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11 Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

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Disclaimer: If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, you should take them as directed. What we’re talking about here is a situation where antibiotics aren’t available. In that case, you can try these alternatives, but even then there is no guarantee they will work. 11 Herbal Alternatives to AntibioticsOftentimes, the world’s best medications are not the ones developed in labs, but rather the ones made by Mother Nature. For thousands of years, mankind has relied on various herbs to treat a wide range of conditions.

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While the advent of antibiotics drastically reduced the popularity of these herbal alternatives, they still remain effective to this day and are starting to enjoy more popularity as many diseases have grown resistant to antibiotics.

1. Oregano

Oregano | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Oregano – or more specifically the highly concentrated oil of oregano – is an excellent antibiotic. Its active ingredient, carvacrol, exhibits powerful microbial properties.

Best of all, oil of oregano specifically targets foreign, harmful microbes, leaving the natural, beneficial microbes in your body intact, and it also doesn’t encourage antibiotic resistance like many antibiotics.

To ensure that your oil of oregano works as intended, you’ll want to use oil of oregano that has a carvacrol content of at least 70%.

Oil of oregano should be taken orally upon the first onset of symptoms. When taken in this manner, oregano can be used to greatly reduce the severity of the cold and flu.

2. Echinacea

Echinacea | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Echinacea has long been used to treat open wounds in order to facilitate faster healing and ensure the wound doesn’t become infected. However, today echinacea is most often taken orally to treat the cold and flu.

Unlike some herbal antibiotics, echinacea has displayed the ability to destroy some of the deadliest forms of bacteria, including the bacteria responsible for MRSA, staphylococcus aureus.

At one time, echinacea was one of the most commonly used natural antibiotics in the United States. When pharmaceutical companies began developing antibiotics in the mid-1900s, the herb somewhat fell out of favor.

However, now that many microbes have begun to develop resistance to antibiotics, echinacea is becoming popular once again, especially echinacea extract.

3. Neem

Neem | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Neem is an oil harvested from the neem tree that grows in India, and it has been used as an antibiotic for over 2,000 years. Neem is most commonly applied topically in order to combat bacterial skin infections including acne and dermatitis. However, neem can also be taken orally in small doses for short periods of time to combat internal infections as well.

It’s important to note, however, that long-term oral use of neem or taking large doses of neem at one time is hard on your liver and kidneys and may lead to damage. In most cases, neem is best used as a topical antibiotic for treating various skin conditions.

One advantage that neem has over many herbal antibiotics is that it has been heavily researched. Medical researchers in India have studied neem extensively and have proven it to be effective for treating a wide range of conditions. In fact, a neem-based medicine was even patented in the United States as a treatment for AIDS.

4. Thyme

Thyme | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Thyme leaf and thyme oil are both effective natural antibiotics thanks to a compound known as thymol. Thymol is an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal agent, making thyme an effective treatment for a wide range of infections.

Thyme is also one of the strongest antioxidants known today, enabling it to boost your immune system so that you are better able to fight off infections.

5. Ginger Root

Ginger | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

According to a study published in The Journal of Pain, ginger is an effective antibacterial agent that can be used to treat a number of infections. Since ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory, it is especially useful for treating inflammatory diseases such as pneumonia, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ginger has also shown the ability to be effective at treating gastral infections such as bacterial diarrhea. Best of all, not only is ginger able to help kill the microbes that cause these infections, it’s also effective in treating the symptoms as well, helping to soothe nausea as well as inflammation.

Ginger root can be added to many dishes, or you can take a ginger supplement for a more potent dosage.

6. Goldenseal

Goldenseal | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Goldenseal contains an alkaloid called berberine which studies have shown to be effective at killing off Gram-positive bacteria such as MRSA. In addition to berberine, goldenseal contains several other compounds that have been shown to increase the effectiveness of the berberine found in the herb.

Today, goldenseal ranks as one of the top-five best selling herbal products in the United States. It is commonly used to prevent the cold and flu as well as treat eye infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, ulcers, canker sores, vaginitis, and gonorrhea.

Goldenseal is available as a supplement or as a liquid extract.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Peppermint oil demonstrates strong antimicrobial properties and can be applied topically or taken orally in order to treat a wide range of conditions. When applied topically, peppermint oil is great for treating infections of the skin such as acne and dermatitis.

Taken orally, peppermint oil is able to treat a wide range of infections and is especially effective at treating gastral infections thanks to its ability to combat nausea.

