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Garlic, Aloe vera, vinegar, others for conjunctivitis

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
08 December 2016   |   4:40 am
The Harmattan is here again with its attendant dry weather and associated diseases such as Apollo, conjunctivitis or pink eye.Pink eye is medically known as conjunctivitis; normally a virus, somewhat similar....
Garlic, Aloe vera gel

Garlic                                                                                                                                                                                       Aloe vera gel

Do you have ‘Apollo’, pink (red) eye or rather conjunctivitis? Nigerian researchers say a combination of personal hygiene of frequently washing of hands and face with diluted disinfectants and the use of local herbs such as garlic, Aloe vera, potato, lemon and apple cider vinegar could prevent and treat the Harmattan/dry-season associated ailment. CHUKWUMA MUANYA, Assistant Editor, writes.

The Harmattan is here again with its attendant dry weather and associated diseases such as Apollo, conjunctivitis or pink eye.Pink eye is medically known as conjunctivitis; normally a virus, somewhat similar to the common cold virus, causes it.

Pink eye can also be caused by allergies and bacterial infections. Basically pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is a thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the corner of the eye.

Conjunctivitis eye is that it is highly contagious and spreads fast. Because kids touch everything, they are the most susceptible and one will find whole classes getting it when you get that little letter from school.But recent studies have shown that local plants could be used to provide relief.

Nigerian researchers from the Department of Optometry Abia State University Uturu found garlic (Allium sativum) effective in treating conjunctivitis induced by Staphylococcus aureus.

The study was published in the Journal of the Nigerian Optometric Association (JNOA).The researchers led by E. B. Uzodike and I. C. Igwe noted: “This research work was aimed at determining the efficacy of garlic extract (GE) on Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) conjunctivitis. The experiment was carried out in vitro and in vivo. Double dilution method, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and zone of inhibition were used in the two investigations to determine this efficacy. GE efficacy was also compared to that of a known antibiotic- gentamycin. The data obtained were analyzed using tables, t-test and Chi square Yate’s correction for continuity. Results showed MIC to be 31.25 mg/ml. GE (stock) efficacy was comparable to gentamycin drug as both resolved S. aureus infection within eight and six days (respectively) of treatment while appreciable growth was recorded in the control group 15 days post infection. Statistical result using Chi-square showed that sensitivity of S. auerus and type of treatment was independent. T-test showed that sensitivity of S. aureus to GE was statistically significant (p>0.0.5).”

The researchers added: “A wide range of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses has been shown to have some degree of sensitivity to crushed garlic preparation. Garlic has also been found to produce inhibitory effects on gram- negative germs of the typhoid, paratyphoid enteritis groups. It indeed possesses outstanding germicidal properties and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay. There is no doubt that garlic preparations could still be in use in various communities to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Hence, this study aimed at examining the efficacy of garlic preparation on S. aureus conjunctivitis.”

The researcher explained: “Allicin and Ajoene (an enzymatic product of allicin) block the enzymes that are necessary for these microorganisms’ metabolism. They inhibit the growth of more than microorganisms and no resistance has been found. Microorganisms are growing resistant to most antibiotics due to non- compliance and abuse by it users, hence, it is recommended that pharmaceutical companies formulate garlic extract into drugs (including ophthalmic) to help combat microbial infections.”

Another study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology demonstrated the activity of Aloe vera extract on human corneal cells.The researchers noted: “Ocular diseases are currently an important problem in modern societies. Patients suffer from various ophthalmologic ailments namely, conjunctivitis, dry eye, dacryocystitis or degenerative diseases. Therefore, there is a need to introduce new treatment methods, including medicinal plants usage. Aloe vera [Aloe barbadensis Miller (Liliaceae)] possesses wound-healing properties and shows immune-modulatory, anti-inflammatory or antioxidant activities.”

They concluded: “Aloe vera contains multiple pharmacologically active substances which are capable of modulating cellular phenotypes and functions. Aloe vera ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts may be used in eye drops to treat inflammations and other ailments of external parts of the eye such as the cornea.”Another study published in Eksp Klin Farmakol examined the effect of potato (Solanum tuberosum) sprouts extract for the treatment of ophthalmo-herpes.

The researchers wrote: “The efficacy, tolerability and safety of the extract of Solanum tuberosum sprouts (Panavir eye drops) have been studied on the model of ophthalmic disorder in rabbits caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. It is established that Panavir applied via six instillations per day for a period of days has potent therapeutic efficacy and prevents the development of gross corneal opacity in rabbits. Instillation of Panavir eye drops does not cause irritation, toxic and allergic effects and are well tolerated by rabbits. The fastest and most pronounced effect of Panavir eye drops was observed in the treatment of epithelial keratitis, as well as for not prolonged persistence of HSV. The effectiveness of Panavir eye drops is comparable with that of the reference preparation OphthalmoferonR.”

Other measures recommended by ophthalmologists include:
*Wash your hands frequently
*Do not touch and rub your eyes
*Do not share pillows, towels or facemasks
*Wash away the discharge of your eyes
*Do not reuse anything that touches your face
*Avoid wearing eye makeup
*Wash your hands with soap and warm water
*Do not wear another person’s contact lenses
*Do not share eye makeup
*Doctors will advise that you stay home from work and kids from school

Other reported herbal and home remedies are
Apple Cider Vinegar
Place one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and one glass of water. Mix them up and use a cotton ball soaked in the ACV mixture, and then wash your eye out with the solution.Use it once an hour while awake and do not worry as it will most likely burn a little bit.

Breast Milk
Doctors have found that present in the breast milk, both colostrums and mature milk is secretory IgA, an immune globulin that inhibits bacteria from sticking to mucous surfaces and so limits bacterial colonization in the eye.

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