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Microbial Balancers (Parasites Yeast Bacteria Viruses)

Long before the advent of pharmaceutical antimicrobials, people all over the globe treated themselves and their animals, when afflicted by infectious disease, with substances derived from plants and minerals. Nowadays, as the public becomes more aware of problems stemming from antibiotic over-prescription and misuse, they want suitable alternatives from natural sources.

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Potential antimicrobial alternatives span the alphabet from alfalfa to zinc, comprising everything from aromatherapy oils to common food agents to colloidal silver products. In a review of antimicrobial plant products the author stated:

Laboratories of the world have found literally thousands of phytochemicals which have inhibitory effects on all types of microorganisms in vitro. More of these compounds should be subjected to animal and human studies to determine their effectiveness in whole-organism systems, including in particular toxicity studies as well as an examination of their effects on beneficial normal microbiota. Cowan MM. Plant products as antimicrobial agents. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999 Oct;12(4):564-82. View Abstract

Parasites are well adapted for survival in the human environment. Here they satisfy all their needs, while usually providing no benefit to the host. The result of this one-sided dependency is that it is not in the parasites’ best interests to kill the owner of their new home and in many cases parasites are able to survive for a long time. Such habituation may deprive the host of essential nutrients and usually exposes the host’s tissues to the parasites’ metabolic and degradative products, causing pathological changes in and damage to the host. Obviously, remedies against parasites should subsequently include treatment of the host for clinical and pathological changes induced by the parasites.

A good example of an antiparasitic agent is cinchona bark (quinine), which was used against malaria by the early Peruvians and introduced to the Western World by the Jesuits. Extracts of male fern and of santonin obtained from Artemisia maritima var.anthelmintica were held in high regard as antihelmintics by Theophratus (370–285 B.C.) and Galen (A.D. 130–201) and were also recommended as effective antihelmintics until the 1940s and 1950s.

References

  1. Ankri S, Mirelman D. Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes Infect . 1999;1(2):125-9. View Abstract
  2. Aukrust P, Muller F, et al. Decreased vitamin A levels in common variable immunodeficiency: vitamin A supplementation in vivo enhances immunoglobulin production and downregulates inflammatory responses. Eur J Clin Invest . 2000;30(3):252-9. View Abstract
  3. Baldi A, Ioannis P, et al. Biological effects of milk proteins and their peptides with emphasis on those related to the gastrointestinal ecosystem. J Dairy Res . 2005;72 Spec No:66-72. View Abstract
  4. Chandra RK. Effect of vitamin and trace-element supplementation on immune responses and infection in elderly subjects. Lancet . 1992a;340(8828):1124-7. View Abstract
  5. Engwerda CR, Andrew D, et al. Bromelain modulates T cell and B cell immune responses in vitro and in vivo. Cell Immunol. 2001 May 25;210(1):66-75. View Abstract
  6. Griffiths EA, Duffy LC, et al. In vitro growth responses of bifidobacteria and enteropathogens to bovine and human lactoferrin. Dig Dis Sci . 2003 Jul;48(7). 1324-32. View Abstract
  7. Meydani SN, Erickson KL. Nutrients as regulators of immune function: introduction. Faseb J . 2001 Dec;15(14):2555. View Abstract
  8. Reid G, Burton J. Use of Lactobacillus to prevent infection by pathogenic bacteria. Microbes Infect . 2002;4(3):319-24. View Abstract
  9. Borris, R. P. 1996. Natural products research: perspectives from a major pharmaceutical company. J. Ethnopharmacol. 51:29-38 View Abstract
  10. Gill HS. Probiotics to enhance anti-infective defences in the gastrointestinal tract. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Oct;17(5):755-73. View Abstract
  11. Fidan I, Kalkanci A, Yesilyurt E, Yalcin B, Erdal B, Kustimur S, Imir T. Effects of Saccharomyces boulardii on cytokine secretion from intraepithelial lymphocytes infected by Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.Mycoses. 2008 Jun 21. View Abstract
  12. Anthonya, JP, et al. Plant active components – a resource for antiparasitic agents? Trends in Parasitology Volume 21, Issue 10, October 2005, Pages 462-468. View Abstract
  13. Magro,A; Bastos,M; Carolino,M; Mexia,A. Antifungal activity of plant extracts. Bulletin-OILB/SROP. 2007; 30(2): 291-295 View Abstract

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