Frey FM, Meyers R. Antibacterial activity of traditional medicinal plants used by Haudenosaunee peoples of New York State. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Nov 6;10:64.
[PubMed PMID: 21054887; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2989932.]
Observing that the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance, as well as the evolution of new strains of disease-causing agents, is of great concern to the global health community, biologists from Colgate University explored the antibacterial properties of plants used in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) traditional medicine as a potential source of novel drugs.
The authors begin by noting that in Upstate New York, the Haudenosaunee peoples used approximately 450 plant species in traditional medicine. After identification and harvesting, they prepared aqueous extractions from 15 plant species and tested them against four bacterial species (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium [Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium], Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus [Lactococcus] lactis).
From the Conclusions:
“Growing antibiotic resistance among human pathogens and new data showing that antibiotic-resistant E. coli can protect antibiotic-sensitive S. typhimurium without gene transfer, emphasize the importance of finding new antibacterial molecules. Our data suggest that investigating traditional Haudenosaunee medicinal plants may yield promising new leads. The degree of concordance between traditional use and observed antibacterial properties suggest that there may be some truth to these remedies. In particular, our results suggest that A. millefolium, [Hieracium] pilosella, [Ipomoea] pandurata, and [Sanguinaria] canadensis warrant further study, as does the previously undocumented [Hesperis] matronalis, especially in the context of S. typhimurium. Elucidating the mode of action behind these observed antibacterial properties, as well as exploring other pharmacological activities is currently underway in our lab.”
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