Natural antibiotics for your family first aid kit
Your family physician may have very good reason for prescribing a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off all bacteria in the body, so when you take them for a serious infection they should, rid your body of the illness.
If we misuse or overuse prescription antibiotics, it can lead an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, and this in turn can leave us with a weakened immune system that is more vulnerable to disease. In traditional ‘allopathic’ medicine, this can lead to an increase of antibiotic prescriptions.
If you also recognize the crazy cycle of bad health associated with the overuse of prescription medication, consider these natural antibiotics.
These four topical natural antibiotics can be used in favour of synthetic antibiotic creams and are ideal to place in your family first aid kit . They are widely available and do a superb job treating anything from grazed knees to athlete’s foot, from painful splinters to blisters and even insect bites!
Before the advent of synthetic antibiotic creams, raw honey was often used to prevent infection and speed up the healing process. When honey is applied onto a wound, hydrogen peroxide is produced. It is this compound, produced by enzymes that offers an antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiseptic that destroys germs, disinfects the wound and helps to heal broken skin.
Any raw honey will do an admirable job, Manuka Honey appears to work best, but is much more expensive. Manuka honey comes from Australia and New Zealand and according to a recent study is so powerful, it can kill a whole host of pathogens including flesh-eating bacteria and MRSA. Scientists also discovered that the treated bacteria built up no resistance, rendering Manuka honey extremely effective .
Lavender ( Lavandula augustifolia) Essential Oil
Scientists have discovered that Lavender oil ( primarily L. augustiflia) has been found to be very effective against many bacteria including those resistant to antibiotics such as MRSA and VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcu). Evidence suggests that L.augustifolia lavender oil is best suited as a topical application for a surface wound, rather than more deep rooted infections. Again, this type of lavender oil is also effective at treating fungal infections as well as for pain relief, although it’s not clear whether the analgesic effect is due merely to the relaxed sense of wellbeing experienced by the patient when exposed to its scent.
It is my favourite general antiseptic and I never go anywhere without it. I apply* it topically to most cuts, burns and infected areas. You should continue to apply lavender oil daily, even after the wound has closed, to promote healing by regenerating skin cells and helping in the reduction of scar formation.
Lavender oil is also useful when several drops are added to water and placed in a small spray bottle. I keep mine in my handbag to spritz hands when out and about, rather than relying on throwaway wipes.
Tea Tree Oil
‘Tea tree oil has broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity’, according to a research group at a The Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases (University of Western Australia). These scientists are pioneering an in-depth study into the amazing properties of the oil from the evergreen leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, an Australian tree that produces this versatile first aid treatment.
You can apply* it topically to wounds, fungal skin infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. Tea tree oil is considered to be safe as a topical treatment and you can apply it directly to the skin on a daily basis When applied to the skin in its pure form, tea tree oil rarely causes irritation. For some people however, tea tree oil can cause contact-dermatitis. If you are at all concerned that you might develop an allergic reaction, try the oil first on a small area of skin. You can also dilute* tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as almond oil,olive oil and even coconut oil. Tea tree oil is not safe to take by mouth and it’s advisable to keep it away from the eyes and genital area.
Goldenseal Root Powder
Goldenseal powder, both in powder or liquid extract form are a little pricey, but nevertheless are a great addition to any family first aid kit. Goldenseal is not only a natural antibiotic, but a digestive aid and an immune stimulant. It contains a chemical compound that has antimicrobial properties called berberine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, berberine has been shown to be effective for treating intestinal parasites, yeast infections and infectious diarrhea. Berberine also strengthens the immune system by encouraging the proliferation of healthy white blood cells. Preparations of goldenseal can be both internally or topically applied.
Apply goldenseal extract topically to cuts and grazes. For a mouth gargle to soothe throats, ulcers and sore gums or as an eye bath for conjunctivitis, use 250ml/ 1 cup of luke warm water to 1/2 tsp of goldenseal powder and strain through a coffee filter before using.
Precuations-Goldenseal contains the compound berberine which can stimulate contractions, so goldenseal root should not be used if you are pregnant. Goldenseal may raise blood pressure and should not be used for extended periods of time by those with heart conditions either.
**I would recommend using only the essential oils of tea tree and lavender neat on the skin. Otherwise stick with a 2% dilution, which means you can add up to 2 drops of essential oil to 5ml’s of carrier oil . Essential oils are very potent and can be harmful if used incorrectly. However, it is safe if applied carefuully to small areas of the skin like insect bites, cuts, minor wounds etc. However, wounds from more severe injuries should be attended by a certified physician.
Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Unless otherwise noted, the articles at this website are not written by doctors or other health care professionals. If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.
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About the Author (Author Profile)
Rebecca Watkins worked as a professional photo journalist and travelled the world with her husband John, before settling down as a stay at home mother to their three daughters. They have recently moved back from the French Alps to an old cottage in Devon, England. Rebecca’s days are filled with visits to the beach, animated discussions and in the best moments, happiness and creativity in her family home of five. The other moments are filled with craziness and chaos and she loves those too.