Holistic

Nature’s First Aid Kit

A First Aid Kit Contains Drugs

Your doctor might have prescribed a round of antibiotics when you had strep throat, a urinary tract infection, or pneumonia

These medications treat bacterial infections or prevent the infection from spreading. Some antibiotics fight a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. Others target specific species of bacteria. 

No type of antibiotic kills every infection. Your healthcare practitioner might prescribe antibiotics for a number of reasons, including:

  • Acne
  • Bronchitis
  • Pink eye
  • Strep throat
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections 

Antibiotics only kill bacteria, not viruses. That makes taking them effective for things like sinus infections and some kinds of ear pain. But antibiotics are ineffective for colds, the flu, sore throats, and bronchitis, which are viruses rather than bacterial infections

At their best, antibiotics can save lives. Consider penicillin, the first antibiotic discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. These and other antibiotics helped people to survive fatal diseases and conditions. 

However, scientists also find there are many of them that have side effects. Antibiotics irritate the digestive system in about one out of 10 people. Around one in 15 people are allergic to antibiotics. Antibiotics can also create problems like diarrhea or a yeast infection. They might even contribute to liver injuries

Equally troubling, some bacteria have learned to outsmart antibiotics. When these bacteria resist treatment, antibiotics can become ineffective at killing the infectionInterestingly, Fleming later predicted this type of resistance during his Nobel Prize speech, in 1945. 

Some experts argue that antibiotics today are over-prescribed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one in three antibiotics prescriptions are not necessary.

Every time you do a round of antibiotics, you potentially increase resistance to these drugs. The bacteria that antibiotics are intended to kill in your body can actually adapt to the drugs and make them ineffective. Over-prescribing antibiotics–or taking antibiotics when you really do not need them–gives bacteria an opportunity to adapt to drugs. This is called, “antibiotic resistance.”

If your healthcare practitioner does prescribe drugs (medications), always clarify how to take the medication–such as the correct dosage and frequency. Also, make sure to discuss any side effects you may experience, interactions the drug may have with other medications you are taking, foods that may interfere with the treatment, and ways to minimize any potential harm these medications can create.

Also, ask your healthcare practitioner about potential alternatives to taking the prescription drug

Never modify or discontinue any medications or other medical advice without your healthcare practitioner’s consent.

Nature’s Antibiotics

While penicillin and other antibiotics have only recently been discovered, natural antibiotics have been around for centuries. These nature-made antibiotics are a potentially safer alternative to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and work! Many of these nature-made antibiotics have been extensively studied for their benefits. 

Honey

Honey is considered an antibiotic. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which provides some antibacterial properties. Its high sugar content can also help stop certain bacteria from growing; in fact, the Egyptians used honey to protect their skin

You can apply honey topically to a wound or infected area to kill off bacteria and support healing. Or you can take it orally to treat internal infections. One tablespoon in tea or taken alone usually does the trick. Never give honey to infants under one year of age.

Garlic

Garlic is another well-studied plant species. Garlic is part of the lily family, along with leeks and onions. It is an antibiotic that can fight a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The compounds in this nutrient-rich food are also antimicrobial. Garlic can fight many forms of bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Cranberry Extract

Cranberry extract has antibacterial and antioxidant compounds. Because it lowers the growth of bacteria, cranberry can help fight urinary tract infections

Cranberry can benefit many other conditions, including:

  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Cold and the flu
  • Heart disease
  • Ulcers

Asparagus Extract

Derived from the spears, root, and stems of the plant, asparagus extract can treat conditions including:

  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • Kidney stones
  • Liver disease
  • Urinary tract infections

Asparagus extract can also support white blood cells to fight E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and other bacteria.  

Basil Oil

Basil oil or basil essential oil, derived from the plant, can help calm your emotions when you inhale it. Therefore, basil oil can support a variety of conditions, including anxiety, colds, acne, and depression. You can also apply basil oil directly to wounds to help heal them.

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme is a Mediterranean herb, and the flowers, leaves, and oil of thyme can support a wide range of symptoms including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Certain cancers
  • Skin problems such as acne

Thyme essential oil can also help fight bad bacteria. Compared with lavender essential oil, thyme killed more of the 120 bacteria in one study. You can also use fresh thyme for cooking or as a tea

Oregano Oil

This oil, derived from oregano, can help:

  • Fight microbes, viruses, and fungus
  • Lower inflammation
  • Lower free radicals
  • Manage diseases like diabetes and cancer 

Oregano oil can also support your immune system, making it ideal for coughs, sore throats, the flu, and more.

Ginger

Ginger is used as a spice in foods, but it has powerful antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. It stimulates the production of stomach juices that help aid digestion and relieve stomach aches. If you’re feeling nauseous or get seasick, ginger can help. It can also help fight many strains of bacteria. It also supports blood circulation and helps control blood pressure.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is often used as a natural topical remedy because it has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits. You can use it to help many skin conditions and irritations, including acne, scalp sensitivities, a sore throat, and hemorrhoids.

Parsley

More than just a garnish, this herb is a nutrient powerhouse. This makes it ideal for a wide range of condition. Parsley can:

  • Balance your blood sugar
  • Support your immune system
  • Lower your risk for cancer
  • Fight free radicals that cause disease

You can add fresh parsley to your protein smoothie. 

Echinacea Extract

You’ll find this popular herb as a tea, liquid extract, a dried herb, or in capsules. The substances in echinacea can fight microbes, support your immune system, and fight free radicals. That makes this herb ideal for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Colds and flu
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Gum disease
  • Migraines
  • Pain
  • Indigestion  

Discuss these and/or any other additional natural supplements with your healthcare practitioner. Never modify any medications or other medical advice without your healthcare practitioner’s consent.

Make Sure You Have A Healthy Gut

Probiotics

Antibiotics destroy bad and good gut bacteria. These friendly gut flora — the good bacteria or gut bugs — support digestion, help make some vitamins, protect your immune system, and so much more

You can get probiotics, the living microorganisms that can help repopulate good gut flora, in certain foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, kefir, and yogurt are good choices.

Most of us don’t eat these foods regularly, which makes taking a probiotic supplement ideal — especially when you’re on antibiotics.

Probiotics support gut health, but they also benefit immune, urinary, and vaginal health. When you’re on an antibiotic, a probiotic can help keep that gut flora in balance. MaxLiving Probiotic 50B contains 10 strains of healthy bacteria that support your immune system.  

Probiotics also support other problems antibiotics can create. They can reduce diarrhea, for instance; in some cases, by over 50 percent.

They can also lower brain inflammation levels and help manage conditions like stress or anxiety. Too few of these good gut microorganisms can increase mood disturbances. In fact, stress can damage your gut just as much as junk food. 

Most of your immune system is in your gut. The right gut flora balance can protect against illness. Researchers have even explored how the right balance of gut bacteria contribute to diseases like cancer.

Whether you’re on a round of antibiotic or recently finished one, talk with your healthcare practitioner about using probiotic supplements. After a course of antibiotics, you should take one to repopulate the good gut flora that antibiotics can destroy

If you’re on antibiotics, take probiotic supplements separately. Taking them a few hours apart protects probiotics against the bacteria-killing probiotics

People have used natural antibiotics like garlic and honey for hundreds of years for at-home remedies. Some show promising results, which will lead to more studies. As drug-resistant bacteria increases, scientists look to nature for new medications. Nature-made antibiotics are a safer, healthier option if you get an infection, skin irritation, or other common health problems.  

Discuss these and/or any other additional natural supplements with your healthcare practitioner. Never modify any medications or other medical advice without your healthcare practitioner’s consent.