Plant Extracts That May Fight Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance

Updated on June 9, 2019
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about living things.

An extract made from the tulip tree may fight bacteria.
An extract made from the tulip tree may fight bacteria. | Source

A Worrying Problem and a Possible Solution

The increasing resistance of disease-causing bacteria to antibiotics is very worrying. Researchers say that it may not be long before people die from previously treatable diseases. Antibiotics are produced by bacteria and fungi or are made synthetically. One potential solution to the problem might be the use of specific chemicals in plants to fight harmful bacteria.

Scientists have recently made some interesting and perhaps very significant discoveries about the effects of certain plant extracts on dangerous bacteria. In the lab, the extracts either enabled antibiotics to work better or hindered the growth of bacterial populations. The extracts came from cranberries and from three plants that were used to make medicines during the US Civil War.

In this article I describe:

  • antibiotic resistance,
  • the plants that provided the helpful extracts,
  • the harmful bacteria that were tested,
  • and the experiments involving the organisms.

A colourized scanning electron micrograph of a human neutrophil ingesting harmful MRSA bacteria
A colourized scanning electron micrograph of a human neutrophil ingesting harmful MRSA bacteria | Source

Antibiotics and Resistance

Antibiotics are chemicals made by bacteria or fungi to fight other organisms in their environment. Most antibiotics used in medicine come from (or originally came from) microbes. A small number were created in the laboratory instead of originating in living things. The drugs have proved very useful in fighting disease-causing bacteria that are dangerous for us.

The development of resistance to the effects of antibiotics is a natural phenomenon in bacteria. Human actions have made the process worse, however. We use the medications in excessive amounts and in situations where they aren't needed. They are widely used in agriculture to promote animal growth and prevent infections caused by living conditions, for example. In addition, they are sometimes prescribed for viral infections. Antibiotics don't affect viruses.

If a doctor prescribes an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, the patient should follow the medication instructions very carefully. Doses shouldn't be missed and the medication should be taken for the prescribed time. If a patient has questions about their prescription, they should consult their doctor or pharmacist.

Development of Antibiotic Resistance

As in other living things, the bacteria in a species are genetically similar but not identical. Gene variants give them slightly different features. Some bacteria in a group may have a variant or variants that give them resistance to a specific antibiotic. The resistant bacteria survive the antibiotic attack and (if they aren't destroyed in some other way) pass their helpful gene variants to some of their offspring.

As this process repeats from one generation to the next, the bacteria that are susceptible to the antibiotic's effects die and the resistant bacteria form a greater proportion of the population. Eventually, the population is composed almost entirely of resistant bacteria. This means that an antibiotic that once killed the species (or strain) no longer works. The video below describes the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria in more detail. The process is sometimes known as multidrug resistance or antimicrobial resistance

Cranberries and Urinary Tract Infections

Cranberries are an acidic fruit with a tangy taste. When sweetened and used in a sauce, the red berries are very popular in North America. The sauce is a traditional accompaniment to turkey in a Christmas dinner. The berries are added to cakes, quick or dessert breads, and pies. Sweetened cranberry juice is popular. The juice can be bought in an unsweetened form as well.

Cranberry juice has had a reputation for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) for some time. Overall, scientific research into the validity of this idea has produced inconclusive results. It's thought that components of the juice may prevent the attachment of bacteria to the lining of the urinary tract in some people.

If you plan to drink cranberry juice regularly in an attempt to prevent a UTI, it might be a good idea to discuss the plan with your doctor. Though the juice is safe to drink, it may not be suitable for everyone, as the relevant link in the "References" section below describes.

Cranberries
Cranberries | Source

Three Harmful Bacteria

Three species of bacteria were used in the cranberry extract experiment. They are all classified as gram-negative bacteria. These organisms have a more complex outer covering, or cell wall, than gram-positive bacteria. The terms "gram negative" and "gram positive" refer to the colour changes of the wall in a particular staining technique. The technique was created by a bacteriologist named Hans Christian Gram (1853–1938).

