Survival medicine: 14 Natural alternatives to antibiotics
11/23/2022 // Zoey Sky // Views

The overuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance, which may be an issue when you are stuck in a long-term survival scenario and you don't have access to medications.

If you are worried about antibiotic resistance, here are some natural alternatives to antibiotics. (h/t to

Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar is a kitchen staple that is often used to make tangy salad dressings and vinaigrettes.

Studies have found that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that can help kill or reduce the pathogen level of the bacteria that causes infections such as staph infections. It can also be used as an astringent to disinfect a wound.

Clove water

Clove water has been used in home remedies to treat common infections like mouth issues and intestinal issues. Data also suggests that cloves are antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.

It's best to use fresh organic clove leaves. Soak them for 12 hours in clean drinking water. Strain the water before drinking it to treat mouth issues and internal issues.

If you aren't used to taking clove water, do not apply the liquid to your skin. Common side effects of topically applied clove may include:

  • Erection problems
  • Itching, rash
  • Mild skin irritation
  • Trouble having an orgasm (delayed ejaculation)

Colloidal silver

Colloidal silver was used before antibiotics were invented and some people still use the former against bacteria and microbes. Colloidal silver is a mixture of silver particles that have been suspended in a liquid.


You can use colloidal silver as a foot wash for athlete's foot and as a mouth rinse for cold sores.

Exercise caution when ingesting colloidal silver because it may give your skin a permanent blue-grey hue.


Echinacea is used in traditional medicine to treat the common cold since it may help lessen the duration and severity of your cold symptoms.

You can use echinacea petals and leaves to make an infusion. Alternatively, you can make an echinacea decoction from the roots.

An echinacea infusion can be taken as a healing tea or as a supplement.


Garlic is an effective alternative to antibiotics because allicin, the oil in garlic that gives it its strong flavor, also gives it its antibiotic properties.

There are several ways to use garlic. The easiest way is to chew on a peeled, raw clove. Doing this means the oil gets directly absorbed into your bloodstream through your mouth. If the flavor of raw garlic is too strong for you, add a bit of olive oil or honey.

Alternatively, you can make some garlic honey by crushing and blending a few cloves of garlic into some honey.


Ginger is another powerful antibacterial alternative to antibiotics. Try using ginger as tea or crushed and mixed with honey for wound care.

To make ginger tea, boil several slices of fresh ginger root in water. Strain, then set aside to cool before drinking. Add a bit of honey if you don't like the taste of plain ginger.


Goldenseal may help prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls and it is commonly used to treat irritation and inflammation of the respiratory and digestive systems.

To make a goldenseal gargle, mix half a teaspoon of goldenseal powder with a little salt in a glass of water. Gargle the mixture and spit it out. Gargle several times a day but not more than two weeks to treat a sore throat.

You can also apply goldenseal to dry wounds to help facilitate faster healing.


Honey is a popular home remedy. It has been used as early as the time of the Ancient Romans on war injuries to prevent infection.

In modern medicine, scientists continue to study the potential health benefits of honey.

It is also still used to treat wounds and boost the immune system. Data also suggests that honey may help with allergies.

When using honey to prevent wound infections, it's best to use medical-grade honey instead of the store-bought kind. Wash your hands thoroughly, then apply honey to the dressing before applying the dressing to the wound.

Honey can help strengthen your immune system and help you fight off an infection before it starts. (Related: Plant-based antimicrobial compounds offer a variety of alternatives to an over-dependence on toxic synthetic antibiotics that are increasingly less effective.)


Lavender essential oil smells amazing and it is a potent antibiotic. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with a little bit of coconut oil or other carrier oil, then apply it to a wound to prevent infection.

Lavender combined with your preferred carrier oil can also help treat acne. You can also make a cup of lavender tea to help boost your overall health.

Using lavender may also help improve sleep quality. This is important because getting better sleep can help your body be more resistant to infection.


In Ayurvedic medicine, neem has traditionally been used to treat different conditions. It can be used topically to address common skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Neem works best when used to make a salve.


Oregano is a flavorful herb with antibiotic properties. Caracole, the oil in oregano, can help fight bacteria that cause infections.

Oregano oil is commonly used to fight infection. The oil can also be used in a diffuser to treat sinus issues.

Research has shown that the topical use of oregano oil can fight bacterial issues such as antibiotic-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.

Oregano oil diluted with a carrier oil can also be used to treat acne. Note that you should avoid it if you have sensitive skin.

Do not apply undiluted oregano essential oil to the skin because it is extremely strong and can cause burns and rashes.

Oregon grape

Compounds in Oregon grape, a flowering herb, are believed to be both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Oregon grapes are used in traditional Chinese medicine and research has revealed that they may help prevent MRSA infections.

Oregon grapes can be used to make a strong tea. Soak gauze in the tea to treat wounds.


The herb thyme contains caryophyllene and camphene, compounds that make the oil of the plant antiseptic.

According to a 2011 study, thyme oil has a strong effect on clinical strains of infections and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Infuse olive oil with thyme to prevent infection on minor wounds.


Turmeric is a popular spice used to make flavorful curries, but it can also help protect you against infection.

If you are experiencing chest congestion and a cough, use turmeric to make a soothing tea.

Stir 1/4 tablespoon of turmeric into boiling water, then set the mixture aside to let it steep for three to four minutes. After straining, wait until the tea is cool enough to drink. Add lemon and honey to taste before drinking.

You can also combine honey and turmeric to protect against skin infections.

When trying any home remedy or alternative to antibiotics for the first time, check with your physician to rule out possible allergies or negative side effects.

Watch the video below for more information about the health benefits of ginger.

This video is from the Holistic Herbalist channel on

More related stories:

Can probiotics help fight superbugs in the gut?

Oral antibiotics increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, study finds.

Botanical antimicrobials offer effective alternatives to synthetic antibiotics.

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