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How green tea could boost the effectiveness of antibiotics

Already known for its many health benefits, could a compound in green tea help solve a "critical threat" to global health? ISTOCK

How green tea could boost the effectiveness of antibiotics

As dangerous diseases become more resistant to antibiotics, could the contents of your tea cabinet provide a solution to a looming crisis?

How green tea could boost the effectiveness of antibiotics

One of the biggest current threats to global health is the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Ever since the 1930s, antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections.

Over time, however, some bacteria have become grown resistant to the drugs that were designed to stop them in their tracks.

As researchers and medical professionals scramble for solutions, a recent study concludes that a compound found in green tea could provide a breakthrough.

They discovered that the compound could bolster certain antibiotics and boost their efficiency, thus helping them kill bacteria – and the infections they cause – more effectively.

Green tea contains a compound known as epigallocatechin (EGCG).

Scientists from University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine in Guildford in the UK combined EGCG with the drug aztreonam.

Aztreonam is an antibiotic normally used to tackle the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause severe infections in the skin, the blood, and the respiratory and urinary tracts.

However, its resistance to antibiotics has been growing.

The researchers found that when they combined EGCG with aztreonam, it was more effective than using the drug or EGCG alone because it reduced the number of resistant strains of the bacterium.

The findings may have huge positive implications for global health, with the World Health Organisation listing the bacterium involved in this study as “critical to human health”, according to Prof. Roberto La Ragione, Head of the Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey.

“We have shown that we can successfully eliminate such threats with the use of natural products, in combination with antibiotics already in use,” he told Medical News Today.

The World Health Organization also warns that taking antibiotics when they are not needed promotes resistance of bacterium and puts other human beings at risk.

Read more:
Green tea improves your working memory
Five delicious teas with great health benefits

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