Garlic and bitter kola found to be effective at treating respiratory infections

A combination of bitter kola (Garcinia kola) and garlic (Allium sativum) extracts may contain antimicrobial properties, according to researchers from the University of Nigeria. The study, which as published in the IOSR Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food Technology, was conducted to investigate the effects of the plants’ extracts on known respiratory pathogens when used separately and when combined into one mixture.

The study answers the need for alternative treatments against antibiotic-resistant respiratory pathogens, as researchers believe that developing plant-based antimicrobials will stop this developing trend.

For this study, the properties of bitter kola and garlic were analyzed. These products are used to treat respiratory infections in regions such as Africa and beyond.

Earlier studies have noted that bitter kola extracts have displayed antibiotic properties against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Garlic, on the other hand, has long been known for its therapeutic properties. A study made by the University of Edinburgh had noted the antimicrobial potential of garlic – particularly its active ingredient, allicin – in addressing cases such as Burkholderia cepacia complex, a multiresistant and virulent pathogen that can be life-threatening when exposed to humans.

To test their theory, researchers extracted both aqueous and ethanol extracts from the two plants using maceration and stored these before use. Then, the respiratory pathogens were cultured before testing. These included S. aureusStreptococcus pyogenes, S. pneumoniae, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Researchers then used a punch hole agar diffusion method to test the antibacterial properties of the ethanol and water extracts of the two plants.

Results showed that a combination of garlic and bitter kola ethanol extracts displayed more significant antibacterial activity than separate extracts from both plants. The minimum inhibitory concentration of the combined extracts was also better than that of the single extracts, except for E. coliS. pyogenes, and K. pneumoniea.

Researchers concluded that a mixture made from bitter kola and garlic has a potent antimicrobial property and can be used against pathogens that cause upper respiratory tract infections.

Natural ways to deal with respiratory tract infections

Aside from garlic and bitter kola, there are other ways to deal with upper respiratory tract infections. Some herbs that can help deal with the condition include horseradish, parsley, beet, ginger, and cayenne – which can be taken together as a tonic formula to help manage or prevent respiratory tract infections from affecting a person. (Related: How to treat respiratory tract infections with everyday foods and spices.)

Additionally, eating foods rich in vitamin C and zinc can lessen the duration of a person’s sickness, and adding elderberries to your diet can boost the immune system.

Chicken broth soup isn’t an old wives’ tale – it one of the best things you can eat to feel better while you’re sick. Add vegetable soup, citrus fruits, and berries to the mix to ensure that your digestive system isn’t too worked up and can easily process the nutrients to facilitate your healing. Resist the urge to eat a heavy meal, especially those that have meat, dairy products, and sugar, as these take longer to digest.

There are even more natural ways to treat respiratory ailments. Learn about these and more by heading to today.

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