There’s no doubt about it –  antibiotics are a good thing. They save lives every day. We can, in part, attribute  our longer lifespans, reduction in infant mortality and childhood deaths from life-threatening infections, and the near elimination of childbirth-related maternal deaths from infections in hospitals to antibiotics. As a medical doctor I am grateful to be able to prescribe them for serious bacterial and other appropriate infections, for example meningitis, kidney infections, and Lyme disease.

As with many things, more is not always better, and this is certainly the case with antibiotics.

Too Many Antibiotics

Antibiotics are being overused. It’s that clear. They are given to about 30% of all women during pregnancy or labor, and these reach the baby through the mom’s blood stream. By 2 years old, 69% of children in the US have received at least one antibiotic course, and the average is 2.3 courses, for ear infections, bronchitis, sore throat, and other common childhood illnesses.

By the time our children are 18 years old, they’ll have taken between 10 and 20 courses of antibiotics, and then another 10-13 rounds of antibiotics in their 20s. So by the time we’re 30 years old, on average, we’ve typically had about 30 rounds of antibiotics. Since each round is typically from 7 to 14 days long, that’s an astonishing potential 300 days – almost a year of their young lives – spent on an antibiotic! The numbers are similarly high for those 60 years old and above.

Shockingly,according to the Centers for Disease Control and other official reports, at least 50% and as many as 70% of the antibiotics prescribed for children for these and other symptoms/conditions are unnecessary and inappropriate. They are prescribed for viral infections that are not even treatable with an antibiotic – and usually just require time and simple support to clear up on their own! We are so accustomed to antibiotics being prescribed for our illnesses that we assume that they are as safe as they are common. But this is far from the truth.

We’re not just getting antibiotics that are prescribed to us by our doctors. Antibiotics are widespread in our foods, especially animal products. If you drink 2 glasses of milk each day, unless from antibiotic-free animals, you are potentially getting a daily dose of about 50 micrograms of tetracycline. At least 80 million pounds of antibiotics go into our cattle, poultry, and farmed fish each year not just to keep them “healthy” in their over-crowded feedlot conditions, but to promote their growth. Antibiotics can increase the weight of cattle, for example, by as much as 15% or more, and quickly.

Frighteningly, even organic fruit, for example, apples and pears, can be contaminated with antibiotics, which used to prevent “blights” that can damage crops. These antibiotics do not have to be disclosed to consumers as part of their organic labeling.

We are now learning the hard way that the overuse of antibiotics, both as medicines and in our foods is wreaking havoc on our health.

Here are 3 major lessons we’ve learned about antibiotic overuse: 

Lesson 1: Antibiotic Reactions are Common

Reactions to antibiotics are responsible for at least 140,000 hospital visits annually in the US. One in every five emergency department visits due to a medication reaction is due to antibiotics, and in kids under 18 years old they are the most common cause of drug reactions.

Lesson 2: Antibiotic Resistance is a Global Health Threat

We are in the midst of a global health crisis – antibiotic resistance, which is a direct result of the overprescribing and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, and the overuse of antibiotics in the meat industry.

Antibiotic resistance is not something that develops just in the individual – that is, it’s not just that you become resistant to that antibiotic – it means that the bacteria themselves have learned to outwit the antibiotic so that the antibiotic is no longer effective in treating anyone who is infected with the resistant strain. Each year in the US alone over 2 million Americans acquire serious infections with bacteria that are now resistant to some or all of the antibiotics that we have to treat those organisms, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of antibiotic resistance. Global leaders in public health have declared that these “nightmare bacteria” pose a catastrophic threat to every person in the world!

Lesson 3: Antibiotics Cause Chronic Disease

Antibiotics kill bacteria. The problem is that antibiotics not only kill off the bad guys, they kill off the good ones, too. When we give antibiotics to children at a young age or frequently enough, some of those good guys may never fully recover. The same thing happens to us as adults.

These good gut flora, or as they are collectively called, our microbiome, are essential for the health of our immunity, our moods, our weight, and our ability to detoxify environmental toxins and hormones. We now know that damage to our microbiome significantly increases our risk for developing allergies, eczema, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity (even when a person is not over-eating), autoimmune conditions, depression, anxiety, “brain fog,” diabetes, and as a result of diabetes, increases our risks for heart disease and stroke.

Why Antibiotics are Over-Prescribed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been on a several decades-long campaign to get physicians to reduce their antibiotic overprescribing.

Here are the top 4 reasons that antibiotics continue to be prescribed way too often:

  1. Doctors think that parents expect an antibiotic prescription when they bring their child in for a sick visit – and many do – leading to 50-70% of the antibiotics that are prescribed.
  2. Doctors are afraid to get sued should an infection that they didn’t treat with an antibiotic turn out to be more serious than anticipated.
  3. Doctors don’t feel that they have time to explain the problems with antibiotics to parents in the time allocated for a child’s sick visit, whereas it is quick and easy to prescribe an antibiotic.
  4. Doctors aren’t knowledgeable about alternatives to antibiotics and want to prescribe something they think will help.

Getting Healthy to Prevent Antibiotic Overuse

Promoting health is the best way to avoid unnecessary antibiotics. A healthy diet of natural foods with plenty of good quality protein, good quality fats, plenty of fresh vegetables, and low sugar, can give your immune system the phytonutrients you need to support health. Additionally, several natural supplements are specifically helpful for the immune system. Here are the key ones:

Protein is very important for optimal immune function – it takes protein to make the cells that fight infections. You can get healthy sources of protein from organic meats, eggs, beans and legumes, and nuts.

Zinc is necessary for proper immune function, and specifically supports the health of the gut immune system so it can be helpful if you’ve already used antibiotics a lot in the past. Oysters and pumpkin seeds are two rich sources of dietary zinc. Iron is also important for immunity, so if you are vegan or vegetarian, it’s especially important to make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet.

Probiotics may also help heal damage from past antibiotic exposure, while boosting immunity. In fact, taking zinc and a general probiotic that contains Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and Bifidobacterium strains daily throughout cold and flu season has been shown to prevent common respiratory infections.

While not a nutritional approach, the daily use of saline rinses (i.e. a Neti pot) has also been shown to prevent infections during cold and flu season.

8 Herbal Antibiotic Alternatives

In addition to getting the nutrients you need to support your immune system, a number of herbal medicines can help prevent and fight infection. One of the beauties of herbal antibiotics is their non-specificity — many of them are helpful for antibacterial and viral infections. So you don’t have to worry about figuring out which of those it is or having to go to a doctor to get a diagnosis first. These herbs are generally safe for most adults and children.

Here are a few herb safety rules:

  • If you have an immune system disorder or are pregnant, please check with your health provider before using any of these.
  • A doctor should see babies less than 6 months if they have any signs of an infection.
  • Also, anyone with a persistent fever, cough that lasts more than a week, difficulty breathing, blood in their sputum, persistent headache or neck pain with fever, persistent vomiting or abdominal pain, for example, should see their doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.

Here are my top 8 go-to herbs for immune boosting, infection prevention and treatment of common cold, flu, and respiratory infections. I recommend following the dosage instructions on the products you purchase, unless I specify otherwise below.

1. Andrographis is an effective antimicrobial herb for the prevention and treatment of colds, bronchitis, viral sore throat, and sinus infections. A combination of Andrographis and Siberian ginseng has been shown to be especially helpful in the treatment of colds, especially when started within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. Andrographis is not recommended during pregnancy, but can be used while breastfeeding. It is safe for children.

2. Echinacea doesn’t necessarily treat the symptoms of a cold, though it may help some, however, Echinacea is effective for cold prevention and stopping recurrence, so can be taken throughout cold and flu season, or when you have a cold to help prevent it from returning.

3. Elderberry has been studied and found to be effective in the treatment of flu in adults and children. It is most effective when started within 2 days of the onset of symptoms. It can be taken in pills or capsules, though I prefer the delicious tasting extracts and elderberry syrups, and feature elderberry syrup in the elderberry-echinaea recipe below. A typical dose of the syrup for flu treatment is 1 TBS three times daily for adults, and 1 TSP three times daily for children. It is a lovely tasting remedy!

herbal-antibiotic-elderberriesElderberry-Echinacea Syrup: Combine equal parts of elderberry syrup and echinacea glycerite (available at Whole Foods or online from companies including Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs, and Planetary Formulas). Give 1/2 tsp three times daily for babies 6 months to 1 year old, 1 tsp three times daily for children up to 7 years old, 1-2 tsp three times daily for kids over 7 years old, and 1-2 TBS three times daily for adults. Safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

4. Garlic boosts immunity and can fight viral and bacterial infections. The best way to use garlic for prevention is to include it abundantly in your diet, either cooked into vegetables and other foods, or preferably raw in homemade salad dressings if you tolerate the taste. A garlic clove can also be pressed and mixed with a teaspoon of honey and taken right off the spoon. This is repeated 1-2 times each day during a cold. Or make my famous Garlic-Lemonade, that even kids love!

