MRSA infections destroy people’s lives. Staph can even kill. And many are caught in the cycle of infection, antibiotic, infection, antibiotic…
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. There are other options. There is hope.
Sadly, the most popular post on this website has consistently been my Natural Remedy for Staph Infection article, where I shared my journey to find a remedy after a dear little one came down with an antibiotic resistant infection.
In this post I share not just the single remedy I wrote about in part one, but the full scope protocol that can not only heal you but make a relapse much less likely.
So what is staph infection? Staphylococcus Aureus (aka staph) is a common but potentially deadly bacteria that can live on the skin or within the body.
Its famous relative MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. MRSA is more difficult to treat because it’s resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
It took me 3 months of trial and error to come up with this full protocol. While most of that time the bacteria was under control (not spreading) and drastically reduced, it took a while (and the protocol below) to get rid of the last hold outs (those damn red dot clusters).
I was able to keep the staph at bay with a variety of methods but it was the essential oil based remedy I wrote about in part 1 that finally eradicated the infection.
In part 2, How to Survive an antibiotic resistant bacteria, I shared the four pillars I used to create this and other protocols for antibiotic resistant bacteria (I also worked on a tough case of C-diff). I highly recommend reading part 2 first as this builds on that post.
In this part 3, I’m sharing the full spectrum protocol I recommend to treat staph naturally…in hopes of helping others get through this life threatening infection.
Remember that the standard medical protocol is to offer increasing strengths of various antibiotics until either the infection dies, or the patient does. These are often deadly infections and yes, patients do die when antibiotics fail.
To make things worse Western Medicine rarely offers any alternative to antibiotics. And I’ve never heard of a full spectrum treatment that includes nutrition and immune system support.
In part two, I outlined the four pillars to treat the patient as whole. This pillars are:
- Pillar 1: Stop the spread (control is first priority because this stuff spreads FAST)
- Pillar 2: Kill the bacteria (duh–but more specifically this is where a full protocol specific to the bacteria is created and applied).
- Pillar 3: Keep the host healthy enough to fight (this includes immune support, nutritional support, and making the patient is treated as a whole)
- Pillar 4: Encourage healing while keeping our guard up (bacterial infections can cause a lot of damage and relapses are too common—this is where we focus on repair and staying healthy long-term)
The protocol below includes all four pillars above, but remember it is simply a starting point for your own research.
If I was working with a client I’d be making sure that their age, contraindications, lifestyle, diet, and previous medical history lined up with a thoughtfully designed protocol.
While this is an excellent starting point, and far more thorough than most MRSA protocols it’s still up to you to do the research and make sure it’s appropriate for you.
I remind everyone that not every version of staph is the same, not every kind of MRSA will react the same, and every person will react differently.
In my case we had an especially stubborn and opportunistic bacteria, you may need to try only a few of the following options. You may also have an even more resistant strain and need to add more components. I discussed this in more detail in part two.
Always make sure that each component of a protocol makes sense for your unique situation (age, contraindications, herbal safety, etc.). When working with herbs and essential oils check their profiles from a reputable source. Make sure you are using herbs and oils carefully, thoughtfully, and knowledgeably (I included several resources in part 2).
Lastly, as I mentioned in part 2, I highly recommend working with a naturopath or holistic practitioner, I had the support of our holistic pediatrician who was monitoring her progress and offering advice and support. But since we all saw progress in the right direction he was supportive of the direction we took. While I came up with the protocol myself having a professional keeping tabs on her progress was very reassuring.
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THE SUMMARIZED ANTI-MRSA/STAPH PROTOCOL
Here is my summarized and general protocol to beat a staph infection (whether MRSA or otherwise). Remember each case is unique.
- Use diluted organic apple cider vinegar baths daily to keep the bacteria from spreading.
- Try pure raw UMF 15+ manuka honey by coating the area and covering in gauze. Change every 4 hours or so or leave packs on for as long as your skin will tolerate and then wash off with water. If it doesn’t work move on.
- Apply the Staph Infection Topical Remedy comprised of several high quality pure essential oils selected for their ability to kill staph. Remember applying frequently and consistently is key. I applied this every fours hours day and night. (Don’t forget to buy a high quality 100% pure steam distilled preferably organic oil—I use Aura Cacia & Plant Therapy)
- If your strain of bacteria isn’t responding to the recipe above try increasing the percentage (more drops of the essential oils oregano and tea tree–increase one drop at a time) and/or consider adding thyme oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil (1% at a time).
- Take 2 oregano oil capsules twice daily, 12 hours apart. Oregano oil is an excellent broad spectrum herbal antibiotic.
- Use homeopathic Sulphur as needed to help reduce itching, adding peppermint oil to the Staph Infection Topical Remedy can also help with itching (though peppermint is not recommended for children).
- Use bentonite clay/activated charcoal packs (50/50 + enough water to make a thick paste) as needed to soothe angry itchy skin. Follow up with a moisturizer like olive oil or avocado oil or with the Staph Infection Topical Remedy.
- Take a high quality multi-vitamin, non-gmo vitamin C (I usually take 1000mg-2000mg four times daily during severe illness) and get plenty of sunshine or add D3 if you are deficient (most are).
- I highly recommend adding lymphatic boosting red root tincture during your infection. Always research herbs first for any contraindications (see part two for resources).
- Consider taking immune supporting adaptogens like astragalus to help your immune system better adapt. Always research herbs first for any contraindications (see part two for resources).
- Consider taking liver and kidney supporting herbs like organic dandelion root and organic burdock root (I prefer tea), or simply take a ready-made detox tea like this one for a week or so to boost recovery.
- Take plenty of high quality probiotics (away from your antibacterials) during and after the infection, higher quantities if you have taken antibiotics.
- Eat an organic whole foods based diet free from chemicals, pesticides, and man-made additives and drink clean purified water to support your body’s recovery.
- Consume modest amounts of raw organic virgin coconut oil to boost your resistance to harmful bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. Start with 1 tablespoon and aim for 3 tablespoons daily (total, not necessarily in one sitting). This can help give you and edge over the spread and depth of infection. You can also use coconut oil as a general moisturizer.
- Make sure to properly wash ALL linens (and surfaces) with hot water and either bleach, vinegar, or baking soda. Don’t overlook this important step.
- Follow up your recovery with a microbiome supporting diet and a gut healing protocol. This is especially critical if you eat a typical western diet or have taken antibiotics.
- If your skin has been heavily damaged by the bacteria, once the infection is gone use a mixture of calendula oil, shea butter, and lavender essential oil (just one or two drops) to heal your skin.
- Detox your beauty and body routine to keep your skin healthy and toxin free. Find safer products in the Filtered Living store.
- Stay positive! There is hope!
That was the summarized version, here are the components in more detail along with the how and why.
Options for Pillar 1: Control the spread
This first part is all about stopping the spread and reducing the depth and strength of the hot spots.
Apple Cider Vinegar Bath
A full soaking a bath with about ½ a 32ounce bottle of apple cider vinegar was the most effective way to control the spread at the onset.
Apple cider vinegar is known to have antibacterial properties and the staph made little one’s skin angry and extremely itchy. These baths calmed the itching and soothed her skin.
I did this daily but on the days that I missed a bath there was a clear increase in the spread by morning.
I know all too well going through a bottle every other day at $5 per bottle gets very expensive fast. If you can’t afford to do a bath you can also switch to a washcloth soaked in 50/50 vinegar and water and sponge it on the affected area.
I tried this for a while but I saw better control with the full bath than the sponging method. However your strain may respond better than ours did. As with all these methods if it’s not working move on.
Manuka honey has some good research supporting its use against MRSA. This was one of the first remedies I tried but I had mixed results.
First you need to know that only UMF certified honey is officially checked for strength. The commonly used terms “bio-active” “MGO” and “KFactor” are self-created terms and not regulated.
While these honeys may indeed be potent there’s no third party oversights and the standard is not regulated. Normally this isn’t a big deal (I frequently buy the Trader Joes Manuka Honey for other uses) but when dealing with something serious as MRSA or any dangerous bacteria you don’t want to take chances on self-regulated terms.
