If you’ve been lucky enough to get to experience the latest flu bugs going around you’ll know it’s a real joy ride! But on the positive side, think about it...your body is building some GREAT antibodies! Never waste an experience, right?
People are always asking "what I do", so I'm using the opportunity to share a common event in everyone's life. As a foodie, it engages an answer to my passion for plant foods to see what function each food and herb serves. I am a researcher of functional wellness and functional foods, so any opportunity to identify further functions is a great opportunity. My intention at all times is to maintain or restore balance to the systems that run our bodies, to assist the body, and to learn. Hopefully, I've lived in such a way that illness is few and far between, but to be honest, we do WANT illness from time to time. When this happen, our bodies build antibodies to germs and bacteria. So when you get sick, don't judge yourself, think something's wrong, or that you "shouldn't" be sick. Use it as an opportunity to be thankful for your body and to learn. More than anything I don’t want to be guided by fear, but to empower myself through educating myself. My particular interest is in plant foods and food as medicine. My belief is to eat in a way that nourishes my body, and that when I get sick, to consume more of those functional foods and herbs that can assist me. If this is also your intention, read on.
Obviously, we know you are smart enough to know this does not substitute for care from a health professional, and to listen to your gut, and your body when it comes to getting help.
And I don’t know about you, but I have an intense passion for the foods and herbs that can be my “medicine”. So I am sharing what I have tried and used in the past. Keep this in mind as you educate yourself, but know when to get the proper care for yourself as well.
Others have talked about natural antibiotics in past forums and you can find tons of information about them on the internet, but I’m going to give you my go to list as well. We’re also going to discuss some of the foods and tips that you may not have heard before.
It is amazing that we have information at our fingertips with the internet. There is so much out there about each of these Natural Antibiotics that what I suggest as the best course of action for their use is to google your specific concern along with the particular natural antibiotic you would like to try. Important note: They are not to TREAT a condition, but to learn which foods to make use of that have antibiotic action in order to assist the body’s healing efforts. For example, if cough is your concern, type in “cough and garlic”. What should pop up are options specific to your particular concern. Below I have added a few of my experiences of use as well. Keep in mind they are my experiences and if you’d like to try them, discuss what’s best with your healthcare provider. All healing modalities have their time and place; wisdom dictates the ability to know what and when.
Here it is: My Go To Natural Antibiotics list(aka Verbal Gold):
Manuka Honey -
Used topically by rubbing a thin layer on affected areas of skin and mastitis.
Taken internally by the tablespoon to boost immune system
Added by the tablespoon to hot lemon water or herbal tea is known to soothe sore throat
Known to be anti inflammatory and helpful eaten daily to accomodate the body to local allergens
Oil of Oregano -
Typical dose is 1 dropperful 3-5 times a day. It is spicy, so swallow with milk or mylk(a non animal milk like soymilk, hempmilk, almond milk, etc). It must be 70% Carvacrol. I typically order mine from Joy of the Mountain, and we carry it at the WellClinic. Here is an excellent article on uses: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/oregano-oil-benefits.html?t=JERF
Turmeric - Wonderful use is in Golden Milk, very soothing and helps promote sleep. Turmeric capsules can be taken and dose is typically 1-3 times a day of curcumin capsules
Real Garlic - Yep, when sick I eat it raw. To reduce the offensive garlic breath, I chop it into small pieces and swallow a clove down with water, usually 5-8 cloves a day. Also, it’s important to note, foodie that I am, that garlic is considered one of the “trinity” of foods to eat every day for health, anti aging and longevity. I always have a garlic chest rub and or oil on hand. See recipe under “cayenne”. Massaged around the folds of the ear and near the opening to the ear canal it can be extremely beneficial with ear infections.