garlic-herbal-antibioticGarlic Lemonade: Finely mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic and place them in a 1-quart mason jar. Fill the jar with boiling water and cover for 30 minutes. Strain out the garlic, and to the liquid add the juice of 1 whole lemon. Sweeten to taste with honey. Give warm, and offer as much as the child can drink. For babies under 1, use maple syrup instead of honey. Do not give to babies under 6 months old. Safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

5. Ginger fights viral infections and also helps with aches, pains, and digestive symptoms that come along with fever, colds, and flu. It also helps break up congestion that comes with a cold and cough. I love it as a tea made with lemon and honey (which is also beneficial for coughs), but you can also use capsules and liquid extracts. Miso broth with plenty of fresh grated ginger is also therapeutic.

ginger-tea-herbal-antibioticGinger Tea: Make strong ginger tea by steeping 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger in 1 cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Cover while steeping, then add lemon and honey to taste. Drink hot, up to 4 cups daily. Safe during pregnancy up to 2 cups daily, and while breastfeeding.

6. Green tea, taken as a tea, 1-2 cups daily, has been shown to prevent sinus infections,  a common reason people take too many antibiotics.

7. Umckaloabo (“Umcka” or Pelargonium) has been shown to be effective in shortening the duration of colds with cough, bronchitis, and sinus infections. For sinus infections, it may have to be taken daily for up to 3 weeks to really clear the infection.

8. Maitake mushrooms support the immune system and have been shown to prevent upper respiratory infections (colds with cough, ear infections, and sinus infections). They can be taken daily in pills, capsules, or an extract form for boosting overall immunity and preventing colds and flu, as well as general well-being.

I hope you’ll learn to use and love these herbs as much as I do! I rarely prescribe an antibiotic in my medical practice, and herbs have helped me to keep my family well, and antibiotic-free, for over 30 years! If you’d like to learn more about herbs, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter if you don’t already follow me, and if you do, please let me hear from you in the comments section below. I always love to hear what you want to learn more about or need help with!

With love and wishes for your health,



    • I personally purchase mine from Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs, or Planetary Formulas. You can make it from fresh elderberries if you have access.

    • We have plenty of elderberries growing wild in Maine.
      I cook the ripe berries in a tiny bit of water (just enough so they don’t burn at the beginning), and then strain out the seeds with a wire strainer. Then sweeten to taste. (*I* use 1/4 cup of sugar per pound of berries, but I’m sure you could use healthier sweeteners.) I often add a slice of lemon peel and a couple cloves or allspice berries to the elderberries as they cook, just for flavor.

    • In most cities, Whole Foods is a good walk in source; for bulk herbs Mountain Rose, an online company, and for tinctures, I personally use Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs, Herbalist and Alchemist, Herbs etc and several other smaller companies; and for capsules and tablets, most of the brands you’ll find at Whole Foods are a safe bet. For ginger and garlic — your local grocer! 🙂

  1. The information that you provide is so important to know! Thank you so much for helping me to take care of my family in a safe, natural, holistic manner. You are a blessing to so many people, Aviva. Thanks for using your life to make a difference in the world.

  2. Great Info. I always think the latin names for herbs is really helpful for people to insure they use the right plant.
    Thanks for your blogs.

  3. I have been wondering, when making herbal teas to improve your immune system or health, should you take your purified water to the simmer stage, just until it starts to boil or boil for 5 minutes? I read on one site if you let your water boil you can destroy the essential oils in the dried herbs or spices. What do you do as the herb expert?

    • Hi Kali,

      I usually bring my water to near boiling temp, and if I forget I am boiling water (which happens as I have two little boys) I let the water cool for about 5 minutes before pouring over the herbs. It also depends on wether you are making a decoction or an infusion….

      Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  4. Thanks Aviva for your clear easy to assimilate wisdom! Would you recommend regular use of raw tumeric for immune boosting? (Among other anti inflammatory qualities) and best forms of zinc? Thanks.

  5. Great article, thank you!! This came timely in my mailbox as my 2 year old was just prescribed antibiotics for a mild ear infection. Is there anything else you’d recommend to support his body to fight the infection without antibiotics?

  6. Great article. I love ginger, garlic, and lemon at the onset of a cold. Cayenne is another spice I’ve found so helpful when I’m fighting off an infection or have congestion.

