For thousands of years natural remedies have been used to treat a huge range of conditions. While modern medicine is responsible for many exciting new developments, recently we have found ourselves looking for natural alternatives.
Because of the treat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, health professionals often encourage us to see pharmaceutical antibiotics as a last resort. This has resulted in the natural remedies returning to the spotlight.
We have put together a list of superfoods that may have antibiotic properties, many of which have long histories as ancient treatments. Natural remedies should not be used instead of prescribed medicines but they are useful to maintain good health and prevent minor illnesses from escalating.
What are natural antibiotics and when should they be used?
A natural antibiotic is a substance that occurs naturally and has antibacterial properties. They can kill bacteria and prevent, or slow, the development of infections. Plants create their own protection against bacterial infection and by eating them we may be able to harness it to protect ourselves.
It is often assumed that natural substances have less side effects than medicines and are better for you. While natural antibiotics can be an excellent option in some cases, they may still cause side effects. When considering any course of treatment, medical or natural, it is always essential to talk it though with a health professional first.
The antibiotics listed here are found in plants and herbs and can give your health and well-being a powerful boost. Some of the items listed have been scientifically investigated but for most of them there is no conclusive evidence. Therefore, it is worth starting steadily to find out what works best for you.
Five natural antibiotics
While it is not yet understood exactly how the components in garlic actually work, they have been found to play a role in fighting illness and disease. Studies show that it has anti-microbial and even anti-tumour effects.
There is a lot more to be discovered about this beneficial bulb, but it is widely recognised to be safe as a food item. It has the potential to provide general health benefits and decrease the risk of infection.
How to take it – Because it is most effective when raw, the most palatable option to take garlic is to find a good garlic extract supplement capsule. This will make it easier to take and will avoid the strong smell and flavour.
However, if you are willing to walk on the wild side crush a raw clove into a paste, leave it to sit for 10 minutes and then eat it. Alternatively, you could add it to other fresh foods like salads or salsas to hide the flavour. Taking a garlic clove daily may help to prevent infection.
Manuka honey has been found to successfully inhibit a range of infections. It can be expensive but has an excellent flavour and many potential benefits.
It’s pH level and sugar content effectively kills bacteria but it also appears to be able to exert some control over which live cells it damages. It causes no damage to animal cells but targets bacterial cells. It also continues to do this when it is diluted to a level when the pH and sugar shouldn’t be effective.
While these are still mysteries, it is clear that it is an incredibly useful and beneficial substance.
How to take it – It is recommended that two tablespoons should be taken daily to utilise the general health benefits of the honey. It can be eaten on its own, spread on toast or added to any food of your choice.
Several studies have proven the anti-microbial effects of ginger and ginger oil. It is also something you may already have used for these properties without really knowing why. It is often added to lemon and honey as a soothing treatment for a sore throat. Together with both the lemon and honey, ginger offers many antibiotic properties.
Among the many other benefits, many people have reported that ginger is great for settling your stomach. It can, reportedly, reduce nausea and motion sickness.
How to take it – Ginger tastes great so it is easily added to food and drink. However, if you don’t want to eat lots of ginger it can also be taken in oil or capsule form.
Ginger that has been infused or pressed when cold is extra effective. Cold-pressed ginger oil makes a great addition to food or drink.
This has been found to offer broad-spectrum protection against a range of infections. It is particularly useful for seasonal infections and combines anti-microbial properties with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to give you an all-round boost.
How to take it – Oregano oil can be taken directly or added to things, but its strong smell and flavour make capsules the best way to get it down quickly.
It can be taken regularly but is best when used at the first signs of an infection. If you ingest the oil make sure you are using a preparation that is meant to be taken orally. It is also available as an essential oil which should only be inhaled or diluted because of its purity and strength.
Onions work in a similar way to garlic and contain flavonoids and cysteine sulphoxides, both of which have been found to be good for health and kill bacteria. They have a long history of culinary use as well as being eaten raw to promote health and prevent illness and infection.
How to take them – This one is completely up to you, there are so many wonderful ways that you could eat onions regularly. They will benefit you cooked and raw, but raw will give a stronger effect.
Natural antibiotics are not conclusively beneficial and often have their own side effects, however, they are often foods or herbs that you are already familiar with. This makes them a great, and generally safe way, to boost your health and reduce the risk of infection.
The beauty is that it isn’t hard to add these incredible foods to your diet, and you won’t lose anything from giving them a try. Don’t treat them as an alternative to medicine but as an extra preventative to give your body’s natural defences a little support.