What is an Anti-microbial?
Anti-microbials are herbs that help the body to destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms. With herbal remedies you can aid the body in strengthening its own resistance while throwing off the illness. While some plant remedies contain chemicals which are strongly anti-septic, in general these herbs help to support the natural immune process.
Many of these herbs are also anti-inflammatory and can be divided into those that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic etc. These are incredible attributes to the general action of the herb, which in most cases will be to augment the integrity of the individual’s own defense system.
Supporting the immune system is a vitally important job as so much treatment today is done through the work of anti-biotics that do the work for the body. Without question there are times when anti-biotics are essential and life saving, however perhaps not as often as we’ve become accustomed to. Much of the time the body can benefit from supportive and preventative help that bypasses the need for synthetic and/or chemical intervention. However in an emergency, we should count our blessings that anti-biotics exist.
How Anti-microbials Work
Some research has been done into the active ingredients of these herbs, and occasionally they’ve been found. For example in Echinancea a volatile oil has been found against staphylococus, an amide that is insecticidal, others that are anti-fungal and those that attack bacteria. It also is active against viruses by inhibiting an enzyme used by viruses to break down cell walls.
Other ways herbs remove infection is by direct or indirect stimulation of the body’s own immune system, and those rich in volatile oil are often directly effective by killing the microorganism.
Each system of the body has plants that are particularly suited to it, some of which are anti-microbial. By the nature of the infection and the body’s response to it, a general systemic treatment is always appropriate even if done in conjunction with specific local remedies.