You may have heard of natural antibiotics, but what are they exactly? Natural antibiotics are substances that can kill or prevent the growth of bacteria. These antibiotics usually come from natural sources, like plants. Honey, garlic, and ginger are all examples of natural antibiotics. Conventional antibiotics have been overused, which has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Natural antibiotics usually don’t cause resistance because they work in a different way than traditional drugs do. Here are some natural antibiotics that can help fight bacterial infections.
Honey has been used as a natural antibiotic for centuries. It contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural antiseptic. Additionally, honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. You can use honey topically to heal wounds, treat infections, and soothe burns. It can also be taken orally to help fight off infections. A study published in the Journal of Antibiotics found that honey can kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Garlic is a popular home remedy for a variety of ailments, including colds and flu. But did you know that garlic can also help fight bacterial infections? That’s because garlic contains Allicin, which is a compound that has antibacterial properties. To use garlic as an antibiotic, you can either eat it raw or take garlic supplements.
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Ginger is another common home remedy for colds and flu. It can be consumed fresh, dried, or in the form of tea. Ginger contains gingerol, an active compound with antimicrobial properties.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another popular home remedy with a plethora of uses. One of those uses is fighting bacterial infections. That’s because apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can kill harmful bacteria. To use apple cider vinegar as an antibiotic, mix it with water and apply it to the affected area several times a day.
Echinacea is an herb that has been traditionally used to treat colds and flu. One study showed that echinacea could be effective in killing many types of bacterial infections, including Streptococcus pyogenes. This means that you may be able to use echinacea in aiding the treatment of a bacterial infection.
Echinacea can be taken in supplement form or as a tincture. You can also make your own tincture at home. Simply pick fresh echinacea flowers and leaves, then steep them in vodka or another type of alcohol for 6-8 weeks. Strain out the plant material, and voila—you’ve got your own homemade echinacea tincture.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. It contains curcumin, an active compound with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. You can add it to food when cooking or take it in supplement form. Either way, it can help fight off infection. Try adding turmeric to scrambled eggs or roasted vegetables for an extra flavor boost (and an extra dose of antibiotic power).
LEARN MORE: 6 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric
7. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is made from oregano leaves and has strong antibacterial properties. It can be taken orally or applied topically; just be careful not to apply it directly to open wounds because it will sting! You can also add oregano oil to your food when cooking; just remember that a little goes a long way because its flavor is quite strong.
8. Green Tea
Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that have antimicrobial properties. These properties make green tea effective against gram-positive bacteria, which include Streptococcus species and Staphylococcus species (such as MRSA). You can drink green tea or apply cooled green tea bags to wounds or skin infections.
Goldenseal is a plant native to North America that has been used for centuries by Native Americans for its medicinal properties. It contains berberine, which is an alkaloid that has antibacterial effects. To use goldenseal as an antibiotic, you can take it in capsule form or make tea from the roots or leaves of the plant.
10. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antimicrobial properties. This oil also has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil can be used as an antibiotic. Apply it to the affected area several times a day. It can be used neat or diluted with water, depending on your preference.
11. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that help fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This oil can be used topically on the skin or taken internally by mouth. When taken internally, coconut oil can help fight some types of bacterial infections, such as those that cause UTIs and bronchitis
12. Grapefruit seed extract
The grapefruit seed extract is made from the seeds and pulp of grapefruit. It has compounds that can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Grapefruit seed extract can be taken in capsule form or added to water or juice.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (usual strains of yeast or bacteria) that have health benefits when consumed. They can help fight some types of infection by restoring balance to the gut microbiome. Probiotics are available in supplement form or fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
14. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It can be used to treat sinus infections, respiratory tract infections, and stomach bugs. You can take peppermint oil internally by adding a few drops to water or put it in a diffuser to inhale the vapors. You should not apply peppermint oil directly to the skin because it can irritate.
These are just a few examples of natural antibiotics that you can use to help fight bacterial infections. There are many more out there waiting to be discovered. So next time you feel a cold coming on or think you might have a bacterial infection, reach for one of these remedies first—you might be surprised at how well they work!
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