In the previous article [April 96] we noted that garlic has antibiotic and antioxidative properties. This month we will reveal other traditionally used natural antibiotics.

Probably the most powerful herbal antibiotic/antiviral is echinacea purpurea, the purple cornflower. It is a native American discovery. The native Indians used it for all sorts of human ailments. Over the past forty years studies of the effects of E. purpurea, and the related E. augustfoliaand E. pallida, have shown definite effects against infections by bacteria and viruses. This is accomplished by a stimulation of the immune system so that the body mobilizes the many blood elements that attack and eliminate the effects of the invading elements. There is even evidence that it is beneficial in various arthritic conditions without the side effects seen with the drug treatments. Recent studies are also showing that it may have a place in the treatment of cancer. A combination of echinacea, goldenseal and garlic is an excellent remedy for the treatment of colds and influenza. This combination is readily available over the counter and has been used for many years in Europe. It is supplied as encapsulated powders and extracts (which may have an alcohol base) and should be used at the first symptoms of a disease process and maintained for a few days after the condition subsides. No other drugs or pain relievers will be needed.

Another old and unique healing agent is silver. No known bacteria, virus or fungus can remain active in the presence of metallic silver. It was used universally as an antibiotic until the 1940's when it was replaced by the newly discovered penicillin. It has never been shown that a disease- causing organism can develop a resistance or immunity to this metal. "Colloidal silver" is a very small particle of the silver metal that has an electrical charge. The silver particles are delivered to the body suspended in a solution of ionized water with no added substances or preservatives. The silver remains in suspension due to the electrical charge. It is also instrumental in the detoxifying as well as killing offending organisms.

True colloidal silver is nontoxic and has no apparent side effects. The ideal product is one that contains no more than 3 to 5 parts per million and should be 99.99999% pure silver. No binding agents or stabilizers are to be used, and, indeed, are not necessary if it is a quality colloid, in a range of .005-.0015 microns in diameter. There is a danger if the colloid is not a true colloid or contains binders and such. This as well as excessive usage may cause an accumulation of the silver particles within the tissue, leading to a condition called argyrosis, giving an intractable bluish tint to white-skinned individuals. This was a rather common complication in the 1930-40s, because the particles were not true colloids. If it is taken orally, as is the usual method, there is the killing off of the friendly bacteria of the gut, the same as antibiotics, and these must be replaced through supplementation of the diet with vitamins and minerals as well as yogurt or acidophilus milk.

Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, herbology and other traditions of health care have available many herbs and plants that are native to their cultures that will replace (without drug side effects) today's antibiotics as they become ineffective. Each tradition has methods to assure that the immune system is in excellent condition so that health can be maintained. Alternative medicine is the medicine of the future.

Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Center of Homeopathy–and more. Send questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746 USA. Access Dr. Tandavan's WWW home page at:http: //www.Hinduism ashram/