Chestnut leaves have long been used in traditional folk remedies to treat skin infections and it has inspired new, exciting research, by Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist at Emory University. What’s especially fascinating is that rather than killing staph, this botanical extract works by taking away Staphlococcus aureus ability to create toxins that cause tissue damage.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually cause at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since chestnut leaf extract, blocks Staphlococcus aureus virulence and pathogenesis without antibiotic resistance, this new discovery holds great promise in treating and preventing infections of methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA, without fueling the growing problem of drug-resistant pathogens.
Quave did hundreds of interviews, especially in Italy, where Local people and healers told them how they would make a tea from the leaves of the chestnut tree and wash their skin with it to treat skin infections and inflammations.
The research team extracted 94 chemicals from the leaves and found that ursene and oleanene where the most active chemicals against staph.
A single tiny dose of the extract, at 50 micrograms, cleared up MRSA skin lesions in lab mice, stopping tissue damage and red blood cell damage. The extract does not lose activity, or become resistant, even after two weeks of repeated exposure. And tests on human skin cells in a lab dish showed that the botanical extract does not harm the skin cells, or the normal skin micro-flora.
Here’s a great (very short video) that explains just how this amazing folk remedy works!
If you would like to learn how to make your own herbal tinctures, here is an excellent video from MountainRoseHerbs:
- Cassandra L. Quave, James T. Lyles, Jeffery S. Kavanaugh, Kate Nelson, Corey P. Parlet, Heidi A. Crosby, Kristopher P. Heilmann, Alexander R. Horswill. Castanea sativa (European Chestnut) Leaf Extracts Rich in Ursene and Oleanene Derivatives Block Staphylococcus aureus Virulence and Pathogenesis without Detectable Resistance. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (8): e0136486 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.
- DW: Plant Magic: Scientists turn to roots to fight superbugs
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