It suddenly hurt when I swallowed.
There was a tender, swollen lymph node in my neck.
My back began to ache, and then my entire body.
The symptoms were clear — strep throat! Damn!
Even though it’s been nine years since I last had it, the symptoms were all too familiar to me. For two decades of my life I got strep throat at least once, but usually twice per year.
And every infection during those 20 years meant ANOTHER round of antibiotics, which wreaked havoc on my gut microbiome and lining. This was in addition to the antibiotics I was frequently prescribed for other infections…UTI, sinus, bronchitis, acne. There is no doubt that this endless cycle of antibiotics was directly correlated to my ongoing health issues.
When I was caught up in my cycle of chronic health issues, I thought it was just bad luck. I’d been given the short straw when it came to my health. I would just have to continue sucking it up, slogging through each day putting my best face forward in spite of the evil spell on my health. Unfortunately this remains the common misconception among most people who struggle with chronic health issues, including autoimmunity.
The truth is, your body WANTS to be healthy. It was designed to be in balance. And, it has great capacity to heal on its own given the right conditions. Even when it comes to infections like strep throat.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection, which if left untreated can potentially lead to complications with the kidneys and a condition called rheumatic fever. Which is why we’ve been conditioned to rush to our doctor for a prescription for those gut-busting antibiotics whenever we have a sore throat. Or, it seems any cough or sneeze these days.
Are antibiotics the only effective treatment?
But does “treatment” always have to be with antibiotics? We’ve certainly been led to believe that this is the case, especially with something like strep throat. However, antibiotics were discovered in 1928…less than 100 years ago.
As a species, we’ve been living on this planet for a whole lot longer than 100 years, right. So I ask, how did we treat infections such as strep throat prior to the discovery of antibiotics? Did everyone who was stricken with strep throat prior to the discovery of antibiotics die from it? Probably not. And likely, we had herbal treatments and tinctures that were every bit as effective, yet less costly to our long-term health than antibiotics are.
Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics have their place. In a serious situation such as sepsis or a life-threatening infection, please send ‘em my way. But, these days I don’t look to antibiotics as my first go-to when symptoms strike. I look first to natural remedies that will not place a burden on my gut and long-term health.
I said NO to antibiotics!
So, when strep throat made its unwelcome invasion into my body recently, I served it an eviction notice, but without the use of antibiotics. Yes, there is another way to treat infections, just like there was prior to 1928. And guess what else? I strengthened my immune system in the process because I made it do the work it was designed to do. BAM!
Full disclosure here, that my strep treatment involved more effort than swallowing a capsule three times per day. As a species we are innately designed to take the easy way out. This might be partly why our culture has become a take-this-pill-to-treat-that-ill society. It’s just easier, and we don’t tend to evaluate the long-term consequences in our haste to get better quickly or squash down symptoms.
But I always keep long-term health goals at the forefront of my mind. If I live into triple digits, I will do everything it takes proactively to make sure all my days are quality ones. So the extra effort was worth it. My symptoms were completely resolved within 72 hours, although I continued with a few of my remedies for 10 days.
Here are the 10 things I did to hit my strep infection hard:
1. Far infrared sauna with strong green chromotherapy light.
When your core body temperature is raised by the sauna, you begin to produce white blood cells more rapidly, as you would with a fever. It’s like an immune system super charge. The sweating that is induced by the sauna flushes unwanted toxins from your body.
There is a lot of research out there on the healing benefits of light therapy at the cellular level. The seven colors of the spectrum have different healing benefits. I chose strong green while recovering from strep because strong green provides anti-infectious, anti-septic, and regenerative stimulation.
2. Oregano and On-Guard Essential Oils.
Oregano has been used for over 2,500 years for its medicinal properties. It was used in both Greek and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of infections because it has powerful antibiotic, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, and antiviral properties.
On-Guard oil from DoTerra is a blend of immune-supporting essential oils, including wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. The combined blend has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
How I used it:
I put two drops of each oil into a veggie capsule and filled the remaining space in the capsule with fractionated coconut oil. I took one capsule three times per day for a week.
*Important safety note: pregnant women and young children should not use oregano oil.
Elderberries, like oregano has been used medicinally for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks. Elderberries support the immune system because they are rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. They contain antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, so are great treatments for colds/flu, urinary tract infections, and even allergies because of their anti-inflammatory and immune system support.
How I used it:
I doubled up on elderberry in my protocol, using both fermented elderberry capsules, as well as liquid elderberry immune syrup that contained echinacea, zinc, and vitamin c.
Fermented elderberry capsules: I took three capsules once per day in the morning
Liquid elderberry syrup: I took 1 tsp three times per day.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system and increase the production of white blood cells which are an important part of your immune system. Your white blood cells are the ones who rush in to crush the bad guys when they have the audacity to invade. So having lots of them when you need them is a good thing. That’s why I take vitamin C on the regular, and increase my dose when I feel something coming on. This is also why it’s recommended that you take vitamin C while you’re traveling or under significant stress.
While I was recovering from strep, I made sure to get plenty of vitamin C both supplementally and from food.
How I used it:
Supplementally: I used one pump of liquid liposomal vitamin C from Quicksilver Scientific twice per day.
Why liposomal vitamin C instead of capsules or powders? Because vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient, delivery through the fat soluble makeup of the cell membranes is inefficient, leading to only about 20% absorption. Liposomal delivery is a method of carrying water soluble nutrients, such as Vitamin C through the digestive barrier directly to the bloodstream, allowing for a much higher absorption rate of about 90% vs 20% from regular oral delivery. That’s a pretty compelling reason to pay more for a liposomal product if you ask me.
