Our lives leave us open to bacterial invasions all the time – travel, strange food and drink (especially on the road), crowded public spaces like shopping malls and airports, closed-in spaces with recirculated air like offices and airplanes, and of course, schools anytime they’re in session.
You come into contact with bacteria every day. In fact, the surface of your desk at work is many times more bacteria laden than most bathrooms. But if you think that antibacterial wipes or soaps are the answer, think again.
Bacteria have gotten pretty tough over the past 50 years. That’s mostly due to the overuse of prescription antibiotics and the current trend for antibacterial lotions and other health and beauty products. Bacteria have become resistant to these interventions.
Because of this, you may think it’s tough to bolster your body’s natural defenses. It isn’t. But you need the right combination of strong, concentrated plant oil ingredients to do the job. In this Terry Talks Nutrition®, we’re going to explore some of nature’s most powerful antibacterial ingredients.
Before we take a look at the abundant defenses offered by concentrated plant oils, I’d like to provide words of advice: avoid antibiotics if at all possible. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say, “avoid synthetic antibiotics if at all possible.”
Aside from the flu shot, antibiotics are one of the most over-used medicines out there. They are prescribed for 60% of colds despite the fact that only 2% of colds have bacterial involvement. After all, colds and flus are caused by viruses!
The problem with synthetic antibiotics is that they kill off the friendly bacteria in your intestines (where the majority of your immune system truly resides) that keep you safe from viral infections and bad bacteria in the first place. The antibiotics actually make a cold worse!
Plus, the over-prescription of antibiotics has led to bacterial resistance, meaning this potentially valuable medicine won’t work when it’s really needed.
The best plan is to stop the over-prescribing, so that antibiotics will actually work in those rare instances they are needed.
We’ve had the answers to many of these problems all along, in the form of natural herbs that don’t destroy the balance of healthy bacteria in the body. I recommend four concentrated plant oil ingredients for those times when our immune system is most at risk.
How concentrated? Consider this: these ingredients are up to 100 times stronger than ordinary plant extracts, and they’re extremely safe at the same time.
These plant oils are very different from those that massage and aromatherapists use (sometimes called “essential” oils) outside the body, as infusers, or topically, on the skin. And if you’ve ever used them for their aromatherapeutic properties, you know what a difference these essences can make to your sense of well-being.
However, you need to be sure that the plant oils you use to stop bacteria have been examined and certified to be the correct plant species, contain beneficial key compounds, and are safe for internal use.
Because advanced technology is used to take a “fingerprint” of the oil to confirm its identity, you’ll know that the most important compounds in these concentrated botanicals are present to make the product effective. The best concentrated plant oils are tested for purity as well, so you’ll know what you’re getting.
One of the best concentrated plant oils to fight bacteria is thyme (Thymus satureioides). Thyme has been used traditionally as an aromatic to make people feel more energetic, physically and psychologically. But, in this case it is a different species than the thyme you may use as a seasoning or, for that matter, as a natural medicine for digestion and other ailments.
I recommend the concentrated plant oil of Thymus satureioides because it is a strong antibacterial. It fights a variety of strains, including Staphylococcus aureus, the cause of staph infections, and Escherichia coli, the cause of food poisoning and many emergency room visits by the very young and the elderly.
Like thyme, cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) has strong antibacterial and antifungal capabilities.
Cinnamon is an evergreen tree that originates in Southeast Asia and is cultivated in Vietnam, China, Burma, and Laos. The oil comes from the bark of the tree. At one time, this star of the botanical world was actually worth more than silver in ancient Rome.
Like so many other plants, cinnamon has more than one use, and research has shown that it has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal abilities.
The compound in the plant responsible for this is called “cinnamaldehyde,” and it inhibits Staphylococcus aureus which, beyond staph infections, can also cause a form of gastroenteritis that brings about nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is also effective against four species of the problematic yeast Candida, including C. albicans. It’s a great botanical to have on your side for many reasons, especially when you are traveling or trying unfamiliar food.
Aside from being a strong antibacterial, cutting edge research shows that cinnamon may stop allergic symptoms, stop ulcers, and inhibit tumor growth.
Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) is native to Indonesia, but is widely cultivated around the world, including Brazil, Tanzania, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Much of the current research surrounding clove oil and clove extracts has focused on the strength of one of its phenolic compounds, eugenol, which shows a remarkable range of health benefits.
It is a strong antibacterial agent. It stops yeast overgrowth and inhibits oral pathogens like Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia as well.
Clove oil is also a strong fighter against the yeast species Candida albicans. When this bacterial overgrowth occurs in the mouth, it causes lesions on the insides of the cheeks, tongue and tonsils, bleeding gums, a dry sensation in the mouth and throat, and even a loss of taste. This form of yeast infection is known as “thrush.”
Plus, eugenol from clove shows anti-inflammatory effects – o f the many phenolic compounds tested, it is the most potent. In fact, clove oil has been traditionally used in India for centuries because of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.
Oregano (Origanum compactum) has been used traditionally in Moroccan medicine for generations. In more recent years, the reason for this has been made known – it is practically a pharmacy unto itself.
Current studies in Europe find that the concentrated plant oil of Moroccan oregano is very effective for treating colds, sore throats, sinusitis, retinitis, and dermatological disorders. That’s because oregano oil is a strong antibacterial and antimicrobial ingredient. The most potent and perfect blend of active compounds in oregano, are carvacrol and thymol, and they have been the focus of most of the research as well.
In fact, in the Moroccan research, the antimicrobial activity of Origanum compactum has been very impressive. Like the other concentrated plant oils I’ve recommended here, it shows strong results against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Considering the damage these bacteria cause each year, from simple skin irritation to serious hospitalization, this is good news.
In addition to this already impressive list of abilities, oregano oil is also a powerful parasitic expellant, is valuable as a food preservative, and has been used to decontaminate foods from potentially harmful pathogens.
Researchers have even investigated more intensive uses for Origanum compactum. In a comparison of traditional botanicals native to Morocco, it appeared to have an inhibitory effect on breast cancer cells. While further study is necessary, this indicates an exciting application of this widely-used medicinal plant.
Boost Your Defenses and Stop Bacterial Invaders!
These natural, concentrated plant oils can protect you against the bacteria you encounter in shopping malls, crowded airplanes, schools, restaurants, or anywhere life takes you. It’s the best way to protect yourself against antibiotic resistant bacteria, prevent colds and other sicknesses, boost your natural defenses, and take charge of your health.
Terry Lemerond Author and Educator, has 40 years experience in the health food industry as an owner of several health food stores and nutritional manufacturing companies. Follow him at Terry Talks Nutrition.