Down with superbugs: Herbal Antibiotics!

Bacteria which have grown resistant to antibiotics are now being called superbugs. They are becoming more numerous and more virulent thanks to the overuse of antibiotics. Herbs and herbal preparations however, can offer increasingly valuable alternatives for protection from these superbugs.

In the early part of the 1940’s there was only approximately 64 pounds of available penicillin for the entire world! Sixty seven years later the United States alone was using approximately 60 million pounds of this antibiotic; about half of this was used on livestock to promote growth and to prevent illnesses.

One of the major problems with antibiotics is that they don’t go away. They are excreted (by humans and animals alike) and wind up in the sewer treatment plants. They are still in the water supply, relatively unchanged, as they leave these treatment facilities. Some studies suggest that all of the water supplies in the industrialized countries are contaminated with minute amounts of antibiotics.

This saturation and over-use of antibiotics has created the perfect conditions for the rise of bacteria that are now resistant to the drugs which once destroyed them. The first cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) appeared in 1999. At first these resistant superbugs were thought to be limited to hospitals. Unfortunately, they are now quite common place throughout most of the world’s populations. The use (and overuse) of antibacterial soaps, mouthwashes and hand sanitizers has also contributed to the proliferation of superbugs.

Ready for the good news!!!!!

Our bodies are actually host to many bacteria which are friendly and mutualistic. A well functioning body has all of its available “spaces” filled with beneficial bacteria. These friendly bacteria actually generate substances that kill off unfriendly bacteria and keep the body’s immune system active, vital and well functioning. For example, there is a species of streptococcus that normally lives in our throat. When needed, it produces an antibacterial substance against the streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat.

Throughout our lifetime, regular exposure to “bad” bacteria teaches our bodies how to respond appropriately. In other words, they teach our bodies how to heal themselves. This actually equates to higher degree of health benefits as we age. Research is now showing that children who have used excessive amounts of antibiotics as well as hand sanitizers and topical sterilizers are in fact much sicker overall as adults. The people who have actually been exposed to germs and have allowed their bodies to mobilize their natural defenses are far more likely to stay well and to develop natural immunities.

Natural remedies provide excellent antibacterial (as well as antiviral and antifungal) alternatives which aid the body in staying well without suppressing the immune system. Herbal tinctures and essential oils have been providing primary medicine for hundreds of years without creating a resistance. The basic biochemistry of plant based medicines is highly complex. Plant medicines contain hundreds, if not thousands, of individual compounds interacting and working together. Pharmaceutical antibiotics, on the other hand, are one basic element coming up against an organism; thus the ability for the organism to adapt and change and become resistant is greater.

Allowing nature to take its course, not suppressing the immune system and using natural, plant-based alternatives are all wonderful ways to create and self-healing and well balanced, healthy body.

By Sharon Moran

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