“The Antibiotic Crisis: Herbal Medicine As An Alternative”
“The Antibiotic Crisis: Herbal Medicine As An Alternative”
Chemical antibiotic were first developed and used in the 1940 during World War 2. At first they were described as the miracle drug and saved thousands of lives over the years. But due to wide scale miss use of these drugs by doctors, and farmers using them as growth promoters, and many other areas, bacteria soon became resistant to them. as a result we now find the situation that common diseases which could be easily cleared up years ago are now becoming harder and harder to treat. Main stream medicine are well aware of the current crisis but current recent research is offering them little hope so far as the crisis continues to get worse and worse as many hospital has had to close its doors as people were more in danger of getting infected in the hospitals than outside of them.
On top of that many drug resistant bacteria have now shown up in the food chain adding to the growing crisis. With main stream medicine struggling to come up with a solution, natural sources of antibiotics were looked at. Nature seems to have provided substances used over thousands of years as a defence against bacterial infections. Garlic, Honey, Echinacea, Barberry seem to be the most widely used with good results.
It was pointed out that with substance from nature because of their complex chemical structures not only did they fight infections but they also supported the body against future infections and bacteria could not become resistant to them. A few example of herbal remedies for common infections were given,
It concluded that maybe the answer to this antibiotic crisis lay in nature itself and that if people embraced nature more that the imbalance maybe restored leading to a more healthy society.
Table Of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction And Research Question……………….. 6
Chapter 2. Materials And Methods Used……………………………9
Chapter 3. Literary Review………………………………………………11
Chapter 4. Findings and Results………………………………………13
Section 4.1 History Of Antibiotics……………………………………14
Section 4.2 The Antibiotic Crisis…………………………………….17
Section 4.3 Natural Antibiotics……………………………………..24
Section 4.4 Individual Natural Antibiotics…………………….28
Section 4.5 Natural Remedies For Common Infections…….36
Chapter 5. Conclusion………………………………………………….40
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.
This famous quote has been attributed to the father of medicine , Hippocrates 460BC and given the state of general health around the globe I think it has more relevance today than it did many thousands of years ago. In a world where there is billions and billions spent on health care, new wonder drugs, new specialised procedure and new medical devices and so much more you would think that people would be in general be healthier. It’s true, people are living longer, but it seems that the quality of life many people are living may not be getting any better and in fact due to this industrialisation of the health system, the quality of life and their health may be getting worse. We are living longer but in a worse state of health. One of the main factors contributing to this could be what is known as the “Anti-biotic Crisis”.
Modern day antibiotic first came to light in 1928 when Penicillin, was first discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming from a mold, but it wasn’t until the 1940’s when chemists were able to isolate the active ingredient and develop a powdery form, which was then able to be used in human medicine. Mass production was rapid to produce this “wonder drug” for the treatment of soldiers infections during World War 2. The word “antibiotics” comes from the Greek anti (“opposing”) and bios (“life”).What exactly is an antibiotic? It is defined by the Oxford Medical Dictionary as,
“A substance, produced by or derived from a micro-organism that destroys or inhibits the growth of other micro-organisms.”
There is no doubt that this anti-biotic (Penicillin) and other antibiotics like it have saved thousands and thousands of lives over the years. So what’s the problem or this crisis? The problem is that due to over usage of these kind of medical drugs, the harmful bacteria that was once killed by these antibiotic have now become resistant to the drugs, they can no longer kill them. These bacteria, which are a life-form, were attacked by the drugs, they mutated, developed an in-built resistance and are now much stronger than before. It’s a natural process in nature for a life form to change to resist any harmful changes from its external environment, the fittest survive by natural selection.
But it’s just not antibiotics from medicine that have contributed to this problem. It was “discovered” in farming circle that if you put low amounts of antibiotics through animal feed that they grew quicker. Wow, this was an amazing discovery, so it’s easy to imagine what happens next, yes, that’s right, more antibiotic pumped into livestock. But then what they realize is that these antibiotics are making their way into the food chain and into human food supplies.
The aim of this thesis is to look into the antibiotic crisis, the history of antibiotics, How did the crisis come about? What’s the solution? Is it serious and worth worrying about? Does natural herbal medicine have the answers? If so, which herbs are most beneficial? The research question I would like to ask to have answered is;
“Can Herbal Medicine Offer A Realistic Alternative To Man Made Antibiotics?”
I want to explore what different herbal remedies herbal medicine has to offer, does it have a genuine alternative answer to common infections?
This is huge issue that has got some media attention of late, but in general it has been flying under the radar of most people, some people have heard about it, but it has not of yet set off the alarm signals. Maybe it’s nothing to worry about!!
But in a recent report (Sept. 2014) addressed to arguable the most powerful man in the world, US President Barack Obama, by the President’s own Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the report advised him on the crisis and its implications,
“PCAST finds that without rapid and coordinated action, the Nation risks losing the tre‐
mendous public health progress made over the last century from the discovery and development of antibiotic drugs, thereby threatening patient care, economic growth, public health, agriculture, economic, security, and national security.”
The methodology I am using to research this thesis is a literature review of the many relevant articles and reports easily accessed on the internet and on many books on the various subjects been research such as the antibiotic crisis, natural herbal medicine, herbal antibiotics and natural healing and on antibiotics in the food chain. A farm report by Teagasc, the Irish national advisory body to the agricultural and food industry in Ireland, titled “Safe Use Of Livestock Medicines For Cattle and Sheep” warns of the over use of antibiotic in farming and its affect on the population.
” It is crucial for both animal and human health that antibiotics are used sparingly and not as a replacement for good husbandry”.
As mention earlier the report to President Obama on the potential threat to world economics, just goes to show how serious this issue is been taken.
Another well respected herbalist , James Duke, has put together a comprehensive database on individual herbs. I will use this to identify the specific compounds in herbs which make them useful as antibiotics.
“We are running out of weapons in the war on germs”
-James A Duke,Ph.D.
author of The Green Pharmacy.
Chapter 2 deals briefly with the method and material employed in the completion of the thesis.
Chapter 3 is a literature review of the materials used.
Chapter 4 is the findings and results chapter and is further sub-divided in 5 other sections for ease of use for the reader. Section 4.1 looks at the history of the antibiotic. Section 4.2 looks at the antibiotic crisis in detail. Section 4.3 looks at what natural antibiotic has to offer. Section 4.4 examines some individual natural antibiotics and Section 4.5 offers some natural herbal antibiotic for common conditions
Chapter 5 is a conclusion of the thesis and any recommendations offered by the author.
Materials And Methods Used
The thesis is a literature review of available suitable books and appropriate articles on the internet pertaining to the subject been researched. The materials researched and review in compiling this thesis came for the most part form the books listed below. In addition there was some online resources reviewed from government papers, medical journals and university papers, also there was some further reading required on the subject on other relevant articles on line and a list of these can be found in the bibliography.
- The Antibiotic Crisis by Leon Chaitow.
- Antibiotics by John McKenna.
- Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner
- The Nature Doctor by Dr.H.C.A. Vogel.
- School Of Natural Healing by Dr. John R. Christopher.
- Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss.
- Medical Herbalism by David Hoffmann.
- Weiss’s Herbal Medicine by Rudolf Fritz Weiss.
The resources chosen for this literature review come from a wide spread and different approaches to this topic. The Antibiotic Crisis by Leon Chaitow looks at how the crisis developed in detail, he points out that there are good and bad bacteria living on us on a daily bases and as a result of misuse antibiotic how this has impacted on theses bacteria and then in turn how it is affecting our health and our gut flora. He stressed the importance of immune health been a key factor in a person health. Leon offers alternative methods to fight infection along with ways to prevent the longer-term effects of antibiotics if you are taking them. Leon Chaitow is a qualified naturopath and osteopath and is also a senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster in London.
