Infection natural ways to treat viral, bacterial and fungal conditions with natural herbal remedies including herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements
March 6 2017
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

There are countless bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs and microbes that cause infection in the human body. Infection was a leading cause of death in humans before the discovery of antibiotics, antiviral medicines, antifungal medicines, and other drugs. Infection control through better hygiene and sanitation has made an enormous influence in limiting the rate of death in economically advanced countries.
   There are thousands of types of infections that can occur in the human body and we are fortunate to be living in modern times when scientists have discovered powerful antibiotics that cure or treat these conditions. Herbal remedies are quite weak compared to these potent antibiotics.

Natural herbal remedies including natural herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements

The following are some herbs and extracts that are helpful in reducing the risk. See ways to naturally improve your immune system. There are more herbal remedies and with time I will add others to the list and provide more details:


Garlic has potent antimicrobial activity, it can be helpful for tooth abscesses until professional dental evaluation is done. Since allicin is a gas, it may permeate a wide variety of tissues that do not have a good blood supply.
   Indian J Dentistry. 2014. Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of garlic, tea tree oil, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, and ultraviolet sanitizing device in the decontamination of toothbrush. The antimicrobial agents used in this study effectively reduced the S. mutans counts and hence can be considered as toothbrush disinfectants to prevent dental caries. The 3% garlic was the most effective among the antimicrobial agents.
   Iran Red Crescent Medical J. 2014. Comparing the therapeutic effects of garlic tablet and oral metronidazole on bacterial vaginosis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is one of the most common gynecological infections during reproductive age. Although metronidazole is one of the most effective medications recommended as the first-line treatment, it has various side effects. Because of the side effects and contraindications of some chemical medicines, using herbs has been investigated in treating BV. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of garlic tablet (Garsin) and oral metronidazole in clinical treatment of the BV in women who were treated with either garlic tablet or oral metronidazole for seven days. Therapeutic effects of garlic on BV were similar to that of metronidazole. There were significant differences between the two treatment groups in terms of side effects; metronidazole was associated with more complications. This study reveals that garlic could be a suitable alternative for metronidazole in treatment of BV in those interested in herbal medicines or those affected by side effects of metronidazole.

Grape seed extract has been studied
Olive leaf extract has been researched
Oregano oil potent activity
Probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can colonize the intestinal system and reduce the risk of germ invasion and overgrowth


Can taking probiotics reduce the risk for bacterial infection?
   It is possible that probiotic supplement use could reduce the risk for intestinal or vaginal bacterial infection frequency or severity.


The top five bugs that cause infections in the United States
The top five illness-causing pathogens are Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and norovirus

How to reduce your risk for Infection
Do you have a weak immune system and worried about catching a viral or bacterial infection? Go ahead and touch those doorknobs and elevator buttons, but watch out for the telephone, fresh laundry and sinks. And while you should always wash your hands before making a meal, many people do not realize that they should do so afterwards also. "Most of the common infections -- colds, flu, diarrhea -- are environmentally transmitted either in the air or on surfaces you touch. Computer keyboards carry far more bacteria than an elevator button, the handles and button on the communal microwave oven or the office water fountain. Keyboards and telephones -- especially when they are shared -- are among the most germ-laden places in a home or office. In fact, the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Perhaps not surprisingly, teachers have the highest exposure to bacteria and viruses. Even though germs are present everywhere, most people with a good immune system need not worry about a viral or bacterial infection.
     The growth of whatever bacteria are present can be used to estimate an overall load of germs, including E. coli bacteria -- which are found in the gut and are an indicator of fecal contamination. Some other bacteria usually present are Klebsiella pneumonia, Streptococcus, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus, some of which cause disease and some of which do not. And where there are bacteria, there can be viruses, which can hang onto a clean or dry surface for days and to a wet surface for weeks. Toilets get a bad rap. So does the door on the way out. Bathroom sinks, however, are another matter. Sinks are usually high (in bacterial counts) to begin with.  They have got everything a bacteria likes. It's wet, it's moist. In a home we usually find more E. coli in a sink than a toilet. Men's rooms, too. Usually the dirtiest handles in public restrooms are urinal flush handles.
     Food preparation is another good way to get an infection, particularly a bacterial infection, especially when handling raw meat.  Most people don't realize that they actually should wash their hands after they make dinner and also after they do the laundry. Americans have moved to short-cycle, cold-water washes to save energy and wear and tear on clothing, but this leaves viruses and bacteria largely intact. "Water at 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) will sanitize laundry. But only 5 percent of Americans use hot water for laundry. And viruses such as hepatitis A, rotavirus and bacteria such as Salmonella -- all of which cause stomach upsets and diarrhea -- can easily survive the average 28-minute drying cycle. These are all carried fecally. There is about a 10th of a gram of feces in the average pair of underwear.

