Most people don’t realize just how dangerous infections are.
And that’s because the vast majority of people alive today never had to worry about a time when an infection couldn’t be treated with an antibiotic.
Reader beware. Infections are extremely dangerous.
And with the growing concern of bacteria becoming resistant to infection, health professionals are worried we may enter a post-antibiotic era… an era that could lead to the deaths of billions over the next few decades.
This is why they’re constantly searching for new ways to fight infection.
Recently researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia were testing out a group of herbs and spices to see if any of them have the power to stop infection dead in its tracks.
And one of them, a very common spice, performed very well against deadly infections>
There’s been a fair amount of research on cinnamon and its antibacterial properties in the past.
So the team of researchers wanted to see if cinnamon could one day help in our fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Their findings, which were published in the journal Microbiology show cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde (CAD) and the way it helps to neutralize bacterial activity.
Their initial research was around how CAD could help to break up biofilms. A biofilm is a stick layer that many times can exacerbate and lead to prolonged infections. Antibiotics are not able to make it through biofilms and this can lead to severe infections down the road.
A common biofilm is the plaque found in teeth,
Biofilms are only ever formed when bacteria come together in a mass and communicate from organism to organism to build these massive colonies. Once formed, they act as a fortress of infection.
The researchers hypothesized that CAD could bust these biofilms apart allowing for antibiotics to do damage.
As lead researcher Dr. Sanjida Topa wrote: “We hypothesized that using natural antimicrobials, such as essential oils, might interfere in biofilm formation. Thus, we focused on the impact of different concentrations of cinnamaldehyde in different biofilm development stages.”
Medical News Today wrote this in their synopsis of the trial.
For their experiments, they used Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium commonly responsible for infections in people with reduced immune systems, such as individuals with cancer, diabetes, or cystic fibrosis.
When CAD was tested against bacterial biofilms, it was shown to break them down in over three-quarters of cases. It also appeared to hinder the formation of biofilms and prevent bacteria from spreading.
Biochemical analysis showed that the disruption of biofilm genesis was likely due to reduced levels of a second messenger called bis-(3′–5′)-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate, which is known to be important in their formation.
“These findings definitely contribute to the search for novel antimicrobials. […] Fabrication of cinnamaldehyde for surface treatments, for example [to treat] skin infections, could be the first direct application.”
As Dr. Topa explains, “Humans have a long history of using natural products to treat infections, and there is a renewed focus on such antimicrobial compounds.” Hopefully, this approach will help restock our arsenal of antimicrobial agents as antibiotics become increasingly toothless.
Knowing these kinds of compounds exists offers the human race a fair bit of hope in the face of what would be an unthinkable tragedy – the death of antibiotics.
Hopefully, these kinds of treatments see their way into medical practice so that we can prevent massive antibiotic failures.