edited: Saturday, December 08, 2001
By Cindy L. A. Jones
Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2001
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You can have more control over your health. By using herbs you can not only boost your immune system to prevent infections but also use herbs to treat many types of infections.
There are many times that antibiotics are prescribed for minor infections where their use is unjustified. Herbal treatments for these infectious diseases not only have an historical basis, but also have up to date, scientific evidence to support their usage. With the increasing problems of antibiotic resistance, these herbs are now getting more attention.
Ever since the first antibiotic, penicillin, came into use in the 1940's bacteria have adapted and become resistant to the antibiotics. With each new antibiotic that has been developed, antibiotic resistance to that particular antibiotic has followed. In the past 10-15 years antibiotic resistance has grown into a major problem for medical science and society. Infectious diseases that were once easily treated have now adapted themselves to be no longer susceptible to the same antibiotics once used to treat them. This makes infectious diseases caused by those organisms more difficult to treat. For instance, the leading bacterium that causes infections of the middle ear, Streptococcus pneumonia, can also cause pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis and meningitis. Infections caused by S. pneumonia were once easily treated with penicillin, but the late 1980's brought the emergence of penicillin-resistant S. pneumonia. The incidence of penicillin-resistant S. pneumonia has more than doubled in the past 15 years with rates in the United States as high as 25% in Asia as high as 70%. In day care centers in the United States the incidence of antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae can be as high as 61%. These resistant bacteria are passed from one person to another and are particularly high in children treated for otitis media.
The only way to control this problem is to use fewer antibiotics. But what else can you do about these diseases? There are a number of ways that herbs can help during an infectious disease:
· herbs contain compounds that are effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
· herbs stimulate the immune system to prevent infections and help the body clear infections.
· herbs provide comfort and pain relief.
· herbs act as decongestants.
· herbs can decrease stress that can be the root of infections.
The types of infections that are most appropriate for using herbal treatments are viral infections including colds and bronchitis and infections of the skin. One treatment for instance, tea tree oil for the treatment of athlete's foot, has been supported by clinical studies. Tea tree oil can be applied to the area in the form of ointments containing between 5-10% tea tree oil. However, if symptoms of any infection do not improve shortly a physician should be contacted because it could be a sign of a more serious infection. The "Antibiotic Alternative" discusses ways to treat 20 or more infectious diseases from acne to yeast infections. Monographs for many readily available herbs are contained as well as directions for their use. The web site http://antibioticalt.tripod.com contains more information regarding the use of antibiotics.