30 June 2009 - 14:38Tea Fights Superbugs
Besides instilling an aberrant affinity to pipettes, my molecular biologist mother taught me to always understand the importance of finishing the prescription of my antibiotics. If the cycle is not complete, she would say, the result can be that some bacteria from your infection will survive. These survivors then will go on to replicate themselves in such a way to form a resistance to the prescribed medicine. This infection then spreads to more and more people, and the power of the bacteria grows.
These drug-resistant microorganisms can cause major problems, as eliminating them with the usual antibiotics can be quite difficult. Those that prove extraordinarily problematic are dubbed Superbugs, and the only way to destroy them, it was thought, was with quite powerful medicine (which usually took a major toll on the human body as well). That is, until Egyptian scientists, tired from all those pipette parties, reached for their favorite tea and decided to add it to the regular antibiotic regimen.
They shared their findings recently at the 162nd meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. In their research, they went on to say, they were surprised to find that in almost every case and for all types of antibiotics tested, drinking tea at the same time as taking the medicines seemed to reduce the bacteria’s drug resistance, even in superbug strains, and increase the action of the antibiotics.
This would’ve been a pretty staggering accomplishment for any drug that they’d developed, but the fact that tea is a natural product makes it even more amazing. I hope this discovery helps tilt the spotlight a little more in tea’s direction!
So, to conclude: to prevent the creation and dissemination of a nasty Superbug, finish your pills - and drink your tea!