Thursday, April 09, 2009

Honey May be Useful as Alternative Ulcer Treatment

An African Perspective on Helicobacter pylori: Prevalence of Human Infection, Drug Resistance, and Alternative Approaches to Treatment
Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Volume 103, Number 3, April 2009 , pp. 189-204(16)

Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative, micro-aerophilic, motile, curved rod that inhabits the gastric mucosa of the human stomach. It chronically infects thousands of millions of people world-wide, and is one of the most genetically diverse of bacterial species. Infection with the bacterium leads to chronic gastritis, peptic ulceration, gastric cancers and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid-tissue (MALT) lymphoma. The prevalence of infection appears to be partly determined by geographical and socio-demographic factors, being higher in Africa than elsewhere.

Current treatment, based on potent combinations that each consist of a proton-pump inhibitor and two antibiotics, is successful in 80%-90% of patients. Some undesirable side-effects, poor patient compliance and drug resistance are, however, associated with significant levels of treatment failure and with contra-indications for some patients.

Antibiotic resistance in H. pylori is a growing global concern that merits the urgent attention of public-health authorities. Numerous pieces of clinical evidence have revealed that eradication of the organism from a patient results in improvement of gastritis and drastically decreases the frequency of relapse of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Natural products, including medicinal plants and honey, may offer useful alternatives in the treatment of H. pylori-related infections.

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