Chinese herbal therapy and Antimicrobial resistance

The Annual Veterinary Conference is being held in Melbourne this week. The first plenary of the week dealt with the alarming and worsening problem of antimicrobial resistance. Our human, livestock and pet populations are all affected but of the 9 million that the government have allocated to this problem, only $200,000 will go to the veterinary industry, mainly towards reporting, surveillance and awareness campaigns. 

What do I have to offer? 

Apparently even those that argue that there is insufficient evidence that acupuncture works are looking at us more favourably because we don’t prescribe antibiotics

Antibiotics have certainly been a game changer in modern medicine. However, we must be mindful of their origins, think of the the painkiller aspirin and willow bark. There are many chinese herbal formulae designed to treat infections. The chance of developing resistance is drastically reduced because the formula is a complex mix of multiple active ingredients working synergistically, each herb is a small component and the active substances are not singled out, concentrated or purified. 

Are herbal formulae effective? Studies have shown that bitter tasting, cold inducing herbs such as Gardenia fruit have antipyretic, anti infammatory and antimicrobial properties. A furry patient of mine with bladder cancer (transitional cell carcinoma) used to get recurring bladder infections. Once a formula commonly used for cystitis was added to the cancer formula, the bladder infections have not come back. By the way, she is still happy and healthy three years after her diagnosis for a disease that usually has a six month survival period. 

Traditional use of herbs such as in chinese medicine have a lot to offer.

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