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Lauren Pfeifer
8th Grade, St. Vincent de Paul, Mount Vernon, OH

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Alternative Medicine

This project was conducted to determine if certain natural remedies said to be beneficial as bacterial agents could disable the growth of bacteria. It was hypothesized that the natural remedies garlic and extra virgin coconut oil would not be as effective as the pharmaceutical antibiotic ampicillin in disabling the growth of the specific type of bacteria strand E.coli BL21.

The Procedure included making triplicate samples of: the natural remedies at different concentrations with the E.coli and the ampicillin with the E.coli. Controlled triplicate samples were also made: the E.coli by itself, the natural remedies by themselves, the ampicillin by itself, and the LB media by itself. This was done in order to check that there was no contamination of these products. The E.coli only sample was done in order to compare the end results of the natural and pharmaceutical antibiotic and E.coli samples and how much of an effect they had in disabling the growth of the E.coli. The samples were put into a temperature-controlled shaker for 18 hours to allow the E.coli to grow. A pipette was used to measure 1 ml of each sample along with the controls into separate cuvettes. Each cuvette was placed into the UV-Vis Spectrophotometer to measure the light absorbency of each sample.

The results of this project did in fact support the hypothesis. The natural remedies were not as effective as the antibiotic. Although the natural remedies were not as effective, the high concentration of the coconut oil slightly diminished the E.coli growth.

Research Paper

Today a rising topic in society is alternative medicine. In the past generations, it has been a focus and goal to develop and create efficient medical advancements. Antibiotics, a crucial factor in medicine today, were developed and are now used frequently to successfully cure and treat disease. Recently people all around the world have been questioning if antibiotics found naturally in our world are taken for granted. Many think using herbal remedies and by making it a way of life, we could reduce the need to use pharmaceutical antibiotics.

Tiny life forms called microbes make up all life, good and bad. Bacteria are one type of microbe that humans are very accustomed to. Bacteria, a substance constantly found in your body and on almost every surface, are more complex than one would assume. Bacteria are single celled organisms. There are thousands of different kinds. Bacteria is found in three different forms cocci (round), bacilli (rod shaped), and spirilla (spiral shaped). They are made up of an outer cell wall and some bacteria have a capsule, a slimy protective layer, outside the cell wall. Many kinds of bacteria also have flagella, thin hair like parts that help the bacterium swim and move, found on the outermost layer. Many kinds of bacteria also have pili, which are short hairs on the outermost wall that attach to food in the surrounding area. Inside the cell wall is the cytoplasm within the cytoplasm, there are things called ribosomes which help the cell to produce proteins. Bacteria are different in the way they lack a nucleus and have a nucleoid. The nucleoid contains a ring of DNA which is the control center of the bacteria unit, which executes and runs the cell’s functions.
The general characteristics of bacteria can all be found in E.coli. This type of bacteria is found in the intestines of warm blooded organisms. E.coli does have beneficial properties; it produces vitamin K2, and also prevents certain pathogens from establishing themselves within the intestines. It is most often translated through the food people eat. Most strains of E.coli are harmless. However one group of E.coli produces a potent toxin that is harmful to the lining of the intestine. Although E.coli is not necessarily a life threatening bacteria, if consumed by people with weak immune systems E.coli can be fatal and will lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome a type of kidney failure.

Pharmaceutical antibiotics are used frequently in the world today. If someone gets sick they go to the doctor, and if they are diagnosed with a bacterial infection, the person will receive a prescription for an antibiotic. Every prescription is made specifically for a person depending upon their weight, height, and age. Once the antibiotic is in your system it will attack the bacteria and disintegrate the bacteria’s cell wall. They can also interfere with the bacteria's ability to repair its damaged DNA, by rendering the bacteria's ability to make what it needs to grow new cells. The antibiotic will kill or inhibit the growth and reproduction of the bacteria. Most antibiotics are effective in killing and disabling many different types of bacteria; whereas, other types of antibiotics specialize in killing and disabling specific groups of bacteria. The antibiotic ampicillin belongs to the class of drugs called penicillin antibiotics. It is a semisynthetic penicillin derived from the basic penicillin nucleus. It is not only effective against gram- positive organisms but is also effective against some gram-negative organisms. The alternatives to this type of treatment are natural antibiotics. . The down sides to antibiotics are that your body does have beneficial bacteria but the antibiotics can render and destroy the good bacteria as well. The antibiotics do not allow your immune system to work naturally

Natural antibiotics have been used for thousands of years. Natural antibiotics work more like supplements. They are used over a long period of time. They, in simplest terms, assist and strengthen your immune system to fend off infection naturally. Using natural antibiotics comes more as a way of life than a short term treatment period. Many people use natural antibiotics as a way to prevent infections rather than treat them. Garlic is the most common and most effective natural antibiotic. It contains an antibacterial principle called allicin which gives it its antimicrobial ability.

Pharmaceutical antibiotics are used as a direct quick treatment when an infection is currently in effect; whereas, natural antibiotics for some people are sometimes more efficient and a healthy way of doing things. They can aid and build up the strength of the body’s defense system. The body’s defense system or immune system is a very smart and efficient method to fight disease and infection. The immune system produces antibodies and white blood cells that destroy bacteria or neutralize their toxic qualities.

Alternative medicine or more natural ways of treating infections are not new. They are simply just making their come back. The idea of using remedies derived from the earth to strengthen the immune system is very proactive. By taking up a new way of life and supplementing the body rather than killing the body’s beneficial bacteria in an unnatural way is rather appealing to people. Medicine should be something where all possible precautions are taken before turning to unnatural treatment. Pharmaceutical antibiotics are not bad, but the use of them could be greatly decreased by simply taking natural antibiotics to help the body do what it was made for – protect itself.

By Lauren Pfeifer.

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