Herbal Medicine: Natural Treatment for Gut Infections

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Gut infections are more common than I originally thought. They can be the root cause of many different gut issues including irritable bowel, chronic constipation and diarrhoea. Herbal medicine can play a big part in shifting your gut health back into balance. Today we will be exploring a natural treatment for gut infections.

Gut Infections – Bacterial Overgrowth and Parasites

Definitely not a pleasant topic but one that needs to be discussed.

I’m guessing that because you are here you, or someone you know, is dealing with a gut infection of some sort. Maybe you have been to the doctor and have had the standard tests done to assess for the top gut infections or maybe you’ve shelled out for the advanced gut testing. Either way you now know what you are dealing with and wondering what to do next.

Thankfully herbal medicine has been around the block and has some valuable contributions to the gut infections picture. Herbal medicine can be a valuable tool when dealing with bacterial infections and parasites.

This article will explore one particular herbal medicine for bacterial overgrowth and parasite infections.

What Do You Mean Gut Infections?

Gut infections are a major interest of mine and something that I have spent countless hours researching and exploring. It isn’t a random interest. Back in 2014 I moved to the subtropical area of northern New South Wales, Australia (just outside of Byron Bay). While living in the rainforest I ended up catching a number of different gut bugs from unfiltered tank water. Read more about my story here.

A gut test confirmed that I had 2 different bacterial infections (Citrobacter and Klebsiella) and two parasite infections (Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba fragilis). Herbal medicine ended up coming to my rescue and dealing with the gut bugs.

As it turns out gut infections are actually quite common. Since my experience I have seen and heard from countless people that are struggling to deal with different bacterial or parasite infections and the resulting poor gut health.

Caring For Your Gut

Before we get into the details of herbal antimicrobials let’s talk basic principles. Many opportunistic infections arise from a state of imbalance in the gut. A common example of this concept is the overgrowth of yeast (commonly Candida) after taking antibiotics.  On the flip side a well cared for gut ecosystem appears to be more resistant to opportunistic infections including an overgrowth of bacteria or parasite infections.

Certain approaches to caring for your gut include the three big ones

  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Fermented foods rich in probiotics

Herbal Medicine: Natural Treatment for Gut Infections

Ok now onto the herbal medicine. As always it is best to work with a skilled herbalist, this is simply a jumping off point.

Pomegranate Peel

Pomegranates are a popular herbal medicine used in the Mediterranean and in India. The peel contains a number of beneficial antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids and tannins and are considered antibacterial and anti-fungal.

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Herbal Medicine For The Win

Here is why herbal medicine, in the hands of a skilled herbalist or naturopath is so incredible. If you approached a bacterial overgrowth or parasite infection from the conventional route you would get antibiotics ten times out of ten. With herbal medicine we can see an option for treatment with a herb that is selectively antibacterial plus has other incredible benefits on the body. A true natural treatment for gut infections.

Not only does pomegranate peel work against bacterial overgrowths (for example Klebsiella infections) it has also been shown to have antibacterial effects in-vitro against

  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli

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Herbs Work Synergistically

This last little point that I want to hit home on involves the synergistic nature of herbal medicine. Here we can see different herbs working together to naturally treat gut infections and reach the goal, health and vitality for you!

Different herbs provide different actions. Some are antibacterial while others are potent antioxidants and free radical scavengers. Pomegranate peel provides both of these benefits in one package.

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The impact of biofilms can greatly reduce the effectiveness of antimicrobial herbs. Here we can use particular herbal medicines that target the biofilm formation.

First off what’s a biofilm anyway?

Biofilms are formed by a community of different bacteria (and possibly parasites). I like to think of them as little cities protected by a wall. This protects these bacterial overgrowths from our immune system and from antibiotics and herbal antimicrobials. Biofilms can reduce the success of a treatment and it may be why you are having trouble treating your gut infections.

One paper in the Molecules journal discussed the effects that eugenol had on biofilms. Eugenol, a compound found in many herbal medicines including cloves, was shown to reduce biofilms and bacterias ability to communicate with each other.

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Taking this point on synergistic effects of herbs I think it is important to point out the value of the grass-roots, traditional, herbalist approach which understands this point. Herbs combined together with a specific aim in mind have a potent additive effect.

Here we can combine pomegranate peel, garlic and cloves to target bacterial overgrowths. We can support the immune system with echinacea. If you are feeling run down and exhausted we can choose some specific adaptogenic herbal medicine to help build vitality and energy.

All in all different herbal medicines can be an effective natural treatment for gut infections.

Have you used herbal medicine as a natural treatment for gut infections? Share your experience in the comments below!

References and Resources

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  1. Hi this was such an informative article, I am a new student of clinical herbalism.
    I was wondering if you have a monograph for pomegranate, I am curious to make a tincture as they grow abundantly where I live (in Israel), but I have been unable to find information about tincture preparation (ratio and alcohol concentration). I’d be happy to hear if you have any advice. Thanks

    1. Hey Tui,

      Thanks for the kind words. I can dig up some information on processing the pomegranate peel but it won’t be for about a month. I can circle back here and post it then.


  2. Hi Todd, would a pomegranate peel tea be effective too or do we need to consume the peels als powder or alcohol tincture?

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Hi Todd. Is it possible to order Pomegranate husk tincture from you? Also, is there any difference between peel andhusk? Which one is more effective for Hydrogen SIBO? Thank you!

  4. Would eating the husks without the alcohol preparation do anything? I have klebsiella overgrowth and thinking of adding this DIY husk powder to my regime.

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