Herbal Antibiotics for SIBO
Most people are familiar with pharmaceutical antibiotics in modern society but not as many people are educated in the art of herbalism and the benefits of using herbal antibiotics to treat numerous different bacterial issues like SIBO.
It’s unfortunate because when you learn a little bit about the benefits of different herbs you realize that a lot of the time using a combination of different herbs can be even more potent than taking an isolated compound in the form of a traditional antibiotic.
This is why learning about herbs and how they can be combined to produce a synergistic effect on resistance microbes is so critical.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the basics of herbal antibiotics, how they are prepared and why they can be a great natural treatment option for SIBO. In a lot of cases, it may be more beneficial to start with a SIBO herbal treatment before resorting to pharmaceutical antibiotics.
My knowledge of herbal antibiotics comes from my own experiments using herbs to improve my gut health and from studying scientific journals & books such as “Herbal Antibiotics” by Stephen Buhner. I’ve learned herbalism is a true art and science form that relies on personal testing.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Herbal Antibiotics?
- 2 Herbal Antibiotics vs Regular Antibiotics for SIBO
- 3 Who Should Use Herbal Antibiotics for SIBO?
- 4 What Are The Best Herbal Antibiotics for Treating SIBO?
- 5 My Experience With SIBO Herbal Treatment Protocol
- 6 Using Herbal Teas, Infusions, and Tinctures
- 7 What to Keep In Mind With Any SIBO Natural Treatment
What Are Herbal Antibiotics?
First of all, an antibiotic is anything that kills bacteria or other microorganisms whether it is made synthetically in a lab or extracted from a plant.
Herbal antibiotics are simply natural antibiotics that are extracted from herbs which are grown around the world or in your own garden.
It’s important to remember that plants just like humans can become infected with pathogenic bacteria so they have developed natural responses to these bacteria to protect themselves.
Before the advent of pharmaceutical antibiotics, humans relied on plants for treating infections and other health ailments.
The main difference between herbal antibiotics and pharmaceutical antibiotics is the preparation method and the source that the antibiotic compounds come from.
For example, pharmaceutical antibiotics are usually made in an industrial lab in one of three ways 1:
- Microbial fermentation
- Semi-synthetically by fermentation and lab work
- Synthetically without any bacteria
Pharmaceutical antibiotics usually contain one isolated compound which has a potent antibacterial effect.
On the other hand, herbal antibiotics are made from whole plants which contain many different beneficial compounds. They are usually made by:
- Tincturing in alcohol (as a tincture)
- Infusing or decocting in water (as medicinal tea)
- Grounding into capsules
- Mixing into a salve or lotion (external use)
You are probably familiar with herbal antibiotics in the form of capsules since this is the most convenient way to take them, but other methods of preparation like tincturing the herbs can be even more beneficial than taking them in powdered form.
In summary, herbal antibiotics are natural antibiotics which are made from whole herbs.
The benefits of taking herbal antibiotics come from the way in which many different compounds that exist in the plant material work in synergy to treat resistant organisms.
Since the invention of synthetic antibiotics, bacteria have been able to adapt quickly to the isolated compounds and it is critical that we learn to use herbal antibiotics correctly so that we can avoid the side effects that come with the overuse of pharmaceutical antibiotics.
Herbal Antibiotics vs Regular Antibiotics for SIBO
So, you’re dealing with SIBO and you’re deciding whether to take a regular antibiotic like Xifaxan or do a SIBO herbal treatment protocol.
In certain situations, either protocol can be a good option. Let’s compare the difference between using herbal antibiotics and pharmaceutical antibiotics.
|Pharmaceutical vs Herbal Antibiotics for SIBO||Standard Antibiotics||Herbal Antibiotics|
|Effectiveness||Depends, but usually stronger than herbs||Depends,can be just as effective as abx but might take longer|
|Cost||$1,000’s of dollars||$100’s of dollars|
|Side Effects||Numerous side effects that come with pharmaceuticals although Xifaxan isn’t as bad||Minimal side effects|
|How Long Takes to Work||2 weeks||4-5 weeks|
|Accessibility||Prescription from doctor||No prescription needed, can buy online|
As you can see from the chart both herbal antibiotics and pharmaceutical antibiotics have their benefits.
Pharmaceutical antibiotics usually work quicker but cost a lot of money and you will need a prescription from your doctor. They also have more harmful side effects since they are stronger.
