Herbal antibiotics.

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 11:17:34 -0800
From: jonathan treasure <jonno.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: herbal antibiotics for Gerry the dentist?

> Hi. My name is Gerry. I'm a dentist and have several patients who have a holistic point of view. I also tend toward the holistic. Can anyone suggest herbs which are antibiotic or which relieve pain? I need to know if they are similar in their effects to penicillin or erythromycin, what are their side effects, and are people who are allergic to peniciliin going to be allergic to them. I need to know drug interactions and dosages. Method of administration would be helpful.

Sorry to be a gluymbag on this question, and doubtless everyone writing to <Gerry the Dentist> with helpful suggestions for herbs is well intentioned but here's my 2 pence worth:

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 abcess 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.....

To further illustrate the point about herbs, several people have also written with suggestions of topical herbs for gingivitis/bleeding gums etc. Once again this is the popular "natural drug" view of herbs and not a herbalist view at all. To a western herbalist, the mouth is part of the GI tract, and if the secretory activity of the upper gut is deficient, it would lead, among other things to poor gum health. Herbal treatment would in fact address the neuro-endocrine activity of the gut......mouthwashes may give symptomatic relief but will not help the underlying cause.

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 hygenists ravages....

Finally - to Gerry, if he has managed to read through all this waffle - surely the best approach for a "wholistic" dentist is to start with replacing almagam fillings and to stop using mercury.. heavy metal detoxicifcation can certainly be assisted with herbal agents.