Stephen Harrod Buhner, who wrote the book, Herbal Antibiotics, is one of the foremost voices of our time for the return to ecological foundation of healing. He has wrote many books on the subject of the spirit of natural healing using plants and herbs. In his book Herbal Antibiotics ,Stephen shows the frightening truth that society is running out of weapons in the war on germs. He points out that the time has come for the end of chemical antibiotics and it is time for the scientific community to consider the remarkable synergistic suites of compounds that have evolved naturally in plants. In the book he offers conclusive evidence that plant medicines, with their complex mix of multiple antibiotic compounds are remarkably effective against drug resistant bacteria.
John McKenna book, Antibiotics- Are They Curing Us Or Are They Killing Us takes a different approach. He reveals the truth about the antibiotics that a doctor may prescribe to you and details the often unknown side effects they can have. He gives much information on how to know if an antibiotic is actually hindering you instead of helping you. He goes on to detail how natural alternative can restore a person’s health and strengthen their immune system. John McKenna has a science degree and a medical degree and has been practising nutritional medicine for over 25 years. He wrote a number of other books on health issues.
The 3 books: The Nature Doctor by Dr.H.C.A. Vogel, School Of Natural Healing by Dr. John R. Christopher and Back To Eden by Jethro Kloss are all books in the same bracket, they have been wrote by famous and well respected old traditional herbalists who between them have a vast knowledge of the old traditions of herbal medicine long before chemical antibiotics were invented. In these 3 book the authors detail individual herbs, their antibiotic qualities and how they can be best used in treating various infections. All these 3 books give so much valuable information on the benefits of herbal medicine for natural healing purposes.
Rudolf Fritz Weiss book, Weiss’s Herbal Medicine, explored herbal antibiotics in a different way in that his book breaks down the chemical compounds of the herbs and plants and looks at which individual compounds in the plants may have antibiotic actions. He approaches it with a more scientific look at the active ingredients of a plant. The Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman, is a more modern herbal book and in it he tries to bring both the old traditional practice of herbal medicine and combine it with the science of herbal medicine in this comprehensive book. In it Hoffmann gives us many combinations of different herbs to use as remedies in treating many illness and diseases.
On the internet there was a wide variety of material to review. While a lot of the material and articles were relevant to the subject been discussed, the author founds a lot of the information been duplicated and in many cases there was no real substance to the articles. It was therefore decided to use articles for the most accredited sources a list of which is found in the bibliography.
Findings & Results
History Of Antibiotics
To understand the whole crisis surrounding antibiotics it would be helpful to delve into the past and explore their history a little. As stated in the introduction the modern day antibiotic was first discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming but antibiotic were used a long time before that but were not called by that name. Indeed the word “antibiotic” was only first used in 1942 by Selman Waksman.
In ancient times Babylonian doctors healed eye infections with a mixture of frog bile and sour cream, the Greeks used mould, mouldy bread and other plants to treat wounds and infections. Russian peasants used warm soil to heal infected wounds. The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and Indians of central America all used moulds to treat infected wounds. However, they did not understand the connection of the antibacterial properties of mold and the treatment of diseases. So contrary to common belief the use of antibiotics is not just a modern day occurrence,
” The traces of tetracycline (form of antibiotic), for example, have been found in human skeletal remains from ancient Sudanese Nubia dating back to 350–550 CE”.
One of the key periods in the development of the modern day antibiotics was around the time of Louis Pasture and Antoine Beauchamp. Both men had very different views on how the medical model should be developed in the late 1800’s.
Beauchamp theory was that the “Biological Terrain” was the cause of much of the diseases and infections. Beauchamp believed that germs , bacteria and parasites will only survive in acidic and unfavourable conditions and therefore mere exposure to germs is not enough to get sick.
“Beauchamp believed that a healthy body could be immune to harmful bacteria and that only when cells became weak and ill could bacteria cause a destructive effect.
Beauchamp continued to discover that healthy tissue was constantly being exposed to bacteria but only as the body started to deteriorate, would the bacteria change due to the changes in the bodies cell bio-chemistry.”
In short, he believed that every day we lived with harmful bacteria around us, but if we kept our bodies healthy and strong then we would be resistant to them by keeping our immune system strong. It was only when our resistance or immune system was comprised did we become prone or vulnerable to these harmful bacteria.
On the other hand, Louis Pasture developed the “Germ Theory”. He strongly believed that we live in a hostile environment where disease is always trying to invade our bodies through harmful bacteria. This attitude towards sickness was to therefore protect the body from harmful bacteria at all times. His idea was that germs are floating around in the air and will attack us if we do not protect ourselves with pharmaceutical substances. Pasture’s theory had a lot of backers and more support at the time so his ideas were adopted and Beauchamp’s ignored. The birth of the pharmaceutical industry !!
“People didn’t need to take responsibility for their own health any longer and the solution seemed easy enough to rectify, plus it would improve the economics of the country and provide thousands with new careers in the manufacturing, marketing, production and promotion of pharmaceuticals.”
It was from this time that more emphasis was put on developing a chemical cure to infections, after all if a product could be developed, sold, a nice profit could be made, and in turn fortunes made. The following table gives a brief outline of the modern day timeline for the development of the modern antibotic.
|1640||England||John Parkington recommended using mold for treatment in his book on pharmacology|
|1870||England||Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson observed that culture fluid covered with mould did not produce bacteria|
|1871||England||Joseph Lister experimented with the antibacterial action on human tissue on what he called Penicillium glaucium|
|1875||England||John Tyndall explained antibacterial action of the Penicillium fungus to the Royal Society|
|1877||France||Louis Pasteur postulated that bacteria could kill other bacteria (anthrax bacilli)|
|1897||France||Ernest Duchesne healed infected guinea pigs from typhoid using mould (Penicillium glaucium)|
|1928||England||Sir Alexander Fleming discovered enzyme lysozyme and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the fungus Penicillium notatum|
|1932||Germany||Gerhard Domagk discovered Sulfonamidochrysoidine (Prontosil )|
1928 and the accidental discovery by Sir Alexander Fleming of Penicillin was a major step forward. He famously said afterwards “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for”.
In 1943, the required clinical trials were performed and penicillin was shown to be the most effective antibacterial agent to date. Penicillin production was quickly scaled up and available in quantity to treat Allied soldiers wounded on D-Day. Because of the huge scale production of the drug, the price dropped drastically making it affordable to everyone.
“ The period between the 1950s and 1970s was indeed the golden era of discovery of novel antibiotics classes, with no new classes discovered since then”.
However, all was not as rosy as what appeared on the surface. After mass production began in 1943 it took just four short years for the first signs of antibiotic resistance to begin to appear.
“Four years after drug companies began mass-producing penicillin in 1943, microbes began appearing that could resist it. The first bug to battle penicillin was Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium is often a harmless passenger in the human body, but it can cause illness, such as pneumonia or toxic shock syndrome, when it overgrows or produces a toxin.”
In 1955 ,Tetracycline, another form of an antibiotic, was patented by Lloyd Conover which became one of the most prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics kill a large range of bacteria, both good and bad. These type of drug are not able to distinguish between which bacteria are the really good ones and which are the harmful ones.
Since the 1960’s new research developed a new wave of second generation antibiotics. These were basically a synthetic version of the older versions, for example methicillin was a synthetic version of penicillin. They were designed to try to overcome the growing problem of resistance, but after a while bacteria quickly became resistant to these as well.
In the 70’s and 80’s third generation antibiotics arrived on the scene and they were given the name fluoroquinolones and were a synthetic drug derived from the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because of their nasty side effects there use has been severely curtailed in medicine, however they are used quite widely in veterinary medicine.
Today, the search for new antibacterial agents continues at a slow pace. Some drug companies are discouraged to invest large amounts of money into research, when the pace of bacterial resistance is so fast that theses new antibiotics could be rendered useless in a very short space of time.
So where has that left us today in the history of antibiotic use? One legacy that Marc Lappe, a pathologist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine says that antibiotics has given us is,
“We have let our profligate use of antibiotics shape the evolution of the microbial world and wrest any hope of safe management from us…. Resistance to antibiotics has spread to so many different, and such unanticipated types of bacteria, that the only fair appraisal is that we have succeeded in upsetting the balance of nature.
