There are a number of reasons a person might be hesitant to take prescribed antibiotics. Probably at the top of the list is the fact that antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately. Sure, it kills the bad, but it takes all the good with it, and you’re left with a mess of a gut that can take a long time to heal. We need our good bacteria for everything from digestion to removing toxins to making our hormones and more! Did you know approximately 90% of your serotonin is produced by gut cells? Antibiotic resistance is another cause for concern, as the overuse of antibiotics has led to many microorganisms becoming resistant to them (meaning the antibiotics don’t work).
I met a QEST4 practitioner last year who’s entire life was altered due to a severe reaction to an antibiotic she took. It ended up taking her years to get her resulting health issues figured out, and cost her a lot of money and many hours of physical pain. Of course, bacterial infections are no joke either. Left untreated, they can have some serious consequences.
Unfortunately, most of us end up needing antibiotics for one reason or another at some point. I found myself in that place recently and it left me wondering, “What natural remedies are there for bacterial infections? Is there anything else I can do?” Boy, did I learn a lot.
I now present to you…
4 Natural Alternatives to Antibiotics
Manuka honey is produced by the bees pollinating the flowers of the Manuka tree in New Zealand. It has been studied for its antimicrobial and healing effects and as an alternative method to treat bacterial infections. It’s been shown to help in the treatment of ulcers, burns, and non-healing wounds, and antibiotic resistant infections like MRSA. In 2007, the FDA approved Manuka honey in the healing of wounds.
When you are looking for a good honey, there are a few things to keep in mind. After Manuka honey is gathered, it is tested for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. On the packaging, you will notice an MG or MGO rating. This represents the concentration of methylglyoxal in the honey, which is directly correlated with its antibacterial potency. Therefore, the higher the MGO rating, the more antibacterial it is! The rating can range from 85 to 1,000. If you’re wanting to use the honey specifically for its antibacterial abilities, look for MGO ratings of at least 500+.
Garlic, in its many forms, has been shown to have strong antibacterial properties, without the disruption to gut microbiota that prescribed antibiotics have. In fact, garlic consumption has been shown to improve the health and diversity of the gut microbiome. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to exhibit activity against Streptococcus pyogenes, C. difficile, H. pylori, staphylococcus epidermidis, and M. tuberculosis, including drug resistant strains, along with many other bacteria. Plus, it is difficult for bacteria to form resistance to garlic, due to the variety of antibacterial mechanisms it employs.
I could not find clear direction on how much to take when using garlic as an antibiotic, but based on a variety of different suggestions, I settled on eating an entire bulb of fresh, raw garlic per day. Though this is a lot, I found it very doable by adding a couple cloves of freshly pressed garlic into each meal and snack throughout the day. It worked particularly well on avocado toast, spaghetti, curry, bean and rice bowls, burritos, almond butter and honey, and even oatmeal. In the beginning, I personally found it a little hard on my liver, but after adding herbs and teas to support the liver, my body seemed to respond well.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive Leaf Extract contains polyphenolic compounds that have shown to be particularly effective against foodborne pathogens, such as listeria, E. coli, and salmonella. It can also be effective in treating drug resistant strains of campylobacter, a common infection in commercial poultry. As a bonus, Olive Leaf Extract also supports the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and increases energy. You can find it at any health food store.
Historically, echinacea has been used for its antibacterial properties, and many continue to use it today. It has been shown to specifically help with respiratory infections, preventing the development of secondary infections and the need for antibiotics. It is considered safe as an herbal therapy with no adverse effects shown when used for up to four months. I find it easiest to take it in tablet form – a couple in the morning and evening.
I love that these are each very different substances – honey, garlic, an extract, and a tablet. As such, they are easy to incorporate together to get the unique benefits of each, and have a better chance at fighting infection. With the concern over antibiotic resistance, it is important to know there are alternative options to support your body as it seeks health and balance.
Let me know what your natural antibiotic go-tos are!
About the author
Hey! My name is Brittan and I live in Utah with my husband and one adorable toddler. I love finding holistic and natural ways to care for myself and my family. I particularly enjoy learning about nutrition, herbal medicine, the emotional, spiritual, and energetic aspects of health, and anything else that contributes to complete wellness. Thanks for joining me!
I am not a doctor. Everything I write about is from my personal experience and perspective. Consult a physician if you have questions specific to your health.