Peppermint oil can even be used to treat infant colic and has been shown by medical research to be just as effective at treating colic as the commonly prescribed drug Simethione without any of the unwanted side effects.

In addition to all these benefits, peppermint also demonstrates natural cooling properties. If you’ve ever felt the cooling effect of peppermint gum or breath mints you’ve seen these properties first-hand. The cooling effect of peppermint makes it a great fever reducer, enabling you to treat one of the worst symptoms of the cold and flu while at the same time killing the disease itself.

All of this is why peppermint essential oil is so popular.

8. Lavender

Lavender | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Lavender essential oil is one of the most effective topical antiseptics available today. When applied to cuts and scrapes, it is able to facilitate the growth of new skin, reduce scarring, and prevent the wound from becoming infected.

In fact, the antimicrobial properties of lavender are so effective that lavender essential oil has shown the ability to treat Staph infection.

Like several other essential oils mentioned, applying lavender topically is also great for killing the microbes that cause acne and other skin conditions. Lavender essential oil is also commonly used to treat ear infections and is gentle enough that it can be used to treat these infections in children.

And thanks to its calming effects, it can even help you fall asleep at night.

9. Elderberry

Elderberry | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Liquid elderberry extract is arguably the most effective natural antibiotic for treating the flu. In fact, it’s documented that elderberry was used extensively about 150 years ago during a serious influenza outbreak in order to save countless lives in the United States.

Liquid elderberry extract should be taken orally when you first begin to show symptoms of the cold or flu. While it won’t prevent you from coming down with the disease entirely, it will drastically reduce its severity, leading to milder symptoms and a shorter duration of the disease.

In addition to liquid elderberry extract, another common form of elderberry that is used as an antibiotic is elderberry lozenges. These lozenges are often combined with zinc as well, which works in tandem with elderberry to fight off the cold and flu.

10. Cinnamon

Cinnamon | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Much more than a great seasoning, cinnamon is such an effective natural antibiotic that it is even able to kill E.Coli – a dangerous, hard-to-treat microbe that is the cause of several serious diseases. Cinnamon has even been referred to as a “lethal” natural antibiotic thanks to how effective it is at killing unwanted bacteria.

In addition to its antibacterial properties, cinnamon is also a strong antioxidant, working to strengthen your immune system so it’s better able to fight off diseases. To get the most antibiotic benefits out of cinnamon, you will want to use a pure, real Ceylon cinnamon supplement.

Another one of the most effective uses of cinnamon is to combat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Applying cinnamon bark oil to the affected area has been shown to be an excellent way to treat these fungal infections.

11. Garlic

Garlic | Herbal Alternatives to Antibiotics

Garlic is more of a vegetable an an herb, but it’s so effective that I had to include it in this list. For thousands of years, garlic has been a go-to natural antibiotic. It was even used to ward off the plague back in the 1700s.

The main active ingredient that gives garlic its antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties is allicin – a compound which is known to kill unfriendly bacteria. In addition to this, garlic is also high in natural antioxidants which give it some major immune system-boosting benefits.

Before pharmaceutical antibiotics came into popularity after WWII, garlic was one of the most commonly prescribed natural antibiotics for treating a wide range of diseases. Garlic oil can be applied inside the ear to treat ear infections, eaten raw to treat colds and other internal infections, or applied to the skin to treat boils, poison ivy, and poison oak rashes.

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11 Comments

  1. Water on May 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Echinacea is not an effective antibiotic. it is an immune catalyst but actually is only helpful for short term use… after5 or 6 days in a row it will no longer stimulate the immune system. Astragalus does a much better job for long term use. It can be used as a tea, in an alcohol or apple cider vinegar extract or in capsules.

    Goldenseal root powder should not be taken orally, it is extremely hard on the kidneys and liver. On the other hand, used topically it is a wonder-herb. EXCEPT that while it will kill many infectious micro-organisms on contact, it will NOT work on Staph infections… it actually FEEDS that particular bacteria. Which is how we differentiated between Strep and Staph infections when out in the field without access to high quality microscopes. The root is especially good at treating open wounds (ulcers) such as abscesses in the gums… with serious toothaches put a dab of olive oil or almond oil at the mouth of the sore and then sprinkle a tiny amount of the powdered root on top… it will form a scab that keeps the air out and thus stops the pain immediately while it works to kill the bacteria and helps the tissue grow back together. It must be reapplied to keep the home-made scab in place, maybe 3 to 5 times a day but after 2 days tops the infection will be controlled, at least long enough to enable you to take a week or longer to see your dentist. Goldenseal root powder is also good for eye infections, just a few tiny grains dropped into the outer corner of the eye… but fair warning that it will burn for a few moments. It is also, combined with those same oils, a great treatment for hemorrhoids and herpetic and other viral cold sores – but again, some people say that it causes a burning sensation in the mucus membranes.

