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Top seven safe, effective natural antibiotics

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Certain natural substances have antibacterial properties, but which are safe to use, and when should a person use them?

Prescription antibiotics, such as penicillin, have helped people to recover from otherwise fatal diseases and conditions since the 1940s.

However, people are also turning to natural antibiotics for treatment.


According to the NHS, 1 in 10 people experiences side effects that harm the digestive system after taking antibiotics. Around 1 in 15 people are allergic to this type of medication.

In this article, we look at the evidence behind seven of the best natural antibiotics. We also discuss which to avoid, and when to see a doctor.

The scientific jury is still out concerning natural antibiotics. While people have used remedies like these for hundreds of years, most treatments have not been thoroughly tested.

However, some show promising results under medical review, and further studies are underway.

With an ongoing increase in drug-resistant bacteria, scientists are looking to nature when developing new medications.

Here, we examine the science behind seven natural antibiotics.

1. Garlic

Cultures across the world have long recognized garlic for its preventive and curative powers.

Research has found that garlic can be an effective treatment against many forms of bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Garlic has even been considered for use against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

2. Honey

Since the time of Aristotle, honey has been used as an ointment that helps wounds to heal and prevents or draws out infection.

Healthcare professionals today have found it helpful in treating chronic wounds, burns, ulcers, bedsores, and skin grafts. For example, results of a study from 2016 demonstrate that honey dressings can help to heal wounds.

The antibacterial effects of honey are usually attributed to its hydrogen peroxide content. However, manuka honey fights off bacteria, though it has a lower hydrogen peroxide content.

A 2011 study reported that the best-known type of honey inhibits approximately 60 kinds of bacteria. It also suggests that honey successfully treats wounds infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Antibacterial properties aside, honey may help wounds to heal by providing a protective coating that fosters a moist environment.

3. Ginger

The scientific community also recognizes ginger as a natural antibiotic. Several studies, including one published in 2017, have demonstrated ginger’s ability to fight many strains of bacteria.

Researchers are also exploring ginger’s power to combat seasickness and nausea and to lower blood sugar levels.

4. Echinacea

Native American and other traditional healers have used echinacea for hundreds of years to treat infections and wounds. Researchers are beginning to understand why.

A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology reports that extract of Echinacea purpurea can kill many different kinds of bacteria, including Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes).

S. pyogenes is responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and the “flesh-eating disease” known as necrotizing fasciitis.

Echinacea may also fight inflammation associated with bacterial infection.

5. Goldenseal

Goldenseal is usually consumed in tea or capsules to treat respiratory and digestive problems. However, it may also combat bacterial diarrhea and urinary tract infections.

In addition, results of a recent study support the use of goldenseal to treat skin infections. In a lab, goldenseal extracts were used to prevent MRSA from damaging tissue.

A person taking prescription medications should check with a doctor before taking goldenseal, as this supplement can cause interference.

Goldenseal also contains berberine, an important component of natural antibiotics. This alkaloid is not safe for infants, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

6. Clove

Clove has traditionally been used in dental procedures. Research is now finding that clove water extract may be effective against many different kinds of bacteria, including E. coli.

7. Oregano

Some believe that oregano boosts the immune system and acts as an antioxidant. It may have anti-inflammatory properties.

While researchers have yet to verify these claims, some studies show that oregano is among the more effective natural antibiotics, particularly when it is made it into an oil.


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