Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 17:09:37 -0800
From: Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: herbal antibiotics for Gerry the dentist?
The infamous Mr. Treasure wrote:
>Herbs tend to be least effective when being used as mimics of <real> drugs. Herbs are at their best as tonics, although of course they can be used by the experienced in acute situations. In this respect, whilst there are herbs that have antibacterial effects, the person presenting with a deep upper molar abscess is usually going to have delayed things until there is risk of meningeal involvement and bone infection is simply too deep and entrenched for herbal antibiotics to work. That is bordering on a medical emergency. In fact, this is the just about the ONLY situation where I would recommend orthodox antibiotics, and quick.....
I agree with you completely on this point; however, if a lower tooth is abscessed, or the upper is just beginning to abscess, herbal antibacterials might be just as effective as chemical antibiotics. Certainly this is not the time for experimentation, but I have found that Oregon Grape Root (Berberis sp.) tincture at three to four droppers 4x a day, holding it topically in your mouth (swish, swish) around the abscess before swallowing, is very effective for most dental abscesses. If there is not an immediate effect within half a day, as quick as a chemical, then get those antibiotics!
Just last month I found myself with an abscessed lower tooth while in a remote part of South America, days away from the dentist. I had given away most of my Oregon Grape Tincture to another sick traveller days before. Luckily I had some Berberis tincture I had made a week before from a South American Berberis to test out. This unfinished tincture was still strong enough to stop the abscess, and get rid of the inflammation, swollen neck lymph nodes etc. Guess that knowledge comes in useful for myself sometimes.
>The best that can be said of dental herbs is that they are palliative; clove oil can help with the pain of a toothache until you get the tooth fixed. Mechanical means remain the best way to clear entrenched plaque, but a sage /myrrh mouthwash may support the hygienists ravages....
Or dental chemicals for that matter. Lets face it, the chemical antibiotics used for the abscess is palliative: the abscess will return unless the tooth is treated mechanically, pain killers for toothaches, and lysterine mouthwash easily parallel herbal painkillers and herbal mouthwash.
Sure, in dentistry there is no real way around getting that cavity filled, but if you have choices in which palliative treatment to use, the herbal alternative is a valid one.
From: Colette Gardiner <coletteg.EFN.ORG>
RE howies herbal antibiotics. I tend to agree that you can use herbs at the beginning of an abcess, and that the cavity needs to be filled or the infection will simply recur. For some reason I have run across several people who were either far away from a dentist or even with severe pain the dentists responded "sorry I can't see you til next week". My favorite remedy in addition to the ones suggested by Howie is getting fresh plantain (Plantago lanceolata or P. obtusifolia) crushing it and packing it next to the tooth, with internal support by herbal anti-infectives. This can help until you can see a practitioner.