Vitamin C from food: Food is always an optimal source of nutrients, so while I was recovering, I consumed foods that are good sources of vitamin C as well.
Grapefruit, kale, oranges and lemons are all great food sources of vitamin C, and I ate them all while recovering from strep. Grapefruit is one of my favorite foods in the whole entire world, so I ate one every day. I blended kale into my bone broth smoothies.
See the photo for the delicious sparkling beverage I made by squeezing the juice of three clementine oranges into Topo-Chico, my favorite sparkling mineral water, along with a drop or two of lemon essential oil, which has antibacterial properties. I’ll note that this also gave me a boost of minerals for the day.Yum!
5. Vitamin D!
Vitamin D is a powerful immune modulator, and most people in our modern world are deficient. I was fortunate enough to have a few bright, sunny days while I was recovering from strep, and spent about 20 minutes exposing my body to the sun, which is our best source of producing vitamin D.
As with the sauna, spending time in the sun was a way to increase my core body temperature and supercharge my white blood cell production.
My favorite Vitamin D supplement is the Quicksilver Scientific Nanoemulsified D3/K2 liposomal liquid formula.
6. Gargling with sole water and essential oils.
I’m not gonna lie. This was hands down the most horrible part of my protocol.
Gargling with salt water will help reduce the painful inflammation of a sore throat as well as kill the unwanted bacteria. I used a teaspoon of Himalayan sole water in a glass of warm water, but ½ tsp of Himalayan salt would also do just fine.
How I used it:
I added two drops each of DoTerra oregano and peppermint essential oils to my salt water gargle. This is what made the gargle particularly horrible, but here’s why I did it:
Peppermint has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
I figured with the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits of the salt gargle combined with peppermint and the potent effects of oregano as discussed above, those strep bacteria didn’t stand a chance! The bacteria must’ve thought it was every bit as horrible as I did.
7. Hot lemon water with raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar.
Who would think that a beverage this delicious could help fight a strep infection? Here’s why it works:
Lemon is a great source of vitamin C, which helps to boost immunity.
Raw honey increases levels of antioxidants in the body which helps to boost immunity, and is also antibacterial properties.
Apple cider vinegar is like a natural antibiotic. It contains acetic acid, which helps to kill off bad bacteria while at the same time supporting the growth of the good guys.
How I did it:
Add the following ingredients to a coffee mug and add hot water to top off.
- The juice of 1 full lemon
- 2 tsp raw honey
- 1-2 tbsp Braggs apple cider vinegar
I drank this delicious beverage twice per day for five days.
*Note: Be sure to rinse your mouth with plain water after consuming because the sugars and acid in this beverage could damage your teeth.
8. Strep throat/flu tonic
I got this recipe from a colleague. It’s a high-powered potent antibacterial tonic that is sure to chase away both the strep throat and any potential mates. Steer clear of social situations while consuming. You’ve been warned.
½ quart (16 oz) glass jar w/ lid.
1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 red chili peppers roughly chopped
1 heaping tbsp ginger roughly chopped
Juice of one lemon
*Important safety note: gloves are your friend while preparing this tonic, and PLEASE keep your hands away from your eyes!
- Rough chop the onion, garlic, chili peppers (seeds and all) and ginger and add them to the jar.
- Squeeze your lemon and add to the jar.
- Fill the remainder of the jar with raw apple cider vinegar.
- Cap your jar and leave on your counter or in a pantry for a day or two before refrigerating. Your tonic is ready to use after 24 hours.
This tonic will last in your refrigerator for months.
How to use:
- Add 1 tbsp tonic to an ounce of water and swig down quickly at first sign of a sore throat. I took it for three consecutive days.
- Keep it in your fridge and take a teaspoon any time you may have been exposed to others who are ill.
*This tonic has quite a bit of heat. Err on the side of caution and use smaller amounts for young children and those who are highly sensitive to spicy foods.
9. Biocidin LSF
Biocidin LSF is a potent broad spectrum botanical liposomal formula that addresses a wide variety of infections. As with the liposomal vitamin C discussed in #4 above, the liposomal delivery is more effective because it is delivered directly to the bloodstream for more rapid absorption.
Biocidin is a product that I recommend to many of my clients during the pathogen cleanse stage of their protocols.
Obviously this one is not a stand-alone, and not a remedy for the strep bacteria. I decided to include it here because the importance of sleep is so often overlooked in our modern fast-paced world, even when we’re under the weather.
Sleep deprivation is a sure-fire way to make yourself sick, and a time of illness is certainly no time to go light on the sleep. When you’re sick, allow your body the rest and recovery it needs to repair and heal. Seriously, put your phone in airplane mode, snuggle down and go to sleep.
Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection for which antibiotics have become the go-to treatment. Most people believe that antibiotic treatment is the ONLY effective treatment, but it’s not. I am an advocate of using safer alternatives that boost the immune system and ease the pain while killing the harmful bacteria at the same time. It requires a bit more effort than swallowing a pill, but saves you more trouble down the road. My plan was to treat my strep infection using safer alternatives and if after five days I saw no improvement, I would go to my doctor for antibiotic treatment. Because all of my symptoms were resolved within 72 hours, visiting my doctor was unnecessary and I was back to business as usual.
Please note that this is not intended to provide medical advice, and is for educational purposes only. It is up to you to decide how you opt to address your own illnesses.