    • Working on a print option for the upcoming new version of my website! In the meanwhile, usually saving as a PDF will work. 🙂 Thanks for your enthusiasm!!!

  7. Thank you very much for your great Articles , I love it.
    I have one question, are there any Herbs to shrink goiters?
    Thank you very much.

  8. Do you have any thoughts on Oregano oil? I use it as my go to for any infection after it cured a recurring systemic staph infection. After two rounds of antibiotics and yet another boil and style, I did some research and decided to give oregano oil and GSE a try together. Killed the infection and it never came back. I’ve also used it for severe UTI and kidney infection.

  9. Thank you for creating a go-to list for us, we may know most of these remedies but, at least for me, tend to forget about them once the first kids become teens. I once heard that green tea must be purchased from a reliable source and it should always be organic. Heard this?

  10. Hi Aviva,

    In the wonderful Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup recipe you gave us, you advised that it was safe during pregnancy and if breastfeeding.
    I am about to purchase both ingredients from Gaia Herbs/Herb Pharm, and both warn on their labels that those are not to be used during pregnancy and lactation. So I am confused…I would still make the syrup to have on hand for my husband and daughter, but I would like to know if that would still be safe for me if I were to become pregnant.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your wisdom and great knowledge with us and helping us keep our families and ourselves healthy!

  11. Helpful and informative article- thanks! For some of us (believe it or not) access to elderberries is easier than purchasing remedies from stores or online… I’d love to learn your recipe for Elderberry- Echinacea Syrup. I’m finding ratios vary ALOT when searching these recipes online. I’m interested to look into Andrographis and Umckaloaba more as they are both new to my ears… Always good to expand the toolkit. Thanks Aviva.

  12. I am 15 weeks pregnant and my doctor told me that I tested positive for bacterial vaginosis based on a test from over a month ago. I was prescribed antibiotics as she told me it could lead to miscarriage. For the last 2 weeks I have been taking probiotics. What shall I do? Take the antibiotics or continue with the probiotics?

    Many thanks,


  13. Food has been used as medicine for thousands of years, and science is finally confirming what our ancestors have known. Garlic, ginger, sage and raw honey have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and immune boosting properties. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies don’t want us to know this, since you can’t patent garlic. This fall my children, husband, and I have all came down with upper respiratory infections at various times, and I used raw honey infused with garlic, ginger, and sage – 1 teaspoon every hour 2 hours. None of us suffered our colds for more than a day.

    Thank you Aviva, for sharing this basic information with the mainstream.

  14. Hi Aviva,

    Could you, please, confirm if the recipe for Elderberry/Echinacea syrup you gave us in this article is safe for pregnant/breast-feeding women? Both ingredients have a warning on their labels saying those should not be used while pregnant or breast-feeding.


    • Correct — that labeling is a legal requirement. That said, I don’t use elderberry as a daily preventative in pregnancy — but absolutely for treating flu symptoms; echinacea has been found to be safe throughout pregnancy.

    • I use it as a steam, and topically for certain fungal infections; I also use it when treating intestinal infections — but not as a day to day cold preventative or treatment orally — it’s very strong.

    • Dear Elizabeth,
      Thank you for writing to me and valuing my opinion with your important question. I would so love to be able to answer, however these days I get so many emails that I can’t possibly answer each individual question AND I can do much better justice to health questions in an appointment…

      The two options for consulting with me are:

      1. Becoming a patient in my medical practice, Thrive Health, which you can find out more about here:


      2. Through an Integrative TeleWellness Consultation if you’d like to discuss your health and wellness concerns with an expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine for women and children, and you don’t have this option in your community, or if are to unable see me in person as a patient. To learn more go here:

      With warmest wishes,
      Aviva Romm

  15. Is there one you would suggest for strep throat or should I stick with antibiotics in this case? I hate taking antibiotics and have done well avoiding it for a good 30+ years now, instead I have focused more on building up my immune system. Thanks so much, I really love your web page!

    • While antibiotics aren’t always technically required for strep — they are a reasonable choice. Going over alternatives would be a consult…it’s more complex to review and needs someone following… Be well!

  16. What can you recommend for perpetual ear infections? I had given my daughter garlic oil drops in her ear for two days and thank G-d it went away but two weeks later it’s back.