Washing hands to reduce infection risk
Washing hands with plain soap and water is as effective as using the expanding range of sanitizers or antibacterial soaps if done correctly and often. Dr Anthony Komaroff, editor of the Harvard Health Letter, said studies have shown that washing hands with soap and water for just 15 seconds removes 90 percent of bacteria. Anthony Komaroff says the latest alcohol-based gels sold as hand sanitizers can be a useful alternative to soap and water but people often underestimate how much they need to do the job. Several squirts may be required and the whole hand, including the back, needs to be cleaned. Commonly found restroom germs include noroviruses, shigella, hepatitis A and Salmonella.

To get rid of germs on your hands, you should make sure you're washing properly. Get your hands completely wet, then squirt enough soap to cover the entire surface of your hands.Rub your hands together palm to palm, then rub palms over the backs of the opposite hands.

Bed bugs
The resurgence of bed bugs has been linked to increased domestic and international travel, a lack of societal awareness, a change in pesticide use patterns, and increasing bed bug resistance to common pesticides.

Avoiding infection from pets, dogs, cats
Always wash hands with soap and warm water after handling pet food, pet toys or touching pets. Don't allow young children to touch pet food or bowls. Make sure pet food packaging is intact. Never feed pets raw food. Store pet food away from human food. Refrigerate unused moist pet food. Regularly wash your pet's food bowl and water bowl. Promptly dispose of pet waste. Then wash hands thoroughly.

Pets can transfer infections to humans, especially young children, seniors, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. All pets can transmit diseases to people, including salmonella, drug-resistant bacteria, campylobacter, and parasitic diseases such as hookworm, roundworm and toxoplasmosis. The infections can be transmitted through bites, scratches, saliva and contact with feces. Reptiles and amphibians can transmit diseases indirectly, such as on contaminated surfaces.

Microwave the sponge
Two minutes in a microwave oven can sterilize most household sponges. A team of engineering researchers at the University of Florida found that two minutes of microwaving on full power killed or inactivated more than 99 percent of bacteria, viruses or parasites, as well as spores, on a kitchen sponge. "People often put their sponges and scrubbers in the dishwasher, but if they really want to decontaminate them and not just clean them, they should use the microwave," said Gabriel Bitton, a professor of environmental engineering who led the study.The day after the news release came out regarding the germ-killing benefit of microwaving, reports came to news stations that people who tried it at home had problems with the sponge burning and ruining their microwave. Apparently the researchers failed to mention that the sponge has to be wet before it is placed in the microwave.Comments: I actually placed a semi wet sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes and it survived.... hopefully the germs were not as lucky.

Infections in health care workers
Health care workers are more likely to die from bloodborne infections and related illnesses than people working in other occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, November 2008.

Hospital concerns
Pneumonia and blood-borne infections caught in hospital killed 48,000 patients and cost $8.1 billion in 2006. Measures to prevent infection are simple and include careful hand washing, hygiene and screening patients when they check in. However, these measures are difficult to enforce, many studies have found. It is preferable to have the windows open in the room rather than closed since keeping them open reduces the risk for airborne infectious bugs to concentrate.
   On any given day, some 80,000 patients in Europe are fighting an infection they picked up in hospital, often while in intensive care, the EU's disease monitoring agency said in a survey published in 2013.

Pets, cats, dogs
Seemingly healthy pets can carry parasites, bacteria or viruses that cause mild to life-threatening illness in people. Of the 250 zoonotic diseases -- infections transmitted between animals and people -- more than 100 are derived from domestic pets.

Cat bites may look less serious than dog bites, but they can cause dangerous infections, particularly when they involve the hand. Although cats have no more germs in their mouths than dogs or people, when cats bite, their sharp teeth can inject hard-to-treat bacteria deeply into the skin and joints, increasing the risk for serious infection.

