Avocado’s Superpower Against Infection
Avocados are known to have many health benefits but were you aware that it also helps the body against infection? This has been proved beyond doubt now, thanks to a group of Mapuche people in Chile, led by Ph. D. student Jes Gitz Holler, of the Copenhagen University. It has been found that the Chilean avocado contains a natural substance that is immensely helpful in fighting infections, which are resistant even to antibiotics.
1) Avocado’s Superpower
The Chilean variety possesses a natural substance, which works effectively, specifically against the yellow staphylococci bacteria. This bacteria is notoriously resistant to antibiotics and is one of the most common causes of infection caused in operation wounds. As a result, the researchers have been able to unlock its superpower in aiding man to fight such aggressive infections, usually encountered in hospitals all over the world.
2) The Research
Holler, along with the Mapuche people, worked to find a counter to this resistant bacteria, which was showing no levy even in case of treatments in practice in countries like the US and Greece. In Holler’s words, “I have discovered a natural substance in a Chilean avocado plant that is active in combination treatment with traditional antibiotics. Resistant bacteria have an efflux pump in their bacterial membrane that efficiently pumps out antibiotics as soon as they have gained access. I have identified a natural substance that inhibits the pumping action, so that the bacteria's defense mechanisms are broken down and the antibiotic treatment allowed to work.” Holler’s study results have also been carried in the Journal of Microbial Chemotherapy.
3) The Strategy
The Mapuche people are known to use the leaves of avocado plant to heal their wounds. Taking a cue from this practice, Holler collected specimens of avocado plant in Chile. He was assisted in this job by Alfonso Guzmán, Ph. D., who represents the Mapuche people. From the specimens, Holler found that the natural compound inside the avocado tree is potentially suitable to “be developed into an effective drug to combat resistant staphylococci.”
4) No Alternatives in Sight
At present, there are not other medicines available in the world market, which treat this efflux-inhibitor mechanism. Holler says, “We want to improve the active substance using synthetic chemistry in the laboratory. That will also ensure sustainable production of a potential drug while protecting rainforest plants.” Besides, a commercial product, instead of just the avocado leaves, will be beneficial to the natives of Mapuche too, feels the young scientist.
It is since 1940s that this staphylococci bacteria has been a major cause of hospital infections. Although, the drug industry has been able to produce new antibiotics with each new strain of this bacteria, to continue doing so in the future may prove to be very costly. Therefore, “winning this race” against the resistant bacteria is very important and Holler’s study about avocado’s superpowers has definitely shown the way ahead. The next step should be to find out whether the avocado fruit has the same benefits as its leaves or not.
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