Why “bastard myrobalan” may be the next natural cure for antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria are a real and present threat. This is why many scientists have focused their attention on finding novel treatments for infections caused by MDR bacteria. A study by researchers from the University of Peradeniya, the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, and the Veterinary Research Institute in Sri Lanka revealed a potential cure for these conditions. Their findings showed that bastard myrobalan (Terminalia bellirica), also known as bahera, has potent antibacterial properties against MDR bacteria.

Infections caused by MDR bacteria tend to be more severe than those caused by normal bacteria. Because of this, they are also more likely to lead to death. According to the World Health Organization, researchers should prioritize finding treatments for the following MDR bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli. These bacteria are known to cause various diseases. The Gram-positive S. aureus is responsible for most cases of bloodstream, skin, and soft-tissue infection. It is also a common cause of post-influenza pneumonia. Meanwhile, P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii are Gram-negative bacteria that have been associated with ventilator-assisted pneumonia, inflammation of the heart’s inner lining, meningitis, and skin, blood, soft tissue, and urinary infections.

The search for remedies against MDR bacterial infections has led researchers to medicinal plants, which are widely used in traditional medicine. Compared to conventional drugs, these are cheaper, more accessible, and generally safer to use. One plant that has long been used in traditional medicine is bastard myrobalan. The dried ripe fruit of this plant is used as a traditional remedy for diarrhea, cough, hoarseness of voice, eye diseases, and scorpion stings. Previous studies have provided evidence of bahera’s ability to improve blood sugar, relieve pain, cure ulcers, improve blood pressure, and eliminate fungi and bacteria. However, there are no prior reports regarding its effects on MDR bacteria.

In this study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the researchers looked at the antibacterial activity of bastard myrobalan against MDR bacteria. They evaluated these effects on 16 different MDR strains of AcinetobacterE. coliK. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, and S. aureus. The team also determined the antioxidant properties of bahera, which could confer various health benefits, and its toxicity against mammalian cells.

The results of the study showed that bastard myrobalan was effective against different strains of MDR bacteria. Moreover, its extracts were observed to have high antioxidant activity and were non-toxic against mammalian cells.

From these results, the researchers concluded that bahera has potential use as a natural remedy for infections caused by MDR bacteria. This is possible due to its components which have potent antibacterial and antioxidant activity. Additionally, bahera is non-toxic against mammalian cells. (Related: Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections continue to rise: Just how inept is the conventional medical industry?)

Other benefits of bastard myrobalan

Bastard myrobalan might not be as popular as other medicinal plants in the west but it is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also widely used in Unani, Siddha, and Chinese medicine. Some examples of the health benefits associated with bastard myrobalan include the following:

  • Promoting weight loss — Bahera fruit is beneficial for people who want to lose weight. It helps boost a person’s metabolism because of its hot potency. Additionally, bahera is helpful for regulating hunger. To achieve optimal results, it is best to take bahera daily and combine it with regular exercise and proper diet.
  • Improving diarrhea — If you’re suffering from diarrhea, a herbal remedy containing bahera might be the solution to your problems. Just take two to five grams of bastard myrobalan bark, grind it with one to two cloves, and add a teaspoon of honey. Take this remedy three to four times a day to your bowel movement under control.
  • Removing acne and ulcers — Bastard myrobalan is rich in vitamin C, potassium, selenium, copper, iron, and manganese. All of these nutrients help keep the skin smooth and reduce inflammation. Moreover, the potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties of bahera help with acne scars, wounds, and other skin conditions.

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