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Probiotics, often referred to as the good or helpful bacteria, are live microorganisms that, when taken in sufficient quantities, provide numerous health benefits. These tiny helpers play a crucial role in promoting healthy gut flora, which in turn boosts our immune system and overall health. The discovery of probiotics marks a turning point in the history of medicine and nutritional science that has fundamentally changed our understanding of health and disease.

Discovery of probiotics

The roots of probiotics go back to the early 20th century, when Russian Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff theorized that the longevity of Bulgarian farmers was partly due to their consumption of fermented dairy products. He believed that the “beneficial” bacteria they contained could inhibit the growth of harmful microbes in the gut and thus improve health and lifespan. This revolutionary idea laid the foundation for modern probiotics research.

Forms and dosage

Probiotics are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Dosages may vary, but it is often recommended to consume probiotics in doses of 1 to 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per day. However, it is important to follow the specific recommendations on product labels and consult a doctor or nutritionist if necessary.

Probiotics: Curing diseases

Probiotics have the potential to cure or alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of diseases. These include:

  • Digestive disorders: They can be helpful in treating and preventing diarrhea caused by antibiotics. They are also effective for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Immune health: By strengthening the intestinal flora, they can support the immune system and reduce susceptibility to colds and flu.
  • Allergies and eczema: Some studies show that they can reduce the risk of eczema and certain allergies in children.
  • Mental health: Research suggests that they may also have positive effects on mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, through the so-called gut-brain axis.

Complementary food supplements and medicinal plants

The combination of probiotics with food supplements and medicinal plants can increase their effectiveness. Prebiotics, such as inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), serve as food for the probiotics and support their growth and activity in the gut. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and flaxseed, can also act synergistically by reducing inflammation and promoting gut health.

Medicinal plants such as ginger, turmeric and peppermint can aid digestion and reduce inflammation in the body, complementing the work of probiotics. It is important to use these combinations under the guidance of a health professional to achieve optimal results.

Probiotics in naturopathy

In naturopathy, probiotics are used not only as supplements but also as part of comprehensive treatment plans. They play a central role in restoring the body’s natural balance and promoting self-healing. Probiotics are used in naturopathy to treat digestive disorders, strengthen the immune system and support mental health. Their use reflects the holistic understanding of naturopathy, which aims to treat the causes of disease rather than just alleviating symptoms.


Probiotics offer a fascinating example of how modern science and traditional knowledge can come together to improve our health. Through the targeted use of these helpful microorganisms, we can not only combat specific diseases, but also promote our general wellbeing. As research continues to advance, it is becoming clear that probiotics play a key role in a holistic approach to healthcare. Their discovery and ongoing exploration is opening up new horizons in the prevention and treatment of disease, with the potential to improve the quality of life for many.

Published on: 15. March 2024


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