How, when starting out back in the 1920’s with the discovery of a miracle cure, it first been used in the 1940’s saving thousands of lives, for 70 years latter it has been described as upsetting the balance of nature, how has it evolved to this point? In his speech accepting the Nobel prize in 1945, Dr. Alexander Fleming warned,
“The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily under-dose himself and by exposing his microbes to non lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”
The Antibiotic Crisis
Bacteria and millions of them, good and potentially dangerous ones, live in or on us all of the time and they do us no harm most of the time. The reason is that our immune system is working quietly in the background protecting us from this harmful bacteria. We can go along with our daily lives without a worry as our strong immune system prevents these bacteria from spreading to produce illness and disease. For example the most dreaded of ‘superbugs’ Staphylococcus aureus is more than likely happily living in your nasal passage right now but our strong immune system has it under control.
” Staphylococcus. aureus has long been recognized as one of the most important bacteria that cause disease in humans. It is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections such as abscesses (boils), furuncles, and cellulites. Although most staph infections are not serious, S. aureus can cause serious infections such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, or bone and joint infections.”
Some bacteria are friendly and essential to wellbeing, they do helpful things like break down food in our gut, while others are dangerous because they attack our tissue and cells to make their food, or they produce toxins that poison and kill. Some bacteria cause no harm while they live in one part of the body, but then become potentially deadly once they enter the bloodstream. A good example is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which lives in the human gut and helps break down food, but if it enters the bloodstream (eg through a perforation in the intestines), it can cause severe cramping, diarrhoea, and even death from peritonitis if not treated promptly. Staphylococcus aureus lives harmlessly on human skin or as already stated in our nostrils, but if it enters the bloodstream, it can lead to potentially fatal conditions like toxic shock syndrome.
“1 to 2 pounds of our mature body weight will be the billions of bacteria that live in healthy symbiosis in and on or bodies.”
However if for some reason our immune system begins to operate at a low level of efficiency this gives the bad bacteria a change to spread around our body and can cause infections and illness. By having a lower immunity in our body we create an ideal environment for bad bacteria to breed and multiply rapidly. There are many reasons why our immune system may begin to weaken, lack of proper sleep, little or no exercise, poor diet lacking vital nutrition, constantly been stressed, poor general lifestyle, medications and just in general feeling down and low.
“When bacteria ( or other microorganisms) take advantage of a weak immune system, they are said to be acting opportunistically-taking their chances because they have been offered an easy ride.”
As the infection takes hold the usual course is to go to your doctor for an antibiotic to fight the infection. But what if this strain of bacteria was resistant to antibiotics, what if this single-cell microorganism has adapted and mutated to its hostile environment and built up its own defences to be able to withstand an attack from antibiotic medicine. This infection, that only a few years ago was easily treatable was now spreading through your body attacking vital organs with nothing to stop it…….. leading to eventual death. World renowned authority on bacterial resistance, Dr. Stuart Levy, comments,
“This situation raises the staggering possibility that a time will come when antibiotics as a mode of therapy will be only a fact of historic interest.”
This isn’t a futuristic picture of some horror movie set hundreds of years from now, it’s happening right here right now, in fact it has been happening and developing and getting worse for decades, but despite repeated health warning from WHO, the World Health Organisation, antibiotics are still been over prescribed making more and more bacteria resistant.
“30 APRIL 2014 | GENEVA – A new report by WHO–its first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally–reveals that this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health.”
Because antibiotics were described as the new wonder drugs and they had a very successful impact on people’s health and lives in the beginning, a culture developed where they were been prescribed for most illness and even for illness for which the doctors knew that they were useless for, like for viral infection. Up until the 1950 you could buy them over the counter in chemists in the US. There was a huge over production and over supply of these drugs.
“Antibiotic usage has stimulated evolutionary changes that are unparalleled in recorded biological history.”
-Stuart Levy, M.D.
Young children were brought to the doctor for the smallest upsets and were been giving a course of antibiotics. According to Leon Chaitow, a senior lecturer at the University Of Westminster and the first Naturopathic Consultant appointed to the NHS in England, over antibiotic use in children has been responsible for the rise in cases of eczema infections.
To briefly explain and summarise his findings Chaitow says that harmless bacteria live on a child’s skin, they decrease in numbers due to antibiotic use. This allows other bacteria to invade their territory, usually Staphylococcus aureus, this change in the local flora can cause eczema patches to become severely infected, especially if they are scratched.
“Research at the Hospital for Sick Children in London in the early 1990’s showed that almost 100% of children with this form of severe eczema had colonies of staphylococcus aureus on their skin”.
This overuse of these drugs has lead to bacteria that once could be killed now evolving and becoming resistant to theses drugs. Now old diseases which were thought to be eradicated for good, like TB, are returning and now are often untreatable.
“The germs become stronger for being assaulted, while our adaptive powers become weaker for been replaced”.
More and more people are finding that when they go on a course of antibiotics, the infection does not clear up and they have to return to the doctor for a second or maybe even a stronger third course of antibiotics.
“In March 2013, Sally Davis, the Chief Medical Officer for England, was reported as saying that antibiotic-resistant bacteria with the potential to cause untreatable infections pose a catastrophic risk to the population”
But that is not all, the internal damage done by these antibiotics, and their side effects, to our own good intestinal flora bacteria has been catastrophic and this can lead to other health issues like liver problems, digestive and bowel issues, bladder infections, depressed immune system and fungal infections like Candida. This has resulted in a new term, “Antibiotic Toxicity”.
“Neurotoxicity is common among many groups of antibiotics in at-risk patients and can range from ototoxicity, neuropathy and neuromuscular blockade to confusion, non-specific encephalopathy, seizures and status epilepticus.”
One of the areas been closely been examined is if there is a possible link with antibiotic use and the onset of childhood obesity. As we know childhood obesity is rapidly on the rise and there are a number of reasons for this, lack of exercise and poor diets full of sugary products but could antibiotic overuse also play a role in obesity among our children. Dr. Charles Bailey of the Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia carried out research on this topic and after checking the medical data of 65,480 children he reported the following,
” Children exposed to any antibiotics at least four times before turning 2 years old were 11% more likely to be obese between ages 2 and 5 years, even after accounting for other risk factors, compared with children receiving no antibiotics”.
We have now seen how over use of antibiotic has cause bacteria to become resistant and once simple infection can now become more serious. We have also briefly had a look at how the use of antibiotics can cause other health issues in the body. Now to look at another phenomena that has developed over the last number of year and one that has been highlighted a lot in the media and that is “hospital and superbugs”.
“April 1, 2011 – The CDC and LA Times reports a “Superbug” that kills 40% of the people it comes in contact with has hit 35 US States and is now being spread through California medical facilities.”
Our friend again, Staphylococcus aureus, is the chief culprit but this time it’s called MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the reason being is that he is now resistant to antibiotics such as methicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and amoxicillin. A MRSA infection can be fatal, and is sometimes called the “Super Bug.”
“90% of strains of Staphylococcus aureus are now resistant to penicillin and ampicillin, and some strains are resistant to almost all antibiotic except highly potent, highly toxic forms of antibiotic which can themselves cause serious side-effects”.
The problem that hospitals have found themselves with is that they now have to deal with “hospital acquired infection” (HAI). Basically theses are infects that people and patients pick up while they are IN the hospital. Just to illustrate the huge problems facing hospital there is this story about how quick the “superbug” can mutate. In the 1980’s, a number of hospital in Melbourne were plagued by infection (MRSA) that was resistant to almost all known antibiotics, except one, vancomycin, which was both expensive and toxic, but they used it anyway. They eventually got the outbreak under control. Then in 1996, a boy was admitted to hospital in Japan for surgery. While in hospital he developed an MRSA infection. When tested this strain of MRSA had developed a resistance to the antibiotic vancomycin. Our hospitals are now becoming dangerous places to our health.
