Pharmaceutical antibiotics are used to treat various bacterial infections like strep throat, E-coli and salmonella food poisoning, pneumonia, acute appendicitis, Lyme disease, listeria, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to name a few. They’re vital to getting well.*
But did you know there are proactive steps you can take to combat bacterial and viral infections at home with foods right in your pantry? These foods have natural powerful antibiotic properties that will not only replenish vital nutrients, but strengthen your body’s innate ability to heal itself.
1. Raw Garlic – Since Ancient Egypt, raw garlic has long been used not only as a flavorful food, but for its remarkable preventative, and healing properties for viral and bacterial infections. Garlic, when crushed and eaten raw, is a great source of selenium, germanium and sulfhydryl amino acid (a form of sulfur), which assists in proper immune function. This natural antibiotic is an effective treatment for candidiasis, colitis, urinary tract infection, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Add crushed fresh cloves to salads, pizzas — anywhere you want to add a boost of flavor and health benefits.
2. Onions – In the same family as garlic, it’s no wonder that onions are a natural antibiotic, inflammation- and disease-fighting antioxidant. Consuming onions helps reduce mucus and respiratory infections. Studies show that the nutrients in cooked onions are better absorbed into the body, so enjoy a nice onion soup broth to speed the healing process when you’re not feeling well.
3. Cranberry – 100% unsweetened cranberry juice is a natural antibiotic and popular home remedy to relieve bladder infections. Yet this bacteria fighting, tart fruit has additional healing properties. Unsweetened cranberry juice has also been found effective in reversing candida overgrowth in the body, which is often caused by the use of pharmaceutical antibiotics. Cranberry juice has also been found in studies to inhibit the growth of H. pylori infection, the bacteria that causes stomach cancer and ulcers. Instead of buying bottled juice, fresh cranberries can be juiced or added to your blender with a little spring water. Toss in a few blueberries to sweeten the blend, if desired. Drink at least two glasses of cranberry juice a day, or take cranberry supplements, if have a bladder infection, candida, or H. pylori.
4. Horseradish Root – A member of the mustard family, the root of this plant is best known for its hot and sharp flavor. Fresh horseradish root is often grated and used in sauces. Not only does it have a powerful flavor, but it is a powerhouse antioxidant and antibiotic that works to reduce infection, and to relieve sinus and respiratory illness.
5. Pineapples – Our favorite tropical fruit contains the enzyme bromelain, which has a healing antibiotic effect when ingested. Move over cranberries, pineapples also help fight infections. They are used to relieve inflammation, ulcerative colitis, and to improve the health of your urinary tract. Note: Pineapple consumption may interact with certain antibiotics and other medications. Be sure to check with your doctor first.
6. Raw Honey – Raw honey has preventive antioxidant and healing, antimicrobial properties. Thus, it is beneficial for healing the body internally and topically. Honey is not only antibacterial, but is a natural antiseptic. The next time you get a minor cut or scrape, apply a little honey. It contains three powerful wound-healing components: sugar, hydrogen peroxide, and propolis. Here is how it works: the nectar-based compound, propolis, kills bacteria, and the hydrogen peroxide disinfects. The sugar absorbs any moisture, so bacteria can’t survive. Raw honey is also a natural source of Quercetin, which has been found in studies to reduce inflammation, and stabilize the cell membranes that release histamine and trigger allergic symptoms. For best results, consume Manuka honey or raw honey raised within a 50-mile radius of your home. Honey has also been used to cure gingivitis and staph infections. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons a day for its vast health benefits, unless your physician advises otherwise. Never feed honey to an infant younger than one-year-old.
7. Coconut oil, extra virgin – This remarkable oil not only adds delicious flavor to culinary entrees, but is outstanding for it nutritional and healing benefits. The powerful component in coconut oil is lauric acid. The body converts it into monolaurin, which is valued medicinally for its antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. As a virus and bacteria killer, it is used internally to boost immune function, and overall well-being. Apply topically to heal minor cuts, and skin irritations. Stir a spoonful into your morning cup of coffee for an energy boost.
*Note: It is not our intention to advise anyone to consume the foods in this article in lieu of a doctor’s visit, or in lieu of taking a pharmaceutical antibiotic prescribed by your physician. These foods support the natural healing process.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.