11 Natural Antibiotics for Everyone (and how to use them)

Last Updated: August 30, 2021

When my son gets sick, I can visit his pediatrician.  After a lab test confirms a bacterial infection, he gets a prescription for antibiotics.  Problem solved.

But what if I weren’t able to call the doctor?
What if the pharmacies weren’t open and I couldn’t buy medicine?
Or what if there was an outbreak of antibacterial-resistant bacteria?

These are just some of the reasons why preppers should stockpile natural antibiotics.

How to Use Natural Antibiotics

Numerous studies show that natural antibiotics are just as good as pharmaceuticals.  In some cases, studies show that natural antibiotics are even more effective than the pharmaceutical.

Keep in mind that studies usually don’t use the raw plant.  The scientists use strong extracts from the plants when doing their experiments.  The results the scientists get may not reflect the results you’d get by eating the plant.

For example, garlic is one of the most well-known natural antibiotics.  But it is the compound allicin in garlic that kills bacteria.

You’d have to eat a lot of garlic to get enough allicin to treat a bacterial infection.

Likewise, most teas aren’t potent enough to fight infection.

You could drink gallons of tea and still not make a dent in the bacterial population (though drinking fluids is important when sick!).

To make sure natural antibiotics are potent enough, you will need to:

  • Buy them in tincture form
  • Make your own tinctures
  • Extract the essential oils
  • Boil down to create a resin

Fish Antibiotics Option

If your main interest in natural antibiotics is for disaster prepping, you should know that fish antibiotics are also an option.

Fish antibiotics are the same as antibiotics prescribed for humans.  The difference is that you don’t need a prescription.

Learn more about fish antibiotics for humans here.

Top 11 Natural Antibiotics for Preppers

1. Garlic

allicin in garlic

Garlic contains a compound called allium, which kills both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.  Studies have found it effective against various bacterial and fungal infections.

The allium in garlic is particularly effective against intestinal infections, such as those that cause diarrhea. Garlic is even effective against bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.

  • How to Use: Tinctures or drink the juice of raw garlic
  • Best For: Intestinal infections, but also effective against many types of bacterial and fungal infections.
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2. Clove

Clove is not only a potent natural antibacterial, but it also reduces inflammation and pain.

Since it doesn’t have any adverse effects associated with it, you can even take clove oil daily to prevent infections.

This could be very smart to do in times of hygiene crises, such as after a flood disaster.

  • How to Use: Essential oil or tincture
  • Best For: Food poisoning, oral infections (including thrush), external use on skin infections
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3. Cinnamon

cinnamon natural antibiotic

Did you know thieves who would steal jewelry from dead bodies used to take a concoction made of cinnamon? The natural remedy would keep them from getting sick.

Numerous studies support cinnamon’s natural antibacterial properties. It has been shown to effectively treat staph, E. coli, streptococcus, and antibiotic strains of bacteria.

Just be warned that it may cause skin irritation, so test a small amount before putting cinnamon oil on the skin.

  • How to Use: Essential oil or capsules
  • Best For: Strep throat, staph infections, diarrhea
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4. Hot Peppers

Hot peppers, such as habanero, contain a compound called capsicum. It is one of the most potent natural antibiotics available.

While it may seem counterintuitive to eat spicy foods when you have an upset stomach, capsicum is very effective against food poisoning and GI infections.  Yes, your bowels will move (which will help remove the pathogens from your GI tract).

Capsicum also increases body temperature, which in turn helps your body fight viral and bacterial infections.

You can use hot pepper extracts on your skin (such as by making a salve).  However, some people have a bad reaction to it. So always test the salve on a small portion of your skin before applying to a skin infection.

  • How to Use: Juice of the pepper, essential oil
  • Best For: Fungal infections, food poisoning, staph infections, ear infections, cholera, h. pylori, listeria, viral infections, skin infections
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5. Oregano

oregano antibacterial properties

Oregano is another one of those potent natural antibiotics that only works in high concentrations.

You’d have to eat a massive amount of oregano to fight infection! Thus, you must make a tincture or oil extraction of oregano.

I would recommend that you grow a lot of oregano as part of a medicinal garden.  Then you can make oregano oil from your harvest. Otherwise, just buy oil of oregano online.

  • How to Use: Oil or tincture; drinking oregano tea will only have mild benefits; may burn if applied externally
  • Best For: Most types of poisoning (particularly E. coli), athlete’s foot, ringworm, tooth infections, insect bites, muscle pain
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6. Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is made from microscopic particles of silver. While this isn’t something you can make yourself, it is a good natural antibiotic to stockpile.

