Are you down with a fever? Or you are suffering from severe cold and cough? If you are, then the first thing you do is make a beeline to your doctor’s chamber and the first thing he/she will prescribe is an antibiotic. So what are antibiotics? Antibiotics are medications that inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Antibiotics are considered recent phenomena in modern medicine, but in actuality, they have been there for ages. They are also regarded as a boon of modern medicine. But over the ages, the rampant use of antibiotics has affected our health in some way or the other.
Gradually, we have been exposed so much to antibiotics that our digestive system has been severely affected and we also have become more and more drug resistant. Additionally, with antibiotics found in most of our food products like meat and/or dairy as well, the problem is further compounded. Our immunity has also gone for a toss. Before the discovery of penicillin in 1928, we have always placed our faith on natural antibiotics, potent in its effect and with little or no side-effects. There are enough reasons to renew our faith on natural antibiotics.
With antibiotics, it is now a case of too much of a good thing, and we have discovered the hard way that it is not that good after all. Ours is a pill-popping world, where we prefer to pop pills without asking questions, it seems like a simpler solution and we don’t want to think about the consequences in the long run. Here are some side-effects of antibiotics which we need to educate ourselves about.
People are increasingly ingesting antibiotics in the form of foods, making them increasingly antibiotic resistant. This health issue has now snowballed into a problem of mammoth proportions. Although it is true that antibiotics can eliminate infectious conditions, their indiscriminate use has only helped build resistance to it in the first place.
The harmful bacteria in the body get used to the potency of antibiotic drugs and stop responding to the drug. As a result, an antibiotic drug, even if highly powerful, cannot stop a bacterial growth and is rendered useless in treating the underlying infection.
In fact, researchers are of the opinion that most bacterium has adapted itself and shows resistance to the drug treatment meted out by antibiotics.
When people are prescribed antibiotics, they are hardly unaware of the potential dangers of antibiotic resistance. It decimates healthy bacteria and affects the imbalance of gut flora. If there is an imbalance in the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut, it results in frequent illness, indigestion and also poor nutrient absorption.
The infection spreads super-fast, owing to an antibiotic-resistant bacterium which spreads like no tomorrow, to others in the family or neighborhood, threatening to destroy an entire community with a fresh strain of infection.
This complicates the treatment procedure because the strain is more powerful and the patient does not respond to heavy doses of drugs. The treatment procedure then becomes terribly expensive and complicated.
The underlying infection remains untreated for too long, posing a serious threat to other organs and in some cases, even lead to death.
The implications of long exposure to potent antibiotics are rather telling. So is there any way of negating the harmful side-effects? To answer the pertinent question, there certainly are:
Going the natural way is the best thing we can do, to avoid affecting our gut health and in turn, affecting our health. So you need to arm yourselves with the best possible weapon to slay the bacterium. Nature always has an effective yet safe answer to bacterial infections via a variety of phytochemicals from varied plant parts. These have proven to be a time-tested solution, as they have been used for centuries and are backed by age-old wisdom.
Natural antibiotics act in a unique mechanism, apart from their bactericidal action. They activate the immune system as well as exhibit anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which stop the growth of bacteria.
The list of the natural antibiotics would be incomplete if we had not included garlic. Garlic has been used by diverse cultures around the world for years. The first time garlic was used was in the 1700s, to find a medicine for the deadly plague.
Garlic contains a powerful antibiotic which is chock-a-block with antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties and is instrumental in protecting and facilitating the removal of lethal bacteria. It is also very high in natural antioxidants as well, which manages to scavenge free radicals, giving your immune system a major boost.
The active ingredient in garlic, known as allicin, is the key component to kill and ward off harmful bacteria. The best way to reap its benefits is to crush it to activate these compounds and eat, either in the raw form or in a warm tea or with sautéed food.
This is another potent antibiotic which takes care of the pathogenic bacteria without impacting beneficial bacteria.
The fact that it contains strong antiviral and antifungal properties too, makes it a powerful, natural antibiotic. This three in one formidable combination can rival the most powerful antibiotic in your neighborhood pharmacy.
The key antimicrobial ingredient is carvacrol, which has the most dominant properties. But in order to extract the maximum benefit out of this compound, you need to ensure that your source has at least 70 percent carvacrol content in order to work its magic.
Turmeric is another potent natural antibiotic which is a culinary staple and an integral part of Indian cuisine. 1 to 2 teaspoons per day are considered safe for consumption. They can be added to a number of soups and salads.
Turmeric is renowned for its bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective and anti-carcinogenic effects. If you are considering a supplement, 500 grams when taken in a fat-soluble base facilitates its absorption.
Cayenne pepper is another strong spice which has been used for thousands of years for its great healing powers and antibiotic properties. It’s just not what you can label as folklore remedy, even science has acknowledged cayenne pepper as an important natural antibiotic.
