You have probably heard about it in the news: the ever increasing resistance to antibiotics popping up among the world’s illness causing bacteria. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) latest information regarding antibiotic resistant bacteria is alarming, and leaves many people wondering what to turn to in times of sickness. Thankfully, many believe that nature has the answer growing in the dirt around the world. Learn about drug resistance and some herbal alternatives in this article.
The Evolution of the Superbug
Antibiotics were discovered by accident. In 1928, a professor cleaning up his laboratory noticed that mold growing on certain plates contain staphylococcus bacteria seemed to have killed the bacteria. Professor Alexander Fleming’s discovery eventually led to the life-saving penicillin that spared the lives of so many soldiers during the World War. Thus, the unplanned entrance of the first antibiotic into the medical world changed the face of medicine forever. Interestingly, the founder of this new wonder drug warned of the dangers of overuse as early as 1945, stating that overuse would lead to antibiotic resistance. Unfortunately, Fleming’s warnings went largely unheard.
Today, antibiotic use is almost an epidemic. Researchers have found that more than half of antibiotics prescribed in outpatient situations for respiratory infections are unnecessary. As a result of over-prescription of drugs, “superbugs,” or antibiotic resistant bacteria are on the rise.
In fact, more than 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year in the United States, and 200,000 of those patients die from the “superbug” infection. Information from the CDC reveals that the spread of drug-resistant bacteria is largely due to the improper use of antibiotics which wipe out the “good bacteria” in the body, and allow the “superbugs” to flourish unhindered.
CDC director Tom Frieden had this to say about a specific strain of superbugs:
“CRE are nightmare bacteria. Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections”.
While the government scrambles to discover a solution, many people are going back to nature.
For centuries, herbs have been used to maintain health and assist the body in fighting off infections. Although they have been exchanged for drugs in more recent years, their therapeutic properties remain unchanged. Herbs help the body overcome infection in three primary ways:
- Boost Immune Reaction – many herbs work by boosting the body’s natural response to infection, rather than fighting the bacteria itself.
- Jumpstart the Lymphatic System – other herbs primary function is to flush the lymphatic system, once again enabling the body to fight the infection the way it was designed to do.
- Killer Herbs – certain herbs destroy pathogens directly. Unlike antibiotics, these natural herbs do not also kill off the body’s good bacteria.
A Few Herbs to Know
- Astragalus – multiple studies reinforce the immune-building tradition of this herb. Astragalus falls into the first category of herbs, and works as a powerful immune booster, a virus fighter, and may help to protect against cancer.
- Echinacea – one of the more popular herbs in modern use, Echinacea also falls into the immune boosting category, but is a powerful lymphatic cleanser as well. Echinacea has the ability to increase white blood cells and certain cells in the spleen, both of which actively fight infection in the body.
- Garlic -a potent “killer herb,” garlic has been proven to be effective against at least two of the “superbugs” common today: VRE and MRSA. It is also 100 times more effective than traditional antibiotics against a common cause of food-borne illness: Campylobacter. This humble herb is one of nature’s best broad-spectrum antibiotics.
These three herbs offer a glimpse into the powerful resources nature has provided to promote the health of mankind. There are a wealth of other herbal antibiotics, including goldenseal, tea tree oil, oregano oil, and olive leaf, all of which work with the body to fight off the onslaught of viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes. As man-made antibiotics promote the rise of more and more superbugs, perhaps it is time we turn back to nature to find the answers for wellness.
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