Hippocrates said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Never is this more true than providing what your body needs to fight infection.
Over the last several decades, over-use of antibiotics has reached an all-time high. The result has been drug-resistant bacteria and “superbugs” that evolve faster than scientists can figure out how to fight them. A future where bacteria are at the top of the food chain is not unheard of.
Long before there were pharmaceutical antibiotics – developed in the 1940s, there were foods and herbs that helped guard against infection and disease on a daily basis. Many of these natural defenders are still in use today with holistic healers around the globe.
These natural antibiotics are available to you right now!
Instead of waiting until you get sick or discover that drugs don’t work on whatever strain of virus or disease you have, you can start building up your immune system in advance.
These foods and herbs haven’t lost their ability to fight bacteria. Bugs do not become immune or resistant to them. From hundreds of years ago to our modern time, what worked then still works today.
They are known as “astringent” foods – they naturally cleanse your blood without harmful side effects or upsetting the delicate balance of good bacteria in your body.
Raw garlic when crushed or chewed contains a compound called allicin – which has similar properties to penicillin.
This superfood member of the onion family is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (mopping up free radicals that have been proven to cause cancer).
For more than seven millennia, it has been used internally and externally to treat mild illness to serious diseases.
Everything from inflammation to colds to serious infections is minimized and/or obliterated with the addition of garlic and for those who don’t enjoy the taste, there are supplements as well. Check into “aged” garlic supplements for the best results.
Garlic is not only potent, it contains a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are beneficial to total body wellness. Not to mention the cost is pennies in comparison to doctor visits and prescriptions!
Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.
Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.
New Zealand’s Manuka honey has been proven to have the highest levels of antioxidants and curative powers.
An enzyme found in honey releases hydrogen peroxide. This process helps your body fight infection and prevents the growth of bacteria. Soothing to the digestive system, honey removes toxins from the blood and helps your liver operate more efficiently.
A great boost to the immune system, consider combining honey with cinnamon to strengthen your white blood cells! Raw, organic honey is the best option since most pasteurization methods kills the antioxidant effects.
There are sulfur compounds found in cabbage – a member of the cruciferous family that includes broccoli and kale – that have been shown effective as cancer fighters.
What many people don’t realize is how much vitamin C is found in cabbage. One cup provides 75% of what you need every day.
Naturally antibacterial, eating shredded raw cabbage in your salad, as a side dish in the form of slaw, or drinking fresh cabbage juice (with honey added to sweeten) is an excellent way to improve digestion, prevent disease, and even manage your weight!
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4. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study that found grapefruit seed extract (GSE) effective against more than 800 forms of viruses and bacteria, more than a hundred strains of fungus, and many parasites.
High in many antioxidants, GSE boosts immunity, alkalizes the body naturally, and aids in digestion by improving your beneficial gut flora.
5. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.
A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.
6. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature.
Use it to boost your immune system, balance thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and even improve brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.
Stir a spoonful into your morning coffee for added energy and a clearer head all day.
With similar effects to garlic, Echinacea is well tolerated and able to stimulate the immune system by naturally boosting infection fighters in your blood stream. Native to North America, Echinacea has been used for centuries in tribal medicine to treat pain and sickness.
Unlike garlic, this antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral solution is generally used at the first signs of illness and should not be taken for more than ten days. It is available in liquid and capsule form.
8. Fermented Foods
Probiotics are one of the most incredible discoveries in the last decade. They work to boost and preserve the natural gut flora (good bacteria) found in your digestive system.
Research has proven that a balanced gut is one of the keys to overall wellness and cancer prevention.
These good bacteria are so critical to your health that doctors now recommend a probiotic while their patients are on prescription antibiotics.
Fermented foods are packed with antioxidants and microorganisms that your body processes far better than supplements.
Unpasteurized sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, raw pickles, probiotic yogurt, and kim chi (a Korean cabbage dish) are excellent ways to improve the balance in your intestines.
9. Colloidal Silver
A natural antibiotic, colloidal silver is a mixture of silver particles suspended in fluid that have been used for centuries.
This treatment is temporary since too much silver – a heavy metal – can be toxic. However, it disables the enzyme that single-cell bacteria require to multiply. Deprived of their oxygen supply, the bacteria and viruses are destroyed without damage to you.
10. Oil of Oregano and Other Herbs
Continued medical research has shown that many tried and true herbal remedies work as well today as they did hundreds of years ago.
Essential oils created from herbs long determined to be beneficial to human health are rapidly becoming holistic medicine’s go-to item. Mediterranean countries are the home of many of the most powerful, including oregano.
Oil of oregano is considered anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold.
Packed with antioxidants known as phenols and flavonoids, it heals but also strengthens your immune system.
The natural antibiotic properties of many herbs are only now being analyzed and confirmed by scientists around the world.
They represent natural alternatives to boost your immunity and add an excellent variety to your food preparation.
Allspice, thyme, cinnamon, basil, rosemary, turmeric, cayenne, chili peppers, cloves, ginger, anise, mustard seed, and fennel are just a few natural herbs you should consider adding to your daily diet. Some are available in essential oils that increase their healing power.
Prescribed antibiotics kill all bacteria – both the good and the bad – leaving your body stripped of its natural ability to fight infection and ward off illness.
You are designed to heal yourself in most cases. By adding these natural food medicines to your life, you can actively work to keep your body healthy and in balance.
*Post courtesy of Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby, Allergy Detective. He is a founding member of the British Society for Nutrition, Allergy and Environmental Medicine. You can read more at his website.