a poisonous substance, especially a pesticide.
the destruction of life.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines biocides as “a diverse group of poisonous substances including preservatives, insecticides, disinfectants, and pesticides used for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health or that cause damage to natural or manufactured products”.
Thus a biocide can be:
A pesticide: this includes fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, algicides, molluscicides, miticides and rodenticides.
An antimicrobial: this includes germicides, antibiotics, antibacterials, antivirals, antifungals, antiprotozoals and antiparasites. In short, because biocides are intended to kill living organisms, many biocidal products pose significant risk to human health and welfare. (source: wikipedia)
You see, if you simply attack a symptom with biocides, whether they be synthetic or natural, things may, and often do, become worse. Why? Because symptoms are created by the interaction between the germ and the terrain. The vulnerability and sensitivity of the terrain, aka the susceptibility, is ignored or overlooked when using such an approach. And, DISEASE essentially begins and ends with this susceptibility and how well that is able to be addressed. In the famous words of Paracelus – “Those who merely study and treat the effects of disease are those who imagine that they can drive away winter by brushing the snow from the door. It is not the snow that causes winter, but winter that causes the snow”. When going after the microbes with biocides, one is going after merely the snow, and mind you, it is not as gentle as using a broom. Besides, the microbes that survive the killing spree return strengthened. We all have heard about superbugs, correct? Yes, biocides can create them, too.
Well, take, for example, colloidal silver – one of the most widely used “natural antimicrobials” out there and people swear by it. Unfortunately (as well as fortunately), biocides do not kill everything, which is why we can get away (almost) with using them in our living bodies to begin with. But, that which doesn’t get killed comes back stronger, over and over. It’s the law of Nature, survival of the fittest. Not to mention the accumulated toxicity from repeated use of the biocide. I just saw two cases of silver toxicity last month. One client was on 1 teaspoon of colloidal silver a day for almost two years. One of her presenting symptoms was restless leg syndrome which started about a year and half ago. Just taking her off the daily oral dose of the stuff reduced her restless leg by 50%. And it got completely better after a dose of a homeopathic remedy chosen to match her overall symptoms and which also incidentally had an indication for silver toxicity. Go figure.
So – if you have come to the awareness and are no longer turning to antibiotics and medications to help resolve your symptoms like before, that’s wonderful news! But then, if you have switched to alternative killing methods, like colloidal silver, tea tree oil, oil of oregano, parasite cleanses, etc. you are still inadvertently setting yourself up for potentially further problems in the future. Just like antibiotics, these alternatives have their place in medicine and can be tools at certain times for certain situations. But, I see them as being useful in very limited ways only, for a short term or once in a while strategy, when there is access to no other resource, or the person is very very sick. They may appear to work, but be aware that it’s a symptomatic approach, and actually may lead to suppression instead of resolution. Hence, if you find yourself needing to use these biocides frequently, then know that you are over-doing it, and that something is amiss, and that it would be better to seek out a better solution.
What would be better? It would be much better, and more effective, to equip and train your own microbiome to fend off the pathogenic microbes than to go to war inside your own body and risk having your body be collateral damage. Think of it like raiding (or bombing) the whole village to take out the robbers that have infiltrated it. Not too smart, is it? Instead, the appropriate intervention would be one that resolves the susceptibility, aka miasmatic and constitutional weaknesses, that led to the infiltration in the first place. When we put to use our body’s vital energy and tap into our body’s self-healing capabilities, we train our immune system, our microbiome, and reduce susceptibility. I prefer and recommend constitutional homeopathic care for any and all such symptoms that seem to indicate an issue with microbial imbalance, be it skin issues, recurring infections, yeast issues, chronic infections, lyme, or any symptom that on the superficial level seems to call for a biocide, recurrently and/or for long periods of time. The idea is to boost your overall well-being so you can fix your individual susceptibility and balance from the inside-out. Know that if you still choose or have to use a biocide however natural, that is totally fine, it’s your choice. Just be aware, and know the risks. Don’t operate with the mindset that it is safer just because you are choosing a “natural” killer of living things rather than a synthetic or a patented one, and then wonder why you are still sick, or getting sicker by the day. Knowledge is power.
How to tell if something is being used as a biocide?
A thorough treatise on the subject of biocides is available at GreenFacts, a very useful resource. I also love the following criteria succinctly put forth by Mary Aspinwall, a noted homeopath with over 20 years of experience, to identify a biocide. She also aptly says – “Sadly, when we use biocides our bodies and our natural immunity are collateral casualties and we are increasing our susceptibility to the next thing looking to colonize us.” (emphasis mine) –
1. A biocide kills things.
2. It targets the symptom or the perceived “invader”.
3. It’s a one size fits all approach.
4. It is intended to work in exactly the same way for everyone (except that it doesn’t).
5. It is used without any need for individualization.
6. It is an outside-in strategy.
7. It doesn’t seek to increase the natural immune response from the inside-out.
In my opinion, the last two items in the above list speaks to the paradigm that the body is too weak to defend itself (again a matter of susceptibility). Therefore, it always needs help from the outside to restore health – it’s a common paradigm in conventional western medicine that is adopted in the world of alternative medicine with the use of antimicrobial alternatives. Using a biocide essentially imposes on the vital force and the immune system – here, let me do the killing for you, every single time, because you are incapable. Any parent raising a child will quickly realize the fallacy of such an approach, the disadvantages of doing everything for your child instead of teaching and supporting him or her in the right ways to be self-sufficient. It is no different when dealing with the body’s own immune system. And, that’s just one facet in understanding the complexity of it all.
Some popular natural biocides include Pau d’arco, Colloidal Silver, Hydrogen Peroxide, Tea tree oil (also called Melaleuca), many other essential oils, GSE (Grape Seed Extract), Oregano oil, Natural lice treatment with Neem, and Olive leaf extract.
I have come across many natural health articles on the internet that list the above substances as holistic treatment for various symptoms. These substances when used in this fashion as biocides are simply not holistic methods. Bring in your awareness and seek out truly holistic and nurturing means to strengthen your body’s own innate ability to restore order and balance. The right foods and exercises for physical and emotional nourishment (indeed diet and lifestyle are always first in my book); and homeopathy (well-matched homeopathic remedies) to remove susceptibility; these are my top choice tools to strengthen from the inside out, and thereby getting rid of symptoms!