For these purposes I recommend using 100% pure raw UMF 15 or higher Manuka honey (must be raw).
Another thing you need to know (and rarely discussed) is that when Manuka honey contacts bacteria it creates a natural hydrogen peroxide, if the infection is bad enough it WILL burn.
If the area is large (as in my case) leave the honey on as long as tolerated and wash off with clean water. You may need to start with short intervals leading up to longer sessions. Do this several times daily (we did this four-five times daily) as long as you are seeing progress.
If the infection is in an isolated area try covering it completely in raw manuka honey then apply a sterile gauze bandage and leave on, changing to a fresh honey bandage every 4-6 hours.
My results: In our case you could clearly see the peroxide foam under the thick layer of honey, and the infection was being reduced…but not enough to keep this part of the protocol.
Ultimately the apple cider vinegar worked better to control the spread than the honey did. Given the high price tag of each bottle of manuka honey, ours was $75 each, and going through one bottle every third day I swapped the vinegar as a better option.
However I still recommend trying this option, especially if you have a small sore or boil. It may be enough to kill the infection completely. If it isn’t try something else.
First let me say this is not so much a remedy as a helper to be used with other options.
When I was treating little one the bacteria was seriously stubborn, any lag in protocol and wham, fast spread. Even skipping one step would put us back a full day or two.
So in my desperation to cover ALL possible options I added coconut oil to the protocol, I kept up with this until we conquered the infection.
Since coconut oil is antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial it’s a good supplement in general. I added a teaspoon of coconut oil to warm liquids and blended it to make it more palatable (you can do this with an immersion blender, a ninja, or any blender). By the way it makes a delicious hot cocoa (I used a bit of raw organic cacao but any high quality all natural cocoa powder will do). I gave little one a bit of the oil (about 1 tsp) three times daily.
Adults can start with 1 tablespoon, three times daily, if you get nauseous just cut back the amount.
Options for Pillar 2: Kill the bacteria
If you are lucky, one of the remedies above will have single handedly eradicated the infection but more than likely you’ll need more than apple cider vinegar and honey.
I also want to point out that you can skip step one and go straight to step two. I include step one because it usually takes time to collect the more exotic remedies in this step, but most folks can get a bottle of apple cider vinegar at any local store.
That said the components in step one are very supportive and I recommend keeping them as part of the protocol until you’ve cleared the infection.
Since killing the bacteria obviously stops the spread I suggest you start on this step ASAP. Remember that these types of bacteria are fast moving so the sooner you act the better.
Staph Infection Topical Remedy
You can get the recipe for this remedy in the first post. In that post I detailed how I kept adding components and increasing the strength until it worked.
It took three full months of research, testing, and tweaking this remedy until I came to the final recipe. It includes several components that are all antibacterial and specifically effective against staph.
But once I had the remedy it worked quickly and completely killed all visible traces of staph. It has also put down new infections at the very first sign (the notorious red dot).
I attribute the lack of a relapse to keeping this remedy on hand and using it as a preventative.
I have since recommended this remedy to others and even made batches that I gave away during the holidays. It has worked for others and I truly believe it can make a huge difference for most sufferers.
As I mentioned above if the remedy isn’t cutting it then look into adding thyme oil, cinnamon oil, and/or lemongrass oil (1% at a time). (Always check for contraindications when using oils)
Apply this several times daily AND during the night. I suggest allowing no more than 4 hours between applications. This includes during the night. I know that’s tedious but bacteria doesn’t sleep and risking going eight hours without application can mean letting the infection regain control. Consistency and frequency is KEY.
Take oregano oil (adults)
I avoided oral oregano essential oil with little one because her age didn’t permit it (it’s considered an option after 5 years-old with doctor’s approval—in which case you can try this scaleable liquid option). But as you can see it’s a prominent component in the topical mixture.
If I were dealing with an adult or older child I would absolutely include this in the protocol along with the topical solution.
Keep in mind that someone with a MRSA (or other strain of staph) will likely have the bacteria in the nose, mouth, digestive system, and other areas. Therefore using a systemic herbal antibacterial like oral oregano oil capsules can make a huge difference.