Silver is a potent antibiotic.  It has also been shown to increase the antimicrobial effects of pharmaceutical antibiotics when taken with them.

While you can take colloidal silver orally, it is best to use it externally to treat wounds.  If you take too much of it, the silver can build up inside body tissues.

  • How to Use: Externally
  • Best For: Treating burns and wounds
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7. Echinacea

Echinacea has numerous health benefits, including boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and fighting against pathogens.

It is most commonly used for treating respiratory infections. However, you can use Echinacea for a wide variety of ailments.

Just be warned that the Echinacea tea you find in supermarkets isn’t going to be potent enough to treat a serious infection.  You’ll want to use a tincture.

The tincture can be squirted directly on the throat (for throat infections), consumed (for other internal infections), or applied directly to the skin (for wounds or yeast infections).

  • How to Use: Tincture, tea
  • Best For: Respiratory infections, throat infections, viral infections (including the flu), urinary tract infections, yeast infections
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8. Apple Cider Vinegar


I love this natural antibiotic because you can find it in your pantry.  Vinegars don’t spoil, so you can stockpile them easily too.  Plus, it isn’t that difficult to make your own vinegar.

ACV has many health benefits, including antimicrobial and antiviral.

While taking it internally might help boost your immune system, it is most effective when applied directly to the infection.

That means using ACV as a gargle for sore throats and tooth infections.

  • How to Use: Dilluted as a gargle
  • Best For: Throat infections, tooth infections
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9. Probiotics

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that are found in your body.

We are becoming increasingly aware of how important they are for everyday health.  They can also be used to fight bacterial infections.

Probiotics help infections by literally killing off the “bad” bacteria causing the infection.  They’ll help keep your flora balanced too.

Remember that even natural antibiotics can kill good bacteria, so it’s a good idea to take probiotics during treatment.

It’s a bit hard to stockpile probiotics because they go bad quickly.  However, you can make your own probiotics, such as with Lacto fermentation.

  • How to Use: Consume with food; take with other natural antibiotics
  • Best For: GI infections
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10. Cranberries


Most women already know that (unsweetened) cranberry juice is a powerful natural cure for urinary tract infections.

The powerful antioxidants in cranberries have also been shown to have an antibacterial effect on other infections.

Know that many types of bacteria feed on sugar.  So it is always best to drink unsweetened cranberry juice.

Heating the juice (which occurs in virtually all store-bought juice) will also destroy antioxidants.

If possible, it is best to make your own cranberry juice by blending the berries with some water in a blender and then straining it.

  • How to Use: Drink unsweetened juice or take capsules
  • Best For: UTIs, food poisoning
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11. Nettles

I love nettles because a) they are edible, b) they are VERY nutritious, and c) they grow like weeds.

Nettles are also one of the best natural antibiotics that people don’t know about.

The antibacterial properties of nettles come from their potent antioxidants.  These antioxidants not only will kill bacteria but will boost your immune system so you can fight off the infection.

Unfortunately, nettles haven’t been as extensively studied as the other natural antibiotics here, so we don’t know their full potential.

  • How to Use: Steam and eat, made into a tincture, essential oils
  • Best For: Typhoid fever, food poisoning
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Have you used natural antibiotics? What ones would you add to the list?

Leave a comment

  1. What can i use to stop and prevent muscle cramps i get them from my toes to my thighs it especially on my thighs which are so horrible painful please help

  2. Echinacea tea has been used by Natives for millennia. But be aware. There are three different kinds of them. Two of the three are medicinal and one is strictly for show. A friend of mine who owns a nursery explained that to me. He gave me the most potent form and it’s amazing how well it works!

  3. Lemongrass oil is great for muscle spasms. I make a 4 oz bottle using sweet almond oil with 30 drops of lemongrass. You can use more drops even going 1/3 lemongrass and 2/3 almond oil or any carrier oil of your choice. I know people who use it one their muscles straight but I found that I can use less when using a carrier oils and it’s a lot cheaper. Good oils are not cheap but fortunately lemongrass is pretty reasonable. No matter how you mix it or not you should do a patch test first.

  4. Can you recommend simple books to learn about and how to use these natural plants,oils,tea’s,salves,etc to get basics down first,but useful. Thank you Stephanie.????

  5. Tea Tree Oil is highly recommended for its ani-fungal / bacterial properties. You can use it for dandruff (which is a fungal issue) down to athlete’s foot – head to toe in other words! The benefits are too numerous to list them all!


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