Tasty herb beats food poisoning, even MRSA!
You can't mistake its warm, citrusy scent. It's a staple in both Mediterranean and Indian cooking.
And it could be what saves you from your next bout with food poisoning.
Not only that, it could become a major player in fighting antibiotic-resistant infections, including E. coli and MRSA.
Who would expect that those little seeds we call coriander could do so much? But researchers at the University of Beira Interior in Portugal found that a solution containing a mere 1.6 percent coriander oil (or in some cases even less) was enough to slow the growth of 12 different strains of bacteria. In fact, most of the bacterial strains were outright killed by coriander.
Not bad at all for a spice that's sitting in my pantry at this very moment!
Coriander's antibacterial effect comes from its ability to damage the membrane that surrounds the cells of bacteria. In turn, the cell can't "breathe" and dies.
Researchers foresee being able to use coriander oil as a food additive to fight pathogens and prevent bacteria from spoiling food.
They also think it could become the next big alternative to the antibiotics we're overusing (you know, the thing that got us into this mess of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the first place!), replacing many clinical drugs.
I do like thinking about a world in which the first thing for which a doctor reaches when faced with a case of MRSA is a bottle of coriander oil rather than a bottle of patent drugs. Big Pharma might not be happy about it, but that world may need to come more quickly than we think. After all, many infections are no longer treatable by patent drugs--the bacteria have outwitted them at this point--and we must continue to find natural alternatives if we want to save lives.
The researchers for this study see coriander being introduced to a clinical setting in the form of mouth rinses, pills, and lotions as part of the fight against infection. I hope they're right.
Coriander is already known not only for being a tasty addition to any kitchen--it's also been shown to relieve pain, ease cramps, aid digestion, and beat fungal infections. It is one of the 20 most commonly used essential oils, and is readily available at health food stores and natural markets.
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