Everywhere you go, germs and bacteria surround you as well as fear of harm. The media is saturated with exciting stories about hidden germs in hotel rooms, the growing threat of foreign and exotic viruses, and even life-threatening ones. We have become obsessed with germs and bacteria, but bacteria are everywhere – around and inside us. Although we know that not all bacteria are harmful, we always strive to eliminate them … for their consequences!
Creep in: How germs were planted
Our national obsession with germs and bacteria may have started since the Civil War, but it appears to be rooted in the early public health campaigns of New York City. With the advent of clean drinking water and new sanitation systems, a new level of awareness has come regarding the importance of good hygiene and hygiene as well as hidden health threats looming in harsh and unsanitary conditions.
Many of our beliefs about germs and disease may have been fueled by the work of Pierre Bechamp, and later, Louis Pasteur. Pasteur is known as the scientist who brought us the "germ theory" and led us to believe that germs from the outside world invade our bodies and "cause" disease, which is why we must kill them before they kill us. In a ridiculous development, it turns out that Pasteur spreads some of Bechamp's works, which have proven to be "terrain" (meaning the environment inside your body) that matter more than the germs themselves. Pasteur mutilated Champ and made a name for himself, surely it was the opposite. While lying on his deathbed, he admitted that Bechamp was right when he said, "The microbe is nothing, terrain is everything."
The spread of "bacteriological theory" at Pasteur, coupled with the success of early public health campaigns, has spawned a new generation of household cleaners, personal care products and drugs designed to kill bacteria and germs. Julian Sivolka's extensive research, presented in "Stronger than Dirt: A Cultural History of Advertising, and Personal Hygiene in America," indicates that some "anti-microbial" advertisements began early in 1875 and continued well throughout the twentieth century.
Without any guidance on how to live a healthier life and strengthen our immune systems in order to better cope with the biological challenges we may face, we have become increasingly dependent on (and possibly toxic) antibacterial products such as bleach, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, and, more recently, hand sanitizers. And antibacterial soap, to relieve our fears. Many of these products now contain disturbing ingredients such as Triclosan, which is one of Agent Agent's derivatives, whose overuse creates new bacteria-resistant strains or "Super Bugs". Ironically, these superbugs pose a greater threat to our ability to resist infection and disease in the future, which raises the question: Is our fear of germs really helping us or could it inadvertently harm us? Knowing the origins of our "sheep phobia", it is not difficult to see how the work of a misguided world coincided with greater commercial interests to bring us to this point.
Germophobia: good and bad and ugly
There is no doubt that there are harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or even kill you – because SARS and swine flu are the latest threats that come to mind. But we cannot let our fears of these viruses blind us to the potential harm that comes from trying to kill all germs and bacteria (real or imagined). Or more than that, what is the hidden price that we pay when we use a product or take a drug that is designed to kill "bad" bacteria but also kills "good" bacteria in the process?
Our intestines are loaded with "good" bacteria (intestinal flora) that help break down food so the body can benefit from nutrients. Many "good" bacteria in the digestive system also protect you from toxins in food and other infectious diseases such as yeast infections that thrive on excess sugar in your gut. When you have an infection (such as a bladder or upper respiratory tract infection), the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor kills both good and bad bacteria. While you can get rid of one problem, killing "good" bacteria, you may face another. Women often develop yeast infections as a direct result of taking other antibiotics. Then they give a different antibiotic to treat this problem and the cycle continues. Or, as is often the case, the situation just vanishes back to months or even years later.
This phenomenon, when widely played, can have severe consequences, as was the case in 2007, when there was a significant outbreak of drug-resistant staph infection. While this was an ongoing problem in hospitals, it was rare to see this outbreak in schools and even professional sports team locker rooms. Thanks to our continued use of antibiotics, this bacterial strain has become immune to what was previously used to eliminate it. The result? Every year in the U.S., we lose nearly 18,000 people to this type of infection. Ironically, the only treatment seems to be to boost the cycle by creating stronger (and better in theory) antibiotics.
The good news is that science is beginning to realize that we have come a long way in antibiotics and have considered using safer and safer plant alternatives. The aromatic tea tree oil, with its strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, has shown promise in a number of different studies as a safe and effective way to kill "bad" bacteria without destroying the "good". It is widely used in Australia (where it grows abundantly) to treat successful conditions such as yeast infection and athlete's foot.
In his book "Life Helping Life", Dr. Daniel Benwell, a famous expert in medical aromatherapy, notes that tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has great potential as an antibacterial agent, but it differs from traditional antibiotics where it only attacks devastating bacteria. It's created from life to help life, so it knows what to do. Other good oils for treating bacterial infections include thyme, oregano and cloves. A number of other essential oils with antiviral properties have been identified as powerful defenders of the immune system. To set the record straight, studying the use of essential oils in treating disease and disease is a required part of the curriculum in medical schools in France, which indicates their validity as a legitimate alternative.
The world is undoubtedly full of bacteria. Both modern medicine and society have gone beyond the limits of reasonable practices in their respective approaches to dealing with them. Only by retreating and embracing natural alternatives publicly will it be possible to stop the wave of anti-inflammatory infections that threaten us today.
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