Cayenne pepper is highly effective at treating vulvovaginitis, which is a common infection in women. One study made on cayenne pepper and its effectiveness as a natural antibiotic has stated that it exerts an anti-fungal and antibiotic effect on this condition. But when you use a cayenne pepper you must keep it in mind that you need to use carrier oil along with it, such as olive oil and dilute its potency. Even if you dilute the cayenne pepper with essential oil, it might burn initially when it comes in contact with your skin.
Do you enjoy drinking ginger tea? Or pickled raw ginger with sushi? Well, you are in luck, because science aided by history has always backed ginger’s antibiotic effects to help treat food poisoning.
There have been ample studies done on fresh ginger which have come up with remarkable results to prove that ginger does have an antibiotic effect against food-borne bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and campylobacter. Fresh ginger also ups the stomach acid production and aids in digestion, particularly when you haven’t been able to digest a kind of food.
So, if you want to eat something that you are overly worried about, which can cause food- borne illnesses such as sushi or raw oysters, always eat some fresh ginger, even the pickled form can do wonders.
Properly made ginger is great for solving digestive issues. Besides digestive ailments such as the inability to ingest the nutrients from the food and an impaired gut flora, ginger can solve a host of other conditions. If your digestive tract fails to absorb nutrients over time, you will soon end up with a chronic disease, which is why it is important to have ginger with your main meals to soothe your digestive tract, thereby aiding digestion.
Colloidal silver has been known to be an effective antibiotic for centuries. In was in the early 1900s that Alfred Searle, the founder of the Searle pharmaceutical company, found out that colloidal silver was potent enough to kill the deadliest bacteria.
Searle was of the opinion that applying colloidal silver to human subjects in large batches provides astonishing results. The biggest advantage of this natural antibiotic is that it can kill the most lethal of pathogens without harming the human body.
More and more research done on the said subject has almost proved Searle’s startling discovery that colloidal silver can destroy the most lethal antibiotic resistant microbes like MRSA, SARS and the bird flu.
You also need to know the correct dose to get the best out of this incredible medicine. First, you need to multiply your body weight by 12. And then divide that sum by the ppm of the colloidal silver solution you’re using. This will give you the exact amount of colloidal silver you can take each day safely, without worrying about any side-effects.
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been regarded as a natural antibiotic to reckon with as it helps combat a myriad of common infectious agents. One such study made on concentrated grapefruit seed extract showed that when it was tested for antibacterial properties against a number of gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, it gave out remarkable results, especially on gram-positive pathogens.
It is particularly effective on warts; diluted GSE has a number of uses to fight pathogens in your home environment. However, the commercially available GSE solutions contain chemicals of questionable safety measures. Some GSE Solutions contain harmful parabens, which cause great harm to your health.
Therefore, if you aim to use GSE, especially internally, it is best to concoct it yourself by grinding the grapefruit seeds and the juiceless pulp and then blend it with glycerin to get a potent antibiotic.
Manuka Honey has great properties that help not only to kill bacteria but also accelerate wound healing. It also inhibits the formation of disease resistant bacteria. Manuka Honey works in myriad ways to fight various pathogens.
Bacteria form biofilms, which transmit to the rest of the cells. Honey invades the biofilm before it can incite the bacteria to grow. Manuka Honey, quite like the tea tree, has similar antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Manuka honey releases hydrogen peroxide when it is used for treating wounds. Studies confirm that bacteria cannot thrive in places full of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has great properties in treating wounds and is hence used widely for this very purpose.
Honey is full of vitamins and polyphenols or antioxidants. Polyphenols have been known to fight various bacteria, fungus, and other germs. They also help boost the immune system, which keeps you healthy and reduces your chances of getting sick.
Manuka honey also contains high sugar, which enables the honey to draw out the water of bacterial cells, causing cell death by dehydration; this is known as an osmotic effect.
More and more studies done on Manuka honey have shown promising results. Manuka honey can potentially increase the powerful nature of some antibiotics to fight against deadly bacteria.
So, the next time you fall sick, make sure you take the help of natural antibiotics first, they won’t create an imbalance in your gut flora and affect your health. Talk to your doctor if you are prescribed an antibiotic for a particular ailment. Ask him/her about the pros and cons of taking antibiotics and if it is mandatory to have that particular medicine.If you have to take medicines in the form of antibiotics go right ahead have
If you have to take medicines in the form of antibiotics go right ahead have them, but also ensure you complete the entire course of medications and use a probiotic supplement to keep your gut healthy. Tell us if you use natural antibiotics too. If yes, then which are the natural antibiotics you have used that caused the most significant impact on your health? Tell us in the comments section below.
Deblina Biswas has an M.Sc degree in Nutrition from the University of Osmania and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She loves everything about food and fitness and the fact that she has been able to follow her heart when it comes to her profession. When she is not working, she likes to rustle up delectable concoctions in the kitchen, of course keeping the health quotient intact. She says, everyone just loves her healthy biryani she makes for special occasions. She believes that most ailments can be cured with the right amalgamation of nutrition and fitness.
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