For many Americans, antibiotics have become a standard routine when they get sick. Since the 1940s, these drugs have significantly reduced illness and death from bacterial infections. However, they are not the go-to fix for everything.
Conditions such as a sore throat or bronchitis are usually caused by a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics. Nonetheless, the medical industry keeps prescribing these drugs to treat non-bacterial infections. As a result, bacteria adapt themselves to these drugs and become resistant. When this happens, a common, easily treatable disease may become an unstable killer. In fact, if we don’t stop the overuse of antibiotics, bacteria may evolve to a point where even the last-resort treatments will fail.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 23,000 American people die each year as a direct result of these unstoppable infections.
Long before Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics in 1927, our ancestors relied on medicinal plants and natural remedies to strengthen their immune systems and prevent or cure infections. Some of these natural practices are still in use today.
Turmeric, the bright yellow-orange colored spice that most of us know from Indian curries, has been well known and documented for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, parasites and fungi. It has successfully been used to fight Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers and gastritis.
It can be taken as a supplement, drunk as tea or mixed with honey to create a skin-, wound- and infection-healing paste.
Another excellent and versatile antibiotic is garlic, which has been shown to protect the body by killing harmful bacteria. Clinical tests suggest that garlic may be as potent as some of the commonly used antibiotics. Furthermore, garlic has proven to be effective against some of the tougher antibiotic-resistant superbugs. To get the most active compound out of fresh garlic, the Daily Health Post recommends leaving crushed garlic exposed to the air for 15 minutes before consumption.
Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and cultured yogurt may sound like ancient foods to you. However, more people are going back to these age-old healing foods to strengthen and renew intestinal flora. Probiotics or friendly gut bacteria are essential to good health. In addition to killing the bad guys, probiotic bacteria support proper digestion, boost the immune system and enhance the body’s resistance to infection.
4. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful antimicrobial essential oil derived from the Australian Melaleuca Alterniflora tree. As reported by Green Future, over 400 scientific studies have proven tea tree oil’s value as an antiseptic agent. It can be used to treat fungal, bacterial and viral infections. These include acne, athlete’s foot, nail fungus and bacterial ear infections.
5. Oregano and oil of oregano
Oregano has been long studied and used as a treatment for bacterial infections. In vitro, studies using oil of oregano have shown that it may be as efficient as the most commonly used antibiotics, but without the nasty side-effects.
6. Bee propolis
Propoolis, the natural antibiotic made by bees, is a sticky, glue-like substance bees collect from the bark of certain trees. Bees use it to block off the entrance of their hives to protect their home from infections. As reported by the Natural Healing Centre, bee propolis has been hospital-tested in Europe. It has been shown to be effective against staphylococcus (throat and chest infections), salmonella (food poisoning) and E.coli (gastric infection).
Unlike chemical antibiotics, these natural antibiotics don’t destroy the good intestinal bacteria, and don’t cause bacteria to turn into superbugs.
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