Amoxicillin is a common prescription antibiotic used to treat a bacterial infections, including Streptococci, E. coli, Staphylococcus, H. pylori, P. mirabilis, H. influenzae, N. gonorrhoeae and S. pneumoniae. It is also known by brand names such as Amoxil, Dispermox, Trimox, and Alphamox. However, with growing concern over misuse of antibiotics, more and more people are turning to alternatives such as herbal remedies.
Echinacea, or purple coneflower, is one of the most popular herbs used to treat colds, the flu and other infections. It is thought to be a natural antibiotic and has been used by herbalists throughout North America for hundreds of years. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, laboratory studies suggest that “echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects”. It has been used by herbalists to treat ear infections, sinus infections, urinary tract infections and yeast infections. The typical dose is one 300 mg capsule, three times per day, or 15 to 23 drops of standard extract daily.
Garlic is not only thought to be a natural antibiotic, but is anti-fungal and also kills parasites. However, it does not destroy the body’s normal flora (healthy bacteria), as is common with many prescription antibiotics. The Clayton College of Natural Health Herb Guide says garlic’s antibiotic component is known as allicin. One dose of allicin is estimated to equal 15 standard units of penicillin. They also note that during World Wars I and II, it came to be known as “Russian penicillin” for its powerful antiseptic qualities. The standard dose is two to four cloves per day for the duration of the illness, or 600 to 1,200 mg of garlic extract daily.
Goldenseal is another herb thought to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. The Herb Guide states that Goldenseal is an effective treatment against several common bacteria, including Streptomyces, Chlamydia, C. diphtheria, E. coli, Salmonella, V. cholerae, D. penumoniae, Pseudomonas, S. dysenteriae, T. vaginalis, N. gonorrhoea, N. meningitides, Giardia lamblia, and Candida albicans”. Like echinacea, goldenseal is also native to North America and has been used for centuries by American herbalists. The chemical component of goldenseal, berberine, is an antibiotic and disinfectant. It is commonly used to treat colds, the flu, allergies and upper respiratory infections. The recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg tablets, up to 3 times daily, or 30 to 120 mg of standardized extract, up to 3 times daily. Goldenseal tea made from the powdered root may also be added to water and used as a douche for vaginal infections, or as a gargle for sore throats.
Never undertake an herbal regimen before discussing it with your doctor; herbs can have side effects and can interfere with prescription medications. For more information on the side effects of herbs, visit the National Library of Medicine website.