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How to Naturally Fight Infections without Antibiotics (Is Oil of Oregano the Best Natural Antibiotic?)

I have quite a collection of antibiotic prescriptions that have never been filled.

Over the years, I’ve gotten skilled at fighting infections withOUT antibiotics, and in fact, 3 of my 4 children have never taken an antibiotic in their lives.

Child number one was apparently my test subject as I learned more about natural health, how to support the body’s own immune system, and stocking my natural remedies medicine cabinet with both tools and knowledge to get him healthy after an infection hit.

I could only do the best back then with what I knew at the time – but I know better now, and I hope to share wisdom with you on natural antibiotic substitutions that can help your family avoid the grenade that prescription antibiotics can be to the gut’s microbiome.

RELATED: How to restore your microbiome after antibiotics.

cloves of garlic

Our Story: Avoiding Prescription Antibiotics the First Time

You’ll hear this story in the first person from the time period just after the events happened when my oldest son Paul was about 5 years old in 2010.

Last spring, I came home from a doctor’s appointment with my child carrying two bags: one with a super-strength prescription antibiotic from the pharmacy, and the other holding two tiny bottles clinking together from the health food store.

My husband and I had to pray together (and consult Dr. Google) about whether to give our son the drugs – which had complications like diarrhea, not ideal for our plane travel in four days – or the garlic and oregano oils.

He had just battled a case of strep throat, finishing his 10-day regimen of antibiotics the day before he got sick again. (And yes, I’m convinced that the antibiotics wiped out his system and made him prone to the next infection.)

We were also testing him out on a gluten-free diet, but we couldn’t tell if the poor kid was having any positive effects because of the sickness and medication!

It was touch and go all day, watching his fever, his mood, his pain threshold.

Paul sick

The garlic and oregano are pretty nasty little buggers to drink, even in a shot glass of orange juice. I can tell you which option my son would have chosen if given his say!

I felt a little guilty tossing out the antibiotics, but I’d rather feed the trash than my little guy.

You can read more of the story of my son battling ear infections with natural antibiotic options if you’re interested in that ailment specifically.

I’ve come a long way from the disgusting (and potentially risky) garlic-and-oregano-in-orange-juice treatment, believe me.

Today we’ll stick to the general overview of natural infection-fighting herbs, oils, and more, for topical use, internal use, and even in the air.

RELATED: If you do end up using antibiotics, here’s the best probiotic when taking an antibiotic.

Disclaimer: I’m Just a Mom learning along with you. At the time of that story, I felt like I was still a total rookie at the natural health gig, but every year I learn more. I often say that when illness or disease hits our household, I’m grateful in a weird way — because once I learn how to deal with it with as few toxins as possible, I can share that knowledge with others here at Kitchen Stewardship®. 🙂

I may not be a medical professional,  but over a decade of experience in home doctoring has taught me a lot.

Allow me to help. Here’s what I’ve picked up over the years to help my kids heal naturally from infections and avoid prescription antibiotics.

fighting infection naturally

Why Avoid Prescription Antibiotics? What Are the Side Effects? 

Prescription antibiotics are a big deal — some say that just ONE dose in childhood can impact gut health, weight management, and more as adults. 

It’s not something easily undone, so it’s a MUCH more weighty decision than most doctors wielding prescription pads would lead you to believe. 

Side effects of antibiotics may include:1, 2, 3

  • gut dysbiosis (because most are broad-spectrum and wipe out both your pathogenic bacteria and your supportive bacteria)
  • skin rashes
  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach and other gastrointestinal side effects (nausea, vomiting, cramps)
  • yeast infections
  • fever
  • dizziness 
  • C. diff infection4
  • neurotoxic effects5
  • mitochondrial dysfunction6

Although rare, antibiotics do infrequently have irreversible or even fatal side effects.7 Because my natural remedies don’t even have anecdotal death rates, I prefer to do my best to avoid prescription antibiotics unless they are a last resort and build up my natural remedies medicine cabinet with as many options as possible to fight infection and mitigate symptoms from normal, everyday illnesses and injuries as much as possible.

Of course, this all starts with a foundation of eating our vegetables to fuel our bodies well and acknowledging the power of our own immune systems

RELATED: If your kids have been on antibiotics check out this interview about building up your child’s gut.

Preventative Measures to Stay Healthy

The first step to fighting an infection is to get your body (and its immune system) in great shape to begin with.

When you’re working with a powerful system, you want it to be there to support you when you need it. During cold and flu season, we tend to take extra care to give our bodies what they need.

Here’s what I like to have on hand, either for daily use or to take when we know “something is going around.”

  • Dried elderberries to make elderberry syrup (or buy a tincture from Earthley) – the tincture is very affordable and easy to take. Just a dropperful or less per child, depending on age, AND it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, a huge plus over elderberry syrup. Elderberries boost the immune system. Elderberry syrup should not be used by people with autoimmune diseases or who are taking immunosuppressant medications.
  • Homemade chicken stock from bones – always a good food to include in your meal plan at least once a week, especially in the fall/winter.
bowl of homemade chicken stock on a red striped hand towel
  • Vitamin C superfoods – it’s pretty well known that vitamin C is a great way to boost your immune system and prevent getting sick. But did you know the very best way to get vitamin C is through whole food sources? My favorite way to get the most potent vitamin C rich superfoods is with Essential C Complex from Paleovalley, and you get 10% off with that link! Mix the powder from the capsule into a smoothie or applesauce for kids who can’t swallow pills, or grab some Immune-Aid Powder from Earthley, made from whole foods as well.
  • Fresh garlic – one of the top foods with natural antibiotic properties, another good habit is definitely to include garlic as often as possible.
  • Coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site) – also a natural antibiotic food, the healing properties of coconut oil are many and diverse! We use it all the time in cooking and some topical applications.
  • Probiotics – we rotate quite a few, both children and adults…

Some Quality Probiotics

Some of these I’ve used, some I’m planning to use, and some have been recommended by friends and professionals alike. It’s good to remember a few things about probiotics: 1. People should get different colonies of probiotics, so switching brands/strains every so often (6 weeks?) is good practice. 2. What works great for one person’s needs doesn’t always work for another. I’ve personally tried:
  • Just Thrive Probiotics – this one can be taken during antibiotics and not be rendered ineffective, which almost all other probiotics are! It’s the top-recommended probiotic overall by Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne. 😮 (Be sure to use the code Katie15 for 15% off; also found on Amazon and from Perfect Supplements where you can use the coupon KS10 for 10% off!)
  • Seed Daily Synbiotic – the new player in the field but recommended by superstars like Chris Kresser for its unique probiotic/prebiotic synergy. Here’s my full review including a number of surprises for my thinking and a 15% off code!
  • Note: If you’re struggling with digestion, especially constipation, or you feel like you really need to populate your gut with healthy probiotics, I would recommend Saccharomyces Boulardii in addition to any other you choose (except any above which include this strain). Saccharomyces Boulardii is research-proven to get through the digestive tract without being killed, which is rare. 
  • Balance One probiotics with a unique time-release formula (use the code KITCHENS15 at either Balance One’s site or even Amazon to save 15% either place! Wow! Use the code at checkout on Amazon btw.)

