by Joel Lopez, MD, CNS
Are there such things? You bet! Ancient civilizations have used them in the past. Traditional medical systems such as Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine texts are replete with information on natural germ fighting agents.
In very recent times, just in 1987 in fact, one of the most comprehensive studies was conducted in Scotland that determined the most powerful antibacterial agents. These include the essential oils of thyme, cinnamon, clove and geranium. According to another study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, the oils of cinnamon, thyme and clove killed 92% of 25 different Gram negative and positive bacterial strains. As a side note, do you know that Listerine antiseptic was originally named after Joseph Lister, the Father of modern surgical antisepsis? The formula has the following essential oils, namely; thymol (from thyme essential oil), eucalyptol (from eucalyptus essential oil), methyl salicylate (from wintergreen essential oil) and menthol (from peppermint essential oil). A study done in 1999 published at the Journal of Clinical Periodontology showed that a mouthwash that had the essential oils of thyme, peppermint, wintergreen and eucalyptus, was more effective in improving oral health than an antiseptic that was fluoride-based. In 2006, powerful anti-fungal oils were identified by researchers and they include the following: essential oils of cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, geranium and thyme. They were all found to be equal or superior to a well-known anti-fungal medication.
Other natural anti-fungal agents include garlic, caprylic acid (from coconut), melaleuca (tea tree oil) and Saccharomyces boullardii (an anti-fungal yeast). One common infectious cause of gastritis is H. pylori. Mastic gum has been used traditionally to treat this. Other agents were found to be effective in a study conducted at the Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan. These include the essential oils of manuka, cinnamon bark, carrot seed, savory, white grapefruit, clove and eucalyptus. Meanwhile, natural anti-viral agents include eugenol from clove oil (found to be effective against Herpes virus), peppermint oil, and manuka essential oil. Finally, what natural agents are effective against MRSA and VRE antibiotic-resistant bacteria? In studies done at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, UK, it was found that melaleuca, lavender, peppermint and thyme essential oils showed the strongest activity against these germs. Anyway, I want to acknowledge Dr. Carolyn de Marco for providing a lot of great information regarding the use of essential oils. If someone is suffering from an infectious illness, work with your healthcare provider on how to improve your immune system so that you won’t get sick in the first place.