We are surrounded by viruses and bacteria all the time, and yet we go through most of our lives not being sick. This is because our bodies are equipped with the necessary tools to fight off infection. Occasionally a virus or bacteria will overwhelm our immune system to produce the common viral or bacterial symptoms we are familiar with, but is this really a bad thing?
The Naturopathic approach fighting infection is to boost the body’s natural defenses and at the same time weaken the invader, allowing the immune system to do its job in eradicating the offending virus or bacteria. The natural products listed below help boost your natural defenses, making you a healthier stronger person while simultaneously fighting the invaders. What prescription medication can make that claim?
As for Tamiflu, the trade name for the prescription antiviral drug oseltamivir, routinely given for the flu (Influenza A & B), it is steeped in controversy and deception from its inception. Studies not only show that that it is not effective in the way it was once thought, but also some of the evidence supporting its use has turned out to be based on fraudulent data. Add to that, it frequently has adverse effects, some serious, especially the neuropsychiatric effects in infants and young patients. These neuropsychiatric effects include behavior problems, convulsions, and delusions, not to mention the normal adverse effects of vomiting, nausea, disorientation, and nightmares.
The best approach to Viral and Bacterial infections is PREVENTION. See Preventative Measures for Cold, Flu, Sinus infections, Upper Respiratory Tract infections, Cold Sores, UTI’s and more. However, despite our best efforts, our immune system may become overwhelmed to the point that we succumb to an acute infection with all the common symptoms. In this case, decreasing the overall duration of the infection by boosting our own defense system, fighting the invader and lessening the symptoms while we fight it off is the goal.
Bacterial and Viral infections are best attacked from several different approaches. Here are the 8 best Natural Medicines to successfully fighting Infections:
- Herbal Medicine, (tinctures or capsules): Herbal medicine is amazingly effective at combating these infections. If you are buying individual herbs, they will be more readily available in liquid tincture form. Where possible, find an herbal formula that is a combination of several of these herbs in one tincture or capsule.
If the infection is bacterial, like Strep throat, an upper respiratory tract infection or a Urinary Tract Infection; or if you are unsure of what type of infection it is, utilize these Anti-Bacterial Herbs: Echinacea, Golden Seal, Osha, Oregon Grape, Garlic, Ginger, Wild Indigo, Japanese Knotweed, Chinese Skullcap.
Add these Herbal Tinctures depending on your specific ailment:
*Epstein Barr: Chinese Skullcap has been proven to be effective against many serious viruses, including adenovirus, Epstein Barr, polio, SARS, and avian flu viruses. (use along with Anti-Viral herbs listed above)
*Lyme Borreliosis: Japanese Knotweed
See also What Dose of Herbal Medicine do I take and how much do I need to buy? To help choose between liquid herbal tinctures or herbal capsules, see When should use Liquid herbal tinctures or herbal capsules and what’s the difference?
- Medicinal Herbal Teas: Use Medicinal Teas to sip on herbal medicine throughout the day between doses of herbal tinctures or capsules, and use preventatively during the infection season. Purchase whole herbs, cut and sifted or tea cut. You can choose from the list of herbs above to match your conditions or symptoms. Steep the cut herbs in hot water making a tea. Premixed teas are also readily available formulated to specific ailments, FluTimeTeas, Cough and Cold teas etc. Teas are not strong enough alone to fight active infections but add to the arsenal when combined with herbal medicine in capsule or tincture form.
- Vitamin A is a potent antiviral/antibacterial agent. Take in high doses for a short period of time for the best anti-infection results. Vitamin A can be toxic if taken at high doses, but only if you are deficient in Vit D. Therefore, I always take (and also recommend) a Vitamin D-5000 capsule with each dose of Vitamin A. [acute infection Vit A up to 100,000 iu/day with Vit D, 5000 - 10,000 iu/day]
- Monolaurin, a product made from coconut oil, is a great antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Monolaurin disrupts the tough exterior of the virus making them vulnerable and easier to combat. It has been shown to kill the tough bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, and the harmful yeast, Candida Albicans. (use dosing instructions on product label)
- Vitamin C increases the function of the immune system in fighting off infection and decreases the replication of viruses. Vitamin C has been shown to dramatically reduces the duration of viral and bacterial infections, as well as help in the prevention of these infections. [1000 - 3000 mg/day]
- Zinc plays an important role in the body’s immune and defense system, and has been shown to lessen the symptoms and duration of cold. [for a cold take 23mg zinc lozenges 3 times a day, or for the flu: women take 30mg of zinc per day, men 50 mg zinc per day]
- Larix is the compound arabinogalactan derived from the Larch Tree and has been found to give a powerful boost to the immune system and improves the chances of fighting off a variety of viral infections. [1500 - 2000 mg/day] Add to the treatment protocol when an infection is proving to be difficult or stubborn, or if you have had a dose of antibiotics in the last two years. Larix is also a powerful prebiotic that will feed the good gut bacteria to help crowd out the bad bacteria.
- Homeopathy there are several good homeopathic combination remedies targeting specific infections. Homeopathic Cold and Flu Formulas: take 10 drops per day at least 10 minutes before or after food and drink.
[ Related Discussions ; Preventative Measures for Cold, Flu, Sinus infections, Upper Respiratory Tract infections or My Sinuses are killing me again! or What Dose of Herbal Medicine do I take and how much do I need to buy? or When should use Liquid herbal tinctures or herbal capsules and what’s the difference?]
The information presented here is based on scientific studies, clinical experience or traditional usage.
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You should consult with a healthcare professional before taking ANY medication or supplements, especially if you are pregnant or nursing or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Please use the products as they are intended; always seek the advice of a qualified licensed health care provider.
These products are intended to provide whole food nutrition to the body which may result in the benefit of tissue building, repair and enhancement of the normal structure and function of the body.