For Little Ones (we use all of these):

  • Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is a liquid probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tastes like…nothing! It’s my new favorite for administering to kids! (Use code KCRF15 for 15% off!)
  • WellBelly by WellFuture (9 strains of probiotics in apple and banana carrier – it’s a powder)
  • Buddies in my Belly probiotic powder (2 strains of probiotics + potato starch carrier and prebiotics) or chewable tablets
Recommended by experts I trust:

None of these are guaranteed prevention – you’ll still get sick. But it’s always my hope that when the germs, bacteria, and viruses DO hit, our bodies are more well-equipped to fight them off quickly and with fewer side effects. 

Natural Antibiotics: Home Remedies To Fight Infections

Natural antibiotics CAN still be quite potent and can also unbalance your natural flora. Typically this isn’t as recklessly as prescription antibiotics, almost always without many of the scary side effects, and often are targeted to only disrupt the pathogenic, infectious bacteria but avoid disrupting your healthy microbiome balance.

There are many modalities to consider when attempting to fight an infection holistically without modern medical intervention:

  • Essential oils: topically, diffused into the air
  • Homeopathy
  • Herbs and tinctures
  • Food and other gifts of nature

You may have to wait an extra day or two for an infection to resolve itself, but in the long run, that day is a fantastic investment in the gut flora future for you or your child.

Besides that, I feel it’s important for children to learn that their bodies are powerful, that their immune systems can fight germs and disease, and that rest, hydration, healthy food, and supporting that immune system are their best lines of defense against ill health.

We want to build UP their immune systems, to teach them to recognize pathogenic bacteria and viruses and know how to attack them, to get a “workout” so to speak, so as to get stronger for future illness exposure.

A few days in bed and Mommy snuggles is still the best medicine for a sick child…but when you know you’re dealing with an infection, let’s give you a toolbox to take health agency and deal with it at home.

Natural Antibacterial, Antiviral, Infection Fighting Essential Oils

Essential oils are a great weapon in your arsenal, because there are many essential oils that fight infections of various kinds, and they can be used topically or diffused.

For little ones, it’s wonderful to be able to rub something good-smelling on them or turn on a diffuser when they’re sick since it can be difficult to convince sick, cranky tots to take something by mouth.

Also when an infection or irritation is on the skin, diluted essential oils target exactly what you need.

AND because you can “clean the air,” so to speak, by diffusing any of these, you can protect other family members from potentially coming down with whatever is ailing one of you.

essential oils

Here are some oils you’ll want to keep in stock to fight infections, suspected infections, or help alleviate symptoms:

  • Oregano Essential Oil – diffuse into the air, rub onto feet diluted properly with a carrier oil, or use topically. Oregano can be used as a general weapon against colds and flu symptoms or even skin infections. Oregano is not safe for young kids.
  • We regularly use the KidSafe Germ Destroyer essential oil blend. Plant Therapy consulted with a big essential oil expert to formulate their KidSafe line, which is especially important if you have kids under 10 years old. Many of the “germ-fighting” blends from other brands use “hot” oils that could be harmful to little ones. Use this pre-diluted blend in a rollerball on kids’ feet or chest or diffuse the undiluted oil anytime someone in the house is coming down with something, or if you know something is going around at school. The air and the humans are supported.
  • Tea tree oil doesn’t smell great, but it’s been studied against bacteria and viruses.
  • Lavender
  • Clary sage
  • If you don’t have little kids then these other “hot” oils are all said to be antibacterial or antiviral essential oils:

Those link are mostly to Rocky Mountain Oils, a very clean brand, but you can find them all at Plant Therapy as well and cost-compare. 

Many of these are research-proven to be antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial — pretty impressive! Including in the air…8

Read my post on the potential dangers of essential oils. They can be great if used correctly, but you need to know enough to know what you don’t yet know…

To keep it easy, if you’re just starting out, use the KidSafe Germ Fighter blend from Plant Therapy and diffuse or use the pre-diluted blend. It’s hard to mess that up! 😉

If you don’t have a diffuser yet, here’s the one I use

We also “clean the air” literally with our Air Doctor air filters. The HEPA and carbon filters pull viruses (and all sort of environmental toxins) right out of the air. If you’re diffusing oils, keep the diffuser across the room from your air filter so it doesn’t suck those right up before they can help your family. 😉 

Bonus tip: If kids are congested, we can’t always guess if they have a bacterial or viral infection. But using PT’s Sniffle Stopper blend diffused into the air or diluted and rubbed on the chest IS the natural alternative to Vick’s Vapo-Rub, and just as effective to clear the passageway.

Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
essential oil dilution chart
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak? Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:You can read more about why it’s so important to dilute essential oils here, and I know the little chart will be helpful!

Is Oil of Oregano the Best Natural Antibiotic? 

You’ve read my story, and you know I jumped in with both feet and served my son “oil of oregano” both orally and on his feet…but I’m not sure it was the best idea

It was a recommendation from the Internet moms, and I purchased the vial. Oil of oregano is slightly different from oregano essential oil, but it’s still very strong and it’s a bit confusing when you are new to the world of natural remedies. I didn’t even know what essential oils were at the time, (oregano essential oil is not recommended for kids so you don’t want to mix these up!) and sometimes I’m still not sure which one people mean when they say “oregano oil.”

Here’s what I know now:

  • Oregano has evidence-based effectiveness against a variety of pathogens (see sources at the end of the post). 
  • You can use oregano in many forms, from less potent herbs in cooking to very concentrated essential oil. 
  • There are contraindications for children under 10 years old for oregano essential oil, so although it may be a good choice topically or diffused for adults, it’s not my go-to as a mom of young ones. 
  • I used Oil of oregano capsules when I was fighting a skin infection that was pretty severe, and I did manage to avoid prescription antibiotics (but had the bottle filled and at the ready; it was that serious!). 
  • We used oregano essential oil as one of our oils to battle impetigo for my high school wrestling son, diluted, combined with others, and topical. (Note that he’s a full-grown teen, not a child.)
  • At this point, I wouldn’t use oregano essential oil internally, as there’s some indication that it might be a bit more broad spectrum and harm beneficial bacteria. Of course we can take high quality probiotics and find the best one for our families, but if we don’t have to interfere with our microbiome in big ways, better to step back and use something that’s not quite as strong. 

Now if I was staring down a bottle of prescription antibiotics and on the verge of giving in, I’d pull out all the stops. Oregano essential oil is one of the stronger options, which is good to know in emergencies, but use with caution. 

Using Homeopathy to Avoid Antibiotics

homeopathy

I took a homeopathy intro class in the fall of 2020 because until then, I had dabbled with them for 10 years but wasn’t convinced that they did much other than make me feel like I was doing something

I wanted a real win. 

I had been battling a connective muscle tissue autoimmune disease for six months with awful rashes, swollen ankles and face, and a LOT of efforts to tame it, but no success. 

