Prescription antibiotics are so commonly used and prescribed for bacterial infections that sometimes we forget about nature’s antimicrobial properties that have been used since prehistoric times to fight bacteria.
Prescription antibiotics are synthetic. They enter the bloodstream and act systemically which comes with the unfortunate side effect of combatting the beneficial bacteria found in the gut. In addition to this, prescription antibiotics can sometimes help bacteria adapt and become stronger. By eliminating the bacteria susceptible to the antibiotic, the resistant bacteria remain and multiply yielding a new colony which is resistant to that antibiotic. These new colonies are able to spread from person to person, compounding the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that take 10 million lives per year.
Since discovered by Alexander Fleming in the 1920s, they have saved millions of lives because they are very effective. One should always take the full course of antibiotics prescribed by their physician.
Yet certain bacterial infections can be treated and prevented using these natural compounds. For non-life threatening bacterial infections, these natural compounds have been found to be very helpful.
Honey has been shown to suppress the growth of the foodborne pathogens E. coli and salmonella, and is even used in an FDA approved ointment for wound healing. By providing a moist, bacteria free, and slightly acidic environment, honey helps wounds heal faster while reducing the risk of infection.
Raw garlic contains the potent antibacterial compound allicin. In order to receive the antibacterial benefits of garlic, it is important to consume it raw as cooking denatures the active ingredient. Eating raw garlic may help prevent infections and gargling with garlic can suppress bacteria causing a sore throat.
There are many other naturally occurring compounds which are known to have antimicrobial properties. Keep these in mind and at hand but remember to always listen to your physician’s directions when prescribed antibiotics.
Onions are also antibacterial and antiseptic. You may have heard about people placing raw onions on their feet at night or sliced next to their bed - this is because onions absorb unwanted bacteria.
Cinnamon is an extremely powerful antibiotic. We have blogged before about cinnamon, more specifically ceylon cinnamon, and its benefits. Pure cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants which helps your immune system.