“Hospital-acquired infections are becoming progressively more common across the world. In the US, over 100,000 die per year from hospital-acquired infections such as urinary tract infections, surgical wounds infections, pneumonia and septicaemia. In the UK the number of infections is also increasing, as it is in Ireland.”
All the major health and medical authorities began to panic and advise doctors to curtail their use of antibiotics, but for the most part this plead fell on deaf ears. By the early 2000’s MRSA began to show up in communities outside of the hospital and by 2007 the number of case of people been infected with MRSA from outside the hospital was the same as from people infected inside hospitals, including Ireland.
“Ireland has been found to have one of the highest prevalence of MRSA in Europe, and has also had one of the greatest increases in prevalence of the bug over the last few years.”
And the story seems to get worse. MRSA initially was responsible for local infection like abscesses, but since 2005 there seems to be an increase in the number of cases where MRSA can spread through layers of flesh in the body, eating its way through the flesh, somehow they acquired the genes necessary to cause this flesh eating capability.
“In 2005 doctors in the US reported a change in the behaviour of MRSA. Not only was it capable of resisting all antibiotics we had in our arsenal, but it was also showing it was well capable of inflicting much more serious injury to the human body than was previously thought possible. It was now able to cause deeply invasive infections.”
Approximately 86% of all invasive MRSA infections are contracted with health care settings.
It seems that since the 1940’s allopathic medicine has vastly under estimated this little one cell microorganism, a great example of Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Unlike humans who produce a new generation every 20 years or so, bacteria produce a new generation every 20 minutes, multiplying 500,000 times faster than we do. Bacteria also have an another talent, they can position themselves along side each other and exchange information with each other at great frequency.
“This communicated information can be a natural immunity, information on how to disable or destroy a particular antibiotic or antibiotics, or information on how to prevent the antibiotic from having an effect.
Antibiotics are no longer effective. The drugs that have transformed life and longevity and saved countless millions since penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928 now saturate every corner of our environment. We stuff them into ourselves and our animals; we spray them on crops, dump them in rivers, and even – as emerged at a meeting of science ministers from the G8 last year – paint them on the hulls of boats to keep off barnacles. The era of the antibiotic, the wonder drug, seems to be coming to an end.
But it would be unfair just to focus on doctors and the medical profession and point the finger at them, the farming community also has to hold up their hand and claim some of the responsibility for this crisis. Years ago livestock ,cattle and pigs, grazed away on grass and lived mainly outside on farms, but as demand for meat and other animal products increased, farming intensified, best practice was seen to have more cattle to the acre. In winter huge building were erected to house the animals, often in overcrowded and dirty conditions. Many of these houses were what is called “slatted houses” where the cattle fasces dropped through slats into a holding tank underneath, which might not be emptied for months. An ideal breeding ground for bacteria to grow and spread. As pointed out earlier, bacteria are opportunists and will make the best out of their environment.
In theses condition when disease broke out it often became rampant and farmers turned to antibiotics to try control it. From the farming point of view one of the side effects that was noticed was that antibiotic use in animals showed that animals put on more weight when on antibiotics. The drug companies soon jumped on the bandwagon and it was discovered that if you put low levels of antibiotic through the animal feed they put on more weight quicker. Win-win situation for the farmers, control disease and put on more weight at the same time. and win-win for the drug companies, get rid of stock piles of antibiotics and make more profit.
“In 2001,80% of antibiotics sold are used in animal feed”
It wasn’t just cattle and pigs that were subjected to antibiotics, chickens were often injected with antibiotics from day one until they were slaughtered. This was done purely to increase their body weight and speed up their growth. The faster the chicken grows the sooner it can be slaughtered. As a result of this overuses of antibiotics in animals we have the same problem- bacteria have evolved and mutated at a rapid pace to protect themselves and now most animals are carrying bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
” The World Health Organisation wants to ring-fence three classes of antibiotics they rate as “critically important to human medicine’” – cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and macrolides. Their concern is that worldwide, the use of these antibiotics on farms has increased eightfold in the last decade. In 2010, these classes of antibiotics represented 12 per cent of the total antibiotic use on Irish farms, according to the Irish Medicines Board, a 50 per cent increase on 2009 levels.”
Now we have a new problem, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have made their way into the food chain, our food chain. E coli and salmonella, bacteria that once could be controlled easily are now becoming more dangerous through our food. It’s now reported that a high percentage of meat on shelves of supermarkets contain multidrug-resistant bacteria. The livestock industry continues to deny that antibiotics in animal feed bear much blame for the growing threat from drug-resistant pathogens. But evidence increasingly indicates that resistance routinely spills over from food animals to people, in ways we are only beginning to recognise. Recent research in Canada, in 2012, Dr. Amee Manges Of McGill University, Montreal found bacteria in meat, which was purchased in a supermarket, was the same bacteria causing a persistent blabber infection in a woman.
“The meat for sale in the supermarket and grocery stores, specifically chicken meat: The DNA fingerprint matched exactly”.
The diagram that follows shows the flow of antibiotic resistant bacteria from animals, through the food chain, through human consumption and into society.
What does the future hold? Allopathic medicine is concentrating on developing more chemical, more drugs and vaccines to fight bacterial infection, but history has shown us nature will fight back, it will defend itself, but maybe it’s nature that holds the key. Next there will be a look at natural antibiotic and see if the solution lies there.
There is no doubt about it but antibiotics have saved thousands of lives over the decades through their appropriate use, but because of their extensive mis-use they are no longer effective in fighting many infections. Continuous new research and development has come up with no new drugs to combat these antibiotic resistant bacteria. One common miss conception that is out there in the public sphere is the idea that antibiotic can treat most illness, this however is not so. They are worthless for viral or fungal infections, so there is no need to take them for the common cold or flu. They are also ineffective in most cases of sore throat, sinus infections, bronchitis, respiratory congestion and earaches (otitis media).
“If a child has acute otitis media today he or she is almost likely as 10 and 20 years ago to be prescribed antibiotics – even though evidence shows such approached are often a cause of major health problems later.”
Leon Chaitow, in the book, The Antibiotic Crisis, goes on to explain further that in research undertaken, 90% of children that suffered from otitis media, there was no significant difference in speed of relief from pain, temperature or other symptoms whether they had antibiotic or not. In the US alone half a billion dollars are spent each year on this infection alone. It’s fair to say that the antibiotic industry alone is big business so you can see one of the reason the pharmaceutical industry is still pushing antibiotic on the public.
“ At the American Herbalist Guild 1997 symposium, Paul Bergner, N.D. and editor of Medical Herbalism, said something about antibiotics which really set me to thinking. He said that he has not been able to find any convincing proof that antibiotics kill bacteria in living tissue. They do so in the test tube, but that does not mean they are doing it inside the human body. He suggested that antibiotics might just be suppressing symptoms of infection.”
Remember that symptoms of acute illness or infection are produced by the body’s immune system fighting the disease. Fever, phlegm and coughing, etc. are all signs that the body’s immune response is working to fight the illness. Therefore it only makes sense that you should support the body’s own attempt to fight the infection rather than take an antibiotic to treat the symptoms.
There has to be a halt to this abuse of antibiotics especially when there are natural ways to treat most infections. There are many natural remedies that are not only effective against bacterial infections, they also work on viral and fungal infections too. Natural remedies don’t have any of the nasty side effects of chemical antibiotics, they don’t have such destructive effects on your internal healthy bacteria flora or bacteria do not seem to develop resistance to these natural remedies and in many cases herbal antibiotics also strengthen the immune system thereby enhancing the body’s natural resistance to infection and making you less susceptible to future infections.
Herbal antibiotics are plants that are known to have an antibacterial or antiviral effect upon certain types of bacteria and microbes. They are not derived from micro-organisms in moulds or fungi but from tinctures made from whole plants complete with their natural content of alkaloids, enzymes, minerals and many other natural chemical compounds.
