Urinary tract infections are the second most common infection, with as many as 8.1 million doctor visits per year, according to statistics from US Health and Human Services. Physicians are concerned about an ever increasing number of cases resistant to the antibiotics Ciprofloxacin and Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ). A new study shows that garlic may be a novel solution.
Researchers at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in India, found that “even crude extracts of [garlic] showed good activity against multi-drug resistant strains where antibiotic therapy had limited or no effect. The researchers are hopeful that this study will provide new opportunities for “developing alternative drugs which may be of help in fighting the menace of growing antibacterial resistance.”
Worldwide, about 150 million people are diagnosed each year with UTI, at a total treatment cost in the billions of dollars. Although UTI is usually treated with antibiotics, “emerging antimicrobial resistance compels us to look back into traditional medicines or herbal products, which may provide appropriate/acceptable alternative solutions,” the authors write.
In this study, the team found that 56% of 166 bacteria strains isolated from the urine of people with UTI showed a high degree of resistance to antibiotics. However, about 82% of the antibiotic resistant bacteria were susceptible to a crude aqueous extract of Allium sativum. According to the researchers, “ours is the first study to report the antibacterial activity of aqueous garlic extract against multidrug resistant bacterial isolates from infected urine samples leading to UTI.”
“To conclude, there is evidence that garlic has potential in the treatment of UTI and maybe other microbial infections,” says the team. “However, it is necessary to determine the bioavailability, side effects and pharmacokinetic properties in more detail.”