    • Please take my course, Healthy All Year! It helps parents get their children off of the roller coaster of repeated ear infections and antibiotics. Also see my 2 blogs on my website for ear infection treatment and prevention. Warmly, Aviva

  17. Can I just tell you how refreshing your balanced approach is? I have a great “natural” remedy group here, but at times they tend toward carelessness in their rejection of Western medicine. Essential oils seem to be many peoples’ answer to everything (I personally do not own any). It is nice to hear you still recommend antibiotics for the Lyme disease and BV questions. They do have their place as some would do well to remember.

  18. Hi Aviva, thank you so much for this valuable info and helping us own our health!

    Question: Are Umckaloabo and Maitake mushrooms considered safe during pregnancy/breastfeeding?


  19. Thank you for this article! I have 2 babies and 2 older children that have all had awful respiratory junk this year (the babies – 9 mos & 18 mos – have had it the worst!). We are finally well (thank goodness, knock on wood!) and I now have us ALL on a daily elderberry, probiotic, vitamin d3, & echinacea regimen. I’m contemplating purchasing some andrographis and umcka for when (but hopefully not!) respiratory illness tries to rear its ugly head again. It appears that these are safe for children – but how young? The babies might need them most, but I cannot find information about dosage (or safety) for these herbs. Thanks, Aviva – Blessings in the new year!

    • Hi Melissa, For occasional, as needed use, I’d comfortably use these in both babies, but at a much reduced dose (i.e., max 1/5 of the adult dose). But really, the elderberry, echinacea, etc are excellent! For the zinc dosing for babies see the website of the office of dietary supplements on line — look up zinc in the search and you’ll find a consumer page with safe dosing down to 6 months old. And take care of you! As a momma of 4 myself, I know how that can NOT happen! 🙂

    • Please see my blogs on those topics — Cranberry D Mannose is a great ally, but depends on what’s causing the infections. Best, Aviva

  20. Hi, Aviva! Thank you for your information! I have been treating my 12-year old son with Olive Leaf Extract (for about a 1.5 weeks) and Oregano extract (about 2 days) for Bronchitis. I’ve also been making him take garlic cloves, drink “smoothies” of pineapple, garlic, honey, propolis, oregano leaves, turmeric and ginger. Is this too much? I read your opinion of oregano oil, and know it is strong, but I was trying to avoid the antibiotics, steroids and inhaler that the doctor wanted him to be on. He also takes probiotics. His chest still hurts a little from time to time, but not as frequent as he did before starting any of the above (could be anxiety, but chest pains is what made me take him in to the doc initially). Thank you for any information you could give me.

    • Sounds like a pretty strong cocktail but a good general antimicrobial blend to me – but not sure whether you’re using oregano oil or tincture , there’s a big difference there. If oregano tincture ok; not the oil. You’ll love my course Healthy All Year — I’ve got great recipes for bronchitis. But I think you’re on the right track if he’s getting better. Yes, I agree, when there’s chest pain it’s a good time for a doc’s office visit – good choice! Because sometimes that means pneumonia. But coughing from bronchitis can cause it, too. Hope he gets well fast!

  21. I have been taking various antibiotics for years for continual bladder infections. The infectious disease Doctor rotates them depending on the urine culture. One week on and one week off, one on, one off, then have another culture to see what bacteria I have then. He said that if the urine can get out and I leak, that bacteria can get in. I suggested Botox or some other treatment but was dissuaded from that. He says I will probably have this forever. Can you advise what natural herb would help me. Cranberries don’t help. I am afraid what these continual antibiotics are doing to my body. I have had colon cancer twice and breast cancer once. I am 66 years old. Arthritis is severe.

    • Hi Renda,
      So sorry you’ve been dealing with this. The most common reason’s are
      1. leaking urine which means doing aggressive daily pelvic floor toning exercise and taking something like cranberry d mannose to keep bacteria from sticking
      2. low estrogen — some herbs like Estrovera, a Chinese rhubarb product, may help, or bioidentical hormones can help
      3. Untreated interstitial cystitis.
      Sounds like you have a lot of immune issues going on so seeing a Functional Medicine MD would be a wise idea.
      Best, Aviva

  22. Will this work for Pneumonia? I have asthma. I also had Pneumonia once a year for 8 years straight between Nov – Feb. Every time I would get sick with cold or flu, I would get Pneumonia. The last two years I haven’t gotten it because I am not working in an office around sick people during flu season. I’ve been home taking care of family. Every time I am around anyone who is sick, I am terrified. When I have to take the antibiotics my whole body is inflamed with itching due to candida. I suffer for a few of weeks. I take Bio-K and other things but when I’m on antibiotics it doesn’t help. Any information will be helpful. Thank you.

