Powerful Antibiotics From the Garden

Mediterranean Gardening

Finding healing powers in plants is an ancient idea. Plants are rich in a wide variety of secondary metabolites, such as tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids and flavonoids, which have been found to have antimicrobial properties. A wide variety of these can be planted in your garden, either in containers or in garden beds. One of the benefits of growing strong scented herbs is that many animals are deterred by the fragrant oils and will leave it alone.

For centuries plant extracts and phytochemicals have been a valuable source of natural products for maintaining health. About 80% of individuals from developed countries use traditional medeicine, using compounds dervied from medicinal plants.

Each year in America 270 million prescriptions for antibiotics are written for 315 million total residents, of which conservative estimates are that 47 million of those prescriptions are unnecessary and even counter-productive.  When Alexander Fleming received his Nobel prize in 1945 for his work with penicillin as an antibiotic, it was hoped that antibiotics would become the new super drug, curing many ailments.

Turned out, after the Human Microbiome Project was launched in 2007 that bacteria in the gut are an essential part of human health.  Taking unnecessary antibiotics creates havoc on the gut microbiome.  Hence the need to look for natural antibiotic alternatives that boost the immune system to thwart infections while not harming the delicate balance of the 100 trillion commensal microbes that live peacefully within our gut.

Make foods with antibiotic properties your first line of defense to fight common infections. Besides being safe and effective in fighting off infections using nature’s medicine can boost your immune system without causing any resistance in the bacteria. Here are my top choices for powerful natural remedies.

health benefits of garlic


Garlic is well documented as one of nature’s medicines and is frequently used in holistic health. This food is a very safe antibacterial and antiviral natural remedy. The powerful compound “Allicin” in garlic is capable of fighting microbial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections. It is even effective in treating multi-drug pathogens and drug-resistant microbial diseases. A powerful natural antibiotic

Additionally, another of the significant health benefits of garlic is that it boosts immunity by helping in detoxification and supporting growth of new cells in your body. It also works as a natural antiseptic to heal skin infections. Garlic has many properties that make it very popular in holistic health because it acts like a natural antibiotic because of its allicin compound.

Garlic has impressed scientists with its ability to inhibit Helicobacter Pylori, a bacteria in the stomach that commonly causes ulcers and other trouble.

For maximum antibiotic benefits crush few garlic pods and expose them to air for 30 minutes to fully activate ‘allicin’ before consuming. Garlic extract capsules (at least 1.3% allicin) are recommended at a dose of 600 – 1200 mg per day through the course of infection.

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An easy to grow powerful medicinal plant with antibiotic properties for your garden. Lavender oil has been very popular in recent years, and for good reason. The Lavender plant is aromatic and has a highly scented purple flower. There are many studies to support the claims that Lavender is good for you.

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The Journal of Neuroscience reports a study whereby lavender and rosemary improved cognitive performance and mood in health volunteers. Inhalation of lavender oil has been shown to have a sedation effect according to a study published by De Gruyter in Vienna, Austria.

Grow lavender in the ground or containers and harvest the flowers. It may help you with anxiety, mood, sleep, stress, blood pressure and migraine.


Basil has strong antibacterial properties. Several of the plant oils exhibit antimicrobial activity against bacteria including listeria, staphylococcus and salmonella.

Sweet basil is a popular herb in Mediterranean and Asian foods. It is the main ingredient in pesto and used in salads, pasta/ noodles and other dishes. Holy basil is used widely in Ayurvedic medicines.

Basil provides many vitamins, mineral and is rich in macro nutrients and antioxidants. Many studies show the medicinal benefits of the oil. Sweet basil has a high concentration of eugonol which gives the clove-like scent.

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A 2015 study showed that holy basil had a positive effect on liver health. A study in 2013 showed the phytochemicals in holy basil may help prevent certain types of skin, liver, oral and lung cancers.

Another study showed that sweet basil has properties that may help protect the skin from aging. The results suggested that basil extracts might improve skin hydration and reduce wrinkling.

Other benefits of basil include reduction in high blood sugar, improved cardiovascular health, improved mental health and reduction in inflammation.

Basil is very easy to grow. Rabbits dislike basil. Use it liberally in your cooking and sauces.


Another easy to grow herb with a long history of dietary and medicinal uses. The flowers, leaves and oil of thyme all have antibacterial, insecticidal and possibly antifungal properties. During the Black Death plague thyme was used for embalming and protecting people.

Thymol, a naturally occurring compound known as biocides contains substances that can destroy harmful organisms. A study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology in 2010 shows that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs.

Even at low concentrations, thyme has potential as a natural preservative of foods against many food borne bacteria. Combined with lavender oil, the combinations boosts resistance against Staphylococcus, Enteroccoccus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas bacteria.

