Garlic may help fight chronic infections, according to a study that shows ajoene, an active sulphurous compound found in the garlic may prove as an effective drug when used with antibiotics.
Researchers show that the garlic compound is able to destroy important components in the bacteria’s communication systems, which involve regulatory RNA molecules.
“We really believe this method can lead to treatment of patients, who otherwise have poor prospects. Chronic infections like cystic fibrosis can be very robust,” said Tim Holm Jakobsen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, documents ajoene’s ability to inhibit small regulatory RNA molecules in two types of bacteria.
“The two types of bacteria we have studied are very important. They are called Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” said Jakobsen.
“They actually belong to two very different bacteria families and are normally fought using different methods.
However, the garlic compound is able to fight both at once and therefore may prove an effective drug when used together with antibiotics,” he said.
Previous studies have shown that garlic appears to offer the most powerful, naturally occurring resistance to bacteria.
In addition to inhibiting the bacteria’s RNA molecules, the active garlic compound also damages the protective slimy matrix surrounding the bacteria, the so-called biofilm.
When the biofilm is destroyed or weakened, both antibiotics and the body’s own immune system are able to attack the bacteria more directly and thus remove the infection.