Clay fights MRSA, other ‘superbugs’ in wounds

The use of mud or wet clay as a topical skin treatment, or poultice, is a common practice in many cultures. In fact, the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to the earliest times.


Now, Arizona State University (ASU) and Mayo Clinic researchers have found that one type of clay, Oregon blue clay, may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including treatment-resistant bacteria. Their findings appear in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.


“The study is an important advance in understanding how clays, specifically blue clay from Oregon, have shown medicinal properties by attaching to pathogenic bacteria,” says Enriqueta Barrera, a program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.


The scientists identified certain clays that kill bacteria, including many drug-resistant pathogens.


“Working with Mayo Clinic, we showed that these clays also diminish populations of bacterial biofilms, as well as bacteria common in wounds that are more resistant to drugs,” says biogeochemist Lynda Williams of ASU, a co-author of the study. “The results support our efforts to design new antibacterial drugs using natural clays.” … read more