As you might have realzied, I am travelling in Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand. Now just at the beginning of my trip, I decided to take a 10-day excursion to Bali, Indonesia. Although not all that common with the abundance of great organic fruits and vegetables here, I very quickly came down with a bacteria infection (likely due to food or water contaminants) that knocked me out for several days. Although I try to avoid antibiotics at all costs and am a big advocate of natural remedies, being in foreign land I felt that I had little choice but to go with the conventional treatment protocol if I were to make the most of my short time here.
Even so, it really got me thinking that it’s not easy to take the natural route when you feel so terrible and are desperate to get well, regardless of whether you are in familiar surroundings or not. This is especially true when you decide to take action once the infection has progressed, making natural remedies less effective. For me, the key to limiting or avoiding antibiotic use, it is essential to be prepared and have those alternative methods on hand, available at the first sign of illness. Once I started feeling better and talking to people in Bali, I realized that there were some natural “antibiotic” like solutions here, which inspired me to do some research and share my findings here.
For those that may not know my view on the topic, in general I choose not to take antibiotics. The reason being is that although antibiotics are good for killing the bad bacteria associated with infections, they are also quite good at killing the good bacteria as well. As you’ve learned in several of my other posts, a healthy digestive tract with a good flora balance is essential for overall health. This is not only true for digestive health, but also the entire body system, including the brain. Having overused antibiotics in my early years due to chronic sinusitus, I subsequently had to work through a lot of yeast related conditions that took many years to repair with anti-fungal and probiotic supplements, along with a fairly sugar-free diet. Although antibiotics have their place in modern medicine and are necessary in many treatment plans, I don’t advocate overusing them without consideration, especially when it’s questionable whether an infection is bacterial or viral, the ladder being unresponsive to antibiotic treatments.
With that said, here I am in Bali, taking antibiotics! But, let me share what I discovered late in the game that may be an option for those who are looking for a natural way to treat infections. There is a product available in natural health stores and from alternative practitioners (and also here in Bali, produced locally) called colloidal silver.
Although not backed by the FDA, as is the case with many natural therapies, colloidal silver was used in medical treatments up until the 1940’s when modern antibiotics became popular. Usage of silver has been found in ancient Babylon, Greek, and Roman civilizations and Ayurvedic doctors in India are still using it in medical treatments.
Colloidal silver, which is made by suspending microscopic particles of silver into liquid, is said to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, making it potentially great for fighting infection and promoting healing. It can also be used as a natural disinfectant that can be sprayed on wounds, burns, external fungal infections, and even used to disinfect fruits/vegetables and kitchen prep utensils, cutting boards, etc. You can also add a teaspoon to drinking water that may be contaminated. It can be used to sterilize your toothbrush and/or a mouthwash for tooth decay, toothaches and bad breath. And most importantly, it can be used internally to prevent an infection from developing at the early onset of a cold, flu, viruses and other upper respiratory infections as well as eye and ear infections and more.
As there are various forms of colloidal silver that are being produced and sold, many of which are counterfeit or contaminated versions and can potentially lead to a rare condition with extreme overuse called argyria, it’s important that you work with a holistic health practitioner or other reliable source to ensure you are getting the purest form of colloidal silver, not ionic silver solutions or silver protein forms. Guidelines for the amount to take can be found on the Silver Safety Council’s website, a group of medical doctors who are committed to providing reliable information to the public, industry, and scientific community on the safe and responsible use of silver supplements.
Another option with similar applications to colloidal silver is 3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. At the onset of a cold or flue, you can administer a few drops in each ear to kill bacteria. As hypothesized by Dr. Richard Simmons in the 1928, bacterial infections potentially enter the body through the ears, not the nose, eyes and mouth, as we are accustomed to believe. For this reason, if used early on, the hydrogen peroxide can kill the bacteria before it has a chance to multiply, reversing the infection within 12 to 14 hours. 3% Hydrogen Peroxide can also be used as a disinfectant, oral rinse, anti-fungal application and many others similar to that of colloidal silver.
Although these are interesting solutions to try, and ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my trip should any future infections creep up, I also know that there are moments when we find ourselves taking antibiotics despite our best efforts to avoid them. If you are in a similar situation as mine, just make sure you take a good probiotic supplement during and after the antibiotic treatment to replace the good bacteria that is lost.
And of course, to avoid infection in the first place, focus on prevention by getting enough sleep and enjoying a primarily plant-based diet for optimal health and immune system support.
 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.silvermedicine.org/
 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.silver-colloids.com/Reports/reports.html
 (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.silversafety.org/
 Mercola, J. (2002, March 13). Hydrogen Peroxide for Colds and Flues. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/03/13/hydrogen-peroxide-part-one.aspx