Alternatives to Antibiotics

Its allergy season! Your nose is stuffed to the brim, your eyes are red, and tissues are on stand by at all times. You’re desperate and looking for some relief- maybe it’s time to go to the doctor and get an antibiotic?

Before you do that, consider this: The CDC reports that about 1 in 3 antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed in the U.S. Often times it’s simply a virus, which antibiotics will do nothing to fix. In this case, antibiotics are given just to make patients happy. After all, you don’t want to leave the doctor’s office with just a pat on the back, right?

Unfortunately, people don’t realize that too many antibiotics can do their job a little too well and wipe out the good bacteria as well as the bad. This good bacteria is also referred to as our gut microbiome. Our gut microbiome is now being called our “second brain.” Damage to the gut has been linked to mental illness, IBS, and even some cancers! That’s right, scientists are now realizing that depression can be traced back to an unhappy gut.

If you’re uncertain, one way to tell if it’s bacterial versus viral is the color of your mucus. If it’s white or clear, it will most likely clear on its own! If it’s yellow, brown, green, or red then you should definitely get it checked out!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to the doctors, but if they rule out any bacteria then I recommend not insisting on taking something just for the sake of taking something. And it’s important to be your own advocate! If you find yourself being treated for antibiotics several times a year for the same problem, it’s time to see a specialist in order to find the root of your problem.

And if you do have a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics, protect yourself with probiotics! These are supplements containing good bacteria that can lessen the impact. So before you make that doctor’s appointment after being on day one of the sniffles- keep this in mind!

So now you’re aware that antibiotics aren’t exactly good for you(or at least too many of them aren’t). But it’s not exactly like you have any other choices right? Not many people realize that there are natural alternatives to antibiotics called herbal antimicrobials.

Antibiotics are defined as chemical substances produced by various species of microorganisms that suppress the growth of other microorganisms and may eventually destroy them. The antimicrobial herbs are not chemicals; they are whole plants with complex effects, and they are not produced by microorganisms. What does this mean for us exactly? Well, antimicrobial herbs don’t have that two-page long pesky list of side effects for one!

Some of the short term effects of antibiotics can include gastrointestinal upset: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the long term ones are even worse. You’re at risk for developing C.diff, which can put you in the hospital, or even SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which can create a whole other host of issues and can only be eliminated through very strict dieting and medical management.

Modern medicine is a miracle, and we are so blessed to have it. But if you believe you can fight a harmless infection off (and you’re in good health) you should at least consider natural alternatives!

Some alternatives that can usually be purchased online or in some stores include garlic extract (this one is antifungal as well), oregano oil, cinnamon oil extract(needs to be diluted in water) and olive leaf extract! These have all been used for centuries as medicine and should not be forgotten now. While they can’t take the place of modern medicine in some aspects, they are not to be underestimated!

- Sabreen Y.

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