15 December 2015
Antimicrobial herbs help the body resist pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoans. They are a broad class of herbs and function in many ways. It is interesting to note that most traditional culinary herbs demonstrate considerable antimicrobial affects, which protect against food spoilage and enteric pathogens. Having lived in a sub-tropical climate without food refrigeration I can attest to the food preserving qualities of raw garlic, cayenne and oregano. In my experience, non-spiced dishes spoiled days quicker than generously spiced dishes.
In treating illness caused by microbes, it is important to examine the condition, or terrain, of the body and how the disease was able to take footing. If we ignore the basics of good sleep, nutrition, water intake, and lifestyle, and dose ourselves up with antimicrobial herbs, we have missed the point.
Modern medicine has much to offer in the realm of fighting infectious organisms; antibiotics, antifungals, antiprotozoans and similar drugs have saved many lives. The benefit of these remedies is indisputable, but the administration must be appropriate or there can be side effects, such as diminished beneficial flora or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Herbal antimicrobial therapies are appropriate for the common cold, the flu, and manageable mild to moderate infections.
- Allium sativum – Garlic
- Arctostaphylos uva-ursi – Bearberry or uva-ursi, herb
- Artemisia spp. – Wormwood, sweet annie, sagebrush, herb
- Baptisia tinctoria – Baptisia or Wild indigo, root
- Calendula officinalis – Calendula, flowers
- Capsicum spp. – Cayenne peppers
- Ceanothus spp. – Redroot, root
- Commiphora mol-mol – Myrrh, resin
- Hydrastis canadensis – Goldenseal root
- Hyssopus officinalis – Hyssop, herb
- Inula helenium – Elecampagne root
- Isatis tinctoria – Woad, root
- Juglans nigra – Black Walnut, hull
- Juniperus spp. – Juniper, needle
- Ligusticum porteri and L. canadensis – Osha species, root
- Liquidambar styraciflua – Sweet gum, resin
- Lonicera japonica – Honeysuckle flowers
- Mahonia spp. – Oregon grape root
- Mondarda spp. – Bee balm, wild bergamot, herb
- Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary, herb
- Salvia officinalis and S. aparine – Garden sage and White sage, both herb
- Sambucus canadensis and S. nigra – Elderberry, flower and fruit
- Spilanthes acmella – Toothache plant, herb
- Thymus vulgaris – Thyme, herb
- Usnea spp. – Usnea lichen
- Xanthorhiza simplicissima – Yellowroot
- Zanthoxylum clava-herculis and Z. americanum – Toothache tree, bark
From Juliet Blankespoor's class at the 2014 Herbal Conference.