I can truthfully say that without a doubt, the homeopathic eczema protocol I followed worked, and worked decisively

Since then we’ve seen successes with a few different kinds of headaches, my daughter’s ortho mouth pain, and experimented with a number of other acute and chronic issues

We haven’t had much of a chance to experiment with infections, although in my dabbling phase I did use them for wisdom tooth extraction pain (not exactly infection, but hoping to avoid one) and a skin infection called cellulitis

At that time I bought a homeopathic remedy I wanted to have on hand for future infections issues — 

Hepar sulphuricum calcarea, or “Hep Sulph,” is often called the “homeopathic antibiotic” and can be used for:

  • coughs/croup
  • sore throats (30c potency, up to every 3 hours)
  • dental abscesses (only at 6x or 6c potency)
  • pinkeye (30x or 30c potency)
  • acne (200c potency)
  • mastitis
  • some eczema but many skin infections, especially if sensitive to touch and visible skin issues
  • sepsis
  • swollen lymph nodes (I absolutely had this with my skin issue, and they subsided with Hepar Sulph as part of my protocol! 200c twice a day should do it.)
  • ear infections (6c potency, every 3 hours until pain subsides)
  • strep throat with ear infections (especially if the pain in the ears goes from L to R. Use high potency 200c to get the infection over with quickly.)

Comparing hep sulph to an antibiotic isn’t really fair, however, because an antibiotic is going to wipe out good and bad bacteria, but hep sulph will only tackle the issue, no gut dysbiosis

Here are some recommended homeopathic remedies for normal kid ailments: 

  • Chamomilla for ear infections
  • Fevers: I would use aconite right at the onset, and if that doesn’t kick it, Belladonna (for very high, hot fevers, red cheeks) or Chamomilla 30c unless very severe, then try 200c

RELATED: How to take a homeopathic remedy

Natural Antibiotic Herbs and Other Plant Products

When someone in the Kitchen Stewardship® household is starting to come down with something, one thing I really appreciate about natural remedies is that I don’t NEED to know exactly what’s going on

Virus? Bacteria? 

With some of the anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial options like essential oils and herbs, you can hit all the birds with one stone

Scout Out from TriLight Health is often that stone. It’s an herbal tincture that you could make at home, but I don’t choose to take the time to DIY much other than food around here. We take it at the first sign of a cold or illness, and it’s also the go-to for suspected ear infections. Use this special referral link for 20% off your first order. 

Beekeeper’s Naturals propolis spray is antipathogenic in many ways, but particularly against bacteria. It’s a bee product (so not technically a plant product, but forgive me for including it here), and it’s basically what the bees use in the hive to keep infection at bay and everything clean.9

Anyone feeling the “ominous tickle” gets a squirt (or up to 4) immediately! 

See my full review of Beekeeper’s Naturals propolis for more info, like how propolis also kills warts and many other uses! Take 10% off with the code Katie15. 🙂

beekeepers naturals propolis throat spray

Usually, when someone is sick with anything in the house, I’ll diffuse Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Germ Destroyer (or any of the oils listed in this post above) to clear the air for everyone else, but that’s not always possible. 

Once while on the road, we didn’t have all our remedies with us, and a family we were traveling with brought a stomach bug into the house. Yikes!

A smart mama put dried rosemary in a pan with some water to basically clean the air, like a DIY essential oil but not so potent. Thyme or oregano, fresh or dried, would be great options to try as well if you’re in a pinch without remedies. 

Other remedies for infections can come from your kitchen too. Garlic and honey both have antimicrobial properties, so people have been known to crush a clove of garlic, let it sit for 14-21 minutes to increase its potency, and then swallow it quickly enveloped in raw honey

And of course, it must be said that sleep, plain old regular FREE sleep, is the best remedy for anything that ails you. Make it a priority! 

RELATED: How to avoid an oral antibiotic with impetigo

Substituting Natural Antibiotic Options Topically

My kids don’t even know what “Neosporin” is, but I bet everyone in my generation used that term for any topical antibiotic ointment, just like any clear tape was “Scotch tape.” 

Chelated silver oxide is one natural alternative to topical antibiotics, and I’m honored to have spent time with the formulator of Nutrisporin, an appropriately named substitute for the ouchies on the skin when we want to avoid infection. 

We’ve used it for many scrapes and scratches as well as my cellulitis and my son’s impetigo. 

Any of the antimicrobial essential oils can also be diluted properly and used topically, and switching up what you hit pathogenic germs with is actually a really good idea so they don’t get comfortable with the weapons you’re using. 

For preventative use, I like to keep a pre-diluted roll-on of Immune Boom from Plant Therapy in my purse or coat pocket, and we use it almost like a hand sanitizer if the kids have been somewhere that’s likely covered with germs we don’t want to bring home. 

The Opposite of Antibiotics: Probiotics

I always tell my kids that we have good and bad bacteria, and we want to fight the bad guys but also send more good guys in so they can fight for us. 

That’s why we often increase our probiotics and variety of strains during an illness. Here’s your guide to choosing the best probiotics for you!

Some Quality Probiotics

Some of these I’ve used, some I’m planning to use, and some have been recommended by friends and professionals alike. It’s good to remember a few things about probiotics: 1. People should get different colonies of probiotics, so switching brands/strains every so often (6 weeks?) is good practice. 2. What works great for one person’s needs doesn’t always work for another. I’ve personally tried:
  • Just Thrive Probiotics – this one can be taken during antibiotics and not be rendered ineffective, which almost all other probiotics are! It’s the top-recommended probiotic overall by Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne. 😮 (Be sure to use the code Katie15 for 15% off; also found on Amazon and from Perfect Supplements where you can use the coupon KS10 for 10% off!)
  • Seed Daily Synbiotic – the new player in the field but recommended by superstars like Chris Kresser for its unique probiotic/prebiotic synergy. Here’s my full review including a number of surprises for my thinking and a 15% off code!
  • Note: If you’re struggling with digestion, especially constipation, or you feel like you really need to populate your gut with healthy probiotics, I would recommend Saccharomyces Boulardii in addition to any other you choose (except any above which include this strain). Saccharomyces Boulardii is research-proven to get through the digestive tract without being killed, which is rare. 
  • Balance One probiotics with a unique time-release formula (use the code KITCHENS15 at either Balance One’s site or even Amazon to save 15% either place! Wow! Use the code at checkout on Amazon btw.)

For Little Ones (we use all of these):

  • Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is a liquid probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tastes like…nothing! It’s my new favorite for administering to kids! (Use code KCRF15 for 15% off!)
  • WellBelly by WellFuture (9 strains of probiotics in apple and banana carrier – it’s a powder)
  • Buddies in my Belly probiotic powder (2 strains of probiotics + potato starch carrier and prebiotics) or chewable tablets
Recommended by experts I trust:

How Often Should I Use Natural Antibiotics? 

Remember that we don’t actually want to use anything antibacterial consistently in our bodies. We need a diverse microbiome of bacteria to survive and thrive, and we don’t want to run the risk of our bodies becoming accustomed to any one thing.

Most natural options aren’t broad-spectrum, meaning they won’t be like a nuclear bomb to your gut, killing off the good and the bad. However, it’s important to treat natural remedies with caution, because there still can be side effects

dried herbs for fighting infection naturally

For example, oregano and thyme essential oils are shown to be quite potent antibacterial agents because of their phenolic compounds, carvacrol, and thymol.10, 11 They’re effective against so many pathogenic bacteria, but it’s difficult to find proof that they really don’t inhibit beneficial bacteria. For these reasons, I use antibacterial essential oils with caution and rarely internally, but I still trust them more than pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to the balance in the gut. 

After any illness, consistent probiotic supplementation is our line of defense against gut dysbiosis

RELATED: Why antibacterial cleaners (and even hand sanitizers?) may lead to super bugs!

