(NaturalHealth365) The problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been deemed a public health crisis, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that invasive MRSA – or methicillin-resistant S. aureus – infections affect 80,000 people globally a year, and claim over 11,000 lives. But, what the CDC will never tell you is how coriander can potentially save lives.
Researchers in Portugal now say that that the oil from coriander – a common kitchen spice – is quite toxic to a wide range of harmful bacteria, leading to hopes that it may be enlisted in the fight against MRSA and other pathogens.
The scientific research about coriander is promising
Researchers at University of Beira Interior used flow cytometry to study the effects of coriander oil on 12 different disease-causing types of bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, B. cereus and MRSA. In the study, published in Journal of Medical Microbiology, the oil significantly inhibited bacterial growth – especially that of MRSA and E. coli.
Researchers found that the coriander oil worked by damaging the membrane around the bacterial cell, interfering with vital functions such as respiration and eventually causing cell death.
Linalool, a terpenoid responsible for coriander’s pleasant scent, is the main constituent, but the coriander oil outperformed linalool alone – showing that interactions between the components in coriander oil made it even more bactericidal.
Finally, the team found that coriander tended to perform better on Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella – as it could more easily disrupt their cell membranes.
Lead researcher Dr. Fernanda Domingues noted that using coriander in foods could help prevent bacterial spoilage and food-borne illnesses, and possibly function as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotics. The team called for further study to explore practical applications and delivery systems.
How coriander helps to naturally resolve health issues
Coriander, scientifically known as Coriandrum sativum L. and also called cilantro and Chinese parsley, is an herb used in Mediterranean, Asian, Indian and Mexican cuisine, where it lends its spicy, bracing flavor to chutneys, pickles, sauces and salads.
A staple of folk and herbal medicine, coriander has pain-relieving, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. The seeds have even been used for their mild relaxant, anxiety-easing and mood-elevating properties, and the diluted essential oil has been used to treat topical skin infections.
For this study, researchers used essential oil of coriander, but other research on coriander’s antimicrobial qualities has used other forms, such as freeze-dried powder. Coriander essential oil is one of the most widely-used in the world, and is already in use as a food additive.
More scientific research confirms ‘antibacterial effect’
The need to develop safe, non-chemical preservatives – and the need to find natural solutions for antibiotic resistant bacteria – mean that studies on natural, herbal substances such as coriander are a “research hotspot.”
Coriander has impressed researchers with its antimicrobial properties, and additional studies attest to that fact.
In a study published in International Journal of Food Nutrition and Safety, researchers found that a water extract of coriander had a very strong inhibitory effect on E. coli and B.subtilis. Many serotypes of E.coli can cause illness, and B. subtilis, while not a disease-causing pathogen, can contaminate food, and cause potatoes to rot.
Researchers found that the coriander extract worked best to inhibit bacteria when it was prepared in a concentration of 10 percent, with a pH of 6 and a salt concentration of 2 percent.
And, a 2015 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition showed that coriander seed oil exhibited antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria – along with some yeasts and fungi. Researchers expressed their belief in the successful development of a food preservation strategy featuring coriander oil.
MRSA continues to threaten lives, while food-borne illnesses affect up to 30 percent of the population of developed countries – yearly. The CDC reports that a type of infection called STEC – Shiga toxin-producing E. coli – strikes a whopping 265,000 people every year in the United States alone, causing symptoms of severe stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
And, finally, coriander seed oil – non-toxic, non-chemical, and packed with beneficial flavonoids – may very well be the food preservative and antibacterial agent of the future.
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