Herbal Alternatives for common Antibiotics

Due to easy availability of antibiotics, we rely on them whenever we go through any disease or sickness instead of using natural remedies. Antibiotics are used to kill bacteria that are harmful to our health, but they also destroy or kill friendly bacteria that keep our immune system up and running.

Antibiotics also cause oxidative stress which leads to cell damage and gastrointestinal disturbances (as a general side effect of most of the antibiotics). May it be the adverse effect of industrially manufactured antibiotics or the TEOTWAWKI event, which may lead to unavailability of those medicinal products, it is good to know some natural alternatives. A number of herbal medicines are used to treat some most common infectious disease like typhoid fever, common cold, diarrhoea, inflammation, fever and some other infections.

This is a list of most common problems treated by antibiotics and their herbal alternatives.

Please note that Small and Tall can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Typhoid fever

 Azadirachta indica
Azadirachta indica

Azadirachta indica and Glycyrrhiza glabra were used for the treatment of typhoid fever. Glycyrrhiza glabra belongs to family Papilionaceae and also known as sweet wood and liquorice. Flavonoids and saponin are active constituents that are present in liquorice.  Azadirachta indica belongs to a family of Meliaceae and another name of this is Neem. The seeds of neem contain alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, ketone, azadirachtin and carotenoids. Extracts of these plants are made in menthol and these extracts have more antibacterial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.


Bauhinia Acuminata
Bauhinia Acuminata

Bauhinia Acuminata is used for the treatment of diarrhoea as it contains different active constituents that are palmitic acid, Gallic acid and phthalic acid. Aegle marmelos belongs to family Rutacea and also known as wood apple. It contains different types of phytochemical and medicinal activity is due to the presence of that phytochemicals. Psidium guajava is also used as it contains lectins, essential oil, fatty acid, pectin, saponins and phenol and vitamin C. Both leaves and bark extract of guava is used to treat diarrhoea.

Bleeding wound with inflammation

Aloe vera
Aloe vera

Adiantum capillus-veneris, Gentiana lutea, Aloe Vera and Potentilla reptans are herbs used in inflammation due to antioxidant property. Garlic is also used in inflammation. Garlic contains allicin and healing properties of garlic is due to that compound. Aloe Vera is the most effective medicinal plant that is very useful in the treatment and prevention of infection that is associated with burns. It has the regenerating power of cell so help effectively in the healing of wounds. It is very efficacious against Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.


In various parts of world different medicinal plants are used in the treatment of malaria. Quinine is obtained from cinchona tree bark and used as an antimalarial agent. Senna, neem, turmeric and ginger also have antimalarial activity and different parts of these plants are used like bark, leaf and root etc. For more reference about treating malaria from the sources of nature, please refer to 9 plants African people use to treat malaria.


Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused most often by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or other different bacteria. More rarely, it can be caused by viruses or fungi. Most often, ginger, Echinacea, liquorice root and goldenseal are herbal plants mostly used in the treatment of pneumonia. For the relief of symptoms, Trigonella foenum (fenugreek), eucalyptus camaldulensis and white peppermint are also used.


Sambucus nigra - Elderberry
Sambucus nigra – Elderberry

Coconut oil contains lauric acid. Due to the presence of lauric acid coconut oil has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and lauric acid acts as naturally available antibiotics against yeast infection, cough, inflammation, candida and warts. Also, elderberry is found to be very effective in the treatment of cold and flu in child and adults.

List of references:

  1. https://blog.paleohacks.com/natural-antibiotics/
  2. https://avivaromm.com/herbal-antibiotic-alternatives/
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  5. Mouli KC et al., (2009). Phytoresources as potential therapeutic agents for cancer treatment and prevention. J Glob Pharm. Tech  1(1): 4-18.
  6. Hammond-Kosack (1996). Resistance gene- dependent Plant defense response. Plant cell. 8:1773-1791.
  7.  Salari MH, (2006)., Antibacterial effects of Eucalyptus globulus leaf extract on pathogenic bacteria isolated from specimens of patients with respiratory tract disorders.” Clin Microbiol.Infect.  12(2):194– 196.
  8. Health effects of garlic American Family Physician by Ellen Tattelman. July. 2005
  9. Judith S. (2001)  Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Available in e-book format. Thomson Gale.
  10. Cabrera C. (1996) “Materia Medica – Usnea spp.”. European Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2(2): 11–13.
  11. Roshan A (2012) A phytochemical constituents pharmacological activities and medicinal plant use through millennia the Glycyrrhizaglabra.International research journal of pharmacy.
  12. Betoni JE, et al., (2006)  Synergism between plant extract and antimicrobial drugs used on Staphylococcus aureus diseases.  MemInstOswaldo Cruz 101: 387-390.
  13. Lakshmi, T., et al., (2011), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium Linn.) A herbal medicinal plant with broad therapeutic use – A review, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research,9(2),136-139
  14. Saralaya, M. G.,et al., (2010) Antidiarrheal Activity of Methanolic Extract of Moringa oleifera Lam Roots in Experimental Animal Models, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 2(2) 35-38.
  15. Samojlik I,et al., (2010). Antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of essential oils of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) and caraway (Carum carvi L.) (Apiaceae). J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58:8848–8853.
  16. Zeka K, et al., (2015). Petals of Crocus sativus L. as a potential source of the antioxidants crocin and kaempferol. Fitoterapia. 107:128–134.
  17. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), author Terminal Report. Promotion of Ethnobotany and sustainable use of plant resources in Africa. 1998:60. Paris.

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Medical emergencies in old days - Small and Tall

[…] People in old ages were using different herbs like ginger, Senna, turmeric, cinchona etc. as alternatives to today’s antibiotics to treat severe infections. See our article about herbal alternatives to common antibiotics here. […]

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