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side effects of antibiotics

Are Antibiotics Bad For You?

allergies antibiotics autoimmune herbs medication

I took my dog to the vet the other day because his kennel cough had gone on for 10 days already.  My concern was that it was something more serious with his heart (the other potential cause of a cough in a dog).  

He still wanted to play all the time and eat anything in sight, so my intuition was like “he’s fine.”  But I wanted assurance.  

She checked his heart and lungs, all good!  He had no fever.  

She said there’s been a huge outbreak this month in kennel cough and they’ve had good success treating it with an antibiotic.  This is when most people would nod their head, impressed with her knowledge and experience, and agree to take what’s on offer. 

Instead, I paused to think and review the facts.  

1. There’s been no positive test verifying that my dog has a bacterial infection.

2. It cold be a virus or fungus, and in that case, taking antibiotics would make his immune function worse. 

3. He has no fever, and he’s improving, albeit slowly.  

4.  I believe antibiotics are serious medications with side-effects.  They indiscriminately alter the flora in your gut.  

She said, shaking her head, “I mean, I guess you can wait and see if it develops into pneumonia…”  Clearly she disagreed with my decision, which is unfortunate.  

I’m not a passive healthcare consumer.  This is what I’m going to do:  

1. Continuing his Congaplex (1 capsule, opened into his food twice daily).

2. Giving him warmer foods.  Face-palm moment for me:  for humans, I know that cold and raw food damages the protective Qi.  I’d been giving my dog cold and raw food!  So I'll be warming up his food now.  (So spoiled!)  

--> His cough went away after using an herbal formula for parasites...  I know the antibiotics wouldn't have worked for that.  And they would've caused problems with his immune system function.  Necessitating more tests, more meds, ... a nightmare.  

When should one take antibiotics and when should they be avoided? 

Are antibiotics safe to take “just in case” of infection?  

I think antibiotics are serious medications with side-effects that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  They should only be used for VERIFIED, raging infections.  


1. Antibiotics can cause allergic reactions that can be severe.  Antibiotic allergies are common, and they may even cause more allergies.  

2. Antibiotic resistence is a preventable crisis.  We need to actively fight against this.  There are times when antibiotics are needed.  Prescribing them willy-nilly increases the likelihood that when they’re needed, they won’t work.  

3. Antibiotics lead to other dis-eases.  A John Hopkins study found 1 in 5 people who take antibiotics have an adverse reaction.  Not only that, but they’re often not even needed. 

Doctors need to take a pause before presribing them to think “Does this patient really need these antibiotics?” 

It should be a very clear “yes.” or they should be avoided.  Even worse than that are the long-term side-effects an antibiotic use:  chronic intestinal issues, fungal infections (which often get mis-diagnosed as bacterial and the patient receives even more antibiotics, ad nauseum), CVD, cancer, and auto-immune problems.  

All of this information is widely available, so I have to wonder why it seems that every time I go to an allopathic doctor, they shrug and offer antibiotics with nary a second thought, and then seem genuinely shocked when I refuse them. 

My theory is that there’s not a lot of other options in allopathic medicine for fighting infections.  They’re good people who want to help, but they’re short on time, and don’t have a lot of other easily-available tools to use in cases of infection. 

Unlike an herbalist who has thousands of natural options available that fight off all kinds of infections without nasty side-effecs.  


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, infections interact with our Qi, or internal energy.  There are right and wrong ways to expel pathogens from the body.  Expelling a pathogen with the incorrect method will lead to more illness.  


Antibiotics are an extremely cold-natured medicine.  You would use them only for an extremely hot condition:  high fever; short-term infection; localized red, hot swelling or spot of inflammation.  You would not use them in a cold condition:  Qi or Yang Deficiency; weak digestion; or long-term illness. 

If you did need to use antibiotics on someone with a cold or deficient nature, you would want to balance out the effect with warm foods like egg, chicken, and broth cooked with spicy herbs like ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon.  We would combine any herbs used with Tonifying herbs like Astragalus, Ginseng, or Echinacea.  


Before resorting to antibiotics, there are natural ways to fight infection that really work, perhaps better in many cases, than antibiotics, and without the side-effects!  In TCM, we first diagnose the pattern.  

The first stage of illness is what we call a “wind invasion.”  We prescribe aromatic herbs that “release the exterior.”  These herbs help dialate your pores to allow the pathogens to leave.  Symptoms of exterior wind are sore throat, rashes, chills, fever, headache, runny nose, or painful joints.  We may use herbs like Cinnamon, Angelica, Ginger, Scallions, Magnolia Flowers, Mint, Mulberry, Burdock, and Bupleurum.  

The second stage of illness requires stronger herbs.  This is when the illness is getting more intense or you would say “I feel like I’m getting an infection.”  If you have stage one for more than a few days, then it’s probably time to switch to stronger herbs.  Or combine them together.  These herbs clear heat through draining – meaning the pathogen gets out through the urine and bowels. 

Herbal Pro-Tip:  If someone is sick, ask how their bowels are moving.  Better bowel movements, the quicker the illness will pass. 

These herbs can include Gardenia, Lotus Flower, Rehmannia (one of my personal favorite herbs), Phellodendron (so good for sinus and yeast infections), Honeysuckle Flower, Dandelion, Chrysanthemum, or Andrographis (I use this for acute illness and infection in my clinic and for myself all the time).

 This is a very brief tutorial on herbs, so if you’re wondering what to do for what condition, give us or another licensed herbalist a call. 

A tip for sinus and ear infections: colloidal silver.  You can find it in spray form.  A couple of quick squirts a few times a day help very quickly.  Just don’t use it unless you need it.  There are side-effects to colloidal silver when it’s taken long term.  Using it for 1 week is fine.  Then take a break for a week before starting it up again.  

Taking vitamin C, D, A, and zinc are great for your immune health, but if there’s a legit infection, they probably won’t be strong enough on their own.  

What I do for infections is take Andrographis and Congaplex.  Congaplex has an array of food-based nutrients for fighting infections, along with Thymus and Adrenal gland activators (DNA) to improve your immune response.  It also comes in a chewable format for kids.  


If you went the natural way and successfully recovered, congratulations!  If you end up needing antibiotics, well, that happens too.  Be sure to protect your gut and natural biome with a good probiotic.  I really like Zymex by Standard Process specifically for this reason.  

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