When dealing with a common infection, there are a lot of natural treatment options available. Frankly, there are more options than I could ever write about in a single article. Some options are fantastic. Others, not so much. Research your options and consider the following.
NOTE: What follows is a brief overview and a place to start looking – not a comprehensive or in-depth look.
Treating for Parasites
There are quite a few options to consider if you want to prevent parasites or treat them naturally. You could look into things like black walnut hulls, wormwood, cloves, pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil capsules, garlic, neem, thyme, marshmallow root, diatomaceous earth, or cinchona. Or, you could go “old school” and look into things like castor oil, sulfur, or pyrantel pamoate.
Parasites suck quite a bit out of you, so you might also want to follow your treatment up with stuff like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), coconut oil, plenty of water, vitamin D3 & K2 (as MK-7), Iodine, magnesium chloride, and vitamin C. There will be a theme with that recommendation. In fact, let me just say that regardless of the infection, this supplement stack is probably a good idea. Check with your doctor.
You actually have seemingly countless options for parasites. I have been working on a more comprehensive list. You can CLICK HERE for my list of various parasitic treatment options.
Treating Fungal Infections
Rule number one: do not take antibiotics for fungal infections. Antibiotics are for bacteria unless expressly stated otherwise. Steroids and hormones should be avoided as well unless absolutely medically necessary. Taking antibiotics can exacerbate a fungal infection. Do not take a fungal infection lightly. If neglected or ignored, a fungal infection could turn into a very bad thing that could negatively impact your life.
The best advice is to change your diet to one that will not feed yeast. In other words, keep it low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, and stick to low-mold and yeast-free foods. You could also eat fermented foods or incorporate probiotics and prebiotics into your diet to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria. Look up “prebiotic foods” for more on that. This is important because healthy bacteria help keep fungus and yeast at a healthy level. Another great choice here is fresh/homemade kefir.
Also, you might try antifungal supplements such as caprylic acid, clove, oil of oregano, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract. You might also look into the various ways you can use xylitol. These are effective supplements for this type of infection, but there are other options to explore as well. Be patient! Each work at different speeds. However, you don’t want to rush that. Killing too much too fast can be problematic.
Like other infections, fungus can be taxing on the immune system (alive or dead), so remember that stack I suggested in the beginning. Additionally, taking digestive or systemic enzymes might be something worth looking into. If digestion is an issue, you might also look into a Betaine HCL and Pepsin supplement.
These types of infections tend to include behavior or environmental factors. Pinpoint the environmental fungi and/or molds in your home or workplace and try to get rid of them. Focus on hygiene. Reduce stress. Be patient – it will take time, but you will get better if you’re diligent.
NOTE: Caprylic acid and coconut oil are my antifungals of choice because they work by interfering with the cell walls of the Candida yeast and treat a whole slew of other issues (Omura et al., 2011). According to a study conducted by Japan’s Niigata University, “the fungicidal effect of caprylic acid (found in coconut oil) on Candida Albicans was exceedingly powerful”.
There are usually no quick “cures” for viruses. Normally, a virus will simply have to run its course so your body can build the necessary immunity. However, there are a couple of things we can do to help our bodies and a few supplements that might be worthy of trying to help expedite that process.
Supplements such as turmeric, neem, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), berberine HCL, and adaptogens are a great place to start. These are considered antivirals because they help slow the reproduction process and help the body cope with stress. Other notable supplements include Zinc, Elderberry, Olive Leaf Extract, Green Tea, Liquorice, Pau d’arco, and Garlic which may help, as demonstrated through both laboratory and clinical studies (Hum, 2004).
Bacterial infections are a growing concern. We have created “super-bugs” via excessive antibiotic use, and this problem seems to be increasing. Of course, the type of infection and its location all play a role in which alternative treatment might be best. Still, and generally speaking, the following may help in the recovery. Generalized, you need to ensure proper diet, antibacterial treatment, pro-and pre-biotics, etc.
When it comes to diet, my biggest recommendation is to avoid refined sugars and carbs. These tend to feed bad bacteria (and yeast/fungus). We want to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. For this, I am a big fan of things like kefir, apples, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, and berries for this task. These are pre-biotic foods that can help foster the immune system.
Some people prefer natural antibiotics. Popular options like garlic and olive leaf, for instance, have naturally occurring antibiotic, prebiotic, and antifungal properties that may limit damage to the beneficial bacteria but really attack harmful pathogens (Zeratsky, 2014). However, vitamin C in higher doses works well for many situations too. And while these are great, and I will use these in certain situations, there are others to consider.
