NUTRITION
April 10, 2008

Battle Against Drug Resistant Bacteria

Drinking green tea helps make antibiotics up to three times more effective, even in the face of drug resistant strains.
Green tea can help antibiotics fight so-called "superbugs" — antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that are a growing worldwide health threat.

In a recent study, Egyptian researchers made the surprising finding that drinking green tea can make antibiotics up to three times more effective.

Because their fellow Egyptians drink a lot of green tea, the medical researchers decided to find out if the tea interferes in any way with the action of the antibiotics. Their results were presented March 31, 2008 at the Society for General Microbiology's 162nd meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

...Drinking green tea while taking the medicines reduced the bacteria's drug resistance, even in the feared "superbug" strains.

"We tested green tea in combination with antibiotics against 28 disease-causing micro-organisms belonging to two different classes," said Dr. Mervat Kassem from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Alexandria University in Egypt. "In every single case green tea enhanced the bacteria-killing activity of the antibiotics."

Green tea also made 20% of drug-resistant bacteria susceptible to cephalosporin antibiotics, a class of antibiotics to which many bacteria have become resistant.

The study showed that for all types of antibiotics tested, drinking green tea while taking the medicines reduced the bacteria's drug resistance, even in the feared "superbug" strains.

"Our results show that we should consider more seriously the natural products we consume in our everyday life," says Dr. Kassem. "In the future, we will be looking at other natural herb products such as marjoram and thyme to see whether they also contain active compounds which can help in the battle against drug resistant bacteria."
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