‘Indigenous foods can serve as alternative to antibiotics’
A Professor of Medical Microbiology (Infections and Immunity) at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Tinuola Adebolu has warned that most antibiotics can have undesirable side effects on the consumers.
Adebolu iterated this on Tuesday, last week, while delivering the university’s 88th inaugural lecture titled: “Mechanisms of Adaptive Immunity and the Endless Battle against Diarrhoeagenic Bacteria.”
She posited that indigenous foods and herbs, which are readily available in the community, alongside those researched into, could be used in treating infection.
“More so that they are foods that we normally consume with no side effect. We should let food be our medicine. They should, however, be consumed as close to nature as possible, that is in their raw state.”
She listed an array of foods like “Ogi” (local pap), cheese, whey, honey, garlic and beniseed as having antibacterial, anti-diarrhoeal, immune-modulatory and immune-stimulatory effects.
She disclosed that they could be exploited in treating individual’s suffering from bacterial diarrhoea, especially in rural communities where people might not have quick access to orthodox therapy.
Adebolu, who advocated that indigenous foods and herbs should serve as alternatives, said that raw “Ogi” used in making pap and other components are highly potent in curing diarrhoea.
This, according to her, might go a long way to reduce the morbidity and mortality that accompany such illnesses, especially in children.“These materials can also be used by people dwelling in the cities as alternatives to conventional antibiotics.
“Since some of the antibiotics being used in treating this infection can also induce diarrhea and also because most of the bacterial causing diseases have developed resistance to some of the commonly available antibiotics.”
The Professor also recommended that more research work should be done, especially on indigenous foods or raw materials in order to discover more foods or raw materials that can be used locally in treating bacterial diarrhoea.
She said, “These foods do not only compose bioactive components that kill diarrhoeagenic bacterial responsible for the illness but also possess components that replenish lost materials, electrolytes, fluid and also have immune-modulatory and immune-stimulatory potentials.”
Adebolu warned against over dependence on vaccines produced from outside the country since there are divergent strains and serotypes of diarrhoeagenic bacterial that are implicated in different regions of the world.
She advised that more research work should be carried out on herbal preparations in order to determine the level of effectiveness, biosafety, mechanism of action, proper dosage and mode of preparation for maximal efficacy of such preparations in treating diarrhoea.
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