Garlic Blasts Worst Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
CHICAGO (UPI) - Microbiology researchers said Wednesday the active ingredient in garlic combats two of the nastiest antibiotic resistant microbes faced by doctors and patients.
The ingredient, a substance know as allicin, has been found effective in killing off methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- a microbe that has been especially troubling in skin and soft tissue wounds -- and in inhibiting growth of vancomycin-resistant enterococci, an intestinal bacteria that causes considerable illness and deaths in hospital settings.
"Allicin simply blows enormous holes through MRSA,' said Ronald Cutler, senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of East London, England. He has formulated allicin into skin products such as creams and soaps and has achieved success in destroying the microbes in laboratory tests.
He said he also tested the cream on healthy volunteers -- including himself -- and "we have found absolutely no adverse reactions."
Cutler, and his commercial venture Allicin International Ltd., are beginning human testing with the allicin cream on patients with stubborn skin infections caused by MRSA.
"What happens in a test tube may not occur when it is used in humans," cautioned Dr. Jaya Prakash, chairperson of the department of pathology, microbiology and public health at National University of Health Sciences, Lombard, Ill.
Prakash is experimenting with allicin in thwarting VRE.
"We have shown that we can inhibit the growth of these bacteria with allicin. Some of the isolates are more stubborn than others," she said, but at 150 micrograms of allicin the bacteria cannot proliferate.
She said humans can ingest about 25 grams a day of garlic without ill effects, and that much garlic contains about 15 milligrams of allicin -- about 100 times more than what she used to control VRE.
Methicillin and vancomycin both are powerful antibiotics that for many years were considered among the last medical defenses against vicious microbes such as S. aureus. In recent years, however, both S. aureus and enterococci have developed mutations that allow the bugs to escape the killing power of these antibiotics. Both organisms are multi-drug resistant.
The studies were presented at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a meeting sponsored by the American Society of Microbiology in Chicago.
In Prakash's study, allicin was tested against two normal strains of Enterococci fecalis and 24 vancomycin-resistant strains of E. fecalis. The allicin concentrations stopped growth of the microbes within four hours.
Cutler said concentrations of allicin at levels of 32 parts per million in a liquid or cream formulation were sufficient to inhibit MRSA. The cream he tested on himself contained 500 parts per million of allicin.
Prakash said that before calling the substance "Allicin Wonderdrug" a lot of clinical testing still must be accomplished.
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