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First noted in the early ‘sixties, the advent of widespread problems with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (‘hospital staph’) signals the approaching end of the road for many, if not most, antibiotics. There are now many, many strains of various bacteria that are resistant to whole swathes of antibiotics, currently leaving only Vancomycyin as the ‘last ditch’ conventional treatment.

The problem is not exactly a surprise. Many people have been warning for decades that doctors dispensing these one-time ‘miracle’ cures like Smarties and even farmers using them to fatten stock, would inevitably lead to exactly this situation. Like so many other things we have squandered a literally life-saving resource as a result of laziness and greed.

Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium found in numbers on the skin and on the lining of the nose. It is not normally a problem, but in someone with a weakened immune system (as is the case for many hospital patients) this organism can infect wounds or damaged skin. Once established in one site on the body, ‘staph aureus’ can move into the bloodstream and from there, settle and grow in other sites - a potentially fatal situation.

In the recent past, this would not have been a serious problem - a quick course of antibiotics and all would be well in the overwhelming majority of cases. But not any longer; now an infection with MRSA is a serious health issue, especially in older people, and the health profession is struggling to deal with it.

For this reason, if you pick up an MRSA infection in hospital it is necessary to take some action yourself to try to control the infection, rather than wait for the medical profession to ‘come up with something’. There are two approaches to this, which should be carried out simultaneously: (1) use ‘alternative’ anti-bacterial agents to weaken and possibly destroy the Staphylococcus, and (2) build up the immune system as far as is possible so that the white blood cells are able to do their job properly.


Natural anti-bacterials

Several non-antibiotic agents are known to have at least some degree of effect on MRSA.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver or the drug silver sulfadiazine may be used for topical application. Both are able to clear around a half of localised MRSA infections when used alone. Because of the mode of action of silver-based antiseptics (silver interferes with a bacterial respiratory enzyme), resistance is unlikely.

Plant Essential Oils

Eucalytus oil, lavender oil and tea tree oil have proved to be effective for combating skin infections with MRSA, and aerosols and fumes of the oils have also been found to be able to reduce but not eliminate infections in the nose and throat (the drug Mupirocin has proved more effective). Recently some laboratory testing has shown that a combination of grapefruit seed extract (CitrisidalTM) and geranium oil may be particularly potent against MRSA, but the effectiveness of the combination as a topical treatment for localised MRSA infections has yet to be confirmed in the ‘real world’. A team at Manchester Metropolitan University has developed a blend of yeast and essential oils, including tea tree oil, for use as a general antiseptic against MRSA

Olive Leaf Extract

Currently, the most promising anti-microbial for systemic use against MRSA infection is olive leaf extract. It has been used in hospitals in Hungary to overcome MRSA with high success rates.



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