My general go-to’s include:
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) for its antimicrobial and antibiofilm capabilities
- Berberine HCL for its antimicrobial activity against things like MRSA
- Vitamin D3 (& K2) for its antibacterial effects against a wide range of organisms, including streptococci, the boost to innate immunity, and production of anti-microbial peptides
- Iodine for its broad spectrum microbicidal action
- And for some infections, colloidal silver (definitely not all).
These are just my favorites. However, there are a few more to consider. For example, if you’re dealing with a staph infection, niacinamide in higher doses can be great. Another option that I have recently begun to favor for a variety of potential issues is cryptolepis. That one likely deserves its own article, but that might be something you might want to look into as well. Oregano oil, clove, manuka honey, and fucoxanthin are also really good for a variety of bacterial infections but are unfortunately often overlooked.
Remember, each option works on different bacteria, so there might be some trial and error. Keep in mind that there are a variety of different bacteria, and each one responds differently to the various natural antimicrobials. If you are looking to expedite that learning curve, you might pick up a copy of Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. While it doesn’t cover everything, I believe it is a great start. You can pick up a copy of this via Amazon by CLICKING HERE.
A Note on Olive Leaf
I like olive leaf extract because it has been used for centuries to fight bacterial infections and is currently being used to treat MRSA infections in some European hospitals (Bardot, 2012). It contains an active compound that provides immune system support at the same time as it fights antibiotic-resistant infections.
Research shows that olive leaf extract contains oleuropein and calcium elenolate, which actually help destroy viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites that cause disease while limiting harm to the beneficial bacteria in your body. Studies show it to be very safe, non-toxic, and effective, even for children. I have been using it since 2000 and personally love it. When I am really sick, I use therapeutic doses.
Expect a “Die-Off”
There is some debate on whether or not a die-off reaction is a real thing. Despite this, it is hard to deny that when you start healing, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Depending on quite a few factors, when you treat for a certain condition, you may begin to experience something many refer to as “die-off”. The theory is that when the bad bugs die, they can act as a toxin in the body as your body tries to get that junk out.
Your symptoms may increase, but this is usually a good thing. This feeling makes you feel worse, but you are actually getting better. If you want to research this, look for “die-off” reaction or “herxheimer reaction”. These reactions can last for a couple of days and even upwards of a couple of weeks. They are not fun to go through, but you feel better when they are over. Keeping vitamin C going and drinking plenty of water helps them pass.
If your stools are excessively loose, you might want to avoid the OTC options. Instead, I would recommend taking a soluble fiber supplement that contains guar gum, alginates, psyllium seed, or pectin before bed and right when you get up. This will help to bind up yeast toxins, feed beneficial bacteria, and slow down transit times while also helping in reducing the “die-off” reaction.
Intestinal Gas – ALLOW IT!
One last piece of advice. If you are doing it right, you will undoubtedly have times when you develop severe cases of intestinal gas – at least at first. Please understand that while it may be uncomfortable, this may be a very good sign and something you may not want to interfere with. This gas is actually a result of the fermentation of food by intestinal bacteria. When this happens, it usually means they are multiplying. Our goal is to help them grow and multiply. The severe gas should be temporary and last upwards of only a few weeks. But keep an eye on it.
If the gas does not subside over the course of a few weeks, then you could also be experiencing SIBO, or a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This is not a good thing because the small intestine is usually not supposed to have this issue.
However, if you are following the advice herein, know that these options can help manage or help treat SIBO. The only other effective alternative (that I am aware of) is to use an antibiotic called Xifaxan. The problem with this antibiotic, however, is that Xifaxan mostly stays in the gut, which may further the initial problem.
It should also be noted that Xifaxan (to the best of my knowledge and at the time of this writing) is not approved by most insurance companies to treat SIBO anyway, so it can be very cost-prohibitive for most people. Regardless, a diet low in carbohydrates and free of refined flour, sugars, and alcohol will usually do the trick given enough time.
Change Your Life
I want you to remember something; you need to make a lifestyle change here. True healing takes time. Your life thus far is what got you sick in the first place. If you change the cause, you will undoubtedly alter the effect. I have written quite a bit on diet, and I would highly encourage you to review those articles. Beware the fad diets! Consume lean meats, organic fruits, and manuka honey when you can. This combination will usually help you heal quickly. Talk to a nutritionally competent physician for more on that and any of the other suggestions provided.
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This article was originally published as a chapter in the book Natural Health Made Easy: The Briobiotic Protocol (2016)
Dr. Robertson is a health researcher and educator, not a physician. The information provided here is not medical advice, a professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or service to you or any other individual. The information provided is for educational and anecdotal purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or other healthcare providers. Dr. Robertson is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or additional information, services, or product you obtain or utilize. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN.