Garlic, Oregano and Thyme – Culinary Herbs with Super-Hero Like Action in the Gut

Dr. Jennifer Luis, B.Sc., B.Ed., N.D.

Dr. Jennifer Luis, B.Sc., B.Ed., N.D.

Back in medical school, one of my favorite herbal instructors told us that to kill off a throat infection, all that was needed was a teaspoon of crushed garlic a few times per day. When asked how to get patients to take this, she had a few tricks up her sleeve. First, you must crush the garlic and let it sit for a least 10 minutes exposed to air. This activates the anti-microbial enzyme called allicin, making the treatment more potent. Next, place the garlic on a teaspoon and add a bit of honey to soothe. When administering the garlic/honey concoction, place the spoon at the back of the throat, flip upside-down and swallow. This decreases the strong taste since we have bypassed the taste buds. Brilliant!

garlic oregano thymeGarlic is not only used for acute infections like colds and flus but for chronic and persistent intestinal bacteria and yeast. IBS, which is mainly caused by bacteria, can be treated in combination with high dose garlic and other herbs such as oregano and thyme. Encapsulated allicin allows for a by-pass of the stomach and into the small intestines where it can start bug killing. Sometimes garlic itself in higher doses can cause stomach upset, but extracted allicin is generally tolerated well.

Oregano oil has been used for a long time in cases of sore throats and prevention of illness. A few drops in water and swirled around the mouth and throat will release the plant-based anti-biotic action locally. When treating gut bacteria, oregano oil is often not strong enough and an emulsified extract of oregano proves to be the better choice. While it is not specific to only the “bad bacteria” in the gut, it is extremely effective at correcting conditions such as SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) and in turn promoting regular bowel movements. The culinary herb thyme also promotes healthy gut floras by its anti-microbial action. One of the better ways to use thyme is in an alcohol-extracted tincture. Sometimes tinctures are customized to contain a variety of herbs to treat conditions.

For more information on treating symptoms of bloating and other digestion concerns, please contact the clinic.