- 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
- "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
- 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
- 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
- Prakash said that before calling the substance "Allicin
Wonderdrug" a lot of clinical testing still must be accomplished.