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Natural treatments for infections

Published:Monday | November 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Planet earth is mostly populated by bacteria and other micro organisms. There are typically 50 million bacteria in a gram of soil and a million in one millilitre of fresh water. Some researchers estimate that the total biomass of bacteria on this planet exceeds that of all the plants and animals combined. Mankind has gone to war with these tiny creatures, and is having to learn some expensive lessons.

Last week, I wrote about some herbs with powerful antibiotic actions that can successfully treat infections resistant to antibiotic drugs. Nature has also provided us with several other natural antibiotic substances. Though well documented, they have been largely disregarded by drug-oriented modern western medicine.




Many disease-causing bacteria do not thrive in an environment where there is lots of oxygen, and are known as anaerobes. A number of unconventional treatments called oxidative therapies make use of oxygen to treat infections. Medical ozone is an extremely powerful example of this approach and can be applied externally to limbs and wounds as well as internally by intravenous, rectal or vaginal administration. Hydrogen peroxide is another effective and inexpensive oxidative agent that breaks down into water and oxygen. One can apply it externally to wounds or soak in a bath of water with hydrogen peroxide added.

Hyperbaric oxygen is an even more powerful application of oxidative medicine. For this treatment, the infected patient is put into a pressured oxygen chamber to greatly elevate the oxygen content of the tissues.

These oxidative therapies destroy drug-resistant bacteria and many supposedly untreatable viruses like the herpes virus and even the Ebola virus. I was first introduced to oxidative medicine in Cuba where all of these modalities are widely used in hospitals and clinics.




Dr Emanuel Cheraskin, a world-renowned authority on vitamin C, once said, 'There are more than 10,000 published scientific papers that make it quite clear that there is not one body process and not one disease that is not influenced directly or indirectly by vitamin C." When it comes to infectious diseases this is certainly true.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) acts differently in the body at varying doses. Low levels of vitamin C intake are sufficient to keep you alive, although if you get none at all you will die. At moderate doses of 500 to 1,500 mg per day for an adult, the vitamin has many general health benefits.

But at high levels, say more than 8,000 mg orally, daily, for an adult, vitamin C has antibiotic and antiviral properties. Not only does it kill bacteria and viruses, but it powerfully enhances the immune system function of the individual.

The key is to take enough C, often enough and long enough. If your body needs 20,000 mg of vitamin C to fight an infection, 7,000 mg will not work. For serious infections, vitamin C, administered intravenously by a doctor, is very potent and very effective.




Of the nearly 30,000 genes in the human body, Vitamin D3, the sunshine vitamin, affects about 3,000 of them, including those that influence the function of your immune system.

Vitamin D thus plays a crucial role in preventing and treating infections. In the pre-antibiotic drug era, stubborn infections like tuberculosis were often successfully treated with exposure to sunshine and fresh air and, for this, clinics had special treatment rooms called solariums.

Europeans have regularly travelled to sunny environments like Jamaica to recuperate from such infections. Individuals suffering from infections will benefit from taking high doses of vitamin D, along with daily sunbaths. Again, the dose of the vitamin used for immune system boosting for dealing with an infection is much more that what is conventionally recommended.




Honey is a complex substance containing more than 75 different known compounds with others that are yet to be identified. It has potent antibiotic activity against all known forms of resistant bacteria that infect the skin and wounds.

Honey can be applied externally to wounds or used internally for immune stimulation, health enhancement, and the treatment of colds, flus, digestive and respiratory infections. Honey promotes the healing of peptic ulcers and helicobacter infections of the stomach, reduces plaque, treats gingivitis, soothes inflamed tissues and stimulates skin and muscle repair.

It has been used by doctors for prevention and treatment of infected skin wounds, cuts, abrasions, leg and skin ulcers, gangrene, diabetic ulceration of the foot, soft tissue infections, radiation and other burns. It is even used to prevent infection from medical procedures like catheterisations by coated the tube with honey before insertion.

External use: For deep tissue infections, directly apply the honey to the area full strength, cover with a sterile bandage and change once or twice daily. For superficial skin infections, dilute the honey in water to make a lotion and apply twice daily.

Internal use: As a preventive, take one tablespoon undiluted or in tea, three times daily. For acute infections, take one tablespoon of honey hourly or a tablespoon in ginger tea six to 10 times daily.

Any organic wildflower honey can be used effectively to treat antibiotic-resistant wound infections.

Now an expensive pharmaceutical honey, Medihoney is available by prescription in hospitals in the UK while another brand called Revamil is in the Netherlands. Pharmaceutical honey is still not popular in the US.




The use of silver against infection dates back to antiquity. Hippocrates described its antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C. Modern conventional medicine has largely dismissed such claims, regarding colloidal silver as a medical hoax. But recent studies have shown that silver is a most effective agent against antibiotic-resistant germs.

Recent research indicates that the low levels of silver in colloidal silver can make some antibiotics up to a thousand times more potent, allowing them to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

- You may email Dr Vendryes at or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Details of his books and articles are available at