh, garlic, thyme, colloidal silver, mullein, Oregon grape root, and goldenseal) it may be used for any infection or inflammation anywhere in the body. It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks.
Garlic’s power and value as a healing agent is unsurpassed and cannot be overstated…it has been used throughout history as an effective antibiotic. Garlic’s broad antimicrobial spectrum incorporates antifungal, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, and antiviral attributes in one food source. Garlic is most potent chewed or crushed raw. Nothing science has ever created comes close to doing what garlic can do.
5. Oregon Grape Root
Oregon grape root — a great treatment for sore throats, disorders of the stomach, intestines, urinary organs, eczema, herpes, psoriasis, acne, and pimples — contains as one of its primary constituents, berberine, which can stop bacteria dead in its tracts. It can be used as an infusion, a wound wash, dried in capsules, or tinctured.
6. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is so much more than just a natural sweetener. Manuka honey, which has not been pasteurized or filtered, can be especially useful for medicinal, antibiotic purposes. Manuka honey can be used: as a preservative, to sooth a sore throat and ease a cough, treat minor cuts, scrapes and burns by applying directly to the affected area, and as a healing mask for blemished prone skin (source). Note: This is the only Manuka Honey I use. It is approved by the Unique Manuka Factor® Honey Association (UMFHA) and holds a separate license to use the UMF® trademark. Only organizations with a license are allowed to use the UMF® trademark.
Mullein’s gentle nature makes it one of the very best herbs for use with children. It basically helps break up bacteria and heal ailments affecting the upper respiratory tract and sinuses. Numerous studies report its ability to reduce upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as fatigue, sore throat, cough and headache.
Myrrh has been used by natural healers for hundreds of years. It is touted for its antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral properties. It can be taken internally and used externally as a gargle or wash for wounds. It is most commonly recommended for bacterial oral infections (including mouth sores), bronchitis, and sore throats. Myrrh should only be used during the acute phase of the illness and is not suitable for long-term internal use. Note: I always keep a bottle of Mountain Rose Herbs Myrrh Extract on hand!
Among the Ancients and throughout the Middle Ages, sage was held in high esteem. Hippocrates held the position, “Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto?” (“Why should a man die while Sage grows in his garden?”) The list of the benefits of sage is long and impressive. It’s ability to heal ailments of the mouth, teeth, blood, joints, liver, urine, head, sinuses, throat, lungs, and stomach is truly amazing! Note: Buy medicinal herbal sage seed here…and never be without it in your home garden!
According to Philip Fritchey’s book in his book Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers “Modern herbalists value thyme for its expectorant and antibacterial properties and it is frequently used in preparations to support and protect the respiratory system. The essential oil is an effective disinfectant and natural preservative that is used in many skin preparations, not only for its therapeutic effect, but to protect the product itself from microbial contamination and spoilage.” Thyme is also an excellent treatment for bacterial acne — even better than prescription medications! See this recipe for a Thyme Blemish Astringent you can make at home.
Please note…many herbs and supplements are not recommended for the very young or for those who are pregnant or nursing. Some may even have interactions with other pharmaceutical medications. Please be wise, and consult with a trained medical professional prior to consuming any medicinal alternatives.
+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.
Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.
If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime!
Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.
Start classes anytime! Click this link to learn more and register.
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my knowledge-sharing/writing/blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust.
– dōTERRA™ Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™ essential oils
-Mountain Rose Herbs
–Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers
–Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements
–The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods
–Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life
None of this information is substitute for conventional wisdom and medicine.