University of Manchester researchers have discovered that maggots rid diabetic patients of an antibiotic-resistant infection called methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). You may be surprised to learn that this is not new as medical use for maggots has a very rich and long history.
Maggots: The World’s Smallest Surgeons
According to Professor Boulton, the lead author who published the results of the maggot study in the journal Diabetes Care,
“Maggots are the world’s smallest surgeons. In fact they are better than surgeons – they are much cheaper and work 24 hours a day,” Professor Boulton jokes. “They have been used since the Napoleonic Wars and in the American Civil War they found that those who survived were the ones with maggots in their wounds: they kept them clean. They remove the dead tissue and bacteria, leaving the healthy tissue to heal. Still, we were very surprised to see such a good result for MRSA. There is no reason this cannot be applied to many other areas of the body, except perhaps a large abdominal wound.”
The medical benefits of maggots are astounding. History tells us that the use of medicinal maggots (“Maggot Debridement Therapy”) was first used during the time of Napoleon. Since scientific studies on medicinal maggot first began in the 1920s, it has been discovered that maggots help clean dirty and necrotic wounds by feeding on the dead tissue while leaving the healthy tissue unaffected. During the 1930s, thousands of surgeons used maggots to treat infected wounds such as abscesses, burns and infections. After penicillin hit the scene, medical doctors began to steer away from maggot therapy in the 1940s.
According to the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, “The medical literature is rapidly growing with scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy and safety of maggot therapy for a variety of problematic wounds.” Particularly, with the advent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria physicians are returning to maggots as a viable therapeutic option.
Increasing strains of bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics that were once commonly treated with penicillin. The most pressing issue with antibiotic resistance is that bacteria are becoming resistant to most antibiotics on the market and infections by these bacteria may prove fatal. Examples include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
3 Ways to Protect Yourself From Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
- Minimize unnecessary antibiotics. Remember, antibiotics do not work against viruses; they are only effective in treating bacterial infections. Although your physician may prescribe them, treat antibiotics as a last-resort.
- When you do take an antibiotic, be sure to complete the entire course of the prescription so that it can be fully effective and not breed resistance.
- Practice good hygiene and eat a natural diet full of local, organic fruits and vegetables to support immune function.
Going Back to Nature
Whether it’s antibiotic resistant bacteria or pesticide resistant bugs, the reality is setting upon us that science’s solutions are short-lived at best. People are growing suspicious to once-widely accepted guidelines from the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA). Everyday more people are searching for natural remedies and “Green” solutions to health issues.