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healingways Antibiotics Nature’s


Recover Health with Less Risk


by Kathleen Barnes


We live in a world of microbes: bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens that can make us sick. Most of the time, our immune systems are able to fight off microbial attacks, yet we’ve all experienced unsettling infections.


When Use Becomes Overuse In recent years, conventional medicine has increasingly used antibiotics as a universal remedy against all kinds of microbial attacks—even though they are ineffective against anything except bacte- rial infections. It’s best to use them selec- tively and cautiously when nothing else will do the job, because by definition, they are “opposed to life.” The worst-case scenario is what we have now: overuse creating “superbugs,” able to multiply out of control, sometimes with fatal conse- quences, even when treated with antibi- otics that used to work.


There shall be eternal summer in the


grateful heart. - Celia Thaxter


26 Hudson County NAHudson.com


“Antibiotics are helpful and effective when used properly when there is a bac- terial infection such as strep throat, uri- nary tract infection, bacterial pneumonia or a wound that has become infected,” explains Doctor of Naturopathy Trevor Holly Cates, of Waldorf Astoria Spa, in Park City, Utah. “But antibiotics are so overused and overprescribed that bacteria are changing in ways to resist them. This has become a significant public health problem.”


National and global public health officials have expressed increasing concerns about dangers posed by such bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), which are often transmitted between patients in hospital settings, and a multi- antibiotic-resistant form of tuberculosis.


The problem is compounded by the use of antibiotics to enhance growth and production in livestock. A variety of superbugs have been found in meat, poultry and milk products, according to the nonprofits Center for Science in the Public Interest and Environmental Work- ing Group.


Chris Kilham, a worldwide medicine hunter who teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, explains the transmission. “When you eat conventionally raised meat, you’re not getting antibiotics, but you are getting bits of self-replicating genetic material that transfer antibiotic resistance to your body, which can prove fatal.”


Preferred Alternatives Fortunately, there are many natural substances that have proven to be effec- tive against bacteria, viruses, fungi and other infectious microbial pathogens—all without dangerous side effects. Here’s a short list: Propolis, sometimes called “bee glue”, produced by bees to seal their hives and protect them from infections, is “the single most powerful antimicrobial we have in the plant kingdom,” advises Kilham. That claim is backed by numer- ous studies from institutions such as Brit- ain’s National Heart and Long Institute, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Harokopio University, in Greece. In 2005, a study by Turkey’s


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