Do natural antibiotics work and are they safe to use?

Certain natural substances have antibacterial properties, but which are safe to use?

Are natural antibiotics safe?

Prescription antibiotics, such as penicillin, have helped people to recover from otherwise fatal diseases and conditions since the 1940s.

A new trend, however, is seeing people turn to natural antibiotics for treatment.

Are these safe to use? When are natural antibiotics a better choice than the prescription solution?

With the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria, even scientists are starting to look to more natural solutions, where possible.

Here are some of the leading substances with antibacterial properties and the science behind what they offer.

Cultures across the world have long recognised garlic for its preventive and curative powers. Research has found that garlic can be an effective treatment against many forms of bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Garlic has even been considered for use against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

This one has been around for a while. Healers have long used honey to help wounds heal and prevent or draw out infection. Even today some healthcare professionals have found it helpful in treating chronic wounds, burns, ulcers, bedsores and skin grafts. The antibacterial effects of honey are usually attributed to its hydrogen peroxide content. However, while Manuka honey fights off bacteria, it has a lower hydrogen peroxide content. A 2011 study reported that the best-known type of honey inhibits approximately 60 kinds of bacteria.

Several studies, including one published in 2017, have demonstrated ginger's ability to fight many strains of bacteria. Researchers are also exploring ginger's power to combat seasickness and nausea, and to lower blood sugar levels.

Clove has traditionally been used in dental procedures. Research is now finding that clove water extract may be effective against many different kinds of bacteria, including E. coli.

Are they safe?
Just because something is labelled natural, it is not necessarily safe.

While cooked garlic is usually safe to consume, research suggests that taking concentrated garlic may increase the risk of bleeding. This can be dangerous for people facing surgery or taking blood thinners.

Taking the substances themselves in their naturally occurring state is unlikely to cause much harm, but if they are the active ingredient in supplements, you may want to check with your GP first.


Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    5th Jun 2018
    How about revealing the quantity of these elements that are required to be as effective as 1 pill of antibiotic?
    Not a Bludger
    5th Jun 2018
    Mumbo Jumbo for the most part.
    I, for one, shall continue to put my confidence in the trained, scientific experts and stay with medical and pharmaceutical advice.
    5th Jun 2018
    Safety with these things is all dose related, take too much and it is toxic.

    What is the mechanism for treating existing illness, does the substance make it hard for harmful bacteria and viruses to live in the body or does it boost the immune system?

    Does the substance prevent illness by taking it regularly

    Does the substance maintain the right ratio of good microorganisms to bad micro organisms? Will it not make existing diseases worse, like people who have auto immune diseases that attack ones own body?

    I think most people use these remedies on a try it and see basis. If it works take some more, if it doesn't see the doctor.

    This is quite different to the doctor taking a blood or stool sample, Identifying a specific organism and using a specific intervention to deal with it.
    6th Jun 2018
    After spinal surgery my daughter ended up with a staph infection that did not respond to antibiotic treatment. I ended up using honey on the wound and after the first application there was significant improvement. I continued with the honey treatment and the wound healed.
    8th Jun 2018
    'm surprised you didn't mention turmeric. I grate turmeric (looks like ginger) into a sieve in a small teapot, add black pepper (which brings out the curcumin), pour over boiling water, let steep, then drink a cup twice a day. Gets rid of inflammation, which causes the pain. My specialist couldn''t believe I wasn't on painkillers for my condition! Dr Mosley; Trust Me I'm a Doctor on SBS did a trial and found that the powder worked but tablets didn't. Unfotunately, he didn't try the rhizomes. Another old remedy if you feel a cold coming on, or near someone sneezing, put one teaspoon of bi carb in a glass of water and drink three times a day till symptoms gone. (Makes the body alkaline and germs can't live in an alkaline system). Also good for indigestion. These more natural remedies give your own immune system a chance.
    20th Mar 2020
    Aloe Vera is a natural antibiotic, antibacterial, AND anti-fungal! The Aloe cactus has been totes as a “miracle plant” as the gel in the leaves contain a long list of substances with powerful healing properties. Aloe is found in stores as a topical agent such as soap, lotion, or cream..commonly used for sunburns and skin conditions. It is also available in an ingestable juice. If you tend to get canker sores or mouth pain, swishing some aloe around in your mouth can be quite beneficial. Also, drinking an ounce or two if you feel a cold coming on is a great idea. Don’t drink too much though, in higher doses it can cause some stomach cramping. You can find more information on Ginger is One of my favorites, ginger is used effectively for a variety of intestinal disorders. Its antibiotic effects appear to be the key to its success. I often use ginger if i have any digestive issues, nausea/motion sickness, and mixed with cinnamon and lemon for a sore throat.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles