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
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If it feels like>> A SINUS INFECTION
Opt for a five-herb formula The blend of gentian root, black elder and primrose flowers, common sorrel and vervain is “the best clinically tested herbal formula for sinusitis in the world,” says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council. “It’s a proven antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and mucus-thinning blend.” BEST BUY Sinupret+ ($18;

Consider beta-carotene “This compound is a precursor to vitamin A, which helps heal mucous membranes that get infected in sinusitis,” says Jennifer Crain, M.S.O.M., L.Ac., a licensed herbalist in Austin, Texas. It’s safer to take betacarotene than pure vitamin A. BEST BUY Vitamin Shoppe Beta-Carotene ($3 and up;

Clear sinuses with grape-seed extract A recent study confi rmed its effectiveness against 10 strains of bacteria. “It also regulates sinus inflammation by reducing the body’s production of histamine [a compound that causes allergy symptoms],” Crain says. BEST BUY Nature’s Plus Herbal Actives Grape Seed Liquid Suspension extract ($16; Mix one dropper full (20 drops) in water, juice or tea daily.

Take N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) “This amino acid activates white blood cells in the respiratory tract; increases antioxidant activity there; and helps thin and drain mucus,” says Steven Sandberg-Lewis, N.D., a professor at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Ore. BEST BUY GNC NAC 600 ($14;