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MRSA is a serious type of staph infection. MRSA (pronounced ‘mer-sa’ or simply ‘m-r-s-a’) is
an abbreviation for ‘methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus’. As the name implies, this type of infection is resistant to the antibiotic Methicillin, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a ’super-bug’. The MRSA bacteria causes strong and painful infection in different areas of the body, just like other types of staph, but it is more dangerous because it is hard to treat due to its resistance to some commonly used antibiotics. It is quite important to get advice from your doctor about such an infection rather than try to treat it alone.
Herbs & MRSA
Good news! There are many herbal botanicals that work like antibiotics and, along with western remedies, can help treat MRSA infections. Two herbs in particular currently show a promising ability to treat antibiotic-resistant staph infections like MRSA. These two herbs are Tumeric (Curcuma) and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum). In addition to using western remedies, these herbal medicinals can be used externally as a skin soak at the location of the infection. Tumeric, a common cooking ingredient, especially in Indian food, stains the skin bright orange (see other cautions below). St. John’s Wort is an ‘anti-toxin’ remedy for infection, however it is more well known for its ability to treat depression when taken internally. See related post here. For skin infection, I like to make a tea with St. John’s Wort and soak the area in the liquid and/or make a compress with herbs. If the infection is not broken open, I like to use St. John’s Wort Oil externally on the skin. Links to research on the ability of these herb to treat MRSA is below.
Both of these amazing herbs definitely have cautions and contraindications, listed below, that must be considered before using. It is best to work with an herbalist when considering whether or not these herbs are appropriate. A trained herbalist will be able to determine the correct dosage of these botanicals for the treatment of MRSA and the correct method of usage and administration.
Tumeric is an herb that promotes blood circulation and should not be used with blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin/Warfarin or Plavix. This botanical should not be used before or after surgery. Tumeric should be used cautiously with pregnancy because in some cases it can act as a uterine stimulant.
St. John’s Wort has two main cautions. The first is that this herb increases photo-sensitivity to the sun and may be best to avoid using internally during the summer. Ironically when the oil of St. John’s Wort is applied to the skin, it can act as a sunscreen.
The second caution for St. John’s Wort is that it can affect the way that the liver metabolizes certain western pharmaceuticals. This means that the processing time of these pharmaceuticals may be altered. For example, a women taking birth control pills and St. John’s Wort at the same time can become pregnant because the processing of the birth control pill might be slowed down.
Click below to view some recent western medical research on Tumeric & St. John’s Wort: