It is far easier than you think to have a gut infection – microbes, pathogens, worms, yeasts, parasites – call them what you will. Here are 15 natural compounds used by indigenous populations to keep themselves with a healthy gut.
Infection in the gut is just the start – if not treated it can lead to leaky gut, IBS, colitis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, Hashimoto’s and even cancer. After all, it was Hippocrates who told us 2500 years ago that all illness starts in the gut.
How to tackle yeasts, bacteria, parasites and bacteria naturally
1. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) – the walnuts commonly grow across the USA and have an earthy taste and are nutrient dense, containing high levels of omega 3, ellagic acid, jugione (which has anti-cancer properties) and tannin. The nuts can be dried and this last component has strong anti-bacterial properties, for example, against food-borne Listeria, E coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus. The green husk is used to kill parasites like tapeworms and ringworm and to treat lupus and candida. It also reduces blood sugar levels.
2. Mimosa pudica – the sensitive or shy plant. Touch it and the leaves shrink downwards. It is common throughout South East Asia and South America. It is used in Ayurvedic Medicine to combat dysentery, jaundice, blood disease, fatigue, leprosy and snake venom (especially from cobras).
It is strongly anti inflammatory and can heal ulcers but is now known to have anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic powers. It has a wide array of bioactive ingredients, but since it has anti-fertility action, it should not be used by pregnant women or those who are trying to become pregnant.
3. Oregano – a super herb typically grown around the Mediterranean. It is a natural antibiotic containing many bioactive compounds of which the three main ones are Thymol, Carvacrol and Rosemarinic Acid. Oregano kills a wide variety of intestinal parasites including yeasts, viruses and can thus fight leaky gut syndrome. Oregano with thyme has been shown to reduce inflammation in colitis. It is proven to treat E.coli and is thus effective against UTIs.
4. Artemisinin – from the plant Artemisia annua is proven to kill Plasmodium falciparum-the malaria protozoa parasite. It has anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. Furthermore it is anti-inflammatory and is an antioxidant. It is extremely powerful and there is some indication that it should not be taken by patients with a damaged liver (6).
5. Garlic – the benefits come from raw garlic and allicin. It has been found (1) to have anti-bacterial activity against a wide range of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria including drug resistant strains of E coli, anti-viral activity, anti-parasitic activity including some gut protozoa, and anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans. Allicin affects the unique enzymatic processes of these pathogens.
6. Cloves – have the highest level per gram of polyphenols. Do you remember when dentists used cloves as an antiseptic? That’s because they kill viruses, bacteria, Candida albicans and parasites! Eugenol is a most powerful natural germicide, and caryophyllene a powerful anti-microbial. Cloves are also used in herbal medicine to treat tapeworms, roundworms and pinworms, and to stop diarrhoea and bloating/flatulence. They kill all species of Shigella, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. The powerful ingredients also kill the eggs and larvae.
7. Fenugreek seeds – powerful anti-parasite (including malaria) and anti-microbial. Research shows they may even have a role in dyslipidemia, diabetes, and Parkinson disease (2) but that’s because all chronic illness originates in the gut! Research suggests Fenugreek seeds can treat ulcerative colitis.
8. Fennel – Fennel seeds were consumed after dinner to aid digestion. Fennel seeds are used in Mediterranean countries when grilling gutted fish as an antiseptic, not just a flavouring; they contain, anisic aldehyde, anethole, limonene, pinene, myrcene, fenchone and cineole. These aid digestion, prevent constipation and are anti-parisitic. Fennel is known to inhibit Candida albicans.
9. Pau d’Arco – at the start of this century, some experts thought Pau d’arco cured cancer but, in reality, it is extremely effective at tackling yeasts, fungi and viruses. It also seems capable of tackling most diseases from cystitis to gonorrhoea and syphilis. High doses (even of the tea) can cause blood thinning and internal bleeding but this is very rare.
10. Pumpkin Seeds – They have (3) anthelmintic properties, especially cucurbitins, which are very effective against worms, which they help paralyse and excrete. The seeds are also high on zinc and magnesium.
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11. Cayenne – Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which is known to kill Candida and is also anti-inflammatory via a brain trigger. It acts as an anaesthetic on gut ulcers, stopping bleeding and numbing pain. Cayenne powder can stimulate digestion.
12. Cinnamon – The cinnamon plant provides an oil, which contains three bioactive ingredients, the strength depending upon the source – cinnamaldehyde (bark), eugenol (leaf), and linalool (root). Apart from health benefits such as cutting blood sugar and reducing cardiac stress, cinnamon oil can reduce the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach, and eugenol can reduce the presence and severity of ulcers. Cinnamon can fight Candida, and gut parasites and with ginger it fights giardiasis.
13. Shiitake mushroom – the extract has been shown to fight and eliminate the virus HPV from the body (4). The reason is that this medicinal mushroom contains high levels of ‘Interferons’ which can block replicase, the enzyme controlling the replication of viruses, parasites, bacteria and even cancerous cells.
14. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – ingredients oleic acid and oleocanthal are strongly anti-inflammatory and increase levels of good gut bacteria that fight gut infections (5). Oleuropein has been found to have anti-viral, anti-fungal, antibacterial properties and inhibits H. pylori infection.
15. Turmeric – what doesn’t it do? The spice of curries, used originally with meat or fish that could be ‘off’ in the heat – it is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial compound with over 700 research studies behind it. Some even show effects with cancer (7). You should always take with black pepper (piperine) and olive oil to improve its low absorption rate.
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