Proteus mirabilis can infect the urinary system and causes problems such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections. It's known for its swarming ability, or the ability to move over a surface in a large group.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is resistant to multiple drugs and can cause potentially serious infections, including pneumonia. It survives well on moist surfaces such as medical catheters. It can be a special problem for people with cystic fibrosis.

Escherichia coli exists in many strains. The members of a bacterial strain have slightly different genetic compositions from other strains in the species. The differences may be significant as far as human health is concerned. Some strains of E. coli are harmless or even beneficial for humans. Others are harmful. Some cause gastrointestinal problems. Others cause urinary tract infections.

The Cranberry Extract Experiment

When scientists treat the three bacteria named above with an antibiotic, the microbes gradually develop resistance. When researchers at McGill University in Canada treated the bacteria with an antibiotic and cranberry extract, however, the microbes didn't develop resistance.

The scientists found that the extract increased the antibiotic's ability to fight bacteria in two ways. It caused the cell wall of the bacteria to become more permeable to the antibiotic, enabling a larger quantity of the drug to enter the microbes. At the same time, the bacteria had a harder time pumping the antibiotic out of the cell when the extract was present. The efflux pump in bacteria transports specific substances through the cell wall to the outside. The process is one way in which the microbes prevent antibiotics from hurting them.

A beautiful white oak tree
A beautiful white oak tree | Source

The tree shown above is known as the Keeler Oak. It's located in New Jersey and is thought to have been planted around 1650. Extracts from the white oak, the tulip tree, and the devil's walking stick have been tested for their effects on bacteria.

White Oak

The white oak (Quercus alba) has a wide distribution in North America. It's found mainly in the eastern and central part of the United States. Its northern distribution reaches southern Ontario in Canada. In the south, it reaches the northern tip of Florida.

The tree can live for several hundred years and is sometimes an impressive sight in its mature form. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, it can be as tall as eighty feet in cultivation and up to a hundred feet tall in the wild.

As in other species of oak, the tree's leaves have deep lobes with a rounded tip and the fruit is an acorn. The leaves sometimes turn a beautiful red colour in the fall. The plant's species name means "white". The word refers to the light grey colour of the bark.

White oak leaves in autumn
White oak leaves in autumn | Source

Tulip Tree

The tulip tree, tuliptree, or tulip poplar has the scientific name Liriodendron tulipifera. It's native to the eastern part of the United States. Like tulips, the tree blooms in the spring. The attractive and showy flowers are a mixture of orange, yellow, and green. They look somewhat like a tulip flower when viewed at the correct angle. A photo of a flower is shown at the start of this article.

Tulip trees belong to the magnolia family. They are tall and can potentially reach a height of ninety feet. The leaves are flat and lobed. They have an unusual notch shape at their tip. The seeds are born in an elongated cone-like structure.

The spines can be seen on the leaf stems of this devil's walking stick.
The spines can be seen on the leaf stems of this devil's walking stick. | Source

Devil's Walking Stick

Devil's walking stick is a shrub or small tree with the scientific name Aralia spinosa. Its common name comes from the sharp spines on the branches, stems, and leaf stalks (petioles). The tree usually grows as a tall shrub up to fifteen feet high but occasionally grows as a tree that may be as tall as thirty-five feet. Like the two plants described above, it's native to the eastern part of the United States.

The flowers of the plant are white and small, but they are borne in large and very noticeable groups known as panicles. A panicle is often described as a branching cluster of flowers. The plant produces black berries.

A close-up view of a devil's walking stick flower
A close-up view of a devil's walking stick flower | Source

Three Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria

The plant extract experiment was performed by scientists at Emory University in the state of Georgia. The scientists used three species of bacteria in their research. All of the species are associated with wounds as well as other problems in the body and are resistant to multiple drugs.