Looking for More Natural Remedies for Your “Medicine Cabinet?”

If you wish you knew how to deal with coughs, colds, sore throats, congestion, tummy aches, and the scrapes of bruises of little boys without over-the-counter meds or prescriptions (or doctor’s appointments!), I’ve got you covered there too. 

In this post about building your natural remedies medicine cabinet, I walk you through the options I rely on most often after over a decade of natural mothering and learning by experience to be “Dr. Mom” in the middle of the night. 

And all day.

And first thing in the morning. 

I even give you ONE top item to purchase for each owie and ailment so you don’t get overwhelmed (the struggle is real). 

Head over and take a look

Have you had success fighting infections without antibiotics? What are your top tips?

Footnotes: 

  1. Healthline. (2019, April 19). Side Effects of Antibiotics: What They Are and How to Manage Them. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/infection/antibiotic-side-effects
  2. Anderson, L. (2019, July 15). Common Side Effects from Antibiotics, and Allergies and Reactions. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/article/antibiotic-sideeffects-allergies-reactions.html
  3. Hildebrand, F., Moitinho-Silva, L., Blasche, S., Jahn, M. T., Gossmann, T. I., Huerta-Cepas, et al. (2019). Antibiotics-induced monodominance of a novel gut bacterial order. Gut, 68(10), 1781–1790. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317715
  4. Ianiro, G., Tilg, H., & Gasbarrini, A. (2016). Antibiotics as deep modulators of gut microbiota: between good and evil. Gut, 65(11), 1906–1915. https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2016-312297
  5. Grill, M. F., & Maganti, R. K. (2011). Neurotoxic effects associated with antibiotic use: management considerations. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 72(3), 381–393. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03991.x
  6. Singh, R., Sripada, L., & Singh, R. (2014). Side effects of antibiotics during bacterial infection: mitochondria, the main target in host cell. Mitochondrion, 16, 50–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mito.2013.10.005
  7. Cunha B. A. (2001). Antibiotic side effects. The Medical clinics of North America, 85(1), 149–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0025-7125(05)70309-6
  8. Puškárová, A., Bučková, M., Kraková, L. et al. (2017). The antibacterial and antifungal activity of six essential oils and their cyto/genotoxicity to human HEL 12469 cells. Sci Rep 7, 8211. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08673-9
  9. Boukraâ, L., & Sulaiman, S. A. (2009). Rediscovering the antibiotics of the hive. Recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery, 4(3), 206–213. https://doi.org/10.2174/157489109789318505
  10. Sakkas, H., & Papadopoulou, C. (2017, March 28). Antimicrobial Activity of Basil, Oregano, and Thyme Essential Oils. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol, 27(3), 429-438. https://doi.org/10.4014/jmb.1608.08024
  11. Brochot, A., Guilbot, A., Haddioui, L., & Roques, C. (2017). Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects of three essential oil blends. MicrobiologyOpen, 6(4), e00459. https://doi.org/10.1002/mbo3.459

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

89 thoughts on “How to Naturally Fight Infections without Antibiotics (Is Oil of Oregano the Best Natural Antibiotic?)”

  1. I also forgot to mention, I have used grapefruit seed (not grape seed) extract in capsule form, not the tablet. I don’t think tablets work as well. The liquid was too much for my stomach.

    I take up to 1000mg of that. I fought an abscessed tooth once with 1000mg 4 times a day. Pain gone by day two. Grapefruit seed extract is wonderful stuff!

  2. Unfortunately, natural remedies do not work for all infections. I have been a herb enthusiast for many years, but I have felt quite let down in the last few months.

    Because of my stupid actions, contracted gonorrhea on February 2nd 2014 (i’m male). I had severe symptoms and immediately tried absolutely everything I could possibly get my hands on..

    Olive leaf extract, golden seal, Oil of oregano, buchu, larch, Garlic, cinnamon, parsley, thyme, chinese herbs, Luteolin, andrographis, Neem, Curcumin, Berberine, artemisinin, probiotics, colloidal silver, Hydroxytyrosol, citrus flavonoids, Grapefruit seed extract, ayurvedic herbs, ashwaganda, eucalyptus, essential oils, resvervatrol etc.. you name It, i have tried it.. It’s been 3 months, and I still have the infection
    🙁

    I have a total fear of taking antibiotics, so have been very hesitant about going down the formal antibiotic route.. but I am afraid I am going to have the pluck up the courage and go as nothing seems to work in combating this infection.

    I have only now realised, after reading numerous scientific research papers that certain herbs are fantastic at killing bacteria in vitro, but when taken orally, the mechanisms and chemicals are modified and changed once within the body, and may not have the same effect as it would in a test tube.

    1. I’m not a doctor, but when I use certain things such as garlic, oil of oregano, goldenseal, for medicinal uses, I use higher amounts until the symptoms abate.

      For oil of oregano, Cass Ingram has said you can use higher amounts. I have healed myself of strep using upward of 120 drops a day, spread out over the course of a day.

      For garlic, oh boy.. when fighting something, I will use as much as 3 cloves, chopped and crushed, swallowed, every 2 hours for a few days at a time.

      I never use garlic in a pill. I don’t care if the company says it’s high potency. You can’t get any higher potency or greater effect than chopping, crushing, and waiting a couple of minutes for the allicin to release. All of the odorless garlic pills are bunk. You need that odor, and the allicin…. and when fighting infection, great amounts of it. Goldenseal, I will take up to 4 caps every two hours for 3 days, then back down, and taper off as symptoms abate.

      I use vitamin C only in ascorbic acid powder form. I have found it to be most potent and fast acting. I use it in high amounts to bowel tolerance. 1 tsp every 3 hours when fighting infection, then backing off to bowel tolerance.

      I’ve experimented for almost 13 years now and pretty much know what I can or cannot tolerate, and what is safe for me.

      I’m not telling anyone here how to take anything, but sometimes, a higher amount is needing when fighting infections. I used to run to the doctor for everything back in the early to mid 90’s and they would always, put me on a broad spectrum antibiotic. Back then, this is what they did and it led to antibiotic overuse, and now we have bacteria that won’t even respond most antibiotics now. I completely ruined my immune system with over use of these drugs, and I caused myself systemic candidiasis. I was very sick with constant sinus infections….. one after the other. It was not until I discovered colloidal silver that I realized I could fight infections naturally and from there on, I started to experiment. I hardly get sick now. My immune system has recovered.

      With colloidal silver, I will drink 8 oz a day when fighting infection.

      With children it’s much harder, because you can’t pound them full of alternatives as easily as an adult. But I have successfully beat strep throat without antibiotics. My 8 year old one year caught strep throat, and after the first zithromax script, it came back again. Another z-script… came back a 2nd time. After that 3rd time, they put her on Augmentin….. CAME BACK again. I was ready to scream, watching her suffer.

      So I got her to lay down, took diluted oil of oregano and painted the back of her throat with it, with a long q-tip. We did this 4-5 times a day, and took garlic and ooo internally and within 3 days it was gone…. and never came back.

      I am a huge believer now in naturals…although I do think regular drugs has their place to fall back on if we need them.

      My only advice to you is, seek a naturopathic MD, and consider the doses of the alternatives you have been using. It could be that your body requires more. Good luck to you!

