Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent bacterial infections that cause discomfort or threaten your body’s health. They are usually used to treat infections or diseases like respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and infected wounds.
However, today many individuals due to self-medication or because of the frequent use of antibiotics develop a resistance toward the antibiotics which means that the medications lose their effect on the infections.
In addition, an overuse of antibiotics can cause certain adverse effects on the body. Let’s examine these side effects in brief.
Side Effects Of Antibiotics
Most antibiotics do not cause any problems if they are used according to the prescribed doses. However, some individuals may experience one or more of the following side effects.1
- Stomach issues like diarrhea, bloating, and indigestion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Visible white patches in the mouth
- In women, vaginal itching, burning, or the presence of discharge
- In rare cases, allergic reactions
Therefore, while antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, their frequent use may harm your body. So, what can you do to treat your conditions but at the same time keep away from side effects?
That’s where the natural antibiotics come into the picture. There are natural sources of antibiotics that can help treat or prevent bacterial infections just like the antibiotics available in the market. Some of these include plant extracts, essential oils, herbs etc.
Let’s examine some of these natural antibiotics that may help treat bacterial infections without serious side effects as caused by the antibiotic drugs found in the market.
Honey may be a natural sweetener but it also has medicinal properties. Honey has been used as a natural antibiotic for over centuries now. Today, with the advancement in technology, the use of honey for treating infections have been forgotten.
The healing property of honey is mainly due to its antibacterial activity that can treat and prevent the growth of bacteria. A type of honey known as Manuka honey is useful in treating wounds and stomach ulcers.2
Honey can be used for topical application for skin-related issues and can also be consumed orally for faster results. However, honey should not be given to infants who are under a year old as it may cause infant botulism.
2. Garlic Extract
Garlic is one of the most common ingredients in our daily recipes. However, it can do more than add flavor and aroma to the food. Garlic has antibacterial properties that may be effective in treating bacterial infections of the stomach.3
Whole garlic cloves or garlic extract can be used for the purpose. However, you should be careful with how much you consume. Two medium-sized cloves of garlic or a few teaspoons of the extract based on the instructions on the bottle.
3. Ginger Extract
Ginger is an aromatic herb used in cooking and medicine for a long time. Studies have shown that ginger can be used as an effective natural antibiotic because of its antimicrobial properties, thereby reducing the bacterial infections.4
Results of an animal study reported that ginger extract can reduce bacterial load and is also effective in reducing acute or chronic inflammation.5 This shows that it is a natural remedy that can be used to treat stomach-related issues.
4. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano is a common spice or herb that most of us are aware of. In addition to flavor, this herb may play an active role in treating and preventing bacterial infections.
Two components, thymol and carvacrol, may be responsible for this health benefit.6 Certain studies report that oregano essential oil can inhibit the activity of certain bacteria like Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and therefore, may be used as an effective antibacterial remedy for bacterial infections.7
Oregano has also been found to reduce inflammation and protect against bone degeneration.8
5. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil may be another effective antibiotic that you can stock up on instead of the commercially available antibiotics. This is because studies have proved that thyme essential oil has a strong antibacterial activity, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and, in turn, the infections that may come with it.9
Thyme essential oil is only for external use and should not be taken orally. Before using the essential oil, ensure that it is diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil.
6. Echinacea Extract
There are mixed results stating the antibacterial activity of the echinacea extract. Some studies have found that the extract can kill certain bacteria that can cause upper respiratory infections such as a sore throat, cough, and inflammation.10
However, there are other studies that report that the fluid extract of echinacea was not effective in decreasing the incidence of respiratory infections.11
Therefore, it may be concluded that this extract may work only on a few individuals and the only way to go about it is to try for yourself. However, do not continue it if you observe any kind of allergic or adverse reactions.
7. Myrrh Extract
Myrrh extract is another extract that may be an effective natural antibiotic. This is because of its antibacterial activities against a variety of bacteria like E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, and candida albicans.12
However, care must be taken when you use this essential oil as it may cause side effects like diarrhea, skin rash, and other effects. Always follow the instructions printed on the product label or consult a doctor on how you can use the extract.
Natural remedies may be effective for some while for others, it may not work well. However, whatever remedy you choose, make sure you do so only after consulting your doctor and communicating the different medicines you take for your health condition.
|↑1||Antibiotics. National Health Service (NHS) Choices.|
|↑2||Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal. “Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 1, no. 2 (2011): 154-160.|
|↑3||Zardast, Mahmoud, Kokab Namakin, Jamil Esmaelian Kaho, and Sarira Sadat Hashemi. “Assessment of antibacterial effect of garlic in patients infected with Helicobacter pylori using urease breath test.” Avicenna journal of phytomedicine 6, no. 5 (2016): 495.|
|↑4||Islam, Kamrul, Asma Afroz Rowsni, Md Murad Khan, and Md Shahidul Kabir. “Antimicrobial activity of ginger (Zingiber officinale) extracts against food-borne pathogenic bacteria.” International Journal of Science, Environment and Technology 3, no. 3 (2014): 867-871.|
|↑5||Gaus, Kristen, Yue Huang, Dawn A. Israel, Susan L. Pendland, Bolanle A. Adeniyi, and Gail B. Mahady. “Standardized ginger (Zingiber officinale) extract reduces bacterial load and suppresses acute and chronic inflammation in Mongolian gerbils infected with cagA+ Helicobacter pylori.” Pharmaceutical biology 47, no. 1 (2009): 92-98.|
|↑6||Lambert, R. J. W., Proteus N. Skandamis, Proteus J. Coote, and G‐JE Nychas. “A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil, thymol and carvacrol.” Journal of applied microbiology 91, no. 3 (2001): 453-462.|
|↑7||Sienkiewicz, M., M. Wasiela, and A. Głowacka. “The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oil (Origanum heracleoticum L.) against clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” Medycyna doswiadczalna i mikrobiologia 64, no. 4 (2012): 297-307.|
|↑8||Oregano helps stop inflammation and bone degeneration. WorldHealth.net.|
|↑9||Sienkiewicz, Monika, Monika Lysakowska, Julita Ciecwierz, Pawel Denys, and Edward Kowalczyk. “Antibacterial activity of thyme and lavender essential oils.” Medicinal Chemistry 7, no. 6 (2011): 674-689.|
|↑10||Sharma, S. M., M. Anderson, S. R. Schoop, and J. B. Hudson. “Bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties of a standardized Echinacea extract (Echinaforce®): dual actions against respiratory bacteria.” Phytomedicine 17, no. 8 (2010): 563-568.|
|↑11||Grimm, Wolfram, and Hans-Helge Müller. “A randomized controlled trial of the effect of fluid extract of Echinacea purpurea on the incidence and severity of colds and respiratory infections.” The American journal of medicine 106, no. 2 (1999): 138-143.|
|↑12||Dolara, Piero, Barbara Corte, Carla Ghelardini, Anna Maria Pugliese, Elisabetta Cerbai, Stefano Menichetti, and Antonella Lo Nostro. “Local anaesthetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties of sesquiterpenes from myrrh.” Planta medica 66, no. 04 (2000): 356-358.|