Alternatives To Antibiotics
ARTICLE #1 Some Alternatives to Antibiotics
ARTICLE #2 Natural Alternatives to Antibiotics
ARTICLE #4 Essential Oils Found to Fight Bacteria
Contrary to what most mainstream doctors will tell you, there are effective alternatives to pharmaceutical antibiotics. These agents have not been adequately studied, but have many years of anecdotal evidence behind them.
Echinacea, for example, was recently shown to be one of the best natural antibiotics in a study at the University of Munich. Dr Alfred Vogel promoted Echinacea for more than 40 years and this report proves that there are natural ways to support and boost the defenses of the human body. This North American plant was originally used by Indians for the healing of wounds, snake bites, and infections. It inhibits the ability of the bacteria to penetrate cells and it particularly stimulates a certain type of white blood cells called macrophages that consume the bacteria present in our body. It is beneficial as a single remedy but can profitably be taken together with Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis. Liquid Cone flower extracts are usually preferable as they have the most rapid effect.
1:2 liquid extract: 10 - 20 ml. a day in acute infections.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) A North American plant - just like Cone flower - used as a medicinal herb by the Indians. The active substances of this plant include various alkaloids, e.g. berberine. It has cleansing, disinfectant, and bacteriostatic effects.
Dried root (10% alkaloid): 250 mg. 3 times a day.
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) From ancient times, this herb has been used as an ingredient in wound ointments. In addition to its mood-lifting effect, St. John's wort is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects that can kill off resistant staphylococci. Among other things, St. John's wort contains the substance hyperforin which has antibiotic effects. The plant can also be used externally. It can profitably be used together with Cone flower. St. John's wort is non-toxic in the recommended dosages and detoxifies the body to such a degree that conventional medicine taken together with St. John's wort might lose its effect. You should therefore consult your doctor if you consider taking St. John's wort whilst taking conventional medicine. If you are using St. John's wort, you should avoid strong sunlight as the herb can make you hypersensitive to light.
1:2 liquid extract: 5 ml. a day in case of acute infection.
Dried root: 4 g. 3 times a day in case of acute infection.
Garlic (Allium sativum) Garlic has a long tradition of being a natural antibiotic. Hippokrates, the founder of the art of healing, recommended this herb among other things as a disinfectant. Today, we known that when garlic is crushed, its ingredients come into contact with each other and make antibacterial connections, e.g. the sulphur compound allicin. Garlic juice has been proved to either inhibit or kill more than 20 bacterial species. However, garlic has the best effect on intestinal or respiratory infections.
Fresh garlic: A minimum of 3 large cloves of garlic a day. Acutally, there is no upper limit in case of acute infections.
Dried powder: 300 mg. 3 times a day before meals in case of acute infections.
Probiotics: "For therapeutic use, acidophilus products should be measured in billions of CFU (colony-formingunits)". Aim for 3 to 5 varieties. Use human strains. Fortunately, the digestive tract acts as a fertile ground in which we can plant new, healthy organisms, and those organisms are called probiotics. Taking these valuable mixtures of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacteria longum, and other organisms can restore proper digestive function. Saccharomyces boulardii is a special organism that seems to have some use in treating Clostridium dificile, a dangerous digestive infection that results from overuse of antibiotics. Probiotics provide innumerous benefits to your health and body. Listed are some of the ways they can help: As an immune system booster, In the fight against cancer, For digestive health,To fight infections (viral, bacterial, fungal), As an intestinal cleanser, In the battle against environmental toxins (in the air we breathe, the water we drink, etc.)
Colostrum: In the July 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, British researchers combed the research on the use of bovine colostrum for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, and also gastrointestinal injury caused by either anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) or chemotherapy. The authors conclude that "early results are encouraging and we envisage the standard use of these products in the clinical management of gastrointestinal diseases within the next decade." Colostrum is rich in immune stimulating substances like immunoglobulins.
Selasih: The botanical name for this plant is ocimum sanctum. It is called tulasi by Indians. The English name is Holy basil. It is held is very high esteem in Ayurveda, the Indian science of traditional healing. In fact, next to the lotus, it is the second most sacred herb of the vedas (the ancient holy books). It is known as the "herb with many cures". As it has a very high place in Ayurveda, it is a very well researched herb. Among its many documented effects are as immunostimulant, expectorant, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antiseptic, analgesic, hepatoprotective, stress adaptogen, anti-cattarhal and mild blood purifier.
Liver herbs: The bitter herb, hempedu bumi (andographis paniculata) is an excellent antibiotic.
Vitamin C: Robert Cathcart, M.D. - probably the most experienced therapist currently using very high doses of ascorbic acid - has been treating with the nutrient for decades to get AIDS patients back on their feet. In a published report he describes the use of oral vitamin C in bacterial infections with doses as high as 200 grams or higher. He includes over 30 references of others who have used very high doses in disease treatment. A fantastic remedy against all bacterial infections. The only reason why some individuals have not had good results from taking vitamin C must be that they have taken too little. The white blood cells designed to remove bacteria from any undesirable place in the entire body are dependent on vitamin C and the level of activity of the blood cells increases with increased amounts of this vitamin.
In acute bacterial infections, you (adults) should normally take 2 - 3 g. vitamin C as a shock dose. After this, take 1½ - 2 g. every hour - in severe cases even more. In very serious cases it might be necessary to take vitamin C in larger intravenous injections - a doctor will administer this.
The sooner the treatment is initiated, the sooner you will overcome the infection. In order to increase the absorption of vitamin C, it might be a good idea to supplement with some bioflavonoids; e.g. fresh fruit- or vegetable juice. Once your body has reached its saturation point for vitamin C, your stools will get thin. Then slowly step down the dose to normal dose.
Olive Leaf Extract: This flavonoid and antioxidant has been tested as an antimicrobial agent, with sufficient power to achieve a published status in peer-review journals.Olive leaf extract has been used against infections for thousands of years and its effect has been confirmed by recent scientific studies. The fruit, bark, and roots - and particularly the leaves - of the olive trea contain the bitter substance oleuropein which both stimulates the white blood cells and prevents the propagation of microorganisms, including bacteria, by disturbing their production of amino acids.
The dosage in acute bacterial infections is 1 capsule (500 mg., at least 15% oleuropein) to be taken for 1 week 3 times a day between meals. In severe infections, the dose can be doubled.
Wild oregano extract (Origanum vulgare) Oregano is probably mostly known as a pizza spice. However, wild oregano is an old medicinal herb. It contains terpenes such as thymol and carvacrol which inhibit coli bacteria, salmonella bacteria, and staphylococci. Moreover, researchers have discovered that wild oregano has stronger antioxidant effects than other herbs.
Dosage of capsules with wild oregano: 2 capsules 1 - 3 times a day according to the severity of the infection.
Do not take an oregano cure during pregnancy.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: "Citricidal," a natural antibiotic made from an extract of grapefruit seed, was developed from the observation that something in grapefruit (though not in other citrus fruits) keeps bacteria at bay for extended periods of time.
Colloidal Silver: By far the most controversial agent in the armamentarium of 'natural' antibacterial agents. Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.'s research has found that bacteria have an enzyme system that is disrupted by the presence of silver ions, causing the organism to die. In fact, it was commonly used as the only hope against severe infections prior to the advent of antibiotics in the 1940's. Dr. Wright suggests adult doses of "One tablespoon of colloidal silver at a 40 ppm (parts per million) concentration at the first signs of any infection and 1-2 teaspoons three to four times daily until the infection is gone. Then stop!" Silver has been known for centuries for its bacteriostatic effect and the use of silver preparations in therapy was widespread up until the introduction of antibiotics.
Colloidal silver is the designation of microscopic silver particles, partly in the form of silver ions suspended in demineralised water. The strength of the preparation is measured in PPM (Parts Per Million). Colloidal silver is believed to work by disturbing the bacterial enzymatic system. If CS comes into contact with intestinal bacteria, it will weaken or kill these bacteria just as conventional antibiotics. For this reason, it is advisable to combine CS with a supplement of lactic acid bacteria. However, the majority of the consumed CS is supposed to be absorbed by the oral mucosa and therefore only a limited amount of CS reaches the intestines.
Acute adult dosage: 1 tbsp. (40 PPM) at the first signs of infection. Then, take 1 - 2 tsp. 3 - 4 times a day between meals until the infection has disappeared and the treatment is finished. The dosage can vary somewhat from one preparation to the next.
Other natural antibiotics include garlic, marigold, Tea Tree oil, Wild Indigo, honey, grapefruit seed extract, and wormwood.
by Suzanne Laurie (more info)
listed in environmental
originally published in issue 97 - March 2004
…what does perplex many of us is how safe, effective and abundant natural alternatives have been disregarded and rejected for
In this article, Suzanne Laurie describes the result of the over use of antibiotics and suggests alternative natural remedies to be used, especially for minor complaints. Antibiotic medication produced great excitement when it was introduced in the 1930s. Many thought it would be the cure for all infectious diseases. What was not taken into account was the adaptability of bacteria and their increased resistance and we are now in a situation where antibiotics are fast becoming obsolete through overuse.