  3. I used to get infections regularly – abcess from impacted wisdom tooth, sore throats amongst other things. Yet I have not taken antibiotics in YEARS. I accidentaly discovered that taking iron supplement naturally makes the body fight infections, it is fast acting and very effective. There is a brand called floradix which is pretty well known I use that one as I find its the only thing that works. Its organic and vegetarian and contains no alcohol. If you can try it and see if it works for you it has been a miracle and lifesaver for me.

  4. HONEY, a spoonful. If a person or child (babies are not supposed to have honey) cannot keep down any food or liquid, the body will accept a spoonful of honey. It works I can gladly say.

  5. Your info looks great however I was quite surprised that you are missing one very crucial item for natural healing. COLLOIDAL SILVER is a Natural anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal and anti microbial. We use it for everything and it heals quickly. Here are some of our results:
    Pink eye gone in 24 hours
    Styes gone in 24-48hrs
    Sore throats gone in 24 hours
    Walking pneumonia gone in 3 days
    You can see that silver works great. You can purchase it at your local health food store.
    God Bless

  6. I put together something I found online…it is awesome especially for babies and small children you cannot get medicine into. I put 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 10 cloves of garlic…blend in a blender or food processor…keep in a jar in the fridge and label Goot…rub it on the soles of their feet and cover with socks…you can also rub up their chest…I use it on my whole family and has cured my 7 month old grandson several times from sickness. Another trick for fevers in children and babies is egg whites in a ziplock bag tied to the feet it pulls the fever out of them…leave on for 20 minutes and can be repeated if necessary. My grandsons fever dropped 5 degrees after doing this.
    God Bless

  7. very good stuff… i have grown increasingly wary over the years about just WHAT we are putting into our bodies under the guise of ‘big pharma’ – as you said, we must have done SOMETHING before all these pills!! i am utterly convinced that, given the right diet, exercise (and hell, even jobs play a role!), about 50-60% of our bodily ailments could be more effectively ‘cured’ with natural remedies. i’ve had several cases of MRSA (picked up while in jail.. yah, i’m a bad kid.. was only in there 10 minutes!!); doxycline, bactrim, nothing worked. LIMES are awesome… as is garlic… why do you think pirates and sailors ate so much citrus? To prevent scurrvvyy. 🙂 Tea tree oil is by far on the top of my list for ‘miracle solutions,’ though; it’s worked on sooo many things for me, it’s incredible.

    Found your blog b/c my ears have been hurting since been realllyy sick this past week, and indeed, the garlic and olive oil bit already seems to be helping. I shoulda known garlic would be involved… great, great things, the Earth provides.. Namaste, Blessed Be!

  8. I just wanted to say that I am so grateful I found this blog! Thank you for taking the time out to do it. As a momma of an 8 month old it is so stressful to be “by yourself” when making the more natural decision. Everyone tells me to pop a tylenol or motrin or go to the ER. So nice to see others interested in God’s meds first!

  9. Does anyone have advice on fighting a prostate infection? Its hard to get antibiotic to that area. I have already used them for 5 months and have decided to stop and find a natural way to fight it.

    1. Scott, The best I can do is point you to what I know about fighting infection, period, but the depth of my knowledge is still pretty shallow there: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/01/18/kids-ear-infections-a-home-remedy/ and http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/04/07/fighting-illness-naturally-is-scary-especially-when-youre-blind/
      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

    2. I know of an essential oil blend that is a great! replacement for any rx antibiotic!! Let me know your email and I can tell you more…our family has covered many potential trips to the dr right here at home!! Very cool!

  10. For viral infections, GOLDENSEAL tincture is a MUST in the medicine cabinet. Also, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in water will help a sore throat.

  11. Oh…and what do you suggest for sinus headaches and migraines? I’m a constant victim of the two and I know the migraine pills I’m popping are not good for me, but I’m affected so often I would not be able to function…

    1. Beth,
      I’m not prone to headaches myself, but I’ve read that peppermint essential oil on the back of the neck or temples helps, and one of the homeopathics in the NaturoKit works with headaches – maybe arnica? Sinus headaches might be different as you could attack the stuffy sinus as well, right?
      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

    2. Beth – had another thought…I’m sure many would recommend seeking out the root cause of the headaches. Gluten? Dairy? Something to think about… Katie

    3. Beth,

      I recently went to the optometrist. I mentioned that I had sporadic headaches but more so in the autumn. She said it’s important to check for damage from frequent headaches, optic nerve, I believe. Just another thought to help on the journey to health and wellness.

    1. Beth,
      I haven’t personally had much experience with natural remedies under a year because I wasn’t quite so “crunchy” back then. However, a lot of the essential oils can still be inhaled by little ones, and for congestion simple things like saline and shower steam can help. Depends what you’re talking about for that age, for sure. 🙂 Katie

  12. Beth via Facebook

    Thanks, he takes it in capsule form (strawberry flavored) but drools it out for a an hour or so afterword, which is why I gave up giving to him last year but apparently he’s still drooling. Nothing like taking out “clean laundry” and smelling yucky fish on his pjs.

  13. Beth, that’s a tough one! Plastic bibs…and maybe baking soda soak, OR soak in vinegar (not together) for the smell already on the clothes.

  14. Beth via Facebook

    Question about cod liver oil. How do I get the smell out of my sons clothes because he drools a lot. We have been using Nordic naturals brand because I can buy it locally.

  15. Katherine Atkinson

    This is such an amazing post! Would you mind sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday? I’m sure my readers would love to read this!

    Thanks!
    ~ Kathy

  16. Hydrogen peroxide in each ear for 1-2 minutes, 3-4 times a day. If you are already sick; it helps quicken healing time. If you are not sick but those around you are, it keeps you from getting it or you get it very mildly. I just got my two daughters sore throat so I am found it…I know I should have before hand but I can be a procrastinator sometimes 🙂 also for sore throat squeeze limes and boil the juice with honey…drink while warm…I didn’t think to add the cayanne and garlic…sounds awful but I’ll try it…

  17. Pingback: 10 Tricks I Use to Combat the Common Cold

  18. Pingback: Weekend Links {9.17.11} | More Than Mundane

  19. Really, it’s much better to let a fever run its course. Sometimes that does mean keeping my toddler in a carrier all day and sleeping beside him at night, because he needs a lot of comfort. But his sicknesses pass much quicker if I don’t try to bring the fever down.

    1. Oops, this should have gone above in the conversation about fevers. 😛

      One comment, though: camphor can be pretty toxic. I recently discovered (as I was frantically googling around to see if I should take my toddler to the emergency room when he got into the VapoRub) that it causes seizures if taken internally. My general policy is that if it’s toxic if eaten, it’s probably too toxic for using on kids.