Acinetobacter baumannii is a short, rod-shaped bacterium. It's considered to be an opportunistic pathogen, or one that isn't always dangerous but takes advantage of a suitable environment in order to cause disease. One place where this environment may be found is in someone whose immune system isn't working properly. Another is in wounds. The bacterium is becoming increasingly important in hospitals. It has created problems in both military hospitals and civilian ones.

Staphylococcus aureus lives on the skin of many people and often causes no problems. Like the bacterium mentioned above, however, it's an opportunistic pathogen and can cause skin infections. Some strains of S. aureus are resistant to multiple drugs. One of these is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's resistant to other antibiotics besides methicillin.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is another bacterium that sometimes exists on or even in the body without causing problems. It can be dangerous if it enters the lungs, however. As its name suggests, it can cause pneumonia. The bacterium is becoming potentially dangerous in hospital infections and can infect wounds.

It's important that we as individuals take antibiotics when they are prescribed and necessary. The medications are often essential and can save lives. Society as a whole is overusing them, however.

A Potentially Important Civil War Book

During America's Civil war (1861–1865), the Confederate Surgeon General commissioned a book about traditional plant medicines in the area. Conventional medicines were becoming hard to obtain at the time and infected wounds were becoming a big problem. The name of the commissioned book was Resources of the Southern Shield and Forests. It was compiled by Francis Porcher, who was a botanist and a surgeon.

Porcher's book mentioned thirty-seven plants that were traditionally believed to be effective for treating infected wounds. Emory University researchers chose three of them for their experiment, at least partly because the plants grew on a preserve on the university's campus.

The researchers followed the instructions in Porcher's book to make the extracts. The white oak extract was made from the tree's bark and galls, the tulip tree one from the plant's leaves, branch bark, and inner bark of the roots, and the devil's walking stick one from the shrub's leaves.

Galls are swellings or bumps on plants produced due to the presence of parasites in the area. Examples of parasites that trigger gall production include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and insects. A study of the chemicals in different types of galls and their effects on microbes might be very worthwhile.

Biofilms and Quorum Sensing in Bacteria

The discoveries made by the Emory University researchers involved effects of the plant extracts on biofilms and quorum sensing in bacteria. Many bacteria attach to a surface and live in a group surrounded by a protective film that they secrete. The film is known as a biofilm. Its existence makes the bacteria much harder to attack by antibiotics than planktonic bacteria (bacterial cells not attached to a surface or surrounded by a film).

One fascinating ability of bacteria is known as quorum sensing. This is a communication method between individual bacteria that's based on the concentration of specific chemicals in the environment. When the bacterial population is low, the concentration of a signaling molecule (also called an autoinducer) that the microbes release into the environment is also low. As the number of bacteria increase, the concentration of the autoinducer also increases.

Eventually the concentration of the autoinducer reaches a critical or threshold level, causing all of the bacteria in the area to perform a specific behaviour at the same time. A "quorum" has been reached. One of the behaviours triggered by quorum sensing is the formation of a biofilm. Other are behaviours that harm the host.

An example of quorum sensing and biofilm formation
An example of quorum sensing and biofilm formation | Source

The Plant Extract Experiment

The Emory University scientists made the following discoveries in their experiment.

  • The white oak extract inhibited the growth of S. aureus and prevented it from forming biofilms.
  • The extract also inhibited the growth of A. baumannii and K. pneumoniae.
  • The tulip tree extract inhibited the growth of S. aureus and prevented it from forming biofilms.
  • The devil's walking stick extract inhibited the formation of biofilms in S. aureus and also inhibited quorum sensing in the bacterium.

The researchers found that the plant extracts interfered with the lives of the bacteria and the growth of their population. They didn't kill the bacteria, though. As the researcher in the quote below says, that doesn't mean that we should ignore the potential effects of the extracts in living things. In this age of antibiotic resistance, we need all the help that we can get.

Traditional plant remedies are often dismissed if they don't actively attack and kill pathogens. There are many more ways to help cure infections, and we need to focus on them in the era of drug-resistant bacteria.

— Cassandra Quave, Emory University

Antibiotics in the Future

We badly need solutions for the problem of antibiotic resistance. The recent World Health Organization report about antibiotic resistance referenced below contains some worrying information. The report predicts that if antibiotic resistance continues to increase, humanity will experience ten million deaths a year by 2050.

The experiments described in this article could be very important. They were performed in lab equipment and in the case of the cranberry extract in insects as well. The results may or may not be the same inside the human body. The traditional use of cranberries to hinder UTI bacteria as well as the traditional use of the other plant extracts during the time of the Civil War offer hope. More research is needed, though. I hope this research is performed soon.

We badly need new ways to fight the bacteria that make us ill. Scientists are searching for new antibiotics and are having some success. Discoveries are occurring slowly, however, and their significance is not fully known. Perhaps a specific plant extract or multiple extracts acting alone or in combination with another factor will help to stem the tide of advancing antibiotic resistance.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Linda Crampton

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      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the comment, Marlene. I agree with your comment about the future. The situation is quite worrying.

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 

        3 months ago from USA

        Your article is very enlightening. One thing I fear is that scientists will not be able to keep up with mutating bacteria. We're good for now, but what about in the future. Last year was the first time I have ever seen a Tulip Tree. They are very pretty and having seen one for myself made your article extra enjoyable.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Denise. I think scientists should explore natural remedies in more detail. It's possible that there are a lot of medicinal benefits hidden in nature.

        Blessings to you as well.

      • PAINTDRIPS profile image

        Denise McGill 

        4 months ago from Fresno CA

        I used to have a lot of urinary tract infections but I started drinking cranberry juice regularly and now I don't have any. I think natural remedies are too underrated being that they haven't been used much. I think it's much better than constantly pumping your body full of drugs. Thanks for sharing.

        Blessings,

        Denise

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        It is an interesting thought that researchers in the present are trying to learn from past discoveries. I hope their efforts are successful. Thanks for commenting.

      • profile image

        RTalloni 

        4 months ago

        Thanks for this look at antibiotic resistance and solutions we may see in the future. That they are looking at the past makes me smile. Who knows what may be discovered in all the research! Advancements in understanding antibiotics are so important and we have a lot to be thankful for in the ability to do research in this day and time. This is a neat read for many reasons.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Peggy. The destruction of plant life around the world is worrying. The reason that you mention is an excellent argument for protecting plants. Some of them could contain the cure (or the basis of a cure) for some serious diseases.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        4 months ago from Houston, Texas

        My mother always thought that for every disease, there was probably a plant or animal form on earth that could help to cure it. Of course, if we humans keep decimating primeval forests, polluting the waters and destroying animal life, we may run out of time to discover what is already there.

        These experiments on plants that were written about during the U.S. Civil War are fascinating. We need help in finding things to ward off infections since resistance to antibiotics is on the increase.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I'm sorry that your father has experienced such unpleasant problems, Kathi. Important medical discoveries are being made, but there is so much more that we need to learn. I hope improved treatments for MRSA problems appear very soon.

      • Fossillady profile image

        Kathi 

        4 months ago from Saugatuck Michigan

        An important issue in this day and age. My father has been treated for two resistant infections, C-diff, which effects the colon, almost killed him and, MRSA, from a knee surgery, which he is still being treated for and may have to for the rest of his life. Invaluable information about the white oak, tulip and devils walking stick. Thanks for sharing, Linda

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks, Audrey. I appreciate your kind comment.

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        4 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        I love your articles about health and this one is a gem! Being a Civil War buff, your information about the book containing plant medicines caught my attention. Plants are clearly the way to go providing we learn how to use them.

        Thank you for this informative article!!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks, Prasetio. I appreciate your visit.

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 

        4 months ago from malang-indonesia

        Nice information. Thanks for sharing with us.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks, Asad. I appreciate your visit and comment.

      • Asad Dillz profile image

        Asad Dillz Khan 

        5 months ago from United Kingdom

        Very Interesting and informative article! Great Job! Linda!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experiences, Thelma. I'm glad that cranberries help you.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        5 months ago from Germany and Philippines

        Very interesting and informative article. I love cranberries but when I eat some of these fresh fruits, I can't go out from home as I have to go to the toilet often as I should. Eating fresh cranberries are my way of treating my UTI and it is the best that helps for me. Taking antibiotics is scary as I usually have bad effects in taking it.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Mary. I very much hope that the research is useful. We badly need a way to solve the antibiotic resistance problem.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        The bacteria resistance to antibiotics has become a concern recently and we hope that further research can give us a handle on how to deal with this.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for sharing the interesting information about cranberry, Adrienne. I hope your dog and your friends continue to do well with respects to UTIs.

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 months ago

        Antibiotic resistance is very scary and it doesn't help that sometimes doctors are so fast in prescribing them when it can be sometimes avoided. Cranberry has worked wonders for my elderly female dog who was prone to UTIs and I know of some friends who have diabetes and are prone to recurrent UTIs and take cranberry to prevent them. Thanks for this insightful article on so many helpful plants.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi again, Patty. I'm not surprised that you didn't hear about the extracts in medical classes. The ones from the civil war are traditional medicines. I'm unaware whether anyone still uses them. It would be very interesting to know whether they do! As I say in the article, we don't know whether the extracts will work inside the human body yet. I hope they do.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

        Patty Inglish MS 

        5 months ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        That's good to know. Very interesting info that we did not hear in medical classes.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Patty. No, I don't believe the extracts are available for sale anywhere (except in the form of cranberry juice). They were created specifically for the experiment by the researchers. I appreciate your visit.

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

        Patty Inglish MS 

        5 months ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

        Are the plant extracts you mention for sale anywhere? They sound useful and I think our local Herb Center provides classes for making extracts - and how to recognize the plants. Thanks for this important article!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        “Pick your battles” sounds like excellent advice! Thank you very much for the second comment, June.

      • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

        KonaGirl 

        5 months ago from New York

        Absolutely! Minor, not to be confused with major. Antibiotics can be a Godsend when used properly, but not for every little thing. As you stated, bacterial and not viral, and some minor bacterial infections will heal on their own without the use of antibiotics. The point is, pick your battles. Try to avoid grocery store items full of antibiotics, etc, etc.

        Again, thanks so much for a very informative, well researched, and well written article.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, June. Thank you very much for the comment. I certainly appreciate the information that you've shared and the points that you've raised. I know that you are referring to minor ailments in your comment, and for such conditions it could make sense to see whether the ailment disappears without medical treatment. I don't want to discourage someone from visiting their doctor when they're sick, however, or when they have questions about treatments or immunizations.

        I do think that if the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it's a good idea to ask if the medication is essential and if there are any other treatments available. I think it's important to find a physician who takes our concerns seriously and gives a thoughtful answer to our questions.

      • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

        KonaGirl 

        5 months ago from New York

        Excellent article! Unfortunately, most people do not realize the crisis Americans are actually in from antibiotic abuse. I was raised in an organic, drug-free atmosphere, as were my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I raised my children the same way.

        We have used plants for healing for many generations and none of us have been immunized. We seldom are ill and have not had a need for the use of antibiotics.

        Unfortunately, my husband was not raised the same way. Therefore, he has an immunity to 99% of antibiotics. We have found he has very little resistance to disease (he has been immunized for everything under the sun) and antibiotics are of no use to him.

        I sincerely hope people will take heed from this article and not run to the medical doctor for a prescription of antibiotics for every little whim. Allowing the body to heal itself with proper nutrition and herbal healing can take care of so many minor ailments.

        Anyway, without going on a tangent, thank you for the well researched and well-written article.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for the comment, Muhammad

      • M Hasham khan profile image

        Muhammad Hasham khan 

        5 months ago from pakistan

        such an interesting article.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Heidi. I hope that potential solutions for the problem don't cause more issues, too, or at least that they don't cause major issues.