Fresh whole ginger - Ginger is another of the “trinity” to eat every day, sick or not. I use on the chest in the form of a fomentation. This simply means I mix a tsp of ginger with a tbsp castor oil, place on the chest or neck if mucous is present and lay with a warm damp cloth on top of it. Keep it nice and warm with a heated bean bag, or (carefully for burns)a heating pad
Cayenne - Known to break up mucous and improve circulation. I typically add a dash into tea with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and juice of a whole lemon. Excellent throat soother and blood cleanser as well. Spicy though! Another use common for our family is to sprinkle a little into a garlic chest rub I make: 2 cloves garlic sauteed quickly in 4 tbsp coconut oil, add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Allow to cool and rub on chest or foot.
Colloidal Silver - I use all the time! We use it to sanitize our hands and surfaces, to gargle it in the throat, to swallow 1 tbsp 3 times a day.
Natural Antibiotic Herbal tinctures-
I typically make herbal tinctures for these and that is a lesson for another time, but these are easily bought at quality herbalists. The dosage of each varies from 3-10 drops 3 times a day. Check with your herbalist or the directions on the bottle. Herbals are more prone to have contraindications to conditions and use of pharmaceuticals, so make sure to educate yourself on them first.
Grapefruit seed extract
Olive Leaf Extract
While truth in homeopathic healing is based on the “totality of symptoms” of the whole person, for acute conditions there are some fantastic homeopathic combinations to use. They need to be taken repeatedly throughout the day. It is the “frequency” of use that makes this “frequency medicine” do its job. What I love about homeopathy is that they allow the body to choose a frequency to match. They do not come with the side effects of pharmaceuticals and are gentle for all ages.
There are so many types and functions of cough, I thought it would be useful to post the homeopathics for the various functions of cough. Homeopathics are not used to “treat” a condition, but to assist the body. Its use is determined by the definition of the condition rather than a “diagnosis” of the condition.
Drosera Rotundifolia - spasmodic cough, whooping type of cough
Lachesis Mutus - coughing attacks common to keeping people awake
Carbo Vegetabilis - spasmodic cough
Coccus Cacti - irritated bronchii, mucous throat
Kali Carbonicum - wheezing type of cough
Arsenicum Iodatum - inflammation of the chest, inflammatory cough that doesn’t produce
Scilia - congestive inflammation of bronchii
Causticum Hahemanni - cough with wandering chest pains
Many of these are simple, from the garden or produce section. Others can be bought in natural foods, but either way, these are what I have on hand in dried herbal form, fresh and in the fridge, as a tincture and on my shelves, and in my medicine bag. Always.
But some of the other tips are not as often talked about, but are heavily important to assisting the body in its healing efforts.
Bone Broth - One of my faves is bone broth. I use it all the time. It was the original “chicken noodle soup” and made from scratch has a whole host of benefits from good sick nutrition, soothing throat serum, great lubricating fats, excellent minerals, collagen builders and proteins. It also protects the gut. The best part, you can make and freeze, taking out a jar at a time. You can eat it with nothing in it and sip as you need it or you can add it to any recipe that asks for water or liquid. Obviously it’s not vegan and I don’t eat the meat, and veggie broth can serve some of the same benefits.
Things NOT to eat during any illness include any kind of sugar. As I mentioned above, I use honey, but no other sweetener. This doesn’t include only refined white sugar, but even those considered healthier. Any sweetener can help feed bacteria and we don’t want any more of that. Also, it’s a mucosal food, meaning that as it breaks down it creates mucosal productions. Sweet tasting herbs like Stevia and xylitol and have some healing benefits to them, so I question them less, but generally I don’t recommend much sugar of any kind.
What is not commonly known is that grain products are polysaccharides, meaning multiple chain sugars. As they break down in the body, they become single chain sugars. Because of the inflammatory effects, whenever I or my family are sick, we avoid bread and grain products. The body is inflamed enough, we don’t need more.
No dairy. This includes fluid dairy and also cheeses. Dairy is a mucosal food as well. This thickens the mucous that is already creating itself heavily in the body in the body’s attempts to keep the body safe during illness and rid itself of pathogens. Even though it adds to the mucous the body is producing, it does not thicken a thin runny nose, instead making it worse. What’s worse the mucous is so sticky that it can hold the bacteria in longer, leading to throat, sinus and ear infections.