“When we borrow the antibiotic compounds from plants, we do better to borrow them all, not just a single solitary most powerful among them. We lose the synergy when we take out the solitary compound. The polychemical synergistic mix, concentrating the powers evolved in medicinal plants, may be our best hope for confronting drug-resistant bacteria.”
Plants have been on the earth as a source of antibiotics even before humans walked the planet. The earliest of records show that early civilizations used plants for cures for different illness and even to date 80% of the world’s population still use herbal plants and herbal antibiotics as their main medication. This system of using plants as medicine is nothing new, it has been tried and tested for 1000’s of years so we know it works and works well.
“Anthropologists have found medical herbs intentionally placed in the grave of a Neanderthal man over 60,000 years ago.”
Natural antibiotics work in a different way to their manufactured counterparts. First of all, they help kill and eliminate the dangerous bacteria that is causing the infection.. The second way in which these natural alternatives to antibiotics work is by boosting the body’s defences and stimulating the immune system. A third way they work is by toning and strengthen tissue, organs or a whole infected system. They also support the body in recuperation after illness. In this way, your body system will be capable of fighting back any dangerous bacteria and their consequences and then protect it from future attacks by building up resistance. Prevention is better than cure!!
“Nature’s infinite wisdom has supplied us with many highly effective substances with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, all able to protect the human body safely and with deep healing powers.”
One advantages of using natural antibiotics are their affect on the whole ecosystem, unlike their chemical counterparts which have caused bacteria to mutate at a rapid rate, natural antibiotics don’t promote easy bacterial resistance. This is due to the complex chemistry that lies behind each and every plant. The chemical complexity of the plants often results in the facts that the bacteria cannot decipher it’s chemical makeup, there for it can’t mutate to resist it. Also nature over a long period of time has had a chance to perfect its synergistic effects to make it effective in combating bacterial infections.
“Garlic for instance contains at least 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids, and a dozen other compounds. Pharmaceuticals, in contrast, are usually made from one chemical constituent only. Penicillin is penicillin.”
Obviously another main advantage of using natural antibiotics is that they don’t get into the food chain and contaminate our food. Farming has to stop using antibiotics as growth promoters and start using natural ones. Remember healthy animals, eating good food living in healthy and clean conditions don’t normally get infections.
“Herbs can have a variety of effects including – antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, sedative or stimulant. By being aware of each plant’s properties, and used carefully the animal can be relieved of various symptoms or illnesses, with often few, if no side effects.
There are various herbs and plants that can be used including – aloe vera, arnica, basil, garlic, seaweed, nettle, rosemary, tea tree, dandelion, rosehip and liquorice.”
Some of the other main reasons to stop using chemical antibiotics is of their side-effects on the human body. As stated earlier, their effect on our gut flora and lowering our general immunity making us prone to recurring infections hard to clear up. However with natural antibiotic this is not really an issue, in fact in terms of immunity they have the opposite effect of build up our immune strength. Theses herbs work by stimulating the immune system into action and making it stronger.
When the ecological balance in the digestive tract is disturbed it is called dysbiosis. What it means is that some of the good bacteria have been killed off like drugs, like antibiotics, and bad bacteria have taken their place. Candida overgrowth can be a result of this. Not only do herbal antibiotics not cause dysbiosis, they cause very little damage to the intestinal flora, but they can help the gut recover from a course of antibiotics.
“ Antibiotics destroy our friendly gut flora as well as the disease-causing bacteria they are targeting. They have a ‘broad spectrum’ effect, killing off every bacterial organism they encounter. This creates dysbiosis (disruption of the gut flora) allowing other microbes such as Candida albicans to proliferate.”
We now know that nature has given us some plants that are capable of working in the body as an alternative to going to your doctor and getting or is often the case demanding a chemical antibiotic. However let’s not just leave everything up to nature, our bodies and our health is our responsibility and herbal antibiotic will only work if we are taking responsibility for leading healthy lives. Diet, lifestyle, exercise, sleep patterns, stress, relationships, etc are all factors that can lower our immune system and then in turn make it more prone for invasion from opportunist bad bacteria. For herbal antibiotics to work efficiently we must take a holistic approach to our health.
“When anyone had a weakened immune system it has been shown that malnutrition is one of the most significant factors.”
There are many, many plants out there are used as antibiotic in natural healing, Garlic, Echinacea, Wormwood, Goldenseal, Aloe, Sage, Ginger St. John’s Wort, but to name a few. Honey is also a powerful antibacterial agent. Another substance I am going to have a brief look at is colloidal silver, even though it is not technically a natural substance, even though silver is a mineral, it does have a history of antibiotic use. Different herbs have different chemical make ups and compounds so in the next chapter Next there is going to be a look at a few individual natural antibiotic, there make up and how we can use them best for treating various infections.
Individual Natural Antibiotics
Garlic Allium sativum
“Herodotus, the Greek historian, wrote that during the building of the Cheops pyramid (2560 BC) 1,600 silver talents (about £3.5 million) worth of garlic, onions and radishes were purchased to keep up the workers’ strength.”
Garlic has been called nature’s Penicillin. It is a strong aromatic herb with powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral action. Garlic is useful for reducing fevers, relieving respiratory congestion, earaches, infections and worms. It is particularly good for the respiratory tract where the volatile oil is largely excreted via the lungs making it good for such conditions as recurring colds, chest infections and flu. Warm garlic oil can be dropped into the ear or rubbed on the ear and side of neck to relieve earaches.
Garlic had no major side effects, but could cause a little stomach irritation if taken on an empty stomach without food or if way too much is taken at any one time it may be harmful to the kidneys. It may have some blood thinning properties, so anyone on anticoagulant medication should not take it in excessive amounts. In the digestive garlic is thought to support the development of the natural bacterial flora while killing pathogenic organisms.
“There is recent evidence of anti-HIV potential”
As a preventative medicine for the whole body one clove of garlic should be taken daily. Garlic is a really chemically complex plant. As was pointed out earlier, it contains at least 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids and 12 other compounds. On top of that Garlic contains another 35 constituents which their actions are unknown. According to Dr. James Duke’s Photochemical Database Allicin is the active compound in garlic giving its antibiotic action.
“ Perhaps, allicin’s most important power in our modern age of antibiotic-resistant germs and ever-new microbial diseases (SARS, flesh-eating Streptococcus, West Nile encephalitis virus, AIDS, etc.) is its amazingly broad-spectrum of anti-microbial activity. In their 1999 review of allicin anti-microbial activities, Ankri and Mirelman reported evidences of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite, anti-viral activity in allicin.”
But here is the magic of nature… allicin is not found in fresh garlic. The chemistry of garlic is extremely complex. Fresh garlic contains an enzyme called “allinase” and “alliin”, which are contained in different parts of the garlic plant. This unique structure is designed as a defence mechanism against microbial pathogens of the soil. When fungi or other soil pathogens attack the cloves, the membrane of those compartments is destroyed, and within 10 seconds, all the alliin is converted into a new compound called allicin. That is the reason why you must always crush garlic to mix these enzymes to make garlic active.
“Researchers found that that topical creams containing just 32 parts per million (ppm) of allicin inhibited the growth of 30 different samples of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and that concentrations of 256 ppm were enough to kill the bacteria.”
For treating active bacterial infections garlic should be eaten raw uncooked or juice it and add to a green juice and drink. Garlic juice kills bacteria rapidly once it comes in contact with it. Garlic has also other benefits for the body. It stimulates and boosts the immune system, it helps lower blood pressure levels and it helps lower high cholesterol levels.
Echinacea Echinacea angustifolia
Echinacea is an amazing useful and safe herb which has powerful immune enhancing properties. It has been used by the native Americans as a medical herb for centuries. Dr. Vogel tells of, on his travels ,he met in the 1950’s with Black Eagle, chief of the Sioux Indians, who showed his most sacred plant which had a purple cone shaped flower, Echinacea, to him. Even though Echinacea has some antibacterial and antimicrobial actions, its main strength is as an immunomodulator, its ability to stimulate the immune system into action building up the bodies defences to have resistance to infection.
