Natural Treatment Options for Common Infections
Many natural treatment options are available for those dealing with common infections. 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. Let me say that regardless of the infection, this supplement stack is probably a good idea. Check with your doctor.
You 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. Unless medically necessary, steroids and hormones should probably be avoided as well. 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 terrible 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 beneficial 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 other options exist. 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, the fungus can tax the immune system (alive or dead), so remember that stack I suggested initially. Additionally, taking digestive or systemic enzymes might be something worth looking into. You might also consider a Betaine HCL and Pepsin supplement if digestion is an issue.
These types of infections tend to include behavior or environmental factors. Pinpoint the environmental fungi or molds in your home or workplace and try eliminating them. Focus on hygiene. Reduce stress. Be patient – it will take time, but you will get better if you are diligent.
NOTE: Caprylic acid and coconut oil are my antifungals of choice because they interfere with the Candida yeast’s cell walls and treat a slew of other issues (Omura et al., 2011). According to a study 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. Typically, a virus will have to run its course so your body can build the necessary immunity. However, we can do a couple of things 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 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. Generally, you must ensure proper diet, antibacterial treatment, pro-and prebiotics, etc.
When it comes to diet, my biggest recommendation is to avoid refined sugars and carbs. These tend to feed harmful bacteria (and yeast/fungi). We want to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. I am a big fan of things like kefir, apples, artichokes, bananas, and berries for this task. These are prebiotic 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 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 some instances, 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 antimicrobial peptides
- Iodine for its broad spectrum microbicidal action
- And for some infections, colloidal silver (definitely not all).
These are my favorites. However, there are a few more to consider. For example, niacinamide in higher doses can be great if you’re dealing with a staph infection. Another option that I have recently begun to favor for various potential issues is cryptolepis. That one likely deserves its own article, but that might also be something you might want to look into. Oregano oil, clove, manuka honey, and fucoxanthin are also suitable for various 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 various 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 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 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 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 a certain condition, you may begin to experience something many refer to as a “die-off.” The theory is that when nasty bugs die, they can act as toxins 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 getting better. If you want to research this, look for a “die-off” reaction or “herxheimer reaction.” These reactions can last for a couple of days and upwards of a few weeks. They are not fun, 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 bind up yeast toxins, feed beneficial bacteria, and slow down transit times while also helping reduce 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 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 only a few weeks. But keep an eye on it.
If the gas does not subside over a few weeks, then you could also be experiencing SIBO or a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This is not good because the small intestine is usually not supposed to have this issue.
However, if you follow 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. However, the problem with this antibiotic 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 highly encourage you to review those articles. Beware of 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.
Please read “Three Simple Things You Can Do For Better Health“
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This article was initially 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.