New scientific research reveals that a chemical found in garlic can kill bacteria that cause life-threatening lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs.
Known as allicin, this chemical may be an effective treatment against a group of infectious bacteria that is highly resistant to most antibiotics. Professor John Govan from the University of Edinburgh in Britain, stated that this discovery comes at a time when novel antimicrobial agents are urgently required, adding that chemical and microbiological research has the potential to unlock the rich reservoir of antimicrobial compounds present in plants such as garlic.
Allicin is produced naturally by garlic bulbs to ward off a closely-related group of plant pathogens found in soil and water habitats. Allicin, which can be extracted by crushing raw garlic, inhibits the growth of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc), the bacteria that cause serious and transmissible lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.
The study was published in the journal PLOS one, and states that researchers believe Allicin kills Bcc bacteria by chemically modifying key enzymes, which is why they think allicin-containing remedies could be used in combination with existing antibiotics to treat Bcc infections.
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