10 Herbs with Antibiotic Properties

Herbs hanging to dry out

Did you know in your kitchen cabinet right now you have a pharmacy of antibiotics?  Most people don’t know how beneficial the herbs they use to season their foods are at supporting their immune system.

There are well over 30 herbs that have antibiotic properties in them.  These antibiotics can be found not only in your grocery store as a plant but also in liquid concentrated form at your local natural food store but for the sake of this article we are going to list the most common ten that the average cook may use occasionally or if you aspire to be the next food network star you probably use them every day.  This however, is not to say you should not see your favorite medical doctor should you need a synthetic antibiotic but nature has provided us with a garden full in natural form.   Many people differ on whether you get the most benefit from dried, extract or fresh leaves but regardless of your choice you need to make them a regular part of your diet.  Like all things natural be careful not to use too much as they can become toxic to your system.  Believe it or not most herbs are very easy to grow and you don’t need a lot of space to do it.  You can grow them right in your home with plenty of water and sunlight on your window sill.

So the next time you are in the mood to re enact Ratatouille or become the next Mario Batali remember all those Italian herbs you put in your tomato sauce or better yet sprinkling them on your salad is helping your body fight off bacteria and free radicals by acting as natures antibiotics.

They are:



Basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth.  Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. Essential oil of basil was even found to inhibit strains of bacteria from Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas, all of which are not only widespread, but pose serious treatment difficulties because they have developed a high level of resistance to treatment with antibiotic drugs.  Washing produce in solution containing either basil or thyme essential oil at the very low concentration of just 1% resulted in dropping the number of Shigella, an infectious bacteria that triggers diarrhea and may cause significant intestinal damage, below the point at which it could be detected. For now it makes good sense to include basil and thyme in more of your recipes, particularly for foods that are not cooked such as salads. Adding fresh thyme and/or basil to your next homemade or store bought dressing will not only enhance the flavor of your fresh greens, but will help ensure that the fresh produce you eat is safe to eat.



Oregano, or better yet the oil in the oregano leaves has been tested and compared to standard antibiotics like penicillin and the ability of the oil is recognized as a proper substitution, without the side effects, for prescribed antibiotics. Oil of Oregano can be used in place of antibiotics when up against drug resistant bacteria.  A study done by researchers at Long Island University have found that oregano kills prostate cancer cells.



Parsley has some antibiotic properties.  The oil extracted from Parsley seeds has been proven to inhibit the growth of nine different bacteria and fungus one of which is Staphylococcus or in short staph infections.



Cumin contains a powerful antibiotic/antimicrobial compound called Thymol and has been shown to increase the efficiency of antibiotics by weakening the resistance of bacteria.



As a natural antibiotic was used to prevent food poisoning and as a food preservative.  It is used against tuberculosis and excessive intestinal fermentation.



The antimicrobial properties of nutmeg have been used against E Coli and Staph.  Nutmeg can be added to just about anything not just used in desserts.



Black pepper, cayenne, white and chili peppers can all be used effectively to fight off intestinal bacteria. It is the capsicum in the pepper that gives it is antibiotic powers so the hotter the pepper the more potent the bacteria fighting agents.



Ginger has been shown to be more effective against bacterial staph infections than antibiotics. It can even kill cancer cells. Its anti-inflammatory effects are already famous for the relief of stomach aches and acid reflux. It can resolve inflammation of the brain. Mostly used in baking desserts ginger is effective as a tea or eaten as crystallized ginger.


Bay Leaf 

Same as basil and oregano



Mustard contains the same strong antibiotic properties as bay leaf and cumin but with a higher inhibitory effect.