Many experts now say that antibiotics are overprescribed, which can lead to the creation of "super bugs" that are impervious to antibiotic treatment. We now have health professionals in alternative fields (herbal, naturopathic and chinese medicine practioners) who have knowledge of natural infection fighters. Here are a few tips from them. Note that I have cited sources from the article in Natural Health Magazine (listed below), as this information comes from them. The remedies they recommend here can be purchased easily at a health food store.
Our grandparents likely knew about many of the positive health properties of these plants, so it's not new information - we just need to be reminded to think plants first!
IF IT FEELS LIKE STREP THROAT
gargle with bitter orange essential oil and salt water. Both are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. The Journal of Phytomedicine reported that bitter orange was one of the very few essential oils that inhibited bacterial growth in a study of 172 plants. Dissolve 1 drop of bitter orange essential oil and 1/4 tsp salt in 1/2 cup warm water. Gargle twice daily.
Use a Tincture or capsule of echinacea and goldenseal. Both herbs prepare the body to fight a throat infection. Echinacea boosts immunity, while goldenseal has berberine, an antibacterial compound. (our USANA Booster C contains Echinacea and elderberry extract).
Take Sang Ju Yin Wan. This formula combines antibacterial chrysanthemum flowers and apricot seeds with anti-inflammatory and antiviral herbs.
IF IT FEELS LIKE A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
Take nettle leaf tincture. Nettle is an excellent remedy for UTI's. The leaves act as a diuretic and help flush bacteria out of the bladder. Nettle's Chlorophyll also decreases inflammation in your urinary tract.
Drink unsweetened cranberry or blueberry juice. This is one that we've heard for years, but you may not know that 32oz a day is the volume of juice that is helpful. Anthocyanidins in blueberries also help prevent E. Coli from adhering to the urinary tract.
Brew Plantain seed Tea- This chinese remedy dries, cools and reduces inflammation in the bladder, so it's harder for bacteria to thrive there. Like nettle, plantain seeds are a diuretic and help from UTI's from escalating. Boil 1 cup of water, remove from heat, then steep 1 to 2 teaspoons plantain seeds.
IF IT FEELS LIKE A SINUS INFECTION
Opt for a five-herb formula. A german blend of gentian root, black elder and primrose flowers, common sorel and vervain is the best clinically tested herbal formula for sinusitis. It's a proven antiviral, mucus-thinning blend. (Bionorica Sinupret Sinus Immune support, $18
Clear Sinuses with grape seed extract (Proflavanol C from USANA). A study confirmed grape seeds effectiveness in reducing sinus inflammation. IT does this by reducing the body's production of histamine (a compound that causes allergy symptoms.
Take N-acetyl-cysteine. This amino acid (found in our USANA Essentials at 100mg/day) activates white blood cells in the respiratory tract, increases antioxidant activity and helps thin and drain mucus. GNC NAC 600 was suggested in the article, which is 6 times the amount in our Essentials- as therapeutic in this case.
IF IT FEELS LIKE AN EAR INFECTION
Use mullein and garlic ear drops. "Mullien flower is anti-inflammatory and garlic is antibacterial. Some sufferers use garlic eardrops because their stomachs are too sensitive for pure, potent garlic.
Take Quercetin (also in our USANA Essentials) LIke vitamin C, quercetin relieves the histamine-induced swelling that keeps fluids in the ears- a breeding ground for bacteria. Unlike C, higher doses of quercetin won't cause loose stools.
Chew Xylitol gum. This sugar alcohol helps to kill the pathogens that cause ear infections.
Pop a protease. Taken on an empty stomach, the same enzymes that digest protein can break down mucus and slow it's production, helping clear the ears of bacteria. (Protease is an enzyme that breaks down protein, and is in our USANA digestive enzymes)
IF IT FEELS LIKE ACUTE BRONCHITIS
Take thyme tablets. Taken orally, thyme travels to your airways where a compound thymol disinfects bacteria. OF course you can always go out to your herb garden and pick a sprig or two!
Drink Black elderflower and elderberry tea. An extract of the black elder herb is antiviral and it's also been shown to inhibit bacterial growth. Boil 1 cup of water, remove from heat. Steep 1 tsp of elder flowers and 1/2 tsp sweet elder berries for 10 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups daily. (USANA Booster C also contains Elderberry Extract)
Swallow umckaloabo syrup. Four clinical trials showed that umckaloabo (a South African herb) successfully treats bronchitis. In one study, the herb upped the odds of complete recovery by seven times. (Umcka Cold Care contains this herb)
ANTIBIOTICS AS A FINAL ALTERNATIVE
If you are still suffering after exhausting all the natural antidotes, try taking your antibiotics with a cup of green tea. The green tea will significantly boost the efficacy and will weaken drug resistant bacteria. It also is wise to take probiotics concurrently with antibiotics to help you keep a healthy level of good gut bacteria.
Avoid antacids. They neutralize the very acids that help your blood absorb antibiotics.
Make your multivitamin iron free. Iron feeds bad bacteria. Our USANA Multivitamin (Essentials) is iron free.
Take a break from tonifying herbs such as ginseng. They strengthen immunity, but also strengthen pathogens once they have taken hold.
Michael A Schmidt, Ph.D, chairman of the Infectious Disease Research Complex at Colorado State University
Donielle Wilson, president of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Jill Blakeway, M.Sc., L.AC, Clinic director of the YinOva Center in New York City
Jennifer Crain, M.S.O.M., licensed herbalist, Austin, TX
Mark Blumenthal, executive Director of the American Botanical Council
Steven Sandberg-Lewis, N.D., professor at the National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR
Paul Kalnins, N.D. L.Ac, Assistant professor at NCNM