    • Hi Tina,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. Thank you for your question, I can only imagine how hard this must be! Living in fear of getting sick is really hard, especially when your body reacts that way that you described. The best thing to do would be to work with either an integrative or functional medicine practitioner to help you really build up your immune system.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  23. My dad is having hernia surgery this week. He’s been working on building up his gut and we think they’re probably going to prescribe routine antibiotics. Do you have forbidding suggestions for avoiding them? He just got some potent liquid Kyolic garlic and I have elderberry syrup…. Thank you!

    • If he needs and antibiotic for surgery the antibiotic is the best approach. They are valuable when needed! Those particular herbs are really for cold and flu and wouldn’t help much for surgery/immunity/gut.

  24. What do you recommend for acne? My daughter has struggled with it since adolescence and the dermatologist keeps prescribing antibiotics. She is twenty now. She also has hypothyroidism. She takes Armour thyroid and a probiotic. She’s tried eating clean and juicing. It’s heartbreaking seeing her suffer. I worry about the long term use of the antibiotics. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and giving hope to those of us who seek a change in the traditional ways of treatment.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your comment and I am sorry to hear of your daughters struggle. There is so much that your daughter can do, and unfortunately the answer is longer that a blog post comment can handle. The best thing would be to work with an integrative or functional medicine doctor to get to the root of what is specifically going on with your daughter. You can also do a search on Aviva’s site for acne to see what else Aviva recommends.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  25. Are chaga mushroom tea and powder safe for children? Will they be beneficial to children for immune support purposes? Can you make a glycerite with the powder? How much powder and how much glycerine and how long to extract?

    • Not my first go to for kids’ immune support — I think of Chaga as being on the stronger end of things. So I prefer food, zinc, vitamin C, probiotics, and herbs like echinacea, or even reishi. I don’t know of any reason it couldn’t be used though….

  26. Hi. I have been experiencing extreme seasonal allergies. For years I have been eating ‘whole foods’, organic, and learning what a healthy diet is. I have cut out all sugar since Jan. 1, but have done this in the past including Autoimmune Paleo diet and other gut healing diets. I am planning to try your plan for allergy healing and relief and am thankful for your blog. In the meantime, my extreme allergies have turned into a sinus/ear infection with a ruptured ear drum. I have had fluid draining from my ear for 4 1/2 days…first blood and now yellow fluid. I have been doing antibiotic drops in the ear as well as eating garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar. I am wondering if I should take antibiotics. I am afraid of them. I haven’t had any for 13 years, but I don’t want to be silly either if my remedies are working and I need one?? I assume I would heal over time without one… I watched all of your videos on ear infections for children and never heard you discuss ruptured ear drums and what the wait and see method looks like for that? Thank you ever and ever so much.

    • Hi Alicia,

      Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear of your ear infection, that sounds truly awful. We are just scrolling through and doing a big catch up and I hope that all is resolved. Aviva knows how difficult the decision of taking an antibiotic or not is, especially when you have not had to take one for 13 years!

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  27. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives by fighting bacterial infections. If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them, or not using them properly, can add to antibiotic resistance. So it’s important to know how to use it and when.

  28. Hi Aviva. I have recently been taking andrographis and siberian eleuthero to fight a bad cold. I had probably been on it for a week and a half and I felt better, so I after a few days i stopped taking it. A day later I broke out in hives and have had them ever since! It has been a week…my question is what can I do to get rid of them?! Please help!!

    • Oh that could have been from the virus – but anyone can also have a strange reaction to herbs. Likely this is resolved by now but my go to’s for hives are quercetin (not safe while pregnant) and freeze dried stinging nettles. Best, Aviva

  29. Can you use all of these together? I have been taking umcka for a cough, sinus congestion and developed a fever . I went to my doctor and she prescribed a zpack but I would rather not take it. I have elderberries I can use to make a syrup and also have andrographis. Can I take all of these together? I have symptoms of bronchitis and sinus infection. My doctor told me umcka can only be used for 1 week. I have been on antibiotics so many times the last 2 years I really want to avoid another round.

  30. What would be an alternative for eye infections……….I have Grave’s Disease and have for over 25yrs…..I have started getting eye infections…….I was eyes and eye lids with baby shampoo due to soap getting in eyes but for some reason I am getting infections in my eyelids……..

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