By Matthew Stein, P.E., Author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance and Planetary Survival, ISBN #978-1933392837, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT (800) 639-4099

Certain bacterial infections now defy all antibiotics.

–Stuart Levy, M.D.

When it comes to antibiotic resistant bacteria and deadly viruses, so-called “alternative medicine”, including herbs and a variety of other treatments, could be your most effective form of treatment and prevention.  A few years ago, my wife suffered from an antibiotic resistant urinary infection that was probably caused by the same strain of antibiotic resistant E. coli that reportedly plagued women across the country (San Francisco Chronicle 10/14/2001). We spent several hundred dollars on multiple courses of three different antibiotics, which escalated all the way to the infamous Cipro, a powerful “last resort” antibiotic. Cipro held her infection at bay, but failed to eliminate it. The infection would return within three days after finishing a course of Cipro. After months of unsuccessful medical treatment with pharmaceutical antibiotics, she was finally able to kick the infection in less than ten days through the use of a combination of grapefruit seed extract (from the health food store) and large quantities of homemade antibiotic colloidal silver solution. The following is a list of items you may wish to keep on hand:

Some handy alternative medicines and herbs:

  •  Astragalus. One of the most highly regarded herbs used in Chinese medicine, astragalus is an effective immune system booster.
  •  Colloidal silver. The medicines that hospitals use to fight skin infections on severe burn patients are all based upon the active component of silver.  Colloidal silver is a broadband antibiotic solution that has been used against a myriad of harmful protozoa, bacteria, and viruses, though users indicate that it may require significant quantities (like a quart a day) to successfully treat serious illnesses. It is available in health food stores (expensive!) or can be made for just pennies a day with a simple commercial or homemade colloidal silver generator.
  •  Echinacea. A traditional Native American medicinal herb, Echinacea has become a part of mainstream self-help medicine. Since its antiviral and antibacterial properties have been scientifically documented, Echinacea is now available at most drugstores.
  •  Garlic. A true “wonder herb,” garlic has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties as well as tremendous nutritional antioxidant value. The number of active ingredients in penicillin is one. At least thirty-five active ingredients have been identified in garlic, making it much more difficult for bacteria to grow resistant to garlic than penicillin. CAUTION: cooking destroys most of garlic’s potency, but your friends may not stick around after a serious raw garlic treatment.
  •  Grapefruit seed extract (GSE). Like garlic, GSE is another true “wonder herb,” exhibiting powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties. It has been used successfully to battle numerous diseases and ailments, including Lyme disease, Candida,Giardia, amoebic dysentery, many kinds of parasites, athlete’s foot, ringworm, gum disease, herpes, colds, flu, and some forms of arthritis.
  •  Homeopathic Medicine: Homeopathy appears to stimulate the body’s own immune system in ways that western science still doesn’t fully understand. For a reasonable price, you can buy homeopathy kits that contain 10-30 common remedies for treating a wide variety of ailments. Sometimes homeopathy works wonders when other medicines and remedies fail, like the time it helped my dog rebound from the edge of death when she was suffering from a serious antibiotic resistant infection. During the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, regular hospitals experienced fatality rates of around 30% whereas homeopathic hospitals treated over 26,000 people with a fatality rate of just over 1%.
  •  Honey is a natural antiseptic. It has been used on the battlefield for treating wounds since ancient times and as recently as WWI. Some modern physicians claim that wounds treated with honey heal faster than those treated with antiseptics.
  •  Hyssop. Though little used in the West, hyssop is another powerful herb, exhibiting strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. One of the few herbs that has been proven effective against active tuberculosis, Hyssop is often prescribed by Chinese herbalists for lung ailments.
  •  Neem oil. The National Research Council (NRC), Washington, D.C., considers the neem to be “one of the most promising of all plants. . . . [It] may eventually benefit every person on this planet.” Like garlic, neem appears to be have powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
  •  St. John’s wort. Sometimes called “nature’s Prozac,” St. John’s wort is mostly known for its antidepressant and mood-enhancing properties. It is also an immune system booster with strong antiviral properties.
  •  Tea tree oil. A powerful antifungal and disinfectant. Use topically (do not take internally) for skin infections, itchy scalp, and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. This oil is very penetrating and will penetrate through the skin to heal sealed-over infections and pimples. Tea tree oil is one of the few liquids that can seep through toenails.
  •  Usnea. Another powerful herb with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Use internally or externally against bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Often combined with Spilanthes and called “Spilanthes-Usnea”.
  •  Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, immune system booster, natural detoxifier, and necessary body nutrient for tissue health and wound healing. Powdered vitamin C is handy for sprinkling in foods and liquids to detoxify mold aflatoxins and many other toxic substances that may be present in foods. Sprinkle powdered vitamin C into purified water to remove the taste of iodine or other water treatment chemicals.

NOTE: This is just a sampling. There are far more alternative medicines, herbs, and treatments than I have mentioned in this brief article.