  20. Julie Verfurth, ND

    Katie,
    Thanks for including NaturoKits. I wanted to clarify that there are several homeopathic remedies which can be used for pain – just depends on the type of pain. Some examples (all remedies are in your NaturoKit):
    Arnica, as you mentioned, is great for blunt trauma, bruising, and muscle soreness…really pain from almost any injury.
    Hypericum is a great remedy for nerve pain, pain from deep jagged wounds, and injuries to nerve rich areas (fingers, toes, genitals – e.g. when you’ve slammed your finger in the door, have a toothache, or fallen on your tailbone).
    Cantharis helps the pain of a burn: sunburn, kitchen burn, etc.
    Ledum and Apis come in handy for pain associated with insect bites, among other things.
    When it comes to using homeopathic remedies one has to shift their way of thinking about what’s going on. We’re very accustomed in our culture to using aspirin, tylenol and other pain killers for any and all types of pain regardless of their origin. Homeopathy asks us to step back and describe what is actually going on and then choose a remedy accordingly. Hope this helps!

    1. Julie,
      A good reminder – it is a different paradigm to figure out “what kind of pain” you’re treating. I keep referring to the package insert thinking, “Now WHICH one should I use…?” You should create a list of “100 uses for…” each one. I always want to see exactly what I’m dealing with so I know I choose the right one. (Like “stitches pain from childbirth tearing” wasn’t exactly on there, for example…) 🙂 Katie

  21. Awesome and thorough post! I will definitely be referencing it often. (well hopefully not too often) 🙂
    Another resource I use alot is Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. It compares typical treatments from various point of view ie, traditional, homeopathic, herbal, accupuncture. Also gives ideas for WHEN to call a dr and when to self treat.

  22. This is such a great post–and so timely! I admit, I skimmed it the other day and bookmarked it to read more in-depth later because I knew it was one I wouldn’t want to miss. I didn’t even see you had linked to my post! (*blush*) Was the e-mail a hint? (*more blushing*) THANKS, KATIE! 🙂

    Now, onto the post. 🙂 Wow–I think you have things covered! We have used arnica some for general pain. When our 3-year-old had her tonsils out in June, that is actually what the doc gave us for her pain. (He was GREAT!) He also gave us a prescription for tylenol with codene (yikes!). We did fill it, but I *think* we only gave her one dose. (Hubby is a little more med-friendly than I am!) 😉 We gave her the arnica after that, and she loved it! It was a little chewable tablet. She didn’t really complain of pain. She liked the arnica so much that she asked for it for WEEKS after. She would say: “I want my vitamin, probiotic, fish oil and arnica!” We had to finally explain that we couldn’t give it to her anymore! That girl was hooked! 😉

    We also take echinacea starting around October and throughout the winter, along with a Vit. D supplement and sometimes Vit. C, although I haven’t found a good Vit. C supplement we can afford. (I am sure they are available; i just haven’t taken the time to look.)

    We also use a vaporizer in our room and the girls’ room and use some essential oils in it.

    Our baby had several ear infections last fall/winter, and we used colloidal silver and garlic drops, along with chiropractic care.

    What else? Oh, we also typically take these (http://www.remedysource.com/store/influenzinum.php) instead of the flu shot.

    I think someone commented on teething pain. I will see if I can find their comment because we are dealing w/ that, too! 🙂

    Thanks for all the resources!

    1. Erin, we use Emergen-C at my house. It is sold at Wal-mart and some grocery stores. It has all the vitamin C and B vitamins that you need for the day and you just mix it with water and drink. It tastes like orange juice. It says to mix in 8 oz. water but to me that makes it taste so watery so I just mix in about 3 oz., stir and drink while it’s still fizzing. It’s also very affordable. 🙂

  23. I enjoyed your Monday Mission arriving at my inbox plus everyone’s added comments. Ironically, I was also searching this week to try to identify if I had wild oregeno growing out in the field! So I came across this video that might be helpful: How To Take Wild Oregeno Oil http://youtu.be/7ryheQSdYHc
    Specifially useful was that it showed a 5 year old doing it…. My 4 year old thought this was fascinating!

  24. Angela Costanzo

    Hi! I’m a massage therapist and I took a class years ago b4 children and turning all-natural…it was using essential oils to heal spinal problems. Reading through your list and the comments above brought it to mind. We used a blend of 7 oils one of which was oil of oregano and mixed them with a carrier oil. These were very gently rubbed along the spine. I wonder if people with kids who have trouble getting it down orally could still benefit from rubbing in through the skin (always use a carrier oil as the essential oils can sometimes irritate sensitive skin). And I also rub my kids ear/throat area when they are sick. Maybe a combo of massage and oil of oregano would be great for ear infections! I’ll have to try it.

  25. I just found your site, it’s filled with great information! Seems like you are probably environmentally conscious as well. If that’s the case, please do not toss prescription medicines in the garbage. They should be disposed of properly: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm

    Also, as a note for others, you should also NOT flush most prescription medicines. They eventually end up in our water.

    1. Christina,
      Thank you for that! When I had to throw out the scrip, I asked the ped’s office what to do and they didn’t have any ideas. This is good info! 🙂 Katie

    2. Personally, I’d keep old antibiotics in case of emergency (natural disaster, etc.). Of course you would also want to educate yourself about when they should and shouldn’t be used.

  26. Where can I learn more about buying and using a vaporizer? I searched on amazon and the range of prices was huge, plus the comments in the reviews suggest less noble uses… confusing!
    Also, how exactly do you get a drop of lympha rub into the back of the throat? My sons have a cough for over a week; I’ve been giving them scout out and lungs plus from Trilight; one boy is better, the other worse. He’s not good at opening very wide; I tried but he moved and the drop of lympha rub landed on his tongue – now he won’t open for anything. Thanks for all the helpful info!

    1. Sarah,
      Honestly, my vaporizer was under $15 at Meijer. It gets moisture in the air, and that’s pretty much what I’m looking for. Some are probably harder to clean out and get completely dry than others, but this one is not bad. The one we got when our first was born is much harder to keep clean and I do worry about bacteria growing where it doesn’t get dried out very well…

      I just add 8-10 drops of each essential oil right into the water. The cold mist vaporizer tends to get the scent and therefore the healing properties of the oils into the air better, and the warm air vaporizer makes the air feel more moist for a dry cough.

      I’ve missed with the Lympha Rub too. Best successes are when the child is screaming their head off! Husband holds said child on her back on his lap, and I aim and wait for a big one! My older son knows what’s good for him and will open and say “ah” – “ah” is key too, to open the throat.

      Good luck! 🙂 Katie

  27. Thank you for the words of advise. I am new to the homeopatic way of thinking. I have been leary of perscription and over the counter medications ever since my sister passed away from an accidental OD of her perscription meds – she became addicted to them. Not to be a downer – I just thank you all for the wonderful advise and wisedom with this issue. This one is definately one I’ll bookmark. THX

    1. Becky, how awful and frightening. I’m so sorry to hear your story and pray that your sister’s family is healing after a horrible loss. Blessings, Katie

  28. Pouring straight raw ACV directly on the affected toenail and let air dry twice a day also helps. Works fast too!

  29. We keep a bottle of elderberry syrup in the medicine cabinet at all times. We start taking it any time someone is feeling under the weather. I HATE the taste even mixed in water with a bit of flavored stevia, but it does seem to work. DH came down with what we were sure was the flu and elderberry syrup kicked it in a day or two (you have to take it within 24 hours of the first symptoms for it to work well).
    My other favorite natural remedy is apple cider vinegar- it cures athletes foot in a hurry! I soak a cotton ball in it and stick it between my toes.