        I hope you have a great week as well.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Dora. Thanks for the comment. I hope there is good news about dealing with harmful bacteria in the near future.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        5 months ago from Chicago Area

        I am so hoping that we can find a solution for antibiotic resistance and, we hope, one that doesn't cause even more issues! This plant-based research is exciting. Very interesting that their disease fighting properties were known as far back as the Civil War (probably even long before that!).

        Thank you, as always, for sharing these developments with us! Fascinating for sure. Have a great week!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 months ago from The Caribbean

        Antibiotic resistance sounds frightening. Thanks for pointing out some of the drug resistant bacteria and also for giving us some hope for the future. Thanks for the education, in general.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the comment. Antibiotic resistance is an important topic. I think it's an interesting one, too.

      • profile image

        David B Katague 

        5 months ago

        I really enjoyed reading this very informative article. I could Identify with the ideas and sentiments of this article having worked in the field of antibiotics in FDA for 12 years prior to my retirement. Keep writing similar articles in the future.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Mel. Yes, unsweetened cranberry juice is pretty hard to drink. I've tried, but I now drink a variety that contains cranberry juice mixed with sweeter juices. It may not be as healthy, but it certainly tastes better! Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      • Mel Carriere profile image

        Mel Carriere 

        5 months ago from San Diego California

        Ugh! I hate cranberries! When I had kidney stones my doctor tried to get me to drink that swill and I couldn't do it. I hope they come up with some cranberry pill I can just plug my nose and swallow.

        Again you have provided enlightening information on a topic that is increasingly important. Great article!

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Yes, antibiotic resistance is very worrying. We badly need new ways to fight infections. I hope plant extracts help us. If the ones that I've mentioned in the article are helpful inside the human body, we need to know this soon.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 months ago from UK

        Antibiotic resistance is worrying. I had heard of the benefits of cranberry juice for urinary tract infections, but the others are new to me.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Pamela. It's interesting that discoveries made during the Civil War might be helpful today. I appreciate your comment very much.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much for the visit and such a kind comment, Bill.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thanks for the visit, Audrey. I think that obtaining medicines from plants is an interesting topic.

      • AudreyLancho profile image

        Audrey Lancho 

        5 months ago from North Carolina and Spain

        I love learning about the civil war. This plant medicine information adds to my intrigue. Thanks for writing this.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        5 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I am seriously impressed with your scientific knowledge. Science was hard for me in school, but then I never had a teacher like you. :)

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        5 months ago from Sunny Florida

        This is such an excellent article about the benefit of plants and how they work. You explained all of these things so well, and I would hope the future holds better medications.

        I know antibiotics are over prescribed, which is part of the problem with bacteria building up resistance to antiobiotics. It is amazing to me that some of this was known in the Civil War, but we are just now taking advantage of that knowledge.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Hi, Flourish. Plants may have far more benefits for us than we realize. I hope this is the case. We'll have to see what the future holds.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 months ago from USA

        The potential number of deaths from antibiotic resistance should really cause people to sit up and take notice. It’s interesting how some solutions have been right here in front of us all along.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you for commenting, Nithya. I hope the new discoveries are useful. They might be very important.

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 

        5 months ago from Dubai

        Knowing that plant extracts can reduce the growth of harmful bacteria, researchers can work towards making antibiotics based on plant extracts. It is interesting to note that the cranberry extract weakens the bacteria and the bacteria is not able to fight against the antibiotic. Multi-drug resistant bacteria are quite worrying and I hope the cure for such bacteria is found soon. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article.

      • AliciaC profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Crampton 

        5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        Thank you very much, Jackie. I hope the research is helpful for us and that other useful discoveries are made very soon.

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        5 months ago from The Beautiful South

        Wow, Linda, this is great news. I know nearly all of us worry as we age about antibiotics working when we really need then. Pneumonia especially in old age, killing so many people, even today.

        I hope it will be something they work out quickly.

        Thanks for another gem in health, friend. You never fail to amaze us!

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