Yeast infection
Candida species, in particular Candida albicans, represent a major threat to immunocompromised patients. Able to exist on mucosal surfaces of healthy individuals, these opportunistic fungi frequently cause superficial infections of mucosa and skin.  Yeast infection symptom cause of yeast infection.

Urinary tract infection - bladder
Urinary tract infections, mostly bacterial, are relatively common in children and are a common cause of fever with absence of other urinary symptoms. It is prudent that pediatricians and urologists perform a correct diagnosis to prevent long-term complications of urinary tract infections, particularly renal scaring. Treatment strategies depend on various factors particularly the child's age and severity of illness. Specifications of antibiotics to be used also depend on the age of the patient and the spectrum of the antibiotic, based on the prevalence of organisms at certain ages and in certain situations. Low dose antibiotic prophylaxis, an important aspect of therapy for urinary tract infections in childhood, may be needed in chronic urinary tract infections. The goal of therapy should always be directed to prevention of renal scaring and its complications including hypertension and renal functional deterioration.

Sinus infection symptom and treatment
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. A sinus infection symptom can include headache or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheek area, or on one side of the head. A person with a sinus infection may also have a cough, a fever, bad breath, and nasal congestion with thick nasal secretions. Sinusitis is categorized as acute (sudden onset) or chronic (long term, the most common type).

Ear infection or inner ear
Otitis media, is extremely common in children and one of the most common reasons parents take their child to see the pediatrician. An ear infection could be due to a virus or it could be a bacterial infection. Doctors are quite trigger happy in writing antibiotic prescriptions for ear infections since that is what parents expect. However, recent research indicates that a two, three, or four day observation period without use of antibacterial therapy is justified in children with uncomplicated acute otitis media. Immunization against S. pneumoniae with the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugated vaccines has reduced the frequency of inner ear bacterial infection caused by this pathogen.

Staph infection (people misspell this as staff
Because of high incidence, morbidity, and antimicrobial resistance, Staphylococcus aureus infections are a growing concern for family physicians. Strains of Staph aureus that are resistant to vancomycin are now recognized. Increasing incidence of unrecognized community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staph aureus infections pose a high risk for morbidity and mortality. Although the incidence of complex Staphylococcus aureus infections is rising, new antimicrobial agents, including daptomycin and linezolid, are available as treatment. Staphylococcus aureus is a common pathogen in skin, soft-tissue, catheter-related, bone, joint, pulmonary, and central nervous system infections. S. aureus bacteremias are particularly problematic because of the high incidence of associated complicated infections, including infective endocarditis.

The contamination of chronic wounds with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) represents a world-wide increasing bacterial infection problem. Although it is still unclear whether bacterial contamination is a relevant factor for delayed wound-healing, verification of MRSA contamination has significant logistic consequences for the medical institution as well as for the patient. In particular, if MRSA contamination progresses towards a systemic infection, options for antibiotic therapy are greatly limited.

Kidney infection
Urinary tract infection is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract, most commonly due to bacteria. If infection involves the kidney, it is termed kidney infection or acute pyelonephritis. An estimated 10-30% of all patients with kidney infection are hospitalized for treatment. Perhaps because of the generally good prognosis of kidney infection when treated with current antibacterial therapies, there have been relatively few studies of patient management and therapeutic options for the disease, or of its epidemiology and risk factors. kidney infection symptom.

Bacterial infection
This can be caused by a wide range of bacteria, resulting in mild to life-threatening illnesses (such as bacterial meningitis) that require immediate intervention. In the United States, bacterial infections are a leading cause of death in children and the elderly. Hospitalized patients and those with chronic diseases are at especially high risk of bacterial infection. Common bacterial infections include pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and skin disorders. Quite a number of bacteria can cause infection in the human body, some minor, others can be fatal. See bacteria for more details. See also white blood cell count elevation.

Infection in the eye can be minor or severe. An eye infection could be due to a self-limited viral conjunctivitis, or it be due to a bacterial infection that can cause permanent vision loss. An eye infection can develop in the eye from irritation, such as getting a small amount of a chemical in the eye. Infection can also occur after a minor eye injury or a small scratch on the cornea.

There are dozens of fungi that can cause an infection in humans. Most commonly these fungi cause annoying but harmless skin infections such as athlete's foot. However, in those who have a weak immune system, more severe and potentially life threatening fungal infections can occur. See fungus for more information.

