Alternatives to antibiotics from naturopathy

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Alternatives to antibiotics

Antibiotics are drugs that are used against pathogenic bacteria, either by killing them or by inhibiting their growth. After penicillin happily reduced the risk of dying from wound infections, puerperal fever, sore throat and pneumonia in the post-war period, the call for alternatives is getting louder today due to the increasing resistance and negative health consequences of antibiotics. What alternatives are there from the field of naturopathy and how can they be used sensibly?

Antibiotics: development and development of resistance

When the Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered the growth-inhibiting effect of the penicillum mold on pathogenic bacteria in his laboratory experiments in 1929, a new era in medicine began, which was initially perceived as a blessing everywhere. Penicillin mainly affected the strains of staphylococci and streptococci, both types of bacteria that cause purulent diseases such as sore throats, pneumonia or wound infections. Soon, new antibiotics effective against other bacteria were developed, which were initially produced from fungi and bacteria, but later increasingly synthetically. Today at least 8000 antibiotics are said to be known worldwide. As quickly as the effect of the Penicillinum appeared, the first resistances, especially the Staphylococcus aureus on, which are said to have expanded to about 80% of the bacterial strain to date. According to media reports from the past year, the multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is said to claim 40,000 deaths per year in Germany alone, which is a serious threat, especially in hospitals.

Unnecessary use and improper application

The reasons for this development of resistance are, on the one hand, to be found in the downright wasteful and often unnecessary prescribing practice of human and veterinarians in recent decades. The drugs - which are only effective for bacterial infections - are often prescribed for a common cold with a sore throat, cough and runny nose, which are usually viral. Likewise, patients with an antibiotic prescription leave the doctor's office even though a fungal infection has been found, often on the grounds of preventing possible bacterial inflammation. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock farming, however, indirectly promotes resistance via drinking water.

On the other hand, improper use by the patient can certainly be partly responsible for the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics. In particular, premature discontinuation of therapy when the symptoms decrease can lead to some bacteria surviving, multiplying again and also developing resistance to the drug. Also neglected, but important for the effect, is compliance with the prescribed intake intervals and dietary regulations. With regard to antibiotics, there are worrying gaps in knowledge among the general public, which a European study pointed out in spring this year.

Long-term health consequences

The most common side effects of antibiotics are digestive tract complaints, such as nausea and vomiting, but especially diarrhea. Antibiotics, with their anti-bacterial properties, do not stop at the bacteria that are constantly resident in our intestinal flora, which ensure a healthy balance. Even a single therapy often leads to a disruption of the sensitive system, which, however, can reorganize itself after a while. With repeated antibiotic therapy, the balance often cannot be restored without external intervention. From the point of view of naturopathy, this not only leads to persistent digestive disorders. Rather, the resulting intestinal dysbiosis can also cause functional disorders of the immune system, which lead to susceptibility to infections or allergies, such as a food allergy. The settlement and spread of yeasts, e.g. The way is paved for Candida albicans or undesirable strains of bacteria, which in turn can lead to health problems. In a recent study by David Relman and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, a sustained effect of repeated ciprofloxacin doses on the natural colonization of the intestinal flora was proven.

Herbal antibiotics

Medicinal plants can initially be used for many ailments caused by bacteria. Herbal antibiotics are medicinal plants whose ingredients are either bactericidal, i.e. bactericidal, or bacteriostatic, i.e. have a growth-inhibiting effect on the germs. In a variety of plants these are e.g. contain as essential oils, flavonoids, tannin compounds, saponins or mustard oils. Depending on the other ingredients and effects, the medicinal plants are selected to relieve specific complaints.

Sage helps with inflammation in the mouth and throat and thyme against coughs, while the antibacterial effect of cranberries and white sandalwood is more likely to be used for urinary tract infections. Turmeric (turmeric) is known as a natural antibiotic that is also supposed to strengthen digestion and intestinal flora. Tea tree oil has proven to be effective for the prevention and treatment of skin infections, while aloe vera is particularly effective in healing wounds. As early as 1994, Dr. Kathleen Shupe at the University of Dallas investigated the killing effects of the active ingredients of aloe in a series of in vitro experiments Streptococcus pyogenes and causing pus Staphylococcus aureus have observed.

If treatment with conventional antibiotics is unavoidable, patients in the doctor's office should (again) be informed more about the consequences of inadequate intake or their contribution to preventing antibiotic resistance. A more thorough consideration of the necessity and a precise germ analysis for the targeted use of an antibiotic can also help ensure that the drugs continue to work reliably as a "sharp weapon" in appropriate cases. After the treatment, the physiological bacterial flora can again be supported by the administration of so-called probiotics in building up the normal flora. (Dipl.Päd. Jeanette Viñals Stein, naturopath, 17.09.2010)

Also read:
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily
Individual dosage of antibiotics required
Resistant bacteria spread

Sources: David Relman, Stanford University School of Medicine, et al .: PNAS, online publication, doi / 10.1073 / pnas.1000087107)

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