Sunday, 21 October 2018

Herbal Catnip Essential Oil, The Natural Antibiotic Alternative with No Side Effects

Kyle J. Norton, Master of Nutrition

Herbal catnip was found to process certain chemical compounds which stimulate the immune function against microbial organisms in the acute and chronic phase of infection, some scientists suggested.

In human, anti-microbial activity is a natural reaction in which the macrophages of the immune system in the response to the early phase of infection stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines which have a unique function in killing off foreign pathogens before they can cause harm to the body.

In plants, antimicrobial substances produced by the plant are served as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms.

However, overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines in many cases can mistakenly cause damage of healthy cells and tissue in the site of infection, leading to abnormal skin and scars formation.

There are 2 types of inflammatory cytokines: the proinflammatory (Isuch as IL-1β, IL-6. and TNF-α) and anti-inflammatory (such as IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-11) cytokines. Some cytokines process a duo inflammatory (such as IL-6) functions, under normal conditions, they act as the anti-inflammatory agents to protect against inflammation. Once they sense the danger to the body, they can quickly switch to pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Catnip is also known as catswort, or catmint, a plant of Nepeta, belonging to the family of Lamiaceae, native to Europe and Asia.

The functional herb has been used in herbal medicine as an insect repellant and to treat digestive disorders, children restlessness and nervousness, fevers, cold and flu, skin irritation, stimulate sweating, promote menstruation, etc..

Besides, having the major constituent of terpenoid nepetalactone, the herb also contains α-Pinene, β-Pinene, Cyclohexen-1-yl-methyl ketone, Triplal, Thymol, Nepetalactone, Nepetalactone, etc.

In the finding of the natural alternatives in replacement of traditional antibiotics with no side effects, researchers at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences launched an evaluation to examine the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil derived from herbal Catnip.

Chemical 4a-α, 7-α, 7a-β-nepetalactone (55-58%), and 4a-α, 7-β, 7a-α-nepetalactone (30-31.2%) isolated from the essential oil were effective in exerting their antimicrobial activity against all tested bacteria at concentrations of 0.125-4 μL/mL and the growth of Candida species at a concentration less than 1 μL/mL. 

The essential oil chemical constituent nepetalactones are also found to process anti antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal and antioxidant activities.

Terpenenes or terpenoids found abundant in Catnip are active against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. According to the 1977 report, 60% of essential oil derivatives derived from terpenoids demonstrated an inhibition of fungi and while only 30% inhibited bacteria.

Furthermore, the extract of catnip also displayed an inhibitory activity on growth, enzyme production and adhesion of some bacteria. 

Moreover, the essential oil extract from Catnip also exhibited the anti bactericidal activity against Gram-positive bacteria at concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 8 μL/mL.

All of the Gram-negative bacteria were susceptible to the Catnip oils at concentrations of 0.25–32 μL/mL

The essential oil of Catnip from different growth stages exhibited bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities against the Shigella and Salmonella species at concentrations of 0.25–2 μL/mL and 0.5–8 μL/mL, respectively.

Additionally, the essential oil inhibited the growth of the standard species of Aspergillus at a concentration of 0.25–1 μL/mL.

In the comparison of the antibacterial effect of some herbs, including Catnip, researchers found that Lavender oil is more effective in the exhibited antibacterial ability than the Catnip essential oil, probably based on the concept of synergistic values of essential oil components.

Nevertheless, only a few published reports are available regarding the antimicrobial effects of the catnip EOs, especially against food-borne and resistant microorganisms, Dr. Zomorodian K, the lead author suggested.

Taken altogether, the essential oil derived from catnip may be considered an adjunct therapy for treatment of microbial infection.

Today, mainstream medicine antibiotics have become less effective as many viral and bacteria have developed resistance to the application due to being overused.

Secondary metabolites of plants processed antimicrobial properties with no side effects have been promoted by some companies as natural alternatives to antibiotics. The general public must be aware that many of these compounds are currently available as unregulated botanical preparations. 

Please make sure that you follow the guideline of the product closely, as acute liver toxicity has been reported in some cases.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.
(1) Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oils from Nepeta cataria L. against Common Causes of Food-Borne Infections by Kamiar Zomorodian, Mohammad Jamal Saharkhiz, Samaneh Shariati, Keyvan Pakshir, Mohammad Javad Rahimi, and Reza Khashei(PubMed)
(2) Effects of Nepeta menthoides aqueous extract on retention and retrieval of memory in mice by Sarahroodi S, Jafari-Najafi R, Nasri S, Rohampour K, Maleki-Jamshid A, Esmaeili S.(PubMed)

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