  30. Great post natural healing is dear to my heart. I highly recommend aviva romm’s book naturally heathy babies and children, it is a great reference and a wealth of information.
    My favorite remedy for pink eye– fennel tea cooled and swabbed on the eye, this was what my son’s anthroposophic doctor prescribed
    I carry rescue remedy for any trauma it helps calm everyone down
    Learning herbs.com has a ton of free information by the family that made the wild craft game.

  31. You list looks great! Our big preventatives are similar, and our favorite is elderberry syup. I’m getting ready to make a batch soon. We begin taking 1-2 T every morning in September, and continue throughout the winter. My 3 1/2 year old LOVES it.

    Also, last winter I began diffusing a Thieve’s Oil blend of essential oils in our home. It smells great, and it will kill just about everything.

    I ordered so many supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs to make remedies, but the trick is finding the time for it all!

    For sinus relief, my husband drinks a cup of ACV/local honey tea every morning and evening during allergy season, and anytime he thinks he needs it. He used to have to get 1 – 2 rounds of antibiotics each year for sinus infections. He hasn’t even been to the doctor for 3 years since starting this. Just add 2 T ACV (raw) and 1 tsp. local honey to 1 cup of hot water. You don’t want the water to be too hot or boiling, or it will kill all the good stuff in the ACV and honey.

  32. Oops…did I do something wrong?? What does “Your comment is awaiting moderation” mean? This is only the 2nd time I’ve ever posted a comment on this blog, so maybe I don’t know the “rules.”

    1. Darlene,
      sometimes the blog software marks a comment for me to “approve” before it shows. You didn’t do anything wrong at all – in fact, I don’t even understand why some are caught that way. It’s there now! 🙂 Katie

      1. Thanks, Katie. I was getting paranoid. I’m new to the blogging world, but love it, especially yours! I know you spend a LOT of time and effort providing all this info and I, for one, really appreciate it!

  33. I’m really surprised you didn’t mention saline solution for congestion… it’s just salt and water, and we all use it (parents and baby) in our house. Do you have anything against it?

    1. Tim,
      Whoops, nope, just missed that one! The post was a victim of situation – my “medicine cabinet” is in a box in the basement, and there’s so often a nursing baby on my lap…so I didn’t actually get to take a peek, just went by memory. 😉 I need to add saline to the post – thank you! 🙂 Katie

  34. Oh, Manuka honey is the best for skin infections (fights the dreaded MRSA better than antibiotics), cough, sore throat, canker sores, and even stomach ulcers. Myrrh oil also fights skin infections and is a good healer (but it is pricey and has to be properly stored or it turns hard; it is a tree rosin).

    D-Mannose is the best for UTIs and to prevent UTIs. If you have a UTI, the pain (not the infection itself) will quickly resolve if you sip 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 8 oz of water.

    When we first start feeling ill, high doses of Vitamin D3 (NOT D2 or prescription) will help fight this. D3 has been vilified as being “toxic” at high doses, but they don’t know what they are talking about. If you have concerns, check out Doctor yourself website. Good info there.

    There are so many other good natural fighters and immune boosters, including silver, tho the allopathic medical community has folks scared of this.

    Above all, never, never, never take a fluoroquinolone drug (Cipro, Levaquin, Maxaquin, many others) without first doing significant research. These drugs can have severe, life-threatening, and permanent side effects. They frequently are given for UTI or a cough, but they should be reserved as a last resort. Young people have had tendons in their bodies rupture with no warning, and others have had severe muscle weakness as a result – some are unable to walk or even to breathe on their own following taking this drug. Check out fluoroquinolone toxicity in a web search.

    I know i sound extreme, but Cipro has devastated my life, and that of many other people. Don’t trust your doctor to know this. They often disregard what they consider “coincidental” reactions.

    1. My son is on the generic of Omnicef right now for a bad ear infection. Is that included in the ones you are talking about?

      1. Well, here is a website: http://www.emedexpert.com/lists/antibiotics.shtml

        It is listed under: Quinolone Antibiotics

        I don’t see Omnicef listed, but Omniflox is.

        A Wikipedia search of Omnicef states that it is “third generation of the cephalosporin class” and the chemical formula is: C14H13N5O5S2 – so it contains no fluoride.

    2. I agree — that stuff is nasty. My husband had no “serious” side effects, but he suffered from extreme anxiety and paranoia the whole time he was on it! He was a little depressed before he took it, and since he finished the course he’s been much more depressed. Most people don’t know the severe effect it has on your moods.

  35. For teething we used Gripe Water mostly. But I was surprised that giving ice chips actually made so much difference. You are right to be wary of ibuprofen! Some of the homeopathic remedies for teething might not last as long, but they can be given more regularly.

    And I would add Colloidal Silver to the natural antibiotics list. It is tasteless, and added to water, so quite easy to keep down.

  36. For fever, I take white willow bark tincture. They say not to take it if you have any aspirin sensitivity (just in case). I can’t find anywhere where it’s advised for younger children, but it did work on a stubborn fever my little one had. I also give my little one teas w/ ginger and elderflower (usually mixed w/ other things) to fight fever and infections.

    In his book “Herbal Antibiotics”, Stephen Buhner recommends using echinacea tincture dribbled into the back of the throat to fight Strep. I’m not sure about strep (haven’t had that here, as far as we know), but it works for us for very sore throats.

    Dosages should be based on the weight of a person. So if the dosage is meant for a 150 lb adult (I got this idea comes from Buhner’s book, too, among others), then take your child’s weight and figure the percentage. For example, a 30 lb child weighs 1/5 of what a 150 lb adult does, so if the adult dosage is 30 drops, the child’s dosage would be about 6 drops.

    Just some random input. 🙂 I’ve only been using herbs for 3 or 4 years, but I’m learning! 🙂 We get most of our herbs from The Bulk Herb Store (really like their Double E Immune System Booster, their Eden Salve, and their Heart Health Herba-Smoothie) or Mountain Rose Herbs.

  37. I really need some recommendations for teething pain. I really don’t like giving my 6 mo. old son Ibuprofen often. It seems to be the only thing that last a long time especially for getting more sleep at night too. I’ve been doing chamomile tablets from Borion and teething gel from Hyland’s. What to do when a fever hits too?? Dosage seems an issue with natural stuff for children under a year as well. Ugh.

    1. I have used a Baltic Amber teething necklace with much success, might be worth a try. Check out Hazelaid and like them on facebook to get discounts.

    2. Katie @ Wellness Mama

      We use chamomile tincture on the gums and internally and it works great! You can also make it yourself… http://wellnessmama.com/2395/homemade-chamomile-tincture/

  38. Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    I try to get garlic and probiotics into all of us often. You can buy empty pill capsule from many health food stores — this is a much easier way to take oregano or thyme essential oils ! Just put a couple of drops into the capsule, close the capsule and swallow like a pill!

  39. A great tip my MIL gave me for ear infections is massage. Start with pressure behind the ear where it meets the jaw and stroke downward. Repeat for 20 minutes every couple hours. This helps to open the tubes and release the trapped fluid that is causing the infection. Massage was the only thing that ever worked when my BIL & SIL were kids.

