(Bloomberg) -- Mud clay, used as a folk remedy to heal wounds,
soothe indigestion and beautify the complexion, may help
tests of more than 30 clay samples from around the world,
researchers found clays from Oregon and Nevada that killed
almost all the cells of
auereus, a staph infection
that can be fatal, according to Arizona State University
researchers. The results are being presented today at the
American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans.
today is mostly associated with the mud baths of health spas,
people have used it for thousands of years to treat ailments,
by eating it or applying it to the skin. If the study findings
hold up in human tests, doctors may have new ways to combat
infections, the researchers said. The study, funded by the
National Institutes of Health, is the first to look at the
antibacterial activity of natural clay.
people existed, they have used clays for medicinal purposes,''
a research professor at Arizona State University, in Tempe, in
an telephone interview on April 2. ``If we can understand its
antibacterial mechanism, then I expect clays will be more
prevalent in people's lives.''
and Nevada samples also killed almost all cells of E. coli,
which causes food poisoning, and destroyed pseudomonas
aeruginosa, which causes urinary tract and gastrointestinal
infections, as well as deadly infections in people
hospitalized with cancer and burns.
French clay was also effective against MRSA, pseudomonas
aeruginosa and E. coli, said researcher
an assistant professor of life sciences at Arizona State.
Clay for MRSA
94,000 invasive MRSA infections occurred in the U.S. in 2005,
resulting in 18,650 deaths, according to the latest estimates
by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Healing clay might be turned into rub-on creams or ointments
to keep MRSA infections from spreading, researchers said.
scientists theorize that chemicals in the clay may kill
bacteria by poking holes in the cells.
right now it's the chemistries of the clays themselves,''
Haydel said in a telephone interview on April 2. ``We don't
have a definitive answer.''
researchers are planning to study the clay as a topical remedy
for wound infections. Until those tests are done, people
should be cautious because natural clay also contains toxic
minerals such as mercury and arsenic, Williams said.
doctors will embrace clay as a treatment for infections
remains to be seen, the researchers said.
``This is a
natural, alternative type of treatment approach,'' Haydel
said. ``I don't know how traditional medicine will respond to
contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York