Because of the initial success of antibiotics, research into alternatives such as vitamins and bacteriophages was halted until quite recently. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies are continuing their search for stronger and stronger antibiotics rather than looking for a more sustainable alternative. This is because they are still making huge profits from their patented synthetic drugs.
Laurie acknowledges that antibiotics have an important use in medicine, especially when the bacteria has infected blood stream, bone, spinal cord or other vital organs. She feels, however, that there are many remedies for more common ailments which have been vastly neglected. These include herbs such as echinacea and garlic. The former stimulates the immune system and is a mild antibiotic, and the latter is an excellent antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent. Propolis, made by bees to ensure an infection-free environment for egg laying, can be used as a strong antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral agent. Antioxidants can also be used, not to attack pathogens directly, but to ensure optimal immune function. The body manufactures its own antioxidants from minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium, zinc and the Vitamin B complex. It also uses ready-made antioxidants from vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids and zinc. The best foods where antioxidants are to be found are dark green vegetables, dark coloured berries, carrots and other yellow, red or orange vegetables and fruit. Many essential oils also have excellent antiviral and antibacterial effect, most notably oregano, clove, tea tree and thyme.
Laurie concludes with two case studies, one of a 17 year old girl with recurrent throat infection and one of a 26 year student with a skin rash caused by bacterial infection.
In the first case an improved diet with more fruit and vegetables, a multivitamin and mineral supplement and the use of echinacea when she felt ill, produced a good result with only one infection shortly after the initial consultation and only one other mild sore throat. In the second case a high dose of multivitamin and mineral plus extra antioxidants was prescribed, together with daily intake of garlic and the application tea tree oil to the rash. After two months only scarring remained.
By Laurie Barclay
WebMD Medical News Archive Reviewed By Dr. Tonja Wynn Hampton
Feb. 16, 2001 -- Homeopathy is a popular form of alternative medicine based on the concept of "similars" -- the idea that the same substance that could make a person ill in large amounts could actually relieve symptoms of that illness in very small amounts. In other words, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
The applications of homeopathy are widespread -- everything from treating the common cold to clearing up childhood ear infections. It's this latest use that caught the attention of a group of West Coast researchers, who set out to evaluate in a scientific way the many reports of homeopathic success.
"We set this up as a pilot study, not really expecting to see any positive effect from homeopathy," says researcher Jennifer Jacobs, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle. "We were surprised that homeopathy decreased symptoms [of middle ear infections] in the first 24 hours of treatment."
The implications are important. Not only did the researchers determine that individualized homeopathic treatments can give early relief to the ear pain, fever, and fussiness associated with ear infections, they also say such treatment could potentially help reduce antibiotic use in children, something which has been associated with increasing rates of antibiotic resistance.
The study, which appears in the February issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, was funded by the Standard Homeopathic Company and took place in a private pediatric practice in Seattle. Children with middle ear infection received either a homeopathic remedy geared to their specific symptoms, or a placebo. They took the pills three times daily for five days, or until their ear pain and fever got better, whichever came first.
The children, aged 18 months to 6 years, were divided into two groups, with 36 receiving homeopathic treatment and 39 getting placebo. Neither the researchers nor the parents knew which treatment each child got until the study was over.
Eight different homeopathic remedies were given in combinations that were individualized for each child, depending on his or her mood, type of pain, amount of thirst, and length of time with symptoms. The most commonly used remedies were Pulsatilla (windflower), Chamomilla (German chamomile), Sulfur (elemental sulfur), and Calcarea carbonica (calcium carbonate).
At the beginning of treatment, all the children had fluid in the middle ear and had suffered ear pain and/or fever -- but for less than 36 hours. The doctors examined them for objective measures of ear infection, specifically fluid in the middle ear. They also looked at subjective measures by asking parents and children to report in a diary whether they felt less pain and had less fever during the course of treatment.
To assess the treatment, doctors checked the children after five days, two weeks, and six weeks, and found that over this range of time, 10-20% of the homeopathy group showed more signs of improvement than the kids taking placebo. The researchers admit the study was too small to know for sure if this difference could be explained by chance alone, or to tell if the homeopathic treatment reduced the need for antibiotics.