  40. I have used oregano oil to successfully treat bladder infections and toenail fungus. If I feel a bladder infection “coming on,” I immediately start taking about 3 drops of oil (read that 3 DROPS, not dropperfuls) in 1/2 oz tomato juice, two-three times a day. I have another oz. or so of tomato juice as a “chaser” after that. So far, my bladder infections have cleared up rather quickly (like 2 days). I had been having bladder infections way too often and was concerned about all the antibiotics I’d been prescribed, so I love this oregano oil. I use “Oreganol – P73” from North America Herb & Spice. It isn’t cheap, though…to the tune of about $40/oz. But it lasts a long time. I order mine from Nutrition Express in California. I also recommend the book “The Cure is in The Cupboard,” by Dr. Cass Ingram for other ideas about using oregano oil. The oil also comes in capsule form, but I don’t think the taste is sooo bad; I think “pizza” when I eat it!

    As far as the toenail fungus (sorry, gross), I and my teenage daughter had gotten a fungus about the same time a few years ago. We went to the doctor, got some medicine to go on it and treated it for over a year, with no luck. I tried all the “natural” cures I could find on the internet. This went on for about 2 years. I put the oregano oil on my toenail. It would keep it from spreading, but would not clear it up totally. I was so frustrated. It was not until we started taking oregano oil internally that the fungus cleared up on both my daughter and me. It took about a month. So yeah, I’m pretty convinced about my oregano oil! 🙂

  41. I love Mountain Rose as well! I just got a big order from them with half of my winter herbs! We also love Elderberry and I am in the process of making an Elderberry elixir….we’re got tinctures going now! I love this!! There is a website called HerbMentor.com and I love it. They have a basic herbs course that takes you through 18 lessons so that at the end you can put together a herbal first aid kit. Good stuff!!

  42. One more thing! For herbs / teas / tinctures / oils, I love Mountain Rose. Everything they make is ethcially and organically cultivated and they are a truly fabulous company out of Oregon. I trust them over anything from an unknown company through amazon. They also have great tutorials and videos on making your own salves, tincutres and other herbal produts.

  43. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I love herbal medicine and I’m planning to make my own cold/cough syrup here soon — totally safe for the little ones (over a year)! A humidifier with some oils in it is great for colds.

    If they are throwing up, this works every time: NOTHING to eat or drink for at least one hour after the last time they threw up. If they will sleep, let them sleep as long as possible. Then, offer either breastmilk or gripe water if they are little (under 2) and plain water if they are older. Ginger tea also works at this point. Let them sip SLOWLY. If they keep that down after an hour, offer a small snack — soaked breads make a good snack here. None of my kids has ever thrown up more than 2 or 3 times following this protocol. Except once. If it’s REALLY stubborn, try very strong black tea with raw honey mixed in. This worked for my husband after 4 or 5 miserable hours. He still didn’t feel great but he was better and keeping things down. Then lots of probiotics once you can keep stuff down!

    FCLO is one of our favorite preventatives, too. I forget what else! I’m working to stock my medicine cabinet more right now too.

  44. I love using elderberry syrup for… everything, especially on gf pancakes or ice cream. Right before and during the cold/fu season I find a way to get it in our food weekly. Traditional Medicinals make a fabulous cold care tea sampler that we use a lot as well. Echinacea is in most of the cold care forumlas and tastes great. I make a cup, cool it and then mix a 50/50 ratio of fresh apple juice and tea. The kiddos drink it up. Goldenseal is a strong herb, but does a beautiful job when nothing else will cut it. It’s bitter and even hard for me to swallow, so picky tastebuds may not enjoy it as much as the elderberry! However, it’s my favorite anti-microbial herb and works so well. I like St. John’s Wort or Black Cohosh for pain and inflammation. A few drops of the tincture under the tongue does the trick for everything from headaches to sore muscles and growing pains.

  45. 1.) Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg’s). Every time someone in this house starts coughing or sniffling, I start downing the ACV, and the bug seems to pass right over me. I’ve even made my husband and kids do it, and it WORKS. Start small (2 tsp.) if you’ve never tried it, and make sure you take it with food in your stomach. The other day, the kids were starting to come down with something, and I marched right in and took 2 TABLESPOONS (mixed in water) of the ACV. Next day, felt great. And then I continue to take it until everyone is feeling better.

    2.) Sore throat: Water with cayenne pepper mixed in. Gargle with it. It encourages blood flow to the throat and heals naturally. IT WORKS.

    3.) Silver Shield from Nature’s Sunshine.

    Love your site!

    1. Delena,
      I forgot about the gargle! I have gargled with ACV mixed with cayenne and honey and garlic. Yowza! It’s nasty stuff, but it does seem to work!

      Thanks for the reminder (and some new ones), Katie

  46. Do you know of any brand names for the garlic and oregano oils? I have oregano essential oil but it cannot be taken internally. I love that I’m not alone in getting my natural/herbal winter medicine cabinet together.

    1. Our family trusts Young Living Essential Oils….we find they are like no other. I love that they have their own farms and distilleries…
      Let me know if you’d like to know more. We have used them for all of our health needs…even Staph, and internal infections of all sorts.

        1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

          Kara,
          We just used On Guard, the doTERRA version of Young Living’s blend, to battle pneumonia in my 1yo, along with oil of oregano and some other stuff. (On the feet, in the air). So far, so good. 🙂 Katie

      1. Hi. My grand daughter has extremely bad eczema and so it turn, often gets staph bumps. It has been a long process to convince her parents of all natural remedies. The one thing they do for her skin is coconut oil but nothing for the staph. Is there something internal and external that I can do for her? The first time I got it, it was horrific and I ended up on the antibiotic:( My daugther now has is and I dont want her to endure that. We have Goldenseal, and Garlic to take internally and several essential oils. Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!

        1. Trina,
          That sounds like a real challenge. 🙁 It seems like you’re on the right track for sure. I would also think any infection could use the same treatment. You’ll find some info here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/03/27/3-steps-to-fighting-candida-naturally-part-2-of-the-story/

          and maybe here:
          http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/03/12/is-the-war-on-infectionsor-against-antibiotics-themselves/

          Good luck and God bless! 🙂 Katie

    2. Jennifer,
      Pretty sure mine is the NOW brand I saw on Amazon – I got it at our local store. 🙂 Katie

      1. Katie, Does the label say “therapeutic grade”? I would not ingest it if it does not. My experience is that you get what you pay for.

  47. Missy via Facebook

    I have started taking Echinacea and garlic pills before I get sick this winter, to help build my immunity system. There are some great essential oils, would you like for me to send you an invite from a FB page that we discuss essential oils?

  48. We use coconut oil to fight all sorts of infections – preventatively on a cut under a band-aid, warmed and dropped into an infected ear, and by mouth – mixed in smoothies is the best bet. Coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal – it even works on virus!

    1. I recently fell in love with coconut oil for diaper rash. My son had a horrible, blistered, bleeding rash. One week of coconut oil and a few butt-soaks later, the rash was gone! Other remedies have not worked, even after weeks of treatment. Improved the rash, but not cleared it up.

      1. Just wondering with the rash, do you use store bought baby wipes?
        I have used make up remover cotton pads and soak them in warm water and use them as I need them and my son has never had nappy rash. Then we went away and I ran out of my travel stash and bought some “natural” wipes from the store. Alas as soon as I used them he started to get nappy rash. Returned home and back to water and cotton pads and it all went away.

        1. Our soon is the same way. We use cut up tee shirts as wipes. Even the sensitive ones made him break out

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