Cold, flu or something else?

There are basically 5 types of pathogens, (harmful living organisms) that can be harmful to our health. These are Viruses, Bacteria, Helminths (worms), Protozoa and Fungi/yeast. Three of these affect many people during the winter months.

  1. Viruses

Viruses are small infectious agents that are only able to multiply inside the living cells of animals or plants.

Examples of viral infections: common cold, flu, most coughs and bronchitis, chickenpox and HIV/AIDS.

  1. Bacteria

These are single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent on another organism for life).

Examples of bacterial infections: whooping cough, strep throat, ear infection, bronchitis, urinary tract infection (UTI).

It is important to know whether bacteria or viruses cause an infection, because the treatments differ.

Treatment of bacterial and viral infection

Treatment of Viral infections

The treatment of viral infections can include:

  • managing symptoms with such as lemon, ginger and honey for coughs
  • warm fluids like chicken soup
  • reducing fever
  • herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort, Sweet wormwood, plus Immune boosting herbs such as Olive leaf and Echinacea

Treatment of Bacterial infections

Doctors usually treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. They either kill bacteria or stop them multiplying. But since antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, antibiotics may be prescribed only for serious bacterial infections.

Natural remedies:

  • herbs such as Golden Seal for mucous membranes, Garlic, Barberry, Oregon Grape, plus immune boosting herbs and essential oils
  • herbal mouth washes for sore throats such as Sage and Thyme
  • essential oils such as Myrrh

Important: Antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.

    3. Protozoa

Protozoa are one of the three main classes of parasites that cause diseases in humans. They are single-celled organisms that can be seen under a microscope. When they invade a human they are able to multiply easily.

While most pathogens that affect human health are quickly identified and dealt with by our immune system, some pathogens, such as protozoa, use stealth mechanisms to evade detection. This allows them to stay hidden and become drivers of inflammation and ill health. These lingering pathogens often go unrecognized and diagnosed.  Lingering pathogens require a combination of ongoing immune support and specific antimicrobial therapy, with treatments continuing sometimes for long periods of time.

Protozoa infections may look like viral or bacterial infections, but linger on. Many lingering coughs this winter have been misdiagnosed as bacterial infections, but the prescribed antibiotics have had no effect.

 Treatment for protozoa infections:

Myrrh, Golden seal, Barberry, Oregon Grape, Sweet Wormwood, Garlic plus immune boosting herbs.


Mediherb treatment strategies for lingering pathogens