Health

Antibiotic Alternatives

Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness. Here’s how to fight five common bacterial infections before resorting to them, plus how to make the best of it if you must.

Antibiotic Alternatives
Pin it Kana Okada

If it feels like>> STREP THROAT
Gargle with bitter orange essential oil and salt water “Both are antibacterial and antiinflammatory,” says Wilson. In fact, the journal Phytomedicine recently reported that bitter (aka sour or Seville) orange was one of only fi ve that inhibited bacterial growth in a study of 172 plants. BEST BUY Dissolve 1 drop bitter orange essential oil ($6 and up; mountainroseherbs.com) and 1∕4 teaspoon salt in 1∕2 cup warm water; gargle twice daily (never swallow).

Use a tincture or capsule of echinacea and goldenseal “Both herbs fully prepare the body to fi ght a throat infection,” says Wilson. “Echinacea boosts immunity, while goldenseal has berberine, an antibacterial compound.” It’s so antibacterial, in fact, that it inhibits bugs from organizing into “biofi lms” that can make them 1,000 times more drug-resistant, a 2008 Chinese study revealed. BEST BUY Gaia Herbs Echinacea Goldenseal Propolis Throat Spray ($13; gaiaherbs.com)

Drink anti-inflammatory tea “Slippery elm bark, licorice root and marshmallow root are all demulcents, reducing infl ammation that makes it easier for bacteria to infect tissues like those in the throat,” says Wilson. “That speeds up healing.” BEST BUY Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat ($5; traditionalmedicinals.com)

Take Sang Ju Yin Wan “This TCM formula combines antibacterial chrysanthemum fl owers and apricot seeds with anti-infl ammatory and antiviral herbs,” says Jill Blakeway, M.Sc., L.Ac., clinic director of The YinOva Center in New York City. Studies published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine have found that it helps boost immunity in humans. BEST BUY Plum Flower Sang Ju Yin Wan ($10; heavenearthchineseherbs.com)

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