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Treating MRSA
posted on Monday, March 19th 2012 9:34 am

In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of MRSA should be assessed and treated by a medical provider when necessary.

What is it?

 

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, is a common type of staph bacterium that lives on the skin and in the nasal passages of 30% of the population. It is known as methicillin resistant because this particular strain of Staphylococcus has become resistant to the popular antibiotic methicillin which can no longer be used to kill off the staph bacteria.
Why should it be feared?
Although MRSA can be found on the body of 30% of the population, most will never have any problem related to it. However, it can cause a serious threat to those who have a weakened immune system, are ill or recovering from an illness, have been injured or have had surgery. If it enters the body through an open wound or through an instrument contaminated with MRSA or by cross-contamination from another person, it can be difficult to cure and can lead to death.
MRSA can enter the lungs and cause pneumonia. Urinary tract infections, bone infections and blood poisoning (bacteremia and sepsis) can also be caused by MRSA. Some staph infections can cause a “flesh eating bug” bacteria which are called necrotizing fasciitis. This bacteria does not eat flesh but causes the destruction of skin and muscle by releasing toxins. 
MRSA is now resistant to methicillin, amoxicillin, nafcillin, penicillin, cephalexin, and oxacillin and other beta-lactam antibiotics. 
What should be done?
During normal times, patients are usually treated by using clindamycin, tetracycline or vancomycin. Vancomycin is currently the first choice of treatment for MRSA and linezolid for treating MRSA pneumonia. MRSA is now showing signs of becoming resistant to vancomycin. Depending on the severity, IV antibiotics may be required.
If taking an antibiotic to treat MRSA or any other bacterial infection, follow the doctor’s instructions and take the full course to diminish the chance of creating a superbug.
Do not use antibacterial soaps and sanitizers which also create stronger, more resistant bacteria. Regular soap and water are sufficient to kill germs. 
Alternatively, herbal medications are also showing great value for treating MRSA and may be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medications. Bacteria cannot become resistant to herbs the way they can synthetic drugs so they make a great choice to reach for when treating MRSA, especially when caught early.
Those caring for someone with MRSA should take precautions to not contract MRSA themselves. Wear gloves, disposable gowns and a face mask and burn all materials that come in contact with the bacteria to kill the bacteria.
What are the stages?
Incubation Period: weeks – years
MRSA can remain dormant on a carrier’s body for years without causing any problems. 
Symptoms:
Symptoms usually show up quickly and include:
-Redness to affected area
-Swollen, painful
-Warm to touch
-Small red pimple-like bumps or a bump that looks like a spider bite
-Full of pus or draining
-Fever
-Red streaking moving out from the infected area
Secondary symptoms:
These symptoms could indicate the  infection has spread to the blood, lungs or other parts of the body.
-Difficulty breathing
-Chills
-Chest pain
What are my options?
MRSA has been effectively treated with herbs in various parts of the world and can be easily treated using herbs in a crisis situation. The best line of defense is to catch it early and work with the immune system to fight it. 
Step 1: Cleanse
Clean the area where the infection is visible. Use Echinacea tincture as a wound dressing (see information on Echinacea under Herbal Treatment).
Days 1 – 3: Place tincture on a sterile cloth or bandage over the affected area twice a day and attach with bandage or tape.
Days 4 – 10: Change bandage with Echinacea 1 – 2 times daily as necessary.
If the affected area is abscessed, it may be lanced and drained if there is someone qualified to lance it. 
Step 2: Boost the immune system
Take large doses of vitamin C to help boost the immune system. If you do not have access to vitamin C, you can find it in many plants around you. Pine needles, rose hips, elderberries, citrus, strawberries, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, mulberries, passionfruit, tomatoes. Incorporate these foods into the patient’s daily diet, make teas from the herbs and use as many as possible non-stop for at least 2 weeks.
Diet should consist of bland foods such as rice, beans, steamed vegetables, bone broth, etc. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine and other foods that suppress the immune system. 
Step 3: Herbal Treatment
The following are various herbal treatments that have been suggested to be used for treating MRSA. Use what you have available in your region. 
Herbs listed to be used as a wash can also be powdered and applied directly to the infected area if the area would better be suited to remain dry.
Honey (raw, from local sources)
Apply directly to the infected area, cover with a sterile bandage and change daily.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida)
Use a tincture of a combination of E. angustifolia and E. pallida roots mixed with E. purpurea roots, leaves and seeds for most effective treatment in 50% alcohol (though any available Echinacea can be used). 
Days 1 – 3: patient should take 1 – 2 droppersful every 15 – 30 minutes for the first 3 hours. After the 3rd hour, decrease dose to 1 dropperful every hour while awake for 3 days.
Days 4 – 10: Continue taking 2 droppersful 3 times a day. If there is no improvement to infection, continue taking 2 droppersful tincture every 2 waking hours. 
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Patient should eat up to 3 bulbs (not cloves) of garlic daily. Continue for at least 7 days after all signs of infection are gone. Pickled garlic (see recipes) may be eaten. May cause nausea or vomiting if consumed in large dosages.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Fresh ginger may be eaten daily (pickled and candied are good too). 1 oz. fresh root or 2 teaspoons dried root to 8 oz. water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add honey to sweeten if desired and drink throughout the day. Tincture of fresh root only, 1 – 2 droppersful 4 times daily.
Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa, T. avellanedae, T. heptaphylla)
Acacia (Acacia angustissima, A. constricts, A. greggii)
All parts of the Acacia tree are useful. For MRSA, use decoction of roots and drink up to 6 cups per day. 
A wash of the leaves, stems and pods can be used on the infected area (before applying Echinacea tincture). 
Mesquite (Prosopis julifera, P. pubescens)
Can be used as a substitute for Acacia. For MRSA, use decoction of roots and drink up to 6 cups per day. 
A wash of the leaves, stems and pods can be used on the infected area (before applying Echinacea tincture).
Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
Juniper is high in vitamin C. Studies have proven Juniper to be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Tincture of cones (berries) 5 drops to 1 dropperful 3 times daily. Tea made from 2 teaspoons ground needles or cones per 8 oz. water steeped for 20 minutes, drink throughout the day.
A wash made from a strong decoction of the cones, needles, roots or bark can be used to cleanse the infected area several times daily. Use 1 oz. herb to 1 quart of water, simmer for 30 minutes then steep for 8 hours for use. 
Sources
Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner
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