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Registered Medical Herbalist
Luzia Barclay
DBTh MIRCH
Tel: 01722 330663

Antibiotics and Microbiota

19-10-2019
In Nature as in the human gut, biodiversity is essential for health.

Antibiotics can save lives, no doubt about that. Using antibiotics however, leads to bacterial resistance, a problem that we are frequently warned about. As a result, medical people are instructed to use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

Bacterial resistance leads to the creation of ‘superbugs’ that are not easy to treat. And, there will be a time when fewer and fewer antibiotics will work in getting rid of infections because the ‘bugs’ have become resistant.
Another, less talked about issue with antibiotics is their effect on the gut bacteria, the gut microbiota. Each time we take antibiotics, especially any broad spectrum ones, we kill microorganisms inside us, particularly in the gut.

Why does that matter?

The fact is that most bacteria that live inside us are beneficial and even necessary for health. They break down food, they produce necessary vitamins, they affect the brain by producing a variety of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and they play a crucial role for our immune system.

The more diverse our gut microorganism, the better our health.

It has also been found that people who have frequently taken antibiotics, and especially at an early age, are more prone to obesity. Gut biodiversity is mostly affected by diet and by the use of antibiotics. So how can we prevent or treat infections if we want to avoid antibiotics?

There are natural alternatives to pharmaceutical antibiotics.

One of the most researched natural remedies to help the body to deal with infections is Echinacea. After taking Echinacea it has been shown that we produce more white blood cells and that they work more efficiently. These are the cells that gobble up harmful microorganisms that cause an infection, and also help to prevent bacterial or viral infections.

Better still, Echinacea does not wipe out bacteria in the gut and does not lead to bacterial resistance. Another widely researched natural remedy is the bee product, propolis. Two international conferences on the subject of propolis took place recently, one in Glasgow and one in Sofia in Bulgaria, in which research results were presented showing the health benefits of propolis, which were immensely encouraging

These are just two examples of remedies that strengthen our immune systems, there are many more that nature provides us with.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have relating to this article.
Echinacea - November 2010 Newsletter
Herbs For Healing Newsletter - Echinacea. A remedy which increases the ‘non-specific’ activity of the immune system, it is the most popular and most researched natural plant remedy used all over the world. More info and recipes.
Download this newsletter
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