“Extracts of the root of Echinacea have been shown in research to include substances such as inulin, which activates the production of a wide range of immune chemicals”.
However, in The Nature Doctor by Dr.H.C.A.Vogel, he makes an interesting point, he thinks that the plants immune stimulating action is not down to one specific chemical but to the complex mixture of vital substances in the plant as a whole. What is known is that Echinacea is very effective in cases of inflammatory infections, it is able to render the hyaluronidase (an enzyme) produced by bacteria inflammatory infections ineffective and preventing their proliferation. That is why the Native American Indians found it a great herb for snake bites.
“Echinacea appears to prevent infection and repair tissue damaged by infection partially by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme hyaluronidase”.
Traditionally Echinacea has been successfully used for the prevention and treatment of acute infections, particularly colds, influenza, and other acute upper respiratory tract infections, in which it reduces both the duration and severity of symptoms. This all points to the fact that that Echinacea complex chemical structure in some way affects our immune system in a positive way by helping the body deal with infections and stimulating immune response.
” The Eclectic Medical Movement in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (before the use of antibiotics) found Echinacea to also be very helpful in treating cholera, bacterial meningitis, dysentery and gangrene.”.
According to renowned herbalist David Hoffmann in his book, Medical Herbalism, the substances echinacoside glycosides appear to give the plant its main antibiotic effect but he states that they probable work in synergistically with the many other chemical substances in the plant. Another function that Echinacea seem to stimulate is something called macrophages activation. These macrophages when activated initiate the destruction of pathogens and cancer cells but Echinacea activates macrophages by itself, independent of any effect with T-cells.
“ It activates the macrophages that destroy both cancerous cells and pathogens, increases the level of phagocytosis by raising levels of white blood cells such as the neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and B lymphocytes.”
Other uses of Echinacea in natural healing include as powerful blood purifier, a lymphatic system cleaner, used for enlarged prostate glands, toxic headaches with vertigo, anti-inflammatory properties. In general Echinacea can be used widely and safely and as an alternative to antibiotics for acute infections or inflammations, taken in frequent small doses and then taper off as the condition improves.
Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis
Goldenseal has been considered by many to be a “cure-all” herb. It is a natural antibiotic and immune stimulant with diuretic and antibiotic properties making it useful in urinary and digestive tract infections.
“Goldenseal root has a reputation for being a “natural antibiotic.” Native American groups used it topically for inflammation, and it has been used in folk medicine as an eyewash and a rinse or gargle to relieve sore mouth, sore throat, canker sores, or thrush”.
For many naturopathic and herbal practitioners this is the first choice of herb in treating bacterial infections. It is particularly useful for sub-acute inflammation of the respiratory, digestive or urinary mucus membranes and has sometimes been referred to as “The King Of The Mucous Membrane”. It is found primarily in Eastern North America where the Cherokee Indians used Goldenseal as a medicine for ulcers and infected arrow wounds.
“This is an immune enhancer involved in macrophage activation, increases natural killer cell activity and enhancing gastrointestinal function. It is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-yeast.”
Topically, Goldenseal heals injuries, it has been used as a wash for sore red eyes and as an application for canker sores. In fact anywhere there is mucous membrane like the throat, sinus, bronchial tubes, intestines, stomach and bladder, Goldenseal is very effective taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, colds or flu, Goldenseal helps can help to prevent further symptoms from developing. It has also been used to help reduce fevers, and relieve congestion and excess mucous. The herb’s pharmacological active ingredients is attributed to its alkaloids, hydrastine and berberine. It is believed that the high content of these alkaloids gives its antibiotic, anti-infective and immune stimulating qualities.
“In general for mucous membranes throughout the body to help tone them and help them serve their function as one of the first lines of defence against bacterial infections.”
In particular it is the alkaloid berberine that is most likely responsible for Goldenseal’s effectiveness against bacteria, protozoa, fungi, Streptococci and it also promotes easier removal of the bacteria by inhibiting their ability to adhere to tissue surfaces. Berberine is also anti-fungal and strongly anti-diarrheal. Berberine has been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and may help the immune system function better. Berberine also inhibits the ability of bacteria to attach to human cells, which helps prevent and treat infections.
It aids against the infection of mucous membranes in the lining of the oral cavity, throat, sinus, bronchi, genito-urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract. It is known traditionally to have been effective in the treatment of diarrhoea cause by E. coli (traveller’s diarrhoea), salmonella (food poisoning) and cholera. With regard to its other active alkaloid, hydrastine,
” In chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum, injections of Hydrastine are often of great service, and it has been used in haemorrhoids with excellent results, the alkaloid Hydrastine having an astringent action.”
As a gargle it can be employed in cases of gum infections and sore throats. The application of a paste or poultice containing goldenseal root is sometimes recommended for boils, abscesses and carbuncles on the grounds that Goldenseal helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Again Goldenseal works best as a whole plant extract with the synergy of all its chemicals working together. Goldenseal may cause blood pressure levels to rise so this is contraindicated for people who suffer with this. Also not to be used in pregnancy because berberine is a uterine stimulant.It is not just in the herb Goldenseal that we find the compound berberine. Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) and Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) also contain it. For this reason theses herbs are also used to treat bacterial infections and ill have a brief look at theses next.
Barberry is used to ease inflammation and infection of the urinary (bladder and urinary tract infections), gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts (sore throat, nasal congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis) as well as Candida (yeast) infections of the skin or vagina. Barberry extract may also improve symptoms of certain skin conditions including psoriasis and acne. Medicinal use of Barberry dates back more than 2,500 years. In ancient Egypt they mixed it with Fennel seed to prevent the plague. It has been used in Indian folk medicine to treat diarrhoea, reduce fever, improve appetite, relieve upset stomach, and promote vigour as well as a sense of well being. Today, it is widely used for medicinal purposes in Iran, including for biliary disorders (such as gallbladder disease) and heartburn. In research on Barberry,
“ Plant alkaloids have been found to be antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diarrheal. Berberine is a uterine stimulant.”
Oregon Grape Root is one herb that could not only help treat antibiotic-resistant infection strains like MRSA, but also could do much more – without major side effects. Oregon Grape is a natural antibiotic with growing popularity. It produces the same powerful alkaloid, berberine, which give other herbal antibiotics such as goldenseal their yellowish colour. Oregon Grape is useful to treat colds, flu, and numerous infections. It has been shown to kill or suppress the growth of some of the nastiest pathogens like Candida and other fungi, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, E. coli and numerous others. It has been suggested that the Oregon grape may be used as an effective substitute for Goldenseal, which is today quite difficult to find, and is listed as endangered, since both Goldenseal and Oregon Grape contain good amounts of berberine. It was believed that the Oregon Grape would prove to bring about a great improvement in one’s appetite, while at the same time improving one’s generally weakened condition. However, even though the purplish berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, the part of the Oregon Grape that is used in medicine is the root due to the high berberine content.
” Serious infections of the lungs and the sinuses are no match for consistent care with Oregon Grape. This herb is used to deal with viral infections so they don’t develop into more deadly bacterial infections. The other properties that ease inflammation and pain make Oregon Grape the first line of defence against reparatory infections as serious as mononucleosis.”
Turmeric Curcuma longa.
The bright yellow spice that gives curries their rich colour and smoky flavour, turmeric is far more than a culinary tool—it has amazing healing properties. The use of turmeric for colouring and flavouring food, for cosmetic purposes and for medicinal properties dates back to the ancient Vedic culture of India. It is used in almost all Indian curries. The wide range of turmeric health benefits come mainly from its main ingredient, curcumin. This widely researched component of turmeric is highly therapeutic and is used in various drugs and pharmaceutics mainly because of its immunity boosting and anti-oxidant properties. Turmeric has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-allergic and wound healing properties. Curcumin has a huge therapeutic value and boosting the immune system is one of the most important properties of curcumin. It is reported to be 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this antioxidant, curcumin, helps boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging.
“It inhibits gram positive bacteria and is highly toxic to salmonella”.
MRSA which typically forms in wounds or boils can be treated easily with Turmeric, it acts as an antibacterial agent and can be taken internally or applied directly to the skin. Turmeric can be made into a paste by adding water or even manuka honey and applying to the infection and covering. As was discussed earlier, because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics over the years many bacteria have become resistant to them and infections have spread more easily but maybe a daily sprinkling of turmeric on your food maybe the answer.
“It has been suggested that turmeric contains antibacterial properties that could help treat MRSA infection. In a study of 300 people infected with MRSA, it was found that 262 of these who included turmeric in their diet recovered from their symptoms”
Honey, while not a herb is processed by bees from the nectar of flowers and has magical qualities that enhances its healing properties. Natural honeys are from a collection and mix of wild flowers that grow locally to a beehive. Therefore natural honey combines the essence of a multitude of wild plants and herbs, all of them medicinal. These can include Dandelion, Elder, Hawthorn, Echinacea, but to name a few. Honey is also a high source of vitamins and minerals as well as a complex assortment of enzymes, organic acids, esters, antibiotic agents, proteins, hormones and antimicrobial compounds.
“ New research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections.”
Many bacteria cannot live in the presence of honey since honey draws from them the moisture essential to their existence, therefore it is a potent inhibitor of the growth of bacteria like salmonella, shigella and E coli and to fight certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Honey is a natural bacteriostatic and bactericide.
“Honey has out preformed antibiotics in the treatment of stomach ulceration, gangrene, surgical wound infections, surgical incisions and the protection of skin grafts, corneas, blood vessels and bones during storage and shipping.”
In fact, honey was traditionally used to fight infection up until around the early 20th century. Around this time, honey was forgotten and predominantly replaced with penicillin, but is now regaining its former popularity as the world continues to become more conscious to the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and the increase in drug resistant bacteria. Swedish scientists have detected 13 bacterial components in raw honey that they say are more effective than conventional antibiotics in fighting deadly wound infections, including MRSA. The scientists isolated 42 different pathogens(bacterial infections) in the open wounds of 22 patients and treated them with the 13 lactic acid bacteria from honey. The results were said to be “comparable” with antibiotics.
” Antibiotics are mostly one active substance, effective against only a narrow spectrum of bacteria. When used alive, these 13 lactic acid bacteria produce the right kind of antimicrobial compounds as needed, depending on the threat. It seems to have worked well for millions of years of protecting bees’ health and honey against other harmful microorganisms,”
The real mystery with honey is the way nectar from the plant is altered in some way, in ways in which modern science has been unable to explain, by their brief transport in the bees digestive system on its way to the hive. Before regurgitation, the nectars combine in unique ways with the bees’ digestive enzymes to produce new compounds.
The magic and mystery of the little honey bee in natural healing just doesn’t end there, they are involved in the making of two other substance which have antibiotic properties, Royal Jelly and Bee Propolis.
Royal Jelly is the thick sweet milky substance secreted from the pharyngeal glands of a special group of young nurse bees who ingest honey and pollen. They do this between the 6th and 12th day of their lives. This Royal Jelly is fed to an ordinary bee who then becomes a Queen Bee. A concentrated food rich in 8 essential amino acids, metabolities, vitamins B1,B2,B3,B5,B6 and C. This food imparts extraordinary powers to the Queen Bee making her grow much larger, lay 2,000 eggs a day and live up to 60 times longer than any other bees in the hive. Royal Jelly is also a natural antibiotic.
“It contains 10 hydroxy-delta 2-decenoic acid known to have bactericidal properties.”
Royal Jelly revitalizes the endocrine glands boosting the immune system and increases resistance to infections by its globulinic acid content.
Bee Propolis is a material by-product which the bees use as a building material along with beeswax in the construction of hives. This Propolis also protects the whole hive from infections. It is a non toxic form of antibiotic that kills harmful bacteria. As the first line of defence against beehive micro-organisms and harmful bacteria Propolis is a natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal substance. In humans, it stimulates the thymus gland and thus boosts the thyroid gland for improved immunity and resistance to infections. In Russia, scientists have reported that Bee Propolis induces phagocytosis, that work to destroy bacteria by improving white blood cells which fight infections. In addition, surgeons in Russia now use honey and other bee products like Propolis as proactive remedies to combat infections resulting from surgery.
“ Propolis is a natural antibiotic, and works against harmful bacteria without destroying the friendly bacteria the body needs. Propolis has also been proven effective against strains of bacteria that resist chemical antibiotics.”
Even though it’s not a natural plant based substance Colloidal Silver has been used in times past to fight bacterial infections and as an alternative to antibiotics. Colloidal silver is a health supplement that is created by immersing tiny particles of silver in a colloidal base solution It has long been known that silver has antibacterial and antimicrobial action. Silver’s preservative, medical, germicidal, and antibacterial uses can be traced as far back as during the ancient Greek and Roman empires. In the past pioneers learned that they could keep water and milk from going bad by putting a few silver coins in the bottom of the container. Since there was no refrigeration at the time, silver vessels were often used to preserve various foods and drinks during travel. It was said that nobility in ancient Europe were less prone to infections than the general population because they eat of silverware. Royalty became known as “blue-blood” due to the fact that ingestion of high amounts of silver causes argyria, a condition where the skin gets a blue/gray colouration and the inner eyelids get inflamed.
However today new forms of Colloidal Silver don’t have this toxicity and work at lower potency. Colloidal Silver only works when it comes into direct contact with the infecting bacteria, therefore it works best when applied topically directly onto an infection, or drank for infections along the gastrointestinal tract. In high doses it can help combat antibiotic-resistant infections. It should only be used to fight active infections and not as a daily preventative measure.
“ A 1988 laboratory test at the UCLA School of Medicine verified that bacteria, viruses, and fungal organisms are killed within minutes of being exposed to colloidal silver solutions. Dr. Robert Becker of Syracuse University also noted that in a study conducted at his school all the organisms tested were eliminated by the silver, including ones that were resistant to known antibiotics.”
Scientific studies have shown that pure silver quickly kills bacteria on contact. It even kills the super-bacteria (super germs) that evolve after conventional disinfecting agents kill the weak strains of bacteria. Silver acts as a catalyst and disables an enzyme that facilitates actions inside cells. It is not consumed in the process so it is available to keep working again and again. The enzyme silver destroys is required by anaerobic bacteria, viruses, yeast and moulds. Unfriendly bacteria tend to be anaerobic and friendly bacteria aerobic. This is the action that destroys pathogens. It stops them from using the body’s own cells as vehicles for replication. Colloidal silver creates an environment that makes it impossible for pathogens to survive and multiply.
Scientifically speaking, the human body has no essential need for silver. Someone who is overdoses in his consumption may experience a build up of the metal in his organs, especially the kidneys. The most common negative side effect of colloidal silver so far seems to be argyria.
“ Colloidal Silver is touted as a treatment for HIV and AIDS. These claims have not been recognized by the medical community but there is no denying the lengthy survival rates of some AIDS patients who swear by colloidal silver.”
Natural Remedies For Common Infections
In this section I am going to look at some simple remedies using natural substances to treat some common infections that people acquire. In using natural products it is common to use a single herb, a few herbs or many different herbs to get the combined blend of the synergy between them. When using a single herb, it has a lot of power, but you have to make sure to target the infection accurately or it may have no effect. With a herbal formula of many herbs, it may not have the strong potency of a single herb but the combined effect of all the herbs will work on the many potential root causes of the problem. Also the synergy of the various can often enhance the basic action required.
Some culinary herbs can also be used and combined on a person’s food on a daily bases as preventative medicine to help boost and strengthen the immune system so it can be prepared to fight of infections. Thyme is antibacterial and good for infections of the respiratory tract, throat, bronchi and urinary tract infections. Sage is bactericidal and antibiotic, traditionally fresh Sage leaves eaten is a sandwich for breakfast was an English country cure for low grade fevers, chest infections and flu. Oregano particularly the oil of oregano has been described as natures antibiotic, it can kill bacteria, fungus, yeast, parasites and viruses; and it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain killer, and antiseptic.
