In a time when it’s becoming rapidly clear that antibiotics are causing gut health problems that lead to chronic disease and creating drug-resistant bacteria that no longer respond to treatment, one may wonder what to do in the event of a serious infection. You already know I’m a fan of DIY supplements, so it will come as no surprise that I’ve created a DIY natural antibiotic for just such occasions.
When my oldest was a baby, I practically demanded a prescription for every cough and sneeze, without realizing that the use of antibiotics have long-reaching, negative health consequences.
I know now that antibiotics should be a last resort choice when nothing else works… but thankfully, since learning about herbs, I’ve found that there are better options.
Why antibiotics should be avoided
Here are a few reasons you might want to avoid conventional antibiotics in favor of natural herbal antibiotics:
1. Antibiotics kill bacteria. Duh. That’s why we use them. But- our bodies are filled with both good and bad bacteria, and antibiotics aren’t picky.
Antibiotics take an unbiased sweep through the body, killing off every type of bacteria they encounter, including the good stuff your body actually needs.
Where do antibiotics hit first? The stomach, where they damage healthy gut flora. Once that good bacteria gets diminished, the bad guys have an opportunity to get stronger and take over.
2. Antibiotics cause disease. Because the majority of your immune system is found in your gut, your gut bacteria controls how healthy you are and how well your body can fight off invaders.
When antibiotics change the gut terrain for the worse, opportunistic bacteria becomes strong enough to wreak havoc throughout the body, causing everything from autoimmune diseases to bowel disorders.
3. Antibiotics create superbugs. This is becoming more and more apparent all the time, as drug-resistant infections become more common.
We have let our profligate use of antibiotics reshape 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 unanticipated types of bacteria, that the only fair appraisal is that we have succeeded in upsetting the balance of nature. -Marc Lappé, When Antibiotics Fail
The evolution of life-saving medicines has had unintended consequences, as the frequent and overuse of antibiotics has left us with persistent and recurring infections that are harder and harder to treat.
Natural antibiotic herbs
Thankfully, there are lots of herbs that are effective for treating a variety of infections and illnesses. Here, I’ve created what I call “Everything Extract” because it contains a few key herbs to target anything and everything.
Our family recently used it as part of a protocol for a particularly nasty respiratory infection that went through all of our kids, and it did its part to help them recover.
Here’s what you’ll find in my natural antibiotic.
Everything Extract: The Players
Oregano is high in vitamin A, which has been found to help in recovery from measles. (source) The high level of vitamin A may be part of oregano’s immune-bolstering magic, along with vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, and iron.
Oregano is also antibacterial and contains antioxidants. The essential oil is especially powerful against particularly nasty infections, which is why I use Oregano Spirits (the only time I’ll use essential oils internally) sparingly for serious infections like strep throat or when an illness isn’t responding well to other herbal treatments.
Thyme- like oregano, thyme is one of my favorite herbs for cooking, but it’s also powerful for fighting infection
Thyme is anti-fungal and may help to battle candida infections and restore balance in the gut and body.
It is also has powerful antiseptic and disinfectant components and has been used to break up mucus, fight colds, coughs, fevers, headaches and sore throats.
Get organic loose leaf thyme here.
Rosemary- Perhaps my favorite culinary herb, rosemary graces everything from sweet potatoes to chicken in my kitchen, frequently.
Rosemary also helps stimulate the immune system and promote healthy digestion.
It’s been used as a remedy for coughs and colds, as well as a wash for mouth, gums, and sore throat.
Get organic loose rosemary leaves here.
Ginger- a synergistic herb that helps to strengthen the benefits of other herbs it’s used with, ginger is one I use almost every day.
I use it in this herbal pain killer for headaches, as well as to help drain the lymph system anytime I’m fighting a cold.
Ginger is high in vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. It’s helpful for pain, nausea, and has anti-bacterial properties, which make it a good choice for including in your recovery routine regardless of the illness.
Get organic dried ginger root here.
Everything Extract: The How-To
If you’ve read about how to make an herbal extract, you know it’s really simple to do.
To make this herbal antibiotic “Everything Extract,”
- Combine the herbs in equal parts in a large jar, filling the jar halfway. (For my Everything Extract, I used 1/2 cup each oregano, thyme, rosemary, and ginger, to equal two cups total.)
- Fill the jar the rest of the way with vodka (I use a gluten-free vodka in a glass bottle).
- Tighten the lid and label the jar with date and contents.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark cabinet.
- Shake the jars once or twice a day for 6 weeks before straining into a clean dropper bottle.
I use a dropperful in a small amount of water 1-3 times a day during illness.
This natural antibiotic is safe for children and pregnant or nursing mothers, though oregano can dry up breastmilk, so should be used carefully.