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Antibiotics are powerful medications that are used to cure a variety of illnesses: strep throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, kidney and bladder infections, and tuberculosis are just a few examples. Antibiotics have their place in modern medicine, however, there are times when an alternative may be more appropriate. Some people suffer side effects which seem worse than the actual illness, others are allergic. The overuse of medicinal antibiotics contributes to the birth of the so called “super bugs.”

One very effective alternative to traditional antibiotics is garlic. Garlic works best on pulmonary infections such as bronchitis, and pneumonia. Of course, these are both serious illnesses and you should always consult a doctor before beginning any alternative treatment.

There are many garlic preparations available over the counter. Which one do you choose? I have found that the best garlic to take for infections is in your refrigerator, not on your pharmacy shelf. When the garlic is processed into tablet, pill or capsule form, many of the infection fighting properties are lost, rendering the garlic ineffective against the hardier bacteria. Of course, the increased infection fighting does have its drawbacks. Side effects of raw garlic include possible upset stomach, which can be avoided by lightly steaming the garlic before taking, taking with meals, and following with a full glass of water. The other major side effect is, of course, garlic breath. I haven’t found much to counter that. Strong mints do help, but sometimes it seems as if the garlic odor is released through the skin. However, these minor side effects are justified by the effectiveness of the garlic.

The best way to use garlic for lung infections is to take one or two cloves, depending on the size of the cloves and the severity of your symptoms, three times a day. It’s best to eat a full meal immediately before taking to reduce stomach upset. If you are unable to eat a full meal, you should at least take with a snack and a full glass of water. Continue taking the garlic for three days after your symptoms disappear. It’s important to take the garlic regularly during treatment to keep the level of infection fighting compound in your system. Three days after symptoms disappear you can discontinue use. If you notice symptoms returning, restart the garlic until your symptoms subside again.

With all the “super bugs” in existence right now, it makes sense to take advantage of the natural remedies nature has given us. Garlic is a simple, safe and inexpensive way to treat basic lung infections.