The first remedy is a very simple homemade remedy but yet packs a powerful punch as a natural antibiotic remedy. It is a Garlic Honey Syrup. Simply crush a few cloves of garlic with a mortar and pestle in honey until the garlic is totally transparent. Bottle it and store it. This is a basic multi-purpose cure all syrup combining two of nature’s most powerful natural antibiotics to have on hand and ready for the first sign of infections both externally and internally.
The second homemade remedy is called The Winter Tonic. It was made famous by renowned outspoken herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze. Not an antibiotic in the true since of the word it is more of a powerful immune boosting formula which stimulates the immune system into readiness in preparation for an attack by opportunist bacteria. It is like natures very own flu shot. It is very simple to make and you take one tablespoon every morning as a preventative measure.
Instructions to Make the Winter Tonic:
500ml Raw Unfiltered Non-distilled Apple Cider Vinegar
2/3 part fresh crushed garlic cloves
1 part fresh chopped White Onion (or hottest onions)
1 part fresh grated Ginger Root
1 part fresh grated Horseradish Root
1 part fresh chopped Cayenne Peppers or add powdered Cayenne pepper.
1 part Turmeric chopped
Mix all the above ingredients together and store in an air tight container in a dark place. Shake daily. The longer you leave, the stronger the mixture gets. Strain off the mixture and pour the liquid back into air tight contain for storage. The solid bits strained off are lovely in a salad dressing. Indeed the Winter Tonic can be used as a salad dressing.
Herbal Formula For Ear Infection:
An old traditional remedy for this is crushed Garlic in warm olive oil and a few drops in the ear, using some cotton wool to plug the ear. It has proven to be very effective. over generations. Add some Echinacea as well to the mixture.
An internal herbal tincture remedy of: 2 parts Echinacea (anti microbial), 1 part Cleavers(alterative), 1 part Marshmallow(anti-inflammatory) and 1 part Yarrow(antimicrobial/anti-inflammatory) can also help.
Herbal Formula for Respiratory Tract Infection:
1 part Thyme
1 part Mullein
1 part Yarrow
1 part Golden Rod
1 part Boneset
Add spoon of Honey to taste.
For Acute Condition:
1 part grated Horseradish
1 part crushed Garlic
1 part grated Ginger
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Soak the above in Apple Cider Vinegar, Shake daily, Take one tablespoon 3 to 6 times daily.
6 parts Echinacea
2 part Comfrey Leaf
2 parts Mullein
2 parts Lungwort
2 parts Goldenseal
1 part Barberry
1 part Rosehips
1 part Marshmallow
1 part Yarrow
1 part Plantain
1/2 part Ginger
1/2 part Licorice.
Herbal Formula For Urinary Tract Infection:
1 part Nettle
1 part Dandelion
1 part Golden Rod
1 part Marshmallow.
6 parts Echinacea
2 parts Juniper
2 parts Marshmallow
1 part Bearberry (Uva ursi)
1 part Corn Silk
1 part Pau D’arco
1 part Dandelion root
1 part Barberry
1/2 part Ginger
1/2 part Licorice
General Immune Boosting Formula:
8 parts Echinacea
3 parts Panax Ginseng
3 parts Astragalus
3 parts Marshmallow
2 parts Mullein
2 parts Barberry
1 part Burdock
1 part Bearberry
1 part Lungwort
1 part Yellow Dock
1 part Plantain
1 part Vervain
1/2 part Ginger
1/2 part Licorice.
Apply a paste made up from a mixture of Honey, Cleavers, Chickweed, Barberry and Plantain to the infected site, wrap in cling film to hold in place and then wrap again with a bandage. Repeat daily until infection is cleared up.
Rinse eye a few times daily with 2 drops of the following tincture mixed in with 30ml water. Increase the number of drops if needed.
3 parts Eyebright
1/2 part Goldenseal
1 part Marshmallow
1 part Fennel
1/2 part Oak Bark
1 part Red Raspberry
Since their development and been put into general public use in the 1940 pharmaceutical antibiotic have saved many thousands and thousands of lives. But unfortunately because of miss use on a multitude of levels we have now arrived at a crisis situation where they no longer are effective. Bacteria that once could be killed quite easily by these once “miracle drugs” have now adapted and mutated to become resistant to most of these drugs. Simple infection are now becoming harder to clear up. So the question has to be asked, “As human begins where does that leave us?”
What would happen in a world if this crisis was to develop and develop? Despite billions and billions of dollars been pumped into new research around the world each year, nature seems to be working at an even faster pace, never in the history of the planet has bacteria cells been able to mutate at such an alarming rate becoming resistant to newer and newer drugs. But these bacteria like all bacteria, and all life-plant and animal, are only doing what comes natural to them, survive. It is the essence of every living thing in nature to survive and propagate their species and theses pathogens are no different.
It has been the attack by man on them, that has forced them to defend themselves. Harmful bacteria live in and on us every day and only cause infection when our defences and immune system is low. In the 1880’s the French chemist and biologist, Antoine Bechamp, gave us his “terrain” theory, where he described theses harmful bacteria living all around us on a daily bases, but if our “terrain” (immune system) was good and strong then out body was able to ward these bacteria off on its own. It’s a pity his wise words were not listened to, may we would have a much healthier population.
Sadly over the last 100 years or so due to changes in lifestyle, poor eating habits, lack of exercise and poor quality of food, our “terrains” have weakened, giving theses opportunistic bacteria a foothold. Our response as human begins was to go on an all out attack with chemicals, while at first we won the first battle or two, we look like that we are actually losing the war. There seems to be a growing body of research that suggests that if we stop using antibiotics, only in medical cases where they are deemed absolutely necessary, that the bacteria themselves begin to slowly lose or forget their resistance. Maybe this might be the first step.
Allopathic medicines approach is still a chemical war on theses harmful bacteria but history has shown that they are actually losing this war at an alarming rate. In fact in a recent report, in new research been undertaken, they were injecting a virus into the body to attack and kill theses harmful bacteria and while it seemed to work, one would have to ask themselves what are the long term health results of this going to be. In 20 or 30 years time are we going to be looking for new chemical to kill theses viruses. One could summarise that the allopathic model has learnt nothing from the past.
But all is not lost, nature has provided use with the tools to help redress the imbalance. Garlic, Echinacea, Honey, Goldenseal and Barberry all help with fighting infection and don’t have some of the serious side effects of chemical antibiotics. What’s more not only do they fight the infections but due to their complex chemical structures they support and strengthen the immune system on many levels as well and help protect it from future infective attacks. Isn’t that what Mr. Bechamp was telling us over 100 years ago, to keep the “terrain” or immune system strong.
Whether a person would want to include Colloidal Silver as a natural antibiotic or not would be entirely up to the persons own personal belief on the product, Clearly it has quick action on killing bacteria on contact and is effective for throat infection but the author is of the opinion that in acute condition it may well work but for long term use it might prove dangerous to other organs of the body, like the kidneys.
In the course of researching on this topic the author came across another natural substance that was been heavily touted as a natural powerful antibiotic and that was Grape Seed Extract, seemly it kills most bacteria on contact and is widely used in some hospitals and health clinics to great effect, but on further investigation there were some conflicting reports that its antibacterial and anti-microbial actions were due to chemicals been added during the extraction process. Therefore it was decided to exclude this product from this thesis on the grounds of insufficient and conflicting evidence which warranted further investigation.
In conclusion it is the authors own personal opinion is that if a person lives a healthy lifestyle, the right living foods, plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunlight, a good balance in work and relationships and in general a positive and happy outlook on life, then there “terrain” will be strong and harmful bacteria won’t get the chance to pose a problem to them and this is the best natural antibiotic of them all. In essence we need to support and maintain a strong immune system through proper healthy living food diet, plenty of exercise, balanced lifestyle and a positive outlook on life.
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By Michael Roughan
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