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Rose petals properties



It seems every year a new terrifying outbreak, a new disease, comes to light becoming a cause of concern for most of us. But this time, nature seems to be there again to provide us with a solution, Rose petals seem to be the source of another natural active constituent able to fight bacterial infections from Escherichia coli.

But don´t overestimate it, some strains of this deadly bacteria, Escherichia coli, can cause your death if you get infected and don´t get appropriately treated, and infections outbreaks are already being reported in some areas of Germany. But let´s see what the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has to say about it.


Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Rosa

Common name: Rosa



The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the equivalent to the American CDC, in charge of monitoring and controlling pandemics and disease outbreaks in Europe, announced on 26 May that the Hamburg authority for health and consumer protection isolated Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) from two samples of cucumbers originating from Spain.

Shall we be worried? Well, the evaluation report contains some information that not being very worrying it does certainly let us think about possible consequences for our daily habits.

In spite it seems most of the cases reported are from or have a history of travel to, northern Germany (mainly Hamburg, Northern Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein), some cases were also reported in Hesse, apparently linked to a catering company serving cafeterias [1]. Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli symptoms include haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic-uraemic syndrome [6].

To date, this STEC outbreak is one of the largest described outbreaks of STEC/HUS worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany, with a very atypical age and sex distribution of the cases and the exposure being limited only to Germany[1].

The incubation period ranges from three to eight days and its first symptoms are gastroenteritis, often accompanied with moderate fever and in some cases vomiting [1].

The effects in children are certainly worrying, reporting 15% of the cases serious complications, being the incidence much lower in adults. As the report states, "the treatment of STEC infections is mainly based on rehydration, while antibiotic treatment is often contraindicated as it may activate Shiga toxin release and, therefore, cause clinical deterioration with a potential evolution to HUS".

Transmission of STEC infection mainly occurs through contaminated food or water and contact with animals.  In 2010, a study conducted to examine the fate of Escherichia coli during the manufacture and ageing of Gouda and stirred-curd Cheddar cheeses made from raw milk showed that artificially contaminated Gouda and Cheddar cheese remained detectable after more than 270 days in both cheese types [3]. 



The Texas Southern University published a study on the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of red, yellow and white roses petals from Rosa damascene of the family Rosacea [2].

Escherichia coli was among the five species of Gram-negative bacteria against which it was tested, Escherichia coli. Let's hope some of these investigations lead to a final solution and lead to the discovery of new medicines able to treat this bacteria.

Other scientific advances in the fight of some of the most dangerous strains of Escherichia coli, as for example myxobacterium Cystobacter ferrugineus strain Cb G35, have been made. A new antibiotic, Roimatacene, has shown to be able to inhibit several Gram-negative bacteria as Escherichia coli [4].

However, the strain that caused the outbreak of Escherichia coli in Europe seems to be the 0104: H4 and not the O157: H7, the most common Escherichia coli strain.

In some recent studies where the use of herbal aerosols to protect and sanitize vegetables was analysed, thyme hydrosol showed to have a certain efficacy as a "convenient sanitizing agent during the washing of vegetables" [5].

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in Germany 27 May 2011
[2] Pubmed Natural resistance of rose petals to microbial attack. Zhang W, Abdel-Rahman FH, Saleh MA. Department of Chemistry, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA.
[3] Behavior of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the manufacture and aging of Gouda and stirred-curd Cheddar cheeses manufactured from raw milk. D'Amico DJ, Druart MJ, Donnelly CW. Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, Bington, Vermont 05405, USA
[4] Roimatacene: An Antibiotic against Gram-Negative Bacteria Isolated from Cystobacter ferrugineus Cb G35 (Myxobacteria). Zander W, Gerth K, Mohr KI, Kessler W, Jansen R, Müller R. Mikrobielle Wirkstoffe, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig (Germany).
[5] Efficacy of various plant hydrosols as natural food sanitizers in reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium on fresh cut carrots and apples. Tornuk F, Cankurt H, Ozturk I, Sagdic O, Bayram O, Yetim H. Erciyes University, Safiye Cikrikcioglu Vocational College, 38039, Kayseri, Turkey.
[5] Pixibay image under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) License.