It’s so easy in cold and flu season to get ground down by minor infections isn’t it?
That cold or cough we didn’t get on top of – because of our crazy busy lives – goes before we know it from a minor sore throat to a full on chest or sinus infection and has us reaching for the antibiotics. And it’s the same with everything from tummy bugs and UTIs to toothache.
But thereby we have a problem.
A seriously enormous – according to the World Health Organization – global problem because over use of antibiotics is causing antibiotic resistance.
In a nut shell: life saving antibiotics, we all depend on, are losing their power because we take them for too many minor infections.
And crazily, over use is actually undermining our immune system because they kill off all the good bacteria our bodies depend on to fight infection as well as the big baddies we’ve got a problem with. So it is totally in our own interests to use a gentler alternative whenever we can.
Luckily recent scientific research shows common herbs and spices are chock full of natural antibiotics that can kill specific bacteria and these natural antibiotics are not hard to use.
You totally don’t need to become a Hogwarts worthy herbologist whipping up complex potions in your cauldron. (And you definitely don’t need to sign up for some dodgy pyramid scheme selling “essential oils”!)
There are in fact really simple ways to include natural antibiotics in food and add them on the fly to DIY natural remedies.
And it is super easy to grow many of these natural antibiotics in a basic herb garden in containers without any fancy gardening skills.
So do check out these tips for using natural antibiotics – save the list for quick reference later – and give them a go next time you feel a cold coming.
How To Use Natural Antibiotics
Herbs are surprisingly easy to grow but if you’re not remotely green fingered you can easily freeze them or buy good quality dried ones.
It’s then super easy to add them to everyday meals or if you have a cold or a mild infection to add them to:
- Natural tea with honey
- Healing chicken bone broth
- DIY hot lemon drinks
- Simple green soup
- Antiseptic wash
- Coconut oil as a balm
- Natural yoghurt as a cream
Honey, lemon, coconut oil and yoghurt all actually have natural antibacterial powers themselves so you’re getting a double whammy.
The key to the power of natural antibiotics – as with so many things – is to use them preventatively and early. At the first sign of a cold or a sinus infection or toothache or a sore throat or UTI or the dreaded worms in kids reach for these easy natural antibiotics so they can help your immune system do its work.
20 Natural Antibiotics
You can easily grow oregano from cuttings and use it in simple tea for tummy bugs and for UTI. It has a gentle enough flavour to be acceptable to most children. Adding a little every day or so to food can improve the whole family’s gut health.
The little leaves of the tiny thyme are a real naturally antibiotic powerhouse. Thyme can help ease sore throats, bronchitis and tummy bugs and help to get rid of pinworms & threadworms naturally. It makes a gentle tea – with or without water – and is wonderfully refreshing in iced water.
Thyme is super simple to grow from cuttings and seeds.
Sage is a must have natural antibiotic in your pantry or herb garden in the autumn and winter months as it is wonderful for easing sore throats, chesty colds and coughs and may actually help prevent a cold getting onto the chest and turning into a nasty cough. It’s a great addition to this quick natural cold remedy.
Basil is a useful natural antibiotic for lingering infections both as a tea and as a simple herbal poultice. A poultice sounds incredibly complicated but it basically just means mush up some fresh herbs with a pestle & mortar – or even a rolling pin – and apply to the skin through thin cotton or muslin.
You can even just pop the herbs under a plaster! It really is that simple.
It is another useful herb to help get rid of pinworms.
Rosemary can be used as a natural antibiotic in a poultice for skin infections and in a gentle steam for nasal infections. Make sure the water is not too hot, it should be lightly steaming not scorching.
Garlic is another powerhouse of a natural antibiotic. Eating garlic daily really does help our gut do its job in our immune system. A gentle garlic tea or broth can help with tummy bugs.
Garlic also has anti-fungal properties so can help with yeast infections and you can actually grow garlic easily in the garden to protect your plants from fungal disease and infections!!
Fennel seeds are also a multi-purpose natural antibiotic that can help with sinus infections, coughs and bronchitis but also diarrhea. You can easily make your own fennel seed tea by lightly crushing the seeds and simmering them lightly with ginger for 10 minutes or so.
