Recently I attended a herbal conference at the Chelsea physic gardens on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). What is this I hear you cry!
Well we have recently been warned about the global threat "..for a post antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries.. could once again kill" WHO 2014. If trends continue it will be a bigger killer that cancer in 2050.
While herbal medicines may not be as powerful as modern antibiotics, their antibiotic action remain effective. This is likely to be due to the synergy of a multitude of chemicals in each medicinal plant that has adapted itself to the negative effects of bacteria, fungi and viruses over the course of time. Such Antimicrobial actions can be further enhanced by the use of different herbal combinations.
The advantages of herbal medicines are that they not only directly affect microbial actions but also improve greater resilience to reinfection and faster recovery from infection. Herbal medicines are effective both in stimulating an immune response and directly fighting infections.
In fact a trial has been approved for GPs to prescribe a Chinese herbal medicine formula for urinary tract infections (UTIs) instead of antibiotics. This is very exciting news indeed. Let's hope it's the start of a more integrated and collaborative approach to healthcare.