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Fighting infection effectively
 By Lucy Miller        

        Leading naturopath shows how to supercharge your immune system and fight infections without relying on antibiotics 

There are natural ways to boost your body's defence system. In the right circumstances antibiotics are invaluable, but we have to use them selectively.

As a result of overusing them, we are gradually seeing the rise of drug-resistant bacteria- superbugs that are a real danger to our health.  Even when antibiotics are used against the "bad" bacteria that infect us, "friendly" bacteria, which we need for optimum health, are also damaged or killed. The solution is to help yourself.

 doctor

The key is to help strengthen your immune system and modify symptoms without taking them away because they are part of  the recovery process. There are natural ways of doing this very effectively, for adults and children.

Sore throat. This tells you an infection is on its way. It could be viral or bacterial, but the first course of action is to take zinc lozenges (from chemists and healthfood shops ).

 

If your lymph glands are swollen, showing your waste disposal mechanism is blocked, lymphatic drainage massage will help. You should also try to avoid breathing through      your mouth rather than your nose because this means not only is the air not filtered, but you are also drying up the mucous membrane, part of your body’s defence mechanism.

Enhance your immune function by taking care over your diet. High levels of refined carbollydrates, high-fat foods, alcohol and caffeine all affect efficiency. A good multivitamin and mineral supplement will act as insurance against any deficiency but probiotics also help. The herb extract echinacea has immune-enhancing properties. Gargling with one or two drops of tea tree oil mixed with water helps; it is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral agent.

Stomach ulcer      More than 70 percent of duodenal and stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium called helicobacter pylori.  The standard treatment is antibiotics but, worryingly, in   many patients H.pylori has now become resistant to antibiotics.

Ear infection     A short fast will help. Stick to water and juice for the first 24 or 36 hours and because the body is not distracted by the digesti ve process, you will fight the infection more efficiently. Hot packs and cold compresses ease symptoms. Both garlic and echinacea are antiviral and antibacterial and liquorice is a good immune system en hancer. Studies show treating otitis with antibiotics leads to more ear problems, more frequently.   The best option  is usually no antibiotics at all, except in the case of acute otitis. Instead, after visiting the doctor, concentrate on easing your child's symptoms while their immune system fights the infection on its own. Along with painkillers and medical decongestants, Lymphatic drainage massage, cold compresses and hot packs are all soothing and will ease the pain.

Sinus trouble     Depending on the severity of the problem, you may or may not need antibiotics. If you don't, a short fast will help, along with steam inhalations, which involve adding a couple of drops  of tea tree oil to hot water.

Toothache   If you have an infected tooth,  you need to take antibiotics. Here, the alternative is not about what to do instead of taking them, it is about what to do as well as taking antibiotics and how to protect yourself after you've finished the course. The key is to take a supplement of the two main probiotics we need for the intestine, lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum. Both help to detoxify the bowel, manufacture B      vitamins and keep yeasts and undesirable bacteria in check, but are damaged by antibiotics.

toothache

 

All kinds of alternative approaches have been tried, but by far the most successful is an ancient Greek remedy called mastic. This is a natural chewing gum from the sap of the mastic tree that grows wild in Greece. The ancient Greeks chewed this to deal with stomach ulcers. Recent studies show between one and two grams of mastic, taken daily as a supplement for just a few weeks, heals ulcers and completely deactivates H.pylori in almost three-quarters of people with ulcers -- even when the bacterium was resistant to antibiotics.

Bladder  infection      One of the best ways to treat  a bladder infection such as cystitis is with cranberry concentrate. It doesn't kill bacteria but it prevents them sticking to the walls of the bladder. If you also drink lots of water you can flush out the infection.

Infected wound: There are many studies looking at the anti-fungal, anti-bacterial      effect of honey, or  even sugar, on infected wounds. Both are extremely effective and are often used in hospitals.

Sugar is sterile. You can keep it for a hundred years and nothing will grow on it. To make a honey or sugar compress, sprinkles it on to the wound, cover with a bandage and change daily. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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