Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Anti-bacterial properties of Indian kitchen items, food

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 17: Kali Mirch, Loung, Dhania and Jeera more than just spice up the Indian cuisine. They also kill the harmful bacteria in the stomach that cause severe health problems often leading to death.
Though the medicinal properties of Indian spices have been known for ages, it is for the first time that a group of researchers has established that pepper, clove, coriander and cumin are capable of waging a successful battle against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that cause meningitis, septicaemia, pneumonia and inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, among others.
A team of biotechnologists of Prathyusha Engineering College led by Prof K Janardhanan screened the antimicrobial activity of clove, pepper, coriander and cumin using the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion and plate dilution technique. "Among the four spices tested, the highest degree of antimicrobial effect was exhibited by the extracts of the buds of clove (Syzygium aromacticum) and the seeds of pepper (Piper nigrum). However, the seeds of coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and cumin (Cuminum cyminum) gave the least effect on Staphylococcus aureus. Escherichia coli was susceptible to all the spices extract," Janardhanan observed.
Pepper has earlier been known to stimulate appetite and avoid flatulence but with the new finding, its extracts will help in controlling harmful bacteria living in the gut of human beings. The anti-microbial properties in clove is due to the presence of beneficial chemicals like eugenol, eugenol acetate, Beta-caryophyllene and triterpene oleanolic acid.
The study showed that the essential oil present in coriander showed delay in the growth of E. coli. Earlier, scientists know that dhania as a diuretic.
E. coli is a notorious bacteria that is known to cause disease in just about every other part of the human body. Some of the more serious diseases caused by the pathogenic variety of this bacteria are pneumonia and meningitis. E. coli has beneficial forms too like those which help in the formation of vitamin K.
The natural way of killing E. coli through spices is beneficial in more than one ways, according to the team. As chemical antibiotics that kill E. coli may cause severe shock in the patient, often leading to death. This is because, when the bacteria die the harmful material present in it cause toxicity in the body.
On the other hand Staphylococcus aureus causes a variety of diseases from the simple skin rashes to the complicated pneumonia and septicaemia.

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