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An Antibiotic Alternative.

Last month, I talked about herbal antibiotics, which are a complementary therapy to antibiotic drugs. Not all alternative therapies, however, can be attributed to complementary medicine. Some come out of traditional medical research, such as using phage therapy instead of traditional antibiotics. Phage therapy uses bacteriophages, which are viruses that attack only bacteria, to treat specific bacterial infections.

Unlike antibiotics, bacteriophages can be developed that target particular bacterium. That means you won't get diarrhea or yeast infections after using phage therapy, because it leaves "good" bacteria alone. Phages also grow alongside of harmful bacteria and disappear as they do. What's more, bacterium doesn't become resistant to phages.

If phage therapy looks so promising, why isn't it being used? It has been used ... in Eastern Europe ... for decades. However, the studies supporting phage therapy have been flawed -- although results from using it are proving to be from 80-90 percent effective against enterococcus, E. coli, and staph infections. Hopefully, we will eventually see phage therapy being dispensed by medical doctors for less serious conditions.

Pirisi, Angela. "Phage therapy -- advantages over antibiotics?" The Lancet, vol. 356, October 21, 2000.
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Title Annotation:bacteriophages or herbal antibiotics
Author:Fuchs, Nan Kathryn
Publication:Women's Health Letter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2001
Previous Article:Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs.
Next Article:Asthma and Cataracts.

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