But when the researchers looked at the symptom diaries, they found that at 24 and 64 hours after treatment, the children who got the homeopathic treatment reported significantly less ear pain and fever than those who received placebo.
"This finding may actually be more important ... since early symptom relief may help prevent overuse of antibiotics," Jacobs says.
In light of increasing fears concerning antibiotic resistance, many pediatricians are adopting a "watch and wait" approach to ear infections, reserving antibiotic use for those children who do not improve within a couple of days.
As there are essentially no side effects from homeopathic medications, parents can safely give them to their children at the first sign of ear infection. "Homeopathic medications are good to decrease symptoms while we're waiting for the body to do its work and fight off the infection," Jacobs says. "And kids like taking them because of their sweet taste."
If high fever and ear pain persist after 24 hours, Jacobs recommends that parents consult their pediatrician, who may then elect to start appropriate antibiotics.
"On its own, ... this study is not sufficient to warrant a conclusion that homeopathy is effective for [ear infections]," says Andrew Vickers, PhD, an independent research consultant to the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital in the U.K., who was asked to review the study for WebMD. Nevertheless, Vickers finds the study "provocative" and suggests it be replicated with a larger number of patients.
Ralph Ballard, MD agrees that more research is needed and recommends that future studies compare homeopathy to both placebo and to antibiotic treatment. Ballard is a professor of family medicine at Monash University in Victoria, Australia.
And although she agrees that homeopathy deserves more rigorous evaluation, Australian doctor Marie Pirotta predicts there may be difficulties in doing so. Because homeopathic treatments are created individually for each patient, it may be impossible to design a traditional scientific study to compare them.
"This is always going to be a problem with trials of this type," says Pirotta, who teaches at the University of Melbourne in Carlton, Australia.
DALLAS, Feb 15 (Reuters Health) - A pair of orthopaedic surgeons report that two essential oils--eucalyptus and tea-tree oil--are surprisingly effective at treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.
Despite the positive findings, though, others say it is too soon to consider such oils an alternative to antibiotics.
The researchers presented their findings here at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Dr. Eugene Sherry of the University of Sydney in Australia said that, applied to the skin of infected wounds an antibacterial wash derived from Eucalyptus radiata and Melaleuca alternifolia--better known as eucalyptus and tea-tree oil--can work when modern antibiotics fail.
Essential oils like these are mostly used in aromatherapy, Sherry noted.
He said that he used the combination "once a day for several months" in a series of 25 patients with MRSA.
"Twenty-two of the infections resolved completely," Sherry reported. In 19 patients, the infections resolved without the use of antibiotics, while three patients required antibiotic treatment, he said.
Before Sherry applied the solution, he removed dead skin and infected tissue from the wound, a process called debridement. Sixteen of the infections involved the bone and three had spread to muscle.
In addition, 10 of the patients were diabetic, which "makes healing of wounds very difficult," Sherry said in an interview with Reuters Health.
Two years ago, Sherry attended a presentation about the antibacterial properties of essential oils and decided to research the subject. He said that he discovered a wealth of 50-year-old research concerning essential oils, but said "all that research was abandoned when modern science discovered antibiotics."
When Sherry decided to initiate a trial of eucalyptus and tea-tree oil in MRSA patients, he discovered that Dr. Patrick H. Warnke, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Kiel in Germany, was pursuing a parallel study. So the two combined their work to produce the 25-patient MRSA study.
Warnke said they are now studying an aerosolized version of the compound in laboratory studies of tuberculosis. When they sprayed the compound on tuberculosis cultures "we wiped out TB, killed it, in 40 minutes. No antibiotic does that," Warnke told Reuters Health.
Both doctors said that they have received no funding from the makers of the essential oils, nor do they have financial interests in companies producing the substances.
Dr. Harris Gellman, professor of medicine at the University of Miami and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said the new study is "interesting and exciting," but the treatment is nowhere near ready for prime time.
Gellman pointed out that although the results are positive, the authors have not provided enough information. For example, he said, the information about the site of the infection, duration before the essential oils treatment, and comparison to a "control" group are all missing from the study.
The bottom line, Gellman said, is that "we don't know if these patients would have recovered irrespective of treatment."
But even with those caveats, Gellman said he is pleased that orthopaedic surgeons are "finally going back" to evaluate traditional therapies for infection.
"Most medicinals come from plants," he noted, "so the natural progression is to look to more plants for more treatments."