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Old remedy still used: Mould

Many ancient cultures used moulds treat bacterial infections. In Ancient Serbia, China and Greece, old mouldy bread was pressed against wounds to prevent infection. In Egypt, crusts of mouldy wheaten bread were applied on pustular scalp infections and “medicinal earth” was dispensed for its curative properties.

Roman soldiers would press mouldy bread against their wounds to promote healing

These remedies were believed to influence the spirits or the gods responsible for illness and suffering. Today we know that the occasional efficacy of these early treatments was due to the active metabolites and chemicals present in these concoctions.

Reference is also given to a mould cure in the Jewish Talmud, it was called kutach bayli or chamka, and consisted of a mash of mouldy corn soaked in date wine.

Yeasts too have been used as curatives since antiquity, both internally for the treatment of boils and as poultices to treat ulcers. Fresh yeast was also extracted with alcohol to form Extractum Cerevisiae, Fermentior Faexin Extract, which was used in the treatment of boils, acne, etc.

Most probiotic supplements would contain a variety of the following. But for those who want to know what does what – please note the following;

The Science behind Probiotics Written: Myers J., Edited: Trumble G.; 2009 September

Probiotics are bacteria that maintain the natural balance of micro flora in the intestinal tract. The micro flora increases resistance to harmful bacterial colonies that also inhabit the intestines. It is also beneficial due to the high metabolic activity it provides. In most cases probiotics are beneficial to help treat gastrointestinal health problems. Beneficial bacteria can be reduced due to antibiotic treatment, stress, race, age, geographic location, and poor health habits in general. Inefficient amounts of micro flora can cause a variety of health problems including yeast infections, diarrhoea, and other intestinal problems. Supplementation of probiotics can replace lost beneficial bacteria leading to improvements in health and quality of life. Probiotics are already part of the digestive tract and are considered generally safe to use.

Probiotics offer a variety of health benefits for digestion and bowel health. They can also support the body during conditions such as respiratory infections, allergies, cholesterol, vaginal, and urinary tract health.

Due to the harsh conditions of the stomach, it has historically been problematic for probiotics to reach the intestines without losing their viability. Instability of capsules causes the premature release of bacteria into the gastric juices where they are destroyed.

Some responsive organisms used in probiotics include:

Lactobacillus is rod shaped gram positive, facultative anerobes. Metabolize by fermentation producing mainly lactate, but may produce small amounts of acetate, ethanol, and carbon dioxide. Used to control clostridium perfringes, candida albicans, eliminates E coli. Penicillin can be a disruptor of the intestines, supplementing with lactobacillus during antibiotic treatment is very beneficial.

Bifidobacterium are varied rod shaped, gram positive anerobes. Readily ferment carbohydrates to produce lactic acid and acetate acid; may reduce antibiotic induced fluctuations in intestinal bacteria; and produce thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, nicotinic acid, and cyanocobalamin.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most commonly known and used probiotic. It is found primarily in the small intestine but is also found in the large intestine, mouth, and vagina. It produces the natural antibiotics lactocidin and acidophilin that protect the body from the harmful effects of “unfriendly” bacteria and fungus. L. acidophilus implants itself on the walls of the intestine, vagina, cervix, and urethra preventing harmful bacteria multiplication. Gastrointestinal benefits include prevention of diarrhea, intestinal infection reduction, and enhanced phagocytosis. Other benefits include serum cholesterol level control. This may prevent cholesterol from being reabsorbed back into the body. L. acidophilus produces lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other byproducts that create a hostile environment for undesired organisms. Also produced is the enzyme lactase, which breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugars. The absence of this enzyme is what causes lactose intolerance, making L. acidophilus an important supplement for those who suffer from this condition.

Bifidobacterium lactis includes gastrointestinal benefits such as constipation relief, diarrhea prevention, decrease in chronic inflammation of the colon, and limitation of negative bacteria especially Clostridium. Other benefits include a lowering of body pH levels, immunity enhancement (especially in the elderly), production of T lymphocytes, and B vitamins, release of natural antioxidants, and may also help with atopic eczema. It is an example of a probiotic strain that actually reaches the colon in significant numbers because of its resistance to acid and bile salts.

Bifidobacterium longum is found in high concentrations in the large intestines. It helps to regulate digestion and reduces erythromycin distress. It is the first bacteria to colonize in the intestines of newborns and is often the dominant bacteria found in humans. It prevents invading pathogens by attaching to the intestinal wall blocking out harmful bacteria and yeast. It lowers the intestinal pH and reduces diarrhea and nausea during antibiotic use. B. longum produces B vitamins, digestive enzymes, and increases calcium absorption. Other potential uses of B. longum are being investigated in separate studies. Other benefits include nitrate elimination and immune system health.

Lactobacillus paracasei is used with great success during antibiotic treatment, and is commonly used to treat symptoms for the elderly. It also reduces weight gain through metabolism of body fat. L. paracasei is also beneficial gastrically in the treatment of diarrhea, and Irritable bowel Syndrome. This particular species of bacteria has the ability to alter the activity of the intestinal micro flora, modulate the immune system, Reduce Clostridium, H pylori, and E. coli.

Lactobacillus salivarius is classified as a facultative anaerobe. It is most abundant in the mouth but also flourishes in the small intestine where it normalizes flora in the gut. It is beneficial to those with chronic bowel conditions and is known to for its anti-inflammatory characteristics. L. salvarius produces high amounts of lactic acid, digests protein, represses salmonella, and inhibits the growth of H. pylori which causes peptic ulcers. It is a very resilient bacterium which doubles its population every twenty minutes. It is primarily used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, but it is also important to oral health. It has been shown to improve bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, thrush, and canker sores.

Lactobacillus plantarum creates a healthy barrier in your colon minimizing the growth of dangerous bacteria and keeping them from penetrating the lining of your intestines and entering your bloodstream. It is used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. Other benefits include preservation of nutrients, vitamin manufacturing, and lactolin production, inhibition of moulds, viruses, and parasites, healthy cholesterol maintenance, immune system balance, cellular repair, L-lysine synthesis, and elimination of toxins from food including nitrates. A randomized study focusing on forty patients over a four week period concluded that all patients treated for IBS reported resolution of abdominal pain.

Bifidobacterium bifidum is beneficial to the intestines, vagina, and liver. It is involved in the synthesis of B and K vitamins, production of lactic acid, and also contains D aspartate. It prevents unhealthy flora from creating high ammonia during the digestion of foods that are high in protein; this reduces irritation of the intestinal membranes. By promoting proper food digestion B. bifidum minimizes constipation and gas. Poor digestion can lead to the production of histamine. Healthy digestion decreases liver strain, thus making it the preferable probiotic used by patients with liver disorders. Another important benefit of B. bifidum is the ability it has to create positive reaction in individuals who often do not respond to other probiotic strains. Cells of B. bifidum have the ability to remove cholesterol in the presence of bile salts due to bacterial assimilation and precipitation of cholesterol.


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