Germs are, unfortunately, a fact of life. We are exposed to them on a daily basis and our bodies contain any number of both “good” and “bad” bacteria.
“Good” bacteria are the substances that
help to fight disease causing “bad” bacteria and allow the body to function
This balance is always in flux. And every so often, the bad bacteria win the battle, which is when an infection take place.
Once a bacterial infection does strike, it may be necessary to take traditional medicine in order to properly combat it.
That being said, there are also many herbs that can be used to help fight bacterial infection that can be just as effective in some cases.
Here are five great natural herbs for fighting bad bacteria that are worth considering the next time you're in that situation.
Garlic – Aside from adding delicious flavor to food, garlic is one of the more healing natural substances known to man. It has been used for thousands of years in various cultures to battle everything from diarrhea to the plague. While garlic battles “bad” bacteria and some forms of fungi, it has no effect on the “good” bacteria the body needs to thrive.
Studies have shown garlic to fight any number of infections, from rhinovirus and influenza A and B to herpes simplex and HIV. As with most herbs, it loses its effectiveness when heated, so eating raw garlic or taking a garlic supplement is the best way to get the most out of this powerful fighter.
Ginger – This is another plant that is well known for fighting a range of infections. It has been scientifically proven to work as an anti-nausea agent and may be particularly beneficial for those with serious bouts of diarrhea.
Alcohol extracts of ginger can help to fight infections of the intestines, skin, soft tissues and respiratory tract. Ginger also has powerful antifungal properties and is particularly good at fighting Candida albicans, the primary agent in most yeast infections.
Mint – There are many members of the mint family, including peppermint, spearmint, thyme, sage and oregano, which have proven antimicrobial properties.
These are most pronounced in the essential oils of the plants and you can get the most benefit from them by either adding them to soup or simply adding a handful of leaves to a bowl of boiling water, covering it and letting it steep for 10-15 minutes, then inhaling the vapors. This method is particularly good for combating nasal congestion and coughing.
Echinacea – This plant is well known for its healing effects and it is included in many natural supplements. It has both antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it particularly helpful in fighting off sore throat, including strep. It has also been shown to help people recover from infections more quickly, due in large part to its ability to enhance immune system function.
Cranberry – Taken in juice or supplement form, cranberry is known to have a significant ability to fight off infections of the bladder and kidneys. Studies have shown that taking just 4 to 32 ounces of cranberry a day can actually help to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder, giving it the ability to stop infection before it starts.
Some of the chemical constituents of cranberry can inhibit the natural enzymes that break down drugs in the body, so individuals who take such medications as Coumadin, Valium and Motrin should avoid using cranberry supplements and limit their intake of cranberry juice.
Of course, bacterial infections can be serious and even life threatening so it is always recommended that you consult your doctor about proper treatment. In some cases a natural treatment might not be best, so it's a good idea to get a professional evaluation first.
But used properly, these and other herbs and natural substances can help to improve your body’s ability to fight off infection and promote good overall health, and are certainly worth considering the next time you have a bacterial infection.