8.28.2007

Antibiotic resistance update

Reuters brings news from China that many bacterial lung infections that cause pneumonia are resistant to antibiotics. We've been following the reports of drug-resistant pathogens, mostly bacteria, and the response that government and healthcare establishments are considering.
Resistance seems to spread from centers of antibiotic use, with hospitals acting as 'universities' for bacteria to swap information and reduce their sensitivity to drugs (by altering metabolic pathways, structures in their cell walls, or both). While 70% of pneumonia cases were resistant in the Chinese 'countryside', that number reached 90% at major hospitals in cities like Beijing.
What's troubling is that, unlike poor manufacturing processes that lead to product recalls, antibiotic resistance is much like carbon emission: it has global reach and impact. Pneumonia can indeed be deadly, especially in weakened constitutions; and we do have drugs that the bacteria still aren't resistant to. But the trend in the last ten years is undeniable: let's not wait until all modern antibiotics are ineffective, and start incorporating more crude botanical preparations into the treatment protocols, especially for stronger folks, especially in hospitals!

Some herbs for active, moist pulmonary infections:

Warming expectorants: elecampane, lobelia
Antibacterials: garlic, thyme, eucalyptus, usnea
Diaphoretics: boneset, elderflower, ginger, cayenne
Antiinfectives: echinacea, osha

...and for convalescence: astragalus, red reishi

Of course, the sooner you begin addressing any lung distress, the better the final outcome. Still, I see no reason why some of these plants couldn't be incorporated into hospital regimens -- and it will happen, probably sooner than we think.



No comments: