When I looked out of my office window, I saw a beautiful landscape and a small lawn covered with bright yellow flowers, and I thought, “Why don’t people like dandelions?” As they come up with new toxic ways to get rid of this “weed”, I admire their medical qualities based on high levels of vitamins, minerals and other components.
Recently, scientists have added the ability to fight superbugs to the impressive list of dandelion health benefits. Scientists from Huaihai University, Lianyungang, China found that dandelion polysaccharides are effective against Escherichia coli (E. coli), Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus.
People can become infected with E. coli through contact with animal or human feces. Although it sounds unlikely, the frequency with which food or water is contaminated with this bacterium may alert you. Meat is the main culprit in the United States. E. coli can get into the meat during butchering and remain active if the internal temperature of the meat during cooking does not reach 71 degrees Celsius.
Other foods that come into contact with contaminated meat can also become infected. Raw milk and dairy products can also contain E. coli through udder contact, and even vegetables and fruits that come into contact with animal feces can become infected.
The bacterium is found in swimming pools, lakes and other bodies of water and in people who do not wash their hands after going to the toilet.
E. coli has always been with us, but now scientists say that approximately 30% of urinary tract infections caused by it are not treatable. While I was doing research for my forthcoming book, The Probiotic Miracle, I found that only five percent were resistant just ten years ago. Scientists have found that E. coli has developed the ability to produce a substance called beta-lactamase, which deactivates antibiotics. A mechanism known as “extended-spectrum beta-lactamase” is also observed in other bacteria, this mechanism reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Bacillus subtilis (hay bacillus) is constantly present in the air, water and soil. The bacterium rarely colonizes the human body, but can cause an allergic reaction if the body is exposed to large numbers of bacteria. It produces the toxin subtilisin, which is used in laundry detergents. Its structure is very similar to E. coli, so it is often used in laboratory research.
Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus) is not so harmless. If you’re reading the news about antibiotic-resistant superbugs in the hospital, chances are you’re reading about MSRA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. According to the Health Agency of Canada, this bacterium is the leading cause of food poisoning. Infection can also be obtained through animal bites and contact with another person, especially if they have staph lesions. The prevalence of MSRA is increased in crowded places such as hospitals and nursing homes, and symptoms can range from short-term nausea and vomiting to toxic shock and death.
Chinese scientists have concluded that dandelion, this despised weed, contains a substance that could very well be used as a food preservative, reducing the risk of infection by these bacteria. Further research is needed to find more antibacterial uses for this strong little flower.