Books: Herbal Antibiotics

Herbal Antibiotics


Author: Stephen Harrod Buhner
ISBN: 1-58017-148-6
Paperback: 135 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing

The Back Cover

The era of the penicillin miracle is over. Through our indiscriminate use of pharmaceutical antibiotics in hospitals and factory farms, humans have created “Superbugs” – tenacious and virulent bacteria that develop resistance to solitary antibiotic compounds at an alarming speed.

In this empowering book, Stephen Buhner offers conclusive evidence that plant medicines, with their complex mix of multiple antibiotic compounds, are remarkably effective against drug-resistant bacteria. You’ll learn how antibiotic herbs such as aloe, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract represent our best defense against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella – and how their use will ensure that, in the future, antibiotic drugs will still be there when we really need them.


I came to herbal medicine as many of us do: I became ill, and modern medicine could not help me. I felt betrayed. I was shocked, then angry. Then I began to think about a great many things in new ways.

Because I was raised in a family of powerful political physicians, I was raised with the belief that after millennia, man (and modern medical science) had defeated disease. I was taught to believe that we were all on the threshold of everlasting, disease-free life. It was a tremendous shock, then, when reality took me aside and whispered in my ear. That murmured secret was an antibiotic-resistant ear infection. My physician at the time leafed futilely through pharmaceutical advertising circulars, trying one antibiotic after another to no avail. Unknown to both of us, all that we were doing was killing off the friendly bacteria in my body and leaving the way open to the antibiotic-resistant strain to multiply unhindered.

Eventually I turned to herbs for treatment when it was clear that pharmaceuticals could not help. And, as they often do, herbal medicines worked. This was not the first time the plant world had cured what, for me, was a painful disease. But it was the final catalyst that caused me to abandon modern approaches and enter fully into the plant world. It was also the catalyst for my interest in epidemic disease and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In the many years since that painful event, I have continued to deepen my knowledge and interest in such bacteria, and to write and speak often about them. They fascinate me. They are also the origin of a deepening humility. The two great lessons they have taught me are that human arrogance about the natural world has an inevitable, unpleasant outcome and that this sacred Earth upon which we live, without fanfare or personal aggrandizement, offers to humankind medicines with which to treat the bacterial superbugs that we, in our arrogance, have created. Like so many people before me, I had always known that I should work to save the Earth. I never knew before my illness that it was a two-way street: that the Earth also works to save us.

This book explores some of the realities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and some of the most powerful herbal medicines with which to treat them. In the coming years, I think many of us will need to understand both. I hope that for you, as it has been for me, this knowledge will be useful.

Foreword by James A. Duke, Ph. D.

Stephen Buhner has arrived at (and shares with you, the reader) the frightening truth that you won’t find in the Journal of the American Medical Association: We are running out of weapons in the war on germs. Since germs can go through a generation in 20 minutes or so, instead of the 20 years or so it takes us humans to reproduce ourselves, it’s no small wonder that the germs are evolving resistance to our chemical weapons as rapidly as we develop them.

When the drug vancomycin falls completely by the wayside, as it will, we may, just as Stephen predicts here and I have predicted elsewhere, fall back on the bimillennial biblical medicinal herbs such as garlic and onion. These herbs each contain dozens of mild antibiotic compounds (some people object to using the term “antibiotic” to refer to high plant phytochemicals, but I do not share their disdain for such terminology). It is easy for a rapidly reproducing bug or bacterial species to outwit (out-evolve) a single compound by learning to break it down or even to use it in its own metabolism, but not so easy for it to outwit the complex compounds found in herbs. Scientists are recognizing this fact and developing more complex compounds such as the AIDS cocktail and multiple chemotherapies for cancer. The same super-scientists who downplay the herbalists’ claims of synergies that account for the effectiveness of particular herbs and herbal formulas, are now resorting to synergies of three or four compounds in their pharmaceutical formulas.