On the other hand, herbal antibiotics can be just as effective but often take 4-5 weeks to work effectively. You can get herbal antibiotics online and a prescription is not required.
But, it’s important that if you do decide to try herbal antibiotics to take them correctly.
Who Should Use Herbal Antibiotics for SIBO?
If you don’t want to spend $1,000 on a course of antibiotics that aren’t covered by insurance, you should use herbal antibiotics. Or if you are someone like me who had used regular antibiotics in the past and wanted to find a more efficient and less harsh way of treating SIBO, natural antibiotics would greatly benefit your plan of treatment.
You may also enjoy the freedom of testing out the herbal remedies yourself if you don’t have easy access to a doctor. And if you are someone that has a more holistic mind, natural medicine is the way to fight your SIBO symptoms.
What Are The Best Herbal Antibiotics for Treating SIBO?
There are a number of different herbal antibiotics that can be used effectively to treat SIBO. In fact, there have even been a few studies like this one that shows herbs can work just as effectively as pharmaceuticals.
Also, keep in mind that one of the main benefits of using herbs for treatment is the synergistic effect they have when used in combination. This is because herbal antibiotics which are made from whole plants contain numerous different beneficial compounds instead of one isolated compound in regular antibiotics.
Below are a few of the different herbs that can be used to treat SIBO. The dosage used is usually 1-3 of these herbs for 4-5 weeks.
Below are 2 other combination formulas that have been proven effective in a study. The dosage used was 2 caps twice a day for each product in one of the combination formulas.
My Experience With SIBO Herbal Treatment Protocol
I’ve personally done a few different SIBO treatments which have been helpful. Herbal antibiotics in the form of capsules and tinctures have been very helpful to balance my gut flora.
I’ve also found that combining these natural antibiotics with a soothing herbal tea is super helpful. The synergistic effect when using herbal teas and tinctures or capsules together is very powerful.
Below is one of the capsule protocols I’ve had success with:
Allimed (2 capsules 3x per day for 4 weeks)
Berberine complex (2 capsules 3x per day for 4 weeks)
Using Herbal Teas, Infusions, and Tinctures
Other herbal preparation methods besides using capsules can also be effective. I’ve had success using herbal tinctures and high strength herbal teas. These can be made at home by soaking herbs in alcohol or purchasing them from herbal companies which make the tinctures or teas.
Even if you plan to take the capsules it might be beneficial to incorporate herbal teas into your health protocol because the immune boosting and synergistic effects of combining different herbs can make your capsule protocol more potent.
For example, fresh ginger root tea or licorice root tea may increase the effectiveness of the capsules. If you want to learn more about making herbal tinctures or teas there are plenty of herbal education books you can purchase.
Ginger Root Tea (Recipe from Herbal Antibiotics):
- Juice a few pieces of fresh ginger (3-4 pieces the size of your thumb)
- Combine ¼ cup of ginger juice with 12 ounces of hot water, ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne, ¼ lime juice, 1 tablespoon of wildflower honey (if you can tolerate it)
- Drink 4-6 cups throughout the day during your treatment protocol
Licorice Root Tea (Personal Recipe):
- Add 1 tablespoon of licorice root to 1 liter of simmering water in a kettle and simmer on low for 20 minutes
- After 20 minutes add 2 tablespoons of the following mix: passion flower, chamomile, lemon balm, then take off the heat and let the mixture steep for 15 more minutes
- Strain the final liquid product into a large container and drink throughout the day
What to Keep In Mind With Any SIBO Natural Treatment
I want to end the article by reminding you that when conducting any SIBO natural treatment you need to remember to work on your underlying causes. SIBO occurs when an overgrowth of bacteria forms in the small intestine. There is a reason this dysbiotic state is happening and potentially recurring. It may be because of a weakened immune system, poor gut motility, adhesions, or from another drug you are taking.
It’s important that you work to strengthen your whole body so that you can prevent SIBO recurrence. The goal is to get your gut working more like a smooth flowing river, not a spastic backlogged one.
This may mean transitioning to a healthy diet, improving immune function so you can fight off invaders, getting adequate sleep, or improving your hormones and gut motility. Yes, using herbal antibiotics for SIBO can be a very necessary part of your healing journey but keep in mind that if you don’t improve your overall health the herbal antibiotics may not have the same effect.
If you’re finally ready to learn the specific details to treating SIBO and how to use a comprehensive strategy to get long-term results check out my guide with the link below.