    Elderberry is a wonderful anti-viral that works best when combined with Olive Leaf Extract – the two combined work extremely well with all known strains of cold and flu viruses. When fighting existing virus infections or when you KNOW that you have been exposed, 2 double ought capsules of the Olive Leaf and 1 full tablespoon of the Elderberry Syrup is a solid dose… take them together, 3 or 4 times daily. If using more as a general preventive half that amount of each is a good dose.

    Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) is another effective natural treatment for fungi and bacterial infections.

    The BEST ointment for open wounds that I have ever found is Calendula. And truly serious burns and other open wounds should be gently cleaned with soap and water and then sprayed with Calendula and Hypericum – taking approximately 12 drops of the mother tincture of each into a quart of purified water that has no chlorine or fluoride or other chemicals in it. Dorothy Shepard proved this to be the best treatment for bullet wounds and burns during WW1… I have used it hundreds of times in the clinic where I volunteered, on human and canine clients It is great for serious road burns, even when the burns cover as much as 70% of the body. Once the tissues around the edges of the wound are getting close enough to use a direct topical, switch to Calendula Ointment. Not only does Calendula kill the bacteria but it also helps the tissues to regenerate. Calendula is made from Marigold flowers.

    For general health support I drink/eat/supplement with Ginger and Cinnamon and Garlic every day. Some of garlic’s healing properties are in the oil and some in the sulphur compounds… hence it is necessary to consume it BOTH in dried or cooked form and by eating raw cloves. It does not do much topically.

    Cayenne powder can be sprinkled on wounds… a minority of people say it burns. It will stop bacterial infections quickly.

    One of the commenters above wondered about dosage levels… when using these proven plants as medicine there are far fewer side effects than with pharmaceuticals. It is not as important to be careful in dose-sizes or frequency. It is nearly impossible to overdose and the various constituent ingredients work synergestically to boost the healing powers and to protect against side effects.

    • Tracey Ring on June 26, 2020 at 10:47 am

      Could you recommend a good book that I could keep on hand? With everything that’s going on in the world with this pandemic and other things I want to make sure I get the right stuff to help protect my family, and be able to identify the different flowers and plants.

  2. Christi on April 25, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    You left out quite a few, friend. Cayenne (capsacin), honey, cloves/Clove oil, mix all of these with the others you mention and steep in hot water. Then sip on it for a few days. Any infection will be history. Guaranteed. Just need a tablespoon of each in a mason jar. Keep in the fridge. It works like a dream. Oh! You can also brew blackberry leaves for colds and flu, also.

    • Tracey Ring on June 26, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Would you be able to point me in the right direction to legitimate books that I can keep on hand? I’ve had several strokes n have memory issues. So I need them to be able to reference back. With the way the world is, I do not have any faith in our government or Pharmaceutical companies. I never knew these plants, spices etc had all these properties that help like this. I would much rather take God made than man made any day.

  3. Cindy on April 25, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    This may seem like splitting hairs, and it is not to negate the benefits of elderberry at all, but colds and flu are caused by viruses. So, not only is it very effective antibacterial agent, it is a very effective antiviral agent. Just sharing for those not aware and hoping to help those when choosing a natural means of medicating depending on their illness.

  4. Anne on April 25, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Very good info! I knew about garlic and oregano but not about the other ones ? ?

  5. Nicole on February 4, 2020 at 5:50 am

    I’m curious—this seems like a comprehensive, beneficial list of alternatives—but no dosing recommendations were included. Can you cite your research so that I can learn more? Thanks.

  6. Deborah on January 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Native Americans used Bee Balm, (Bergamot, Monardia, Earl Grey Tea), for colds and flu. It’s also the tea the colonists drank after throwing the “English” tea in the Boston Harbor!!

  7. Kostas on June 10, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Garlic also helps to reduce high blood pressure.

  8. Clergylady on June 9, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    There are many good herewith antibiotic properties. This is a good basic list. Not many folks will be making essential oils after a SHTF event. So teas and washes or herbs infusing carrier oils will be more the order of the day unless you’ve stocked up for the time ahead.

  9. Pamela on June 9, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Sage was not mentioned, It is very effective in treating a sore throat when made into a tea, than use as a gargle solution and it is very easy to grow and is just as effective fresh or dried

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