My experience with oregano is almost miraculous.
Oregano oil has been hands down the most powerful herbal antibacterial I’ve ever worked with. And while I couldn’t try it on little one, I have used it to help people recover from all sorts of serious bacterial infections including tooth abscesses, kidney infections, and infected sores.
It was also a core component of the c-diff protocol I created for a life threatening case that required almost a month of hospitalization.
I’ll also point out that if you are on a serious budget and can’t buy all the components for the topical tincture then I recommend trying both oral oregano oil capsules AND adding diluted oregano oil (start with a 1% dilution with a carrier like olive oil). I expect these two components alone to work in at least half the cases. These two will run you as little as $25 total (Vitacost has the best price).
I like the Gaia brand of oregano oil, which would be 2 capsules twice daily (12 hours apart) or the Vitacost Brand which would be 1 capsule twice daily (The Vitacost brand is more potent) during an infection (not as a daily supplement).
However be cautious not to exceed that dose as its potency means it can also be irritating to the mucous membranes. You’ll also want to limit the amount of time you take it to no more than 3 weeks (however if under supervision some naturopaths say 6 weeks–this is usually for an anti-parasite protocol or candida control protocol though).
Oregano oil is so impressive and potent I urge you not to skip this component.
If you can’t use oregano oil or you want to add another herbal antibiotic to the oregano oil then an alternative is an obscure herb known as cryptolepis.
I was first introduced to this herb in the book Herbal Antibiotics (which I highly recommend). Since little one was too young for oregano oil and we needed a systemic herbal antibiotic with a good safety profile I opted for cryptolepis (with pediatrician’s approval).
First let me say this is NOT my first choice (again go with oregano oil if you can) but it is a solid alternative.
I used cryptolepis after about the first week and found it to substantially reduce and control the spread of the staph, however it was not strong enough on its own to eradicate the infection. But again, sometimes control is the only option until you find an effective solution.
How do I know it was working? Because at several points I stopped the cryptolepis but continued the other components (like the apple cider vinegar baths, the coconut oil, the probiotics) and each time the red dots would spread like wildfire. So I KNOW it works.
That said, this is not an herb you can just pick up from your Whole Foods or Natural Foods Store. I live in Los Angeles and I could not find a single vendor within 50 miles that stocked this herbal tincture. Most people have never heard of it.
I buy my cryptolepis from either Elk Mountain or Montana Farmacy (available on Amazon). But forget overnight shipping as regulations only allow his to travel ground so make sure you have this already on hand if you want to use it for an emergency.
While probiotic may not directly kill the bacteria they play a key role in healing and keeping harmful bacteria at bay.
Many times harmful bacteria have taken hold precisely because the microbiome (the ratio of healthy to harmful bacteria) was altered.
Microbiomes can be destroyed through a number of ways but most commonly the use of antibiotics as well as the consumption of toxic pesticide laden foods.
And just so we are clear the microbiome exists all over the body not just in the gut, the skin also has a microbiome (which is frequently wiped out from chlorine showers, antibacterial soaps, and chemical laden products).
Reestablishing a proper microbiome takes a lot of work and there are many good resources including The Microbiome Diet by Raphael Kellman.
However in a nutshell you should focus on high quality probiotics (taken away from any antibiotic—traditional or herbal) as well as probiotic rich foods like raw sauerkraut, probiotic rich pickles and juice, coconut kefir, plain sugar free organic yogurt (if you tolerate dairy), and fermented vegetables. You can find these probiotic rich foods in any high quality health food store.
A plant based diet is also key to a healthy microbiome. While I’m not a vegetarian I do try to eat more plants than animals foods and this is an excellent way to keep a healthy microbiome and get tons of phytonutrients and fiber.
Options for Phase 3: Keep the host healthy enough to fight
The third component is to make sure that the infected person is kept healthy enough to mount a strong immune response.
I discuss this in detail in part two but essentially this comes down eating a nourishing healing diet that will support the immune system and make the person less hospitable to the harmful bacteria. It also includes using immune boosting supplements and herbs.
I won’t rehash all the recommendations from part two, I’ll just offer the highlights here.
