“Antibiotic” is a confusing label. “Anti” means “against” and “biotic” means “life.”  Pharmaceutical antibiotics such as penicillin or tetracycline are active against the life of some bacteria (only some, since many strains of bacteria have learned to survive around these substances).  They are not active against viruses. They are active against the beneficial bacteria that live in our intestinal systems and which are essential for health. Rather a mixed blessing!  Pharmaceutical antibiotics could save your life, or they could do nothing at all for what ails you, while killing off the acidophilus, bifidus, and many hundreds of other probiotic bacteria you need. And in that case, you might think you are taking effective medicine, while the bacteria and/or viruses were actually not dying, but happily multiplying in your body.

Herbal antibiotics may be described more specifically as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and/or anti-fungal. Some are all three.  Probably the oldest and most well-known herbs that have all three actions are garlic, and its cousin, the onion.  But those do not harm the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Don’t confuse garlic with garlic pills, and especially avoid the odorless pills. (You need the odor for the garlic to be effective.) The best form of garlic is fresh and raw. If you can eat raw garlic, by all means do so. You can also use garlic tincture or juice. Or you can take it in conjunction with onion, horseradish, ginger and cayenne in immune tonic. Also, you can add it, at about 5%, to echinacea tincture (below).

Another advantage of herbal antibiotics is that they are complex plants, not laboratory-derived simple chemicals. There are over 40 known active constituents in garlic. Penicillin has one active constituent (penicillin). When you take herbs, you are taking a combination of parts designed by Mother Nature.  Even penicillin was historically used in its raw form (bread mold) and tetracycline in its raw form (soil fungi) by our ancestors, and they have been found in mummies.

When you have bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi multiplying and thriving, making you sick, there are things you can do other than ingesting or applying natural antibiotics. You can bolster your immune system, and indeed must do this for the herbs to have a chance. The herbs are not enough without the aid of your body’s circulation and immune system.

Echinacea is probably the most well-known of the herbs that strengthen and stimulate the immune system, as long as that system is relatively healthy in the first place. It is by far the most effective taken at the very first symptoms, such as a little headache, tingle in the throat, excessive fatigue – you know your own symptoms when you start to get sick.  And it is also effective to the degree that you take enough of it.  Once you are into a full-blown cold or flu, echinacea is much less effective, though it still can help your poor, beleaguered immune system. If you have a bottle of echinacea tincture and you get the first symptoms of illness, you might take something like 12 droppers-full (in water, juice or tea) every hour or two.  Don’t horde it!  Get it down. Use it up.  If you also have immune tonic, add 6 droppers-full to each dose.  Or more. There’s no such thing as too much immune tonic, unless you are allergic to any of the constituents.

You can assist the echinacea with cayenne, which increases circulation and therefore will help deliver it throughout your system. Add about 5% cayenne tincture, the hottest you can find or make. Habernero or serrano peppers are usually available in grocery stores. Either eat the peppers separately, or add the juice or tincture to your echinacea tincture.

Other things you can do to assist your body, mind and spirit to get well:

  • Sleep as much as you can. While sleeping, you are not expending much energy, and the body has a chance to concentrate on healing.
  • Take hot baths, with or without herbal tea, minerals or Epsom salts (magnesium) poured in the water. This creates heat for the destruction of germs (like a fever does), opens pores to allow toxins to escape through your skin, relaxes you toward sleep (the healing state), and promotes absorption of any minerals or herbs placed in the water.
  • Drink fresh-made juices for the nutrition, herbal teas, and water.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements in liquid form, for easy digestion.
  • Don’t take pharmaceutical medicines to suppress symptoms, if at all possible to avoid. Listen to your doctor, but ask him if the medicine he prescribes is for healing or only to suppress symptoms. If only to suppress symptoms, ask if you can do without it and the inevitable side effects of pharmaceuticals.
  • Make soup from organic potato and carrot peelings, with onions, garlic, celery and celery leaves, beets, leafy greens, other organic scraps and peelings, and cayenne pepper. This soup is high in potassium.
  • Don’t load up your body with a lot of solid food to digest. That takes energy and resources that you need for healing.
  • Keep moving, for your lymphatic system. Bouncing on a mini trampoline or even on your bed will help keep the lymph moving. Lymph nodes, vessels and tissue are part of your immune system.
  • Take a bowel cleanser or mild herbal laxative to clear the way for toxins to leave your system.
  • Take hot and cold showers (back and forth) to stimulate your circulatory system.
  • Watch funny movies or read funny books, listen to and tell jokes, laugh, talk to friends, ignore enemies, make plans to improve your life, and before you go to sleep, review anything you did that day that you regret. Start clean when you wake up. Do what you love. Maintain your honor.