When antibiotics were introduced in the first part of the 20th century, they were hailed as wonder drugs and changed the course of both human and veterinary medicine forever. However, almost a hundred years later, we are starting to see the drawbacks of these medications. For one thing, they can harm the body through killing off the good, healthy flora that we need for good digestive health and can also cause secondary problems like vaginal yeast infections in women. Here are some general recommendations for trying to treat an infection naturally, as well as more specific guidelines for throat, skin and bladder infections.
In general, if an infection arises, it is best to temporarily eliminate certain things from the diet, including processed or refined foods and sugars, alcohol and caffeine and also meat and dairy. Eat lightly and be sure to drink plenty of fluids like water and herbal tea. Supplementation with Vitamin C, zinc, beta carotene, echinacea or goldenseal are also helpful to strengthen the body’s immunity and its ability to fight off the infection. Saunas or steam baths can help the body detoxify and above all, get plenty of rest while the body recuperates.
In addition to what is mentioned above, throat infections respond well to a gargle that is comprised of salt water and any of the following: calendula, goldenseal, myrrh, or bitter orange oil. Natural throat lozenges are also good for soothing away the soreness, and homeopathically, throat infections can be treated with belladonna, lachesis, lycopodium, phytolacca and mercurius.
For bacterial skin infections, a tincture of calendula and hypericum can be very useful, as well as herbal treatments with plaintain, goldenseal or comfrey. Soaking with Epsom salts and using warm compresses or ginger poultices can be excellent for treating boils or cysts. Fungal infections are readily cured with diluted vinegar or applied tea tree oil.
These need to be treated immediately and pushing plenty of fluids as well as drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry capsules is very important. Herbs to promote healing of the bladder and urinary tract in general include hydrastis, uva ursi, berberis and several others.
Eliminating dairy from the diet is very important in treating sinus infections and drinking hot ginger tea (and a lot of it!) is also very good to help treat this. Other treatments include homeopathic remedies like pulsatilla and members of the allium family (like garlic and onions).
It is important to remember, however, to go into your doctor if these natural remedies are not working so that the problem does not get worse. Also, make sure you go through with any follow-up bloodwork, chest X-rays or other follow-up testing that is needed to make sure that the infection has entirely healed.