It is certainly easier to demonstrate how two compounds can work synergistically than it is to figure out how 200 or 2000 different compounds (and more, as are present in all herbs) can work synergistically. So, the scientific community will be reluctant to consider the remarkable synergistic suites of compounds that have evolved naturally in plants. But we really cannot afford to ignore these. For nature favors synergies among beneficial, plant-protective compounds within a plant species (with antibacterial, antifeedant, antifungal, antiviral, and insecticidal properties), and selects against antagonisms.

When we borrow the antibiotic compounds from plants, we do better to borrow them all, not just the single solitary most powerful among them. We lose the synergy when we take out the solitary compound. But most important we facilitate the enemy, the germ, in its ability to outwit the monochemical medicine. The polychemical synergistic mix, concentrating the powers already evolved in medicinal plants, may be our best hope for confronting drug-resistant bacteria.

Related Article

Book Review: Herbal Antibiotics

by Rebekah Joy Anast

November 2005

Herbal Antibiotics, Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner

"When we are born we are sterile; there are no bacteria on or in our bodies. Normally the first thing that happens after birth is that we are placed on our mother's stomach and we begin to nurse. At this moment our skin begins to be colonized with human-friendly bacteria from our mother's body, and our intestinal tract begins to be colonized from bacteria from our mother's milk. Eventually 1 to 2 pounds of our mature body weight will be the billions of bacteria that live in healthy symbiosis in and on our bodies..."

I learned SO much reading this book. And enjoyed it! Stephen Harrod Buhner is a great writer, and (apart from promoting Darwinism) very well researched. Herbal Antibiotics convinced me that everything I need to take care of my family is available directly from Nature, easy to use, safe, and WORKS. God has provided a powerful arsenal of medicine in the plants that grow around us. With discipline, knowledge, and a little effort, good health is the natural and likely result.

The first section of Herbal Antibiotics is about traditional antibiotics; including the discovery, historical usage and politics, and the current "medical dead end" that faces us. Mr. Buhner's research on the effects of "wonder-drug" antibiotics completely convinced me that ignorance is death. And that, if I don't take my family's health into my own hands, I am literally throwing it away.

After the introduction and history of old-school drugs, the top 15 most effective antibiotic herbs are covered in a thorough, easy-to-read manner. Herbal Antibiotics offers some practical recipes in the back; (Immune Soup, Wound Salve, Cold Tincture, etc...) plus information on how to deal with every common ailment that has sent you to the doctor time and again. I loved reading about the fantastic healing properties of honey (check The Old Schoolhouse Winter Issue for this article) and the powerful cleansing abilities of Grapefruit Seed Extract (not "directly" from nature, but pretty close!). Thanks to Mr. Buhner for an effective, practical introduction to natural antibiotics and their usage in a "bite-sized" book!

I highly recommend this book!

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Customer Reviews

Please, take a moment and comment on this product.

by Anonymous on Aug 30, 2013

Not a light read, but great to have as a combatant of scientific info in the face of "scientific info" that says herbs aren't useful! It's taking me a while to read as I dip into it now and then when I actually have a chunk of time, but what I have gleaned has helped me to improve household remedies and direct others towards avenues for herbal health for themselves.

I could have avoided antibiotics...
by Michelle on Jun 15, 2009

I wrote you a couple days ago asking advice for an illness that's lasted a couple weeks now. I was very sick so I decided to take the antibiotic the doctor prescribed.

Today I got my order (very FAST as usual) and the Herbal Antibiotics book. Within an hour of reading I knew exactly what I had done to make myself sick! I had been taking aloe vera juice internally every time I took the garlic! It caused me to get worse instead of better. I thought my body
needed cleansing because of the hemorrhoidal flare and other symptoms. I did have a minor cold I was dealing with but my herbal ignorance was making me
much worse. I've gained new appreciation for herbs and the strength they posess. Aloe vera taken internally is not the soother you might assume it to be! With the books I ordered from you I'll gain the education and shelf resource I need to avoid a mistake like this in the future. Thankfully it was my body and not one of my children!

I'm feeling much better today. I could have avoided my first use of an antibiotic in 20 years if I would have had Herbal Antibiotics in my hands earlier.


From our Mailbox

I ordered my herbs over the holiday weekend to be sent to a military base overseas and I received them within 1 week! Super amazing shipping and wonderful quality of herbs! Thank you!


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