Cilantro & Coriander
Simple cilantro or coriander leaves are a great everyday natural antibiotic for a healthy gut that can help ward off tummy bugs and UTI.
So many cultures worldwide have included coriander as a regular if not daily garnish to food and for good reason. So grow some in your herb garden and get back into the habit of adding a little to meals daily.
Chamomile is a wonderfully gentle natural antibiotic that can help our bodies heal everything from colds and cuts to tummy bugs. Part of its power seems to be that it helps out body switch from fighting mode into healing mode so we can recover better from sickness.
Onions like garlic and the rest of the allium family are true powerhouse natural antibiotics. Cooking with them day in, day out enhances our body’s ability to heal itself.
Onions are especially helpful when you’ve got a chesty cough. A bowl of garlicky onion soup can bring real relief.
Lots of us tend to forget all about cloves outside the Christmas season but they are a useful store cupboard natural antibiotic that can help with toothache and also provide instant headache relief and prevent moths!
It is useful to have cinnamon both as sticks and dried as in the summer it is a super helpful way to get rid of ants naturally.
Cumin can help with both tummy bugs and chest infections and is a good naturally antibiotic spice to include week in, week out in your cooking.
The general health benefits of turmeric are well known now but it can be especially helpful as a natural antibiotic in a simple tea or turmeric shot for easing sinus infections.
Ginger is an especially useful natural antibiotic for children with colds, sinus infections or tummy bugs as most children seem to like the taste but might balk at turmeric or cumin or some herbs.
You can add it easily dried or freshly sliced to this quick cold remedy or a simple ginger tea and you can freeze the tea as ice cubes for children to suck or have in water to sip when sick.
Black pepper is a great all rounder as a naturally antibiotic that can help with sinus, chest and stomach infections. Try little by little reducing the salt your family seasons food with & replacing it with pepper.
Lemons are a great quick antiseptic that used promptly can help prevent infections getting worse and needing antibiotic. Obviously lemon juice is acidic so you don’t want to over do it but a quick spoonful of this natural cough mixture which includes both lemon and honey at the first sign of a cough or sore throat can relieve symptoms and get on top of infection before it has a chance to spread.
Honey really does have the wow factor in store cupboard natural remedies.
It is not just a natural antibiotic. It is also a natural antihistamine, antifungal and antiseptic and is a brilliant way to treat mosquito bites naturally to stop itching, inflammation and infection.
The key is, it needs to be real honey.
Some people also claim it is best local – especially as a natural antihistamine for allergy relief – as it will then be best adapted for healing in your local environment. I have no idea if this is true but shopping locally always makes me feel better so I’ll buy it 😉
Coconut oil like honey is a super useful all rounder for natural remedies with both natural antibiotic and natural antifungal powers.
It is a very handy instant sore throat remedy but really comes into its own for:
- Getting rid of pinworms & threadworms naturally
- Natural hair lice remedies
- Quick natural sunburn remedies
Many of us now know that yoghurt – or yogurt to you Americans – is great for a healthy gut.
It is especially useful eaten preventatively to help our stomach fight off bugs and infection. But it can also be a useful natural antibiotic for other common ailments.
It can provide instant relief for a sore throat and although it is usually recommended we avoid dairy with chest and sinus infections gently dosing up with yoghurt can help to make sure infection doesn’t progress into our stomach.
Yoghurt can also provide healing relief as a natural sunburn remedy that prevents infection.
I do hope these tips on using natural antibiotics help you keep on top of colds and infections before they get nasty. Please do share with friends if they were useful.
And do let me know how you get on.
For more simple natural remedies do explore my other posts that are full of practical tips for healthier living with everyday store cupboard ingredients :
- Natural Remedies For Coughs & Colds
- Natural Remedies For Gut Health
- Natural Remedies For Babies
- Natural Remedies For Menstrual Cycle
- Natural Relief For Common Childhood Ailments including Pinworms & Threadworms, Hair Lice, Sunburn, Verrucas & Mosquito Bites