Researchers looked at a unique compound in green tea called epigallocatechin, or EGCG. It is a powerful polyphenol (a type of antioxidant) that may offer anti-inflammatory benefits and prevent some chronic diseases. Although it is available in small amounts in several plants, green tea is the best source on earth. The team wanted to see if it would improve the ability of aztreonam, a common antibiotic, in fighting a drug-resistant bacterium.
They used a drug-resistant strain of bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.aeruginosa), which causes severe infections to skin, blood, respiratory, and urinary tracts, and is listed by the WHO as a critical threat to human health.
In both lab and animal tests, they found that the EGCG/aztreonam combination effectively reduced the number of bacteria present, indicating it restored the efficacy of the drug. The scientists believe the EGCG makes the bacteria permeable, allowing the antibiotic to enter and kill more easily. This is a potentially major finding, however, future studies will likely be needed for confirmation.
Using natural products, in combination with established antibiotics, may be the key to mounting defenses against a variety of illnesses. It’s unclear if drinking green tea on a regular basis is enough to limit the risk of infection or bolster the efficacy of antibiotics, but it may have other useful benefits.
Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s of forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.