by Dr. Bill Rawls
Navigating the world of herbs and antibiotics can be tricky. Watch what Dr. Rawls has to say about using herbs and antibiotics alone or in combination to maximize your healing efforts and feel better. Get a more complete overview of herbal therapy here.
Question: Is it better to use herbs and antibiotics together?
Tim Yarborough: And next one here’s from Katie asking, is it best to do antibiotics and herbs or just herbs? And does it depend whether it’s chronic or acute?
Dr. Rawls: Yeah. Not to say that people don’t get well with antibiotics, but I just have talked to literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the past decade that have been absolutely ruined by antibiotics. That being said, I’m probably seeing this skewed population because, by the time they get to me, nothing else has worked.
There are people that get well with antibiotics, but you always run the risk of wrecking the gut because you destroy normal flora. Normal flora in the gut are the only thing that keeps pathogens in check. And when you kill all the flora in the gut, the pathogens flourish.
There was a study in 2015 that demonstrated when dysbiosis occurs — when you have a prevalence of pathogens, and normal flora gets suppressed — the pathogens not only destroy the gut and cause gut illness, they actually cross the gut-blood barrier, hitch a ride in the red blood cells, in this study, and they end up in the brain, in the heart, in your muscles, in your joints, layered on top of all the Lyme microbes.
So when you use antibiotics long enough, you have that on top of the problem that you already have established. So that really makes, that’s very limiting when it comes to antibiotics, and everybody gets it. We’ve just demonstrated, there’s a series of good studies out now that show that the herbs work as well as antibiotics. So antibiotics are great for an acute infection: You’ve got a microbe in high concentrations that’s trying to cross across a barrier, like a pneumonia, in the lungs.
The bacteria are extracellular, a skin infection, a pneumonia, anything where microbes are trying to cross that barrier and they’re in high concentrations, acute antibiotics can knock them down in time that it doesn’t disrupt normal flora. So there is a place for antibiotics. In acute infections, antibiotics are great.
So even an acute Lyme disease, when the microbes are traversing between the tick and the tissues in the bloodstream, you might be able to knock them down with doxycycline. Does it eliminate them? No, not a chance. You’re not going to get rid of all of them, but you might help your immune system out a little bit. And they’re going to work maybe a little bit more acutely than the herbs do.
But when we look at these chronic symptoms, I’m seeing less and less and less of a place for antibiotics. I’ve just seen too many people hurt by them. So can you use antibiotics and herbs together? Well, yeah, you can. But why not start with the herbs? Go as far as you can with that. It takes time. We’re not killing these microbes inside the cells. We’re wearing them down. And that takes months, if not years. So whether, you know, no matter what you’re using, it’s a long-term commitment. But the herbs are going to have a much lower propensity to cause long-term side effects than antibiotics or anything else you could choose.