[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 19-May-2011
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Contact: Dr. Hilary Glover
hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2370
BioMed Central

Herbal remedies offer hope as the new antibiotics

Cancer treatments often have the side effect of impairing the patient's immune system. This can result in life-threatening secondary infections from bacteria and fungi, especially since bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus, are becoming multi-drug resistant (MRSA). New research published by BioMed Central's open access journal Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials investigates the potency of Indian wild plants against bacterial and fungal infections in the mouths of oral cancer patients.

Researchers from Rohtak, India, tested extracts from several plants used in traditional or folk medicine against microbials found in the mouths of oral cancer patients. Of the 40 patients involved in the study, 35 had compromised immune systems with severely reduced neutrophil counts. Eight of the plants tested were able to significantly affect the growth of organisms collected by oral swab, and pure cultures of bacteria and fungi grown in the lab. This included wild asparagus, desert date, false daisy, curry tree, caster oil plant and fenugreek.

Dr Jaya Parkash Yadav said, "Natural medicines are increasingly important in treating disease and traditional knowledge provides a starting point in the search for plant-based medicines. Importantly we found that the extraction process had a huge effect on both the specificity and efficacy of the plant extracts against microbes. Nevertheless several of the plants tested were broad spectrum antibiotics able to combat bacteria including E. coli, S. aureus and the fungi Candida and Aspergillus. Both desert date and caster oil plant were especially able to target bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are known to be difficult to treat with conventional antibiotics."

Dr Yadav continued, "Although the plants tested had a lower potency than conventional antibiotics they offer hope against resistant species. These results are a starting point for further testing in the lab and clinic."

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Notes to Editors

1. In vitro antimicrobial activity of ten medicinal plants against clinical isolates of oral cancer cases
Manju Panghal, Vivek Kaushal and Jaya Parkash Yadav
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials (in press)

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials is an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal focusing on information concerning clinical microbiology, infectious diseases and antimicrobials. The management of infectious disease is dependent on correct diagnosis and appropriate antimicrobial treatment, and with this in mind, the journal aims to improve the communication between basic and clinical science in the field of clinical microbiology and antimicrobial treatment.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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