A little over a year ago, my adult son contracted MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), one of several types of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria. It all started as a small, harmless-looking bite of an unknown insect and ended in what could have become a nightmare. Luckily, after surgery and a multitude of intraveneous antibiotics he was finally able to be cured of the infection and is just fine today.
However, the frightening truth is that these sometimes deadly bacteria seem to be getting increasingly resistant to antibiotics all the time. One reason is the pervasive overuse of antibiotics. Also, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “…the practice of adding antibiotics to agricultural feed promotes drug resistance. More than half of the antibiotics produced in the United States are used for agricultural purposes.”
I hate to think what eating the meat of the animals that have been served antibiotics does to those of us with severe allergies to various antibiotics. But I digress.
Because of this growing problem, scientists are now testing various medicinal plants to see which ones may be useful in fighting these microorganisms. One of the plants tested is the familiar peppermint plant (Mentha piperita). Multiple types of peppermint extracts were tested for their ability to alleviate these microorganisms:
- multidrug resistant S. pyogenes
- Enterococcus faecalis
- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- methicillin resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE)
- penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Seratia marcescens
- Acinetobacter baumannii
- Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
- carbapenem-resistant E. coli
- Klebsiella pneumonia
These pathogenic culprits are to blame for infections ranging from pneumonia to serious skin infections to urinary tract infections and can be extremely difficult to treat. You can follow the link at the end of this article to read the entire scientific procedure used in the testing.
The great news is that the peppermint extracts were able to inhibit growth and showed antibacterial abilities. This is only the latest scientific study using peppermint and other plant-based extracts to fight drug-resistant bacteria and the results are extremely promising. Especially since we are hearing that things like MRSA bacteria is virtually everywhere in our environment.
In my opinion, based on this, it can’t hurt to use a common body wash like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castille Soap for showering. And we should stop contributing to the drug-resistance issue by discontinuing use of antibacterial soaps and cleansers.