Published in: Healthy Planet – June 2014 Issue
“Antibiotics are threatening the achievement of modern medicine” stated NBC evening news Brian Williams recently. According the World Health Association, “antibiotics are serious medicine – not to be taken lightly. Antibiotic resistant superbugs are an increasing threat with names like – MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus).
So what options do you have when you get sick and would like to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use? The good news is that there are effective natural options that can help with viral, bacterial and fungal infections. I commonly use nutrients and herbals in my practice and have been pleasantly surprised with how effective they can be in lieu of antibiotics.
Here are some of my favorites for a Natural Medicine Cabinet:
- •Vitamin C – improves the immune system to help fight off bacterial and viral infections. Generally it’s a good idea to take a moderate dose of Vitamin C to support your immune system during cold and flu season.
- •Probiotics – Healthy bacteria that improve the gut flora which favorably impacts the immune system.
- •Olive Leaf Extract – This herb has been found helpful to improve resistance to infections. It contains phytonutrients such as oleuropein, oleuropeoside and hydroxytyrosol that have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. I have found this herb particularly helpful to shorten the course of respiratory infections to prevent the spread of infections within households.
- •Berberine: A chemical found in various herbs that is supportive for the intestinal flora and has antibacterial qualities. We have found it beneficial with common bacterial infections like Strep and Staph.
- •Oregano Oil – Proven support for healthy intestines and has antimicrobial properties.
- •Artemesia: Helpful for parasite or worm infestations, especially roundworm and pinworms.
- •Pau d Arco – has been shown to have beneficial impact on the intestinal flora and therefore would have a favorable impact on the immune system.
- •Clove Oil – An essential oil that is antimicrobial and helpful for indigestion.
- •Garlic – has mild antimicrobial qualities.
- •Ginger – An herb used for centuries to help with digestion and to reduce nausea.
- •Peppermint – Has cooling properties so is helpful to reduce fever.
- •Eucalyptus – a great essential oil for respiratory infections – decongesting and opens airways.
While herbals can be helpful they should be used under the direction of a professional trained in the use of them.