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Antibiotics have an important role in medicine, but unfortunately, they have been over-prescribed and over-used for decades for treatment of many infections.  Thankfully, nature has provided some very powerful antibiotics that can synergistically boost effectiveness of antibiotics used in the treatment of thyroid fever.

In a new study, experts found Honey bee propolis makes the standard antibiotic Cefixime, a conventional antibiotic for treating typhoid fever, doubly effective.

Under laboratory conditions, the scientist found that the antibacterial potential of propolis enhanced the efficacy of Cefixime against Salmonella, the typhoid causing bacteria. Its combination with propolis also reduced the dose of the antibiotic required for an effective treatment.

The commonly used treatment for typhoid is the use of antibiotics like fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, and azalides. One such cephalosporin is Cefixime which causes morphological changes and growth inhibition of Salmonella, the typhoid causing bacteria.

Every year around 21 million cases of typhoid fever are reported worldwide. Children, the elderly, immuno-compromised individuals and pregnant woman are at greater risk of typhoid infection.

It is usually contracted by ingestion of food or water contaminated by the faeces or urine of carriers excreting Salmonella typhi. In endemic areas, identified risk factors for the disease include intake of street food, ice creams, contaminated water, poor sanitary conditions at home and excessive use of antibiotics.

Because of increasing multi drug resistance (MDR), there is a worrisome possibility of recurrence of untreatable typhoid.

Bees create propolis as a seal that protects their hive against the attack of small insects and microorganisms. Today, propolis is found in all kinds of products and forms- tablets, powder, capsules, creams, lotions, toothpastes, ointments, and extracts.

In the days of Hippocrates, propolis was used to heal open sores and ulcers. In Europe, propolis was said to relieve inflammation and fever, and in World War II it was used to dress wounds sustained in battle.

Over the years, it has also been used to enhance the immune system, which makes it doubly effective as an antibiotic – not only does it kill germs; it also boosts the body’s germ-fighting capabilities.

For the study, the researchers at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, made use of ethanolic extract of propolis. This was tested on mice. Along with normal and infected control groups, four different combinations of cefixime and propolis were used.

Along with comparison of treatment groups with infected control, the effect of cefixime and propolis was compared with different combinations to understand whether the combination was effective because of effect of cefixime.

From the results, they suggested the curative effect of honey bee propolis in combination with standard antibiotic cefixime against Salmonella, the typhoid causing bacteria, was due to the action of both the antibiotic and propolis.

However, the researchers are yet to explain how the honey bee propolis was able to boost the effectiveness of cefixime in treating typhoid fever. But they suggested that this may probably be due to constituents of propolis such as flavonoids.

Written in the 2016 edition of the journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, they concluded, “The overall results of the present work provide baseline information for the possible use of the ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) in the treatment of salmonellosis, especially typhoid fever.”

In previous studies, propolis has been used in combination with chloramphenicol, tetracycline and neomycin against Salmonella, the typhoid causing bacteria under laboratory conditions. It also caused a reduction in the load of the typhoid causing bacteria in the body.

Earlier investigations showed the use of propolis against bacteria of human infections, and also reported that lower concentrations of propolis were effective against Gram positive bacteria but higher doses had to be used against Gram negative bacteria.

In 2015, experts reported in the journal, The Archives of Biological Sciences, that propolis could ameliorate the damage caused by Salmonella typhimurium in the liver of infected mice.

In Nigeria, a survey of forest plants used in the traditional treatment of typhoid fever was conducted in Chikun local government area of Kaduna state in 2010. Their herbal preparations included a combination of two or more plants.

One product involves the combination of Anogeissus leoicarpus (Otra in Idoma, Marke (or kwankila) in Hausa, Atara in Ibo and Orin-odan in Yoruba) leaf, Carica papaya (pawpaw) leaf and Mangifera indica (mango) stem bark. This combination is cooked with water. Some of which is used for bathing the patient while some is drunk by the patient.

In 2014, researchers, including V.N.Chidozie and G.I.Adoga justified the claim by the herbalists that the combination of these plants totally gets rid of typhoid fever within a space of one to two weeks.

In a study, they found that the extracts of these herbs when combined together inhibited the growth of Salmonella typhi, Shigella, Proteus vulgaris, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli at all the concentrations used.


Source: The Nigerian Tribune

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