A healthy organic whole foods based diet
Whenever I work with someone battling any illness the first step is to remind them that good health is incompatible with poor nutrition. Period.
There’s really isn’t anything to debate, you are what you eat. Your cells, tissues, and immune system are all built (or damaged) by what you consume.
If you eat foods that are coated in chemicals meant to kill living things (as in pesticides) you are literally eating poison, and poison is not conducive to good health.
If you eat a typical junk food, fast food, processed food diet loaded with artificial everything you are not nourishing, you are poisoning.
All the stories of folks who have overcome autoimmune disorders, cancer, deadly disease, etc. have all been grounded upon a nourishing diet.
I don’t say this to point fingers or make anyone feel inferior, I say it because I want good health for all. I want to see thriving families unburdened by chronic disease. I know firsthand what it’s like to care for a debilitated and dying parent, I don’t want children to become caretakers. I don’t want moms to be regular visitors at children’s hospitals. I don’t want YOU to suffer needlessly.
Immune Boosting herbs and supplements
Another important part of the protocol is to include immune boosting supplements.
In addition I suggest choosing from various anti-inflammatory foods and/or supplements. This can be as easy as drinking organic green tea with a squeeze of lemon juice or taking an organic turmeric supplement.
I personally drink green tea daily and consider turmeric one of my favorite supplements.
For little one this meant a lot of organic berries and gentle food based supplements like camu-camu powder which is rich in vitamin C as well as antioxidants.
Organ boosting supplements
You should also consider adding herbs and foods that support the liver, kidneys, and most importantly the lymphatic system.
All of these organs work overtime during illness but the lymphatic system needs extra attention. It is the vehicle through which biological debris is cleared and if it isn’t functioning well you won’t be able to stay well.
I really like the synergistic combination of dandelion root with burdock root to boost the function of both organs simultaneously. I prepare these as a tea in a french press and drink twice daily. In general I drink the brew for 2 weeks and then take a break.
There are many things that can be done to boost lymphatic system function including hot/cold showers (alternating 10 second on each), deep tissue massage, rebounding (a fancy term for jumping on a trampoline), and my favorite herbal remedy red root.
Red root helps boost the lymphatic drainage and can substantially accelerate recovery. I highly recommend using it during this or any serious illness.
As with all herbs make sure they make sense for you and check for any contraindications.
Take some Homeopathic Sulphur for Itching
One of the biggest obstacles in treating little one was the intense itching. It took time for her to heal but she itched so badly that she was scratching her skin raw in her sleep.
As you know broken skin and dangerous bacteria are a recipe for disaster.
I honestly must have tried everything to abate the itching (at least half a dozen balms, oils, tea bags, coconut oil, and more) but only thing that really worked was homeopathic Sulphur.
And work it did, she was able to sleep through the night, play, and go about her business without the slightest hint of itching.
This was critical because it allowed her skin to heal while I pinned down a final remedy, it was critical to her recovery.
Regardless of the campaign against homeopathy (and all things natural) these homeopathic remedies are effective and have been used for a long time against all mater of ailment. They are considered safe (much safer than essential oils and herbs) and are an excellent companion to many natural treatments.
If itching is an obstacle to recovery give homeopathic sulphur a try.
Bentonite clay can soothe skin
At the height of little one’s skin infection and reeling from the antibiotic which created an overgrowth of yeast on her skin (along with the original staph infection) he skin was dry, itchy, and angry.
I remembered a remedy I’ve used to soothe bug bites and tried it with little one, and voila, calm soothed skin.
Apply the paste in a not too thin bit not too thick layer. Adding a few drops of lavender can also help tremendously. Then just wait for the paste to dry, it will start looking cracked and flaky, and gently wash off with clean water.
Follow up with a 1 part coconut oil to 1 part olive or avocado oil blend. Coconut to provide antibacterial support and olive or avocado to add substantial moisturizing. This is a good time to add the Staph Remedy Mixture as well. Use as needed.
Switch to Non-toxic body products
Lastly, I recommend making sure all skin and body products are non-toxic. The reason is that most hygiene products (lotions, creams, body wash, perfume, etc.) contain harmful chemicals that are often carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, and can irritate and damage the skin. This means they make the skin more vulnerable to infection, something you want to avoid. I just wrote a whole series on this topic, you can check out 5 Top Tips for a Safer Beauty and Body Routine as well as The Best Rated Natural Body Products.
Properly wash all linen and surfaces
This step is often overlooked but just as important.
Make sure you frequently wash all linen, clothes, towels, with hot water and either bleach (I don’t normally recommend bleach but in this case I think its warranted–just make sure to do a double rinse) or baking soda or white vinegar. This will help mitigate reinfections.
I also learned this the hard way. I thought I had washed everything but a there was a blanket I had forgotten about, it caused a terrible reinfection by morning after cuddling with it for just one night.
Do the same for your surfaces, think beyond countertops, disinfect toys, door knobs, cabinet handles, cell phones, remote controls, appliance buttons, steering wheels, makeup brushes…basically everything you can think of that’s been touched.
It may be tempting but don’t overlook this step.
Options for Phase 4: Encourage healing while keeping your guard up
All the components we just mentioned are key to recovery but it’s important they not be abandoned once the infection subsides.
Keep in mind that once a person is infected they will likely always be a host to that bacteria, as in forever.
This is why you see so many instances of relapse in everything from MRSA to C-diff to Strep. It’s always there and when you are in a weakened state they will seize the opportunity to re-establish themselves.
So for long term health and wellness I highly recommend you adopt a Filtered Lifestyle. Meaning a life where you eat clean use safe beauty and body products, as well as keep unnecessary toxins out of your home.
This may sound like overkill to those who landed on this page just looking for a simple cure for MRSA, but let me tell you that living Filtered is critical to your recovery.
Given that we live in a world where our air is polluted, our water contains hefty toxins, our foods are little more than poisons coated in salt and sugar, it is no surprise that most people are sick, drained of energy, unable to sleep, and barely functioning.
Because there are so many toxic pitfalls in our modern world even healthy people can be knocked into imbalance by one errant dose of antibiotics.
My point is if you want to truly create a body that is highly capable of defending against disease and illness you must avoid the toxins that harm you.
It’s not easy but small steps make big changes.
Focus on Gut Healing
Another key step in recovery is adopting a gut healing protocol.
I also HIGHLY recommend adopting a gut full repairing protocol if you’ve taken a round of antibiotics or have eaten a conventional diet.
There are many resources and books available, this article by Dr.Josh Axe is a good place to start.
If the gut isn’t addressed it allows pathogens to flourish and patients find it hard to escape the cycle. At minimum a good probiotic is warranted.
I also recommend focusing of microbiome boosting foods. Think plant foods and foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics.
There is some overlap with the gut healing protocol but the approaches are slightly different.
A heathy microbiome is key to long term recovery and health. If you don’t bring it back t health you will likely see a relapse.
Again here are some good resources and books, this article is a good place to start.
A toxic life makes you more susceptible to infections.
This has been the longest post I’ve written on this site but I wrote this three part series because I know that MRSA, staph, and other serious bacterial infections are destroying lives every day.
I know people are desperate. I was desperate.
When standard treatment locks you in a spiral of antibiotics + reinfection + antibiotics…you can feel absolutely hopeless.
I created these steps, remedies, and protocols because I went through it with a dear little one. I watched a vibrant little girl get debilitated by one little bacteria.
Later I watched as a brilliant and dedicated mom lay in a hospital near death from another deadly infection.
In the time since those cases many others have approached me desperate for solutions, for hope.
It took months of research and trial and error to collect this information and I’m sharing it here to help those who need it. I hope it helps you.
And lastly, when treating potentially deadly infections it’s imperative that you use good judgment and common sense.
You should do some careful research and monitor the progress very closely. Watch for sign that the infection is getting worse, such as fever, kidney pain, or excessive weakness or fatigue.
As I mentioned in part two it’s very important to work with a trusted professional, naturopaths are trained in this type of alternative treatment and are also aware of potential complications. Having professional guidance is indispensable in these kinds of situations.
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