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Alternative Treatments and Home Remedies For Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is not simply an old disease that killed Doc Holliday and plenty of people during the early part of the 20th century. It afflicts 3 in 100,000 people today in the U.S., and today, we have more knowledge about natural remedies and prevention than Doc Holliday did. However, TB is still a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide, especially those in developing countries.

While only a small percentage of those in the U.S. test positive for TB, up to a third of people worldwide test positive. This is primarily due to poor health care, deficient immune systems and widespread HIV and AIDS. What you may not realize about TB is that though TB affects the lungs in most of those infected, TB can also develop in and attack other tissues, such as the lymphatic system, bones and joints, the central nervous system and other organs.

Latent and Active Tuberculosis

Those infected with TB bacteria may not necessarily suffer from what you typically think of as TB -- coughing/bloody cough, chest pain, fatigue, pale skin and weight loss. When TB is latent, no symptoms or infection occur. This is also referred to as LTBI.

It is when an active TB infection occurs that the condition becomes serious. Obviously, those with lower and poor immune systems are much more susceptible to contracting an active TB infection. Those who develop active infections are highly contagious, which occurs in about one in every ten people with TB bacteria.

While typical medical treatment for TB is a drug regimen -- and often, very intensive chemotherapy requiring many, many drugs to be taken -- there have been more and more cases reported of drug-resistant TB. Drug-resistant TB is difficult to treat from a medical standpoint, and all the more reason to consider alternative and/or natural treatments.
Again, those with HIV are particularly vulnerable to contracting TB, as well as much more likely to develop an active TB infection. Those with diabetes or other autoimmune diseases are also at much higher risk than others. What most do not realize is that TB is actually the leading cause of death among those infected with HIV, and 25% of all deaths caused by TB are HIV-related.

TB Prevention

One of the best ways to take preventative measures against TB is to get tested regularly. Even if you find you do have TB bacteria, it is much easier to prevent an active infection from occurring early on, before there is a “first” active infection. Other prevention solutions are to maintain a healthy immune system by boosting your intake of:

  • Vitamin D -- White blood cells convert Vitamin D into what aids the protein that kills TB bacteria. It is very key in what the body uses to fight off tuberculosis.
  • Vitamin C -- We all know Vitamin C is an immunity-boosting nutrient, which means including plenty of orange juice and citrus fruits in your diet.

TB Treatment

It should be said TB is a very serious disease, and anyone with an active TB infection should take it very seriously. Relying on natural remedies to treat TB is a personal choice, but in such cases, hike up intake amounts as much as possible.

  • Vitamin D -- Indonesian scientists conducted a study on 70 patients with TB, and had a 100 percent cure rate when given high doses -- 10,000 units -- of Vitamin D.
  • Barberry -- These berries have been found to be very effective at resolving TB symptoms when combined with other treatment methods. Barberries have berberine, which has properties that aid in killing TB bacteria.
  • Garlic -- Garlic is one of those small wonders and is a home remedy for many kinds of illnesses and diseases because of its antimicrobial properties, which work to fight off viruses, fungi, harmful organisms, and parasites and microbes in addition to harmful bacteria.
  • Propolis -- This supplement is a multi-purpose treatment aid for TB. Alcohol extracts of propolis have TB-bacteria fighting properties, as well as an overall stimulator for the immune system.
  • Pineapple juice -- Drinking pineapple juice daily can be extremely helpful in dissolving mucus, thereby providing lung and cough relief.

Plenty of other home remedies are recommended to supplement your treatment, such as ginseng, herbal tea (especially licorice root), horsetail, mint juice and plenty of supplements. Remember that prevention is always much more manageable than treatment, so do take time to get tested if you have an exposure or are otherwise concerned.

If you already have latent TB, keep your immune system operating at maximum capacity. Again, while the above herbs, supplements and foods are recommended to help treat TB, they are primarily recommended as supplemental tools to boost your primary treatment regimen.

Adrienne Erin is a health and fitness blogger passionate about treating ailments naturally. You can read more of her work on her blog Foodie Fitness or get in contact with her on Twitter at @foodierx.

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