Sexually transmitted diseases
The number of cases of three key sexually transmitted diseases increased in 2014 for the first time since 2006. In 2014, 1.4 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- a 2.8 percent increase since 2013. This is the highest number of cases of any STD ever reported to the CDC. Substantial increases were also reported in rates of syphilis (15 percent) and gonorrhea (5 percent). And the syphilis rates were highest among gay and bisexual men, according to the CDC's Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2014 report.

Viral infection
Quite a number of viruses can cause infection in the human body, some are insignificant, others can be fatal. See virus for more details. Upper respiratory infection is most often due to a viral infection. Influenza can be deadly and cause numerous fatalities each year.

Infection in tip of finger
Herpetic whitlow cause: The organism is the herpes simplex virus type I or II. This is the same virus that causes oral or genital herpes infections. People in certain occupations are more at risk for this infection. These include dentists, hygienists, physicians, nurses, or any other person who may have contact with saliva or body fluids that contain the virus. People with oral or genital herpes may also infect their own fingers. Herpetic whitlow is a self-limited disease. Treatment most often is directed toward symptomatic relief.

Vaginal infection - yeast
Most women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime and many are plagued by recurrent yeast infections. Symptoms of yeast infection include itching, burning, redness, and irritation of the vaginal area. Severe yeast infections may cause swelling of the vulva and in some cases women experience painful and/or frequent urination which is caused by inflammation of the urinary opening.

Skin infection
The skin can be infected by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. There are literally hundreds of germs that can cause a skin infection and treatment depends on the type of microbe. Bacterial infection of the skin can be treated with antibiotics orally or by an antibiotic cream or ointment.

Mycoplasma genitalium was first identified in the 1980s.

Salmonella infection
Symptoms of foodborne Salmonella include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor health or weakened immune systems. Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

Shigellosis, an intestinal illness carried by international travelers, is spreading in the U.S.

Throat infection
A sore, scratchy throat is often the first sign that you're coming down with a cold, flu, or bacterial throat infection. In fact, sore throat is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor. Most sore throats, such as those that accompany a cold or the flu, are caused by viral infections and usually go away on their own in a few days. Only a small portion of sore throats are the result of a bacterial infection such as strep throat. But it's important to identify this bacterial throat infection for a number of reasons. Unlike other causes of sore throat, strep throat is treatable. The bacteria that cause strep throat respond quickly to antibiotics, and treatment stops the infection from spreading to other people. If not treated, strep throat infections can sometimes cause complications such as rheumatic fever. This serious disease can cause painful and inflamed joints and a rash, and can even result in damage to heart valves.

Acute infections are associated with elevated risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Would like to first of all thank you and your associates / staff, for the incredible web site put together with much time and effort. Like a previous letter writer said, it's important to find someone who one can trust somewhat, because doctors, pharma companies, supplement companies, and celebrity spokespersons along with the advertisers they "shill" for, all have their own reasons and agenda - usually financially motivated, for endorsing products. I wish more doctors would bother to keep current with information available from sites like yours. Here in Canada, most doctors are foils for the big pharma conglomerates, because the mindset is all drug related with nary a thought to natural alternatives or treatments. Would you know if I purchased some of the products formulated by you, if they would be counter productive while I take my currently prescribed "ciprofloxacin" to treat a bacterial infection?
   It's really difficult to say since there are so many factors involved, it's not only the medicine but the dosage, frequency, your health condition and what kind of infection you have, how long you plan to take it, is it a temporary infection or long term infection treatment, which supplements you would be taking, for how long, for what dosages, etc, etc.

Can taking Levitra increase the risk for infection?
   I can't see how taking a phosphodiesterase inhibitor (especially when used occasionally) would raise the risk for infection.

What is your opinion regarding colloidal silver as a natural way to treat infections?
   See colloidal silver for more information.

My husband and I have used a combination product containing oregano oil and olive leaf extract for several years. We use it as needed for mild  infections, such as colds, flu, viruses, ear and sinus infections, vaginal infections. At the first sign or symptom of any infection, we start taking it as directed on the bottle two or three times a day. The particular preparation I use is made by LifeTime and recommends 30 drops in a glass of liquid. We rarely suffer more than a couple of days from colds or flu. I find a single oral dose of this product will eliminate unpleasant vaginal discharge and itching overnight. It also reduces the intensity of seasonal eczema which I sometimes get in the summer time.

Travel can increase the risk for viral, fungal, and bacterial infection