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Fighting MRSA with Tea?

Lots of healthy benefits in them thar tea leaves?
Lots of healthy benefits in them thar tea leaves?

I have to confess that before writing this article I was a little bit out of the loop when it comes to MRSA. Which is to say that not only did I not know that it was a problem, but I had never even heard of it. So, as a service for those of you who might also be living under a rock, here’s the Reader’s Digest version on MRSA.

Or better yet, here’s the Web MD version, “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body.” MRSA is sometimes referred to a superbug due to the fact that it is resistant to many common antibiotics. Though MRSA infections typically are not serious, they have the potential to be fatal.

But there’s good news — potentially — as if the title of this article hadn’t already tipped you off to that. According to research published in the Annals of Family Medicine, hot tea (or coffee) have antimicrobial properties and drinking these beverages can help to lower the risk of MRSA in the nasal passages.

By some estimates there may be as many as 2.5 million people who have MRSA in their nasal passages. The recent studies were carried out by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, who found that people who drank hot tea were about half as likely to experience this problem as people who did not.

The author of the study, Eric Matheson, said that “Certain compounds in tea or tea-based extracts may have antimicrobial properties that can possibly destabilize and weaken this superbug.” He cautioned that these effects have only been observed with when the tea is consumed hot, as the compounds are more soluble at higher temperatures and may even be destroyed when chilled.

Some other experts were more cautious about the results but suggested that more research into the matter might be worthwhile. Read an overview on the research in this article or access the original study here.

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2 responses to “Fighting MRSA with Tea?”

  1. […] of the topics we reported on previously was how tea might aid in guarding against MRSA, a so-called “superbug” […]

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