Another little known benefit of thyme is it ability to prolong stability of cooking oils. Lipid oxidation is a problem during food processing and storage. A 2012 study from Poland suggests that the high polyphenol content of thyme may help as an antioxidant for stabilizing cooking oils.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is widely known to relieve sunburn and help heal wounds. But did you know that your favorite potted plant can be used for much more than sunburn relief and household décor?

The succulent has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, dating back to ancient Egypt. The plant is native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands. Today, aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to potentially slowing the spread of breast cancer, researchers are just beginning to unlock the benefits of this universal plant and its many byproducts.

Aloe Vera Keeps Fruit & Vegetables Fresh

2014 study published online by the Cambridge University Press looked at tomato plants coated with aloe gel. The report showed evidence that the coating successfully blocked the growth of many types of harmful bacteria on the vegetables. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help fruits and vegetables stay fresh, and eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals that extend the shelf life of produce.

Mouthwash Alternative

In a 2014 studyTrusted Source published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences, researchers found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque. It can also provide relief if you have bleeding or swollen gums.


Turmeric is the yellow colored herb found in curry and mustard.  Turmeric has been used for centuries in India as folk medicine.  Turns out that turmeric has abundant scientific backing as an anti-cancer, antibiotic, immune boosting herb with enormous natural antibiotic properties.

Turmeric May Reduce Inflammation

Turmeric is a one of nature’s more potent medicines, used for treating common infections (cold, flu and allergies). Active compound “curcumin” in turmeric is responsible for its color, taste and therapeutic properties. It also works as a natural antiseptic with analgesic effects. Essential oil of turmeric is used topically to prevent infections, reduce pain and swelling, and promote healing of the damaged skin. 

Add 1-2 teaspoon of turmeric in your various dishes or take a 500 grams supplement. To heal skin infection, make turmeric paste with water or honey and apply it on the skin. A powerful natural remedy for every kitchen.



Grandmother was right about lemon juice when you had a cold or stuffy nose. She probably also used it as a disinfectant to clean the countertops. And, she probably also added it to her drinking water. There is much more to the ancient wisdom of grandmother’s use of lemon juice.

“Flavonoids” compounds in lemon have well-known natural antibiotic benefits. Besides having antibacterial and antiviral properties lemon juice is also high in vitamin C, which helps in boosting body’s immunity and aids in fighting infections. It is also an excellent detoxifying agent as it creates alkaline environment and helps in flushing out any external pathogens from your body. 

Add lemon to your daily diet to fight off colds, flu, and recurrent ear infections naturally. You can take up to 120 ml of lemon juice daily in diluted form. Another one of the powerful medicines of nature.

While fresh organic lemons are readily available at all grocery stores, it is very easy to grow compact lemon trees in a larger container. Or, plant in the ground. Lemon trees like sun and have a preference for organic fertilizers.

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Ginger has shown therapeutic benefits in health management since ancient time. Ginger is known for its antibacterial effects on respiratory and periodontal infections. The active components “Gingerols” and “Zingerone” in ginger are linked to its anti-bacterial effects. Ginger has also found effective in treating even drug-resistant forms of fungal infections. Additionally it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and used as a natural remedy for pain. A study from 2014 stated that numerous active ingredients are present in ginger including terpenes and oleoresin, otherwise known as ginger oil.

You can use ginger in either extract form or as tea. However, alcohol based ginger extracts are better for therapeutic uses. You can make ginger tea by grating a cubic inch of ginger and boiling it in about 1½ cups of water for about 10 minutes.


The essential oil extracted from oregano leaves is another of nature’s medicines. Oil of oregano contains a powerful compound “Carvacrol”, which is effective in fighting off bacterial, fungal, parasitic, viral and yeast infections. It is very strong in its pure form, so it is advisable to dilute it with other oils or purchase a diluted blend of oils from the market.

Add 2-3 drops of oregano oil to your vaporizer and inhale for a few minutes to get relief from respiratory congestion. You can either take 4-6 drops of oil of oregano diluted in water or 1 capsule (100 – 150 mg) per day for maximum seven to ten days to cure infections. The therapeutic use of oregano oil is not suitable for infants, children, pregnant or nursing women.


Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural antibiotic, capable of killing a variety of pathogens i.e. parasites, protozoa, bacteria, yeast and some viruses. It is nontoxic and can be administered for up to several months to eliminate stubborn infections.

GSE can be used externally as a disinfectant to prevent infection in wounds. Internally you can use a total of 1500 mg GSE, 3 times per day to treat chronic infections.

Olive Leaf

Olive leaves have a natural ability to resist infections and is frequently used for holistic health. An active constituent called “Oleuropein” is responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. The best thing about olive leaf extract is that it destroys harmful bacteria, fungi and yeasts but it allows beneficial bacteria to multiply. Besides being antimicrobial, olive leaves extract have analgesic effects too.

To maintain optimum health the recommended dosage for an adult is 25 mg per day, it can be taken as a supplement in capsule or liquid form without any risk of toxicity.

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