8 Surprisingly Effective Natural Antibiotics

When you’re facing a bacterial infection, few people give herbs a second thought. But, considering their effectiveness at treating a wide range of infections, we might want to reach for herbs more often.

Here are four of my preferred antibacterial herbs.


Who wouldn’t love the taste of cinnamon in fresh baked goods or sprinkled over a delicious almond milk latte? But cinnamon is much more than a delicious flavor—it also has potent, anti-infectious compounds. In a study published in the medical journal Pharmaceutical Biology, researchers found that cinnamon bark effectively inhibited MRSA, E. faecalis, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and other bacterial infections. Sprinkle cinnamon over your breakfast cereal, on your latte or as part of a delicious Moroccan-inspired curry.


Garlic is well-known for its wide-reaching antibacterial effects. In one study researchers assessed the value of a garlic broth and its ability to fight off E. coli infection. They found that the higher the dose of garlic, the more effective it was at killing E. coli bacteria.

German Chamomile

A German governmental organization (Commission E) approved German chamomile as a skin treatment to reduce swelling and fight bacteria, as well as a tea or supplement to alleviate stomach cramps. Researchers assessed the antimicrobial activity of an extract of German chamomile against the fungus Candida albicans and the bacteria Enterococcus faecalis. Candida albicans is a common fungal condition (sometimes, albeit less accurately referred to as a “yeast” infection) and E. faecalis is an antibiotic-resistant and often life-threatening infection that sometimes inhabits root-canal-treated teeth. The Indian Journal of Dentistry published an assessment of a high potency extract of chamomile against these microbes and found that it helped kill both. This study could help explain German chamomile’s reputation for healing dental abscesses and gum inflammation.


More and more exciting research showcases ginger’s potency against bacteria and viruses alike, sometimes even when antibiotic drugs fail. In one study published in the medical journal Nutrition, researchers found that ginger showed a strong ability to inhibit bacteria. That’s important news as we collectively cope with resistant superbugs.


Few people expect to see kimchi on a list of effective natural antibiotics, and while the research is still in its infancy, early research published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiolgoy shows that kimchi contains probiotics with antibacterial effects. You’ll need to choose kimchi with live cultures in the refrigerator section of your health food or grocery store to reap the antibiotic benefits of kimchi. Add a spoonful to your favorite Asian-inspired soups, veggie burgers or as a condiment with your meals.

Manuka Honey

Is manuka honey worth the hefty price tag? When it comes to fighting bacteria, research suggests that it is. Manuka honey contains numerous compounds that separate it from other types of honey, including methylglyoxal (MGO)—MGO has been found to be effective against numerous types of bacteria including: roteumirabilis and Enterobacter cloacae. Additionally, a study published in the medical journal Wounds demonstrated the honey’s effectiveness at killing 6 different types of bacteria that are commonly found in skin wounds. The researchers of this study found that manuka honey was even effective against some drug-resistant bacteria strains. That’s good news considering that bacteria have been finding ways to outsmart our best antibiotic drugs.


Oregano is a powerfully antiseptic plant thanks largely to its constituents known as carvacrol and rosmarinic acid. Unlike antibiotic drugs that work only on harmful bacteria, these compounds in oregano work against bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites like worms, making it a well-rounded antiseptic to keep in your natural medicine cabinet.

Research in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease showcased oregano’s effectiveness against Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These bacteria can colonize the skin, wounds, throat, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract and particularly the lungs, making oregano a potentially good option in a wide range of infectious conditions. Research published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology showcased the effectiveness of oregano against antibiotic-resistant strep infections, which are most known for causing strep throat.


Few people incorporate the delightfully savory flavor of thyme into their cooking so few people actually experience its many health benefits, including its potent antibacterial activity. In a study against various types of food-poisoning-causing bacteria including Salmonella and E. coli, researchers found that thyme exhibited antibacterial activity.

These herbs above can be used in making a tea or broth, taken in a tincture (alcohol extract), or taken in capsule form. A typical dose of tea is one heaping teaspoon per cup of boiled water, drank three times daily. Tinctures are frequently taken in doses of thirty drops three times daily. Follow package directions for capsules since they vary greatly. Always check with a qualified herbalist or physician if you’re taking any medications or suffer from any health condition before taking herbal medicines or discontinuing any medications.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works  include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.


Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Helpful information, thanks.

hELEN h3 months ago


michela c
michela c3 months ago

I use almost all of them, but definitely not honey.

Renata B
Renata B3 months ago

Honey (manuka or not manuka) belongs to its producers, the bees. Stealing from a tiny insect: it is so vile and miserable.

Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago


Sue H
Sue H5 months ago

Thanks for re posting this information.

Georgina M
Georgina Elizab M7 months ago


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill9 months ago


lynda l
lynda leigh9 months ago

Important news as we collectively cope with resistant superbugs.