Pineapple - can be found to be an AMAZING cough calmer and throat soother! Its natural enzymes of bromelain and papain work wonders at breaking down mucous in the throat and reducing inflammation. It has to be fresh but it can be soothing to even the rawest sore throat eaten whole or juiced. If there are open ulcerations, like with strep throat, sip slowly, it may burn and you may want to avoid it. Warmed, it might be better but be careful not to overdo it or you’ll kill the nutrients you’re trying to use.
I remember if I had a sore throat my grandparents would bring out popsicles. So kind of them, but not a great idea. They’re full of sugar and dyes which just further increases inflammation, feeds bacteria, and slows the body’s elimination systems. It’s not just frozen water, in fact water can actually feel HARDER to swallow. The reason is because the constitution of the water is so different from the lubricating thick saliva and/or mucous in the mouth and throat. The reason the popsicles FEEL soothing is not just because of the cool, but because the sugar creates a sort of lubricant as it melts in your mouth. However, pineapple does that as well. It would be most beneficial to juice a pineapple, pour into ice cube trays and suck on them. Not only will the enzymes in the pineapple break down the mucous, but they’ll be soothing and nourishing at the same time.
One of the biggest dangers during an illness is dehydration. Most people don’t realize that dehydration can happen even if you’ve been drinking a bunch of water. And the reason is because they’re a big difference between dehydration of water in general, and electrolyte depletion. In fact, some people can know the risk and overdue water consumption and actually worsen their problem. This is because it is believed the water can flush out minerals and electrolytes. This is known to be true, which is why pedialyte and gatorade exists. Problem….fake sugars, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and dyes.
A better choice would be coconut water. If you don’t have that, try a little baking soda and salt in water. Juicing would be an excellent option as well.
If the body is in a stress mode, the last thing it is going to be doing is thinking about digestion, much less doing it. The very act of eating actually increases inflammation just because of the work on the part of the cells to metabolize and perform their functions. Foods that are easy to digest are the way to go here, not meats and beans. Cooked fruits and vegetables, garden canned fruits can be much more supportive options.
That sick death taste - you know, where nothing tastes good and you have that really bad taste in your mouth, especially after you try eat something, which just makes the nausea (if you have it) worse? That’s the bacteria letting itself be known. It’s especially worse after eating breads and sugars, because you’re feeding the bacteria right there in your mouth and throat. What’s worse, remember, the body isn’t thinking about digestion, so the typical enzymes that help once it’s in the belly are not as prevalent as they usually are. This equals a happy healthy environment for the bacteria to grow..not you. Fresh, real whole and raw foods are the cat’s pajamas. They can be steamed, cooked, roasted, juiced, depending on one’s abilities during the illness.
Enzymes - anything with enzymes, which means fruits and veg that are fresh and raw. The enzymes help the body’s functions and help break down the pathogens. Another option is supplemental digestive enzymes, though in my opinion, fresh food is always best.
Parsley, Cilantro, Asparagus, Beets, Apple Cider Vinegar, Onion, Ginger, Garlic - they can be juiced, added to any foods, made into teas, but they are all excellent blood cleansers, liver cleansers and or kidney cleansers.
Comfrey, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root - excellent herbs to soothe throat
Things you didn’t think mattered -
You are not fighting anything. However, if the body developed some response, it was for a reason. The idea is to assist the body’s INNATE knowledge to help it heal itself.
The body is innately trying to protect and heal itself, with every action. For example a cough is to keep the lungs clear. A fever is to kill pathogens. The key is to look for what the body is trying to do to protect itself and then ask how you can assist it.
Know when to trust yourself; know when to get help. Don’t let fear be the guide, but use each episode as a time to educate yourself for the next time.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of everything that’s out there, but hopefully enough to get a jumpstart. Hang in there, remember it gets better!
***Educational purposes only. Not used to TREAT or CURE any condition. Not to substitute for proper medical care. Discuss your options with your healthcare provider.