Raspberry fruit juice cordial can kill the virulent bacteria that causes outbreaks of gastroenteritis, research shows. Experiments with pure raspberry juice and commercial cordials at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga have shown that a folk remedy commonly used by livestock owners has scientific validity, Dr Heather Cavanagh said.

Dr Cavanagh and colleague Dr Jenny Wilkinson from the school of biomedical sciences have found that a dash of concentrated raspberry juice kills E. Coli, salmonella, mycobacterium and staphylococci among other bugs. "We've looked at raspberry juice and raspberry cordial with at least 25 per cent juice and they both work very well," Dr Cavanagh told AAP.
"Raspberry-flavoured cordials do not have the same effect, and when we tried the juice on fungus it just grew better, probably due to the sugars."
Dr Cavanagh, who hails from Scotland, was startled to find that Australian cattle and pig farmers routinely use raspberry cordial to prevent gastric outbreaks in their animals, as well as recommending it for people.

"Apparently farmers in the Riverina when their cows start to develop gastroenteritis, instead of calling the vet they just tip a couple of litres of raspberry cordial into the trough," she said.
"I also had a call from a pig farmer who claims the mortality in his piglets dropped from 40 per cent to zero by using cordial."

The Budgerigar Council of Victoria recommends on its website a one in 10 dilution of raspberry cordial to prevent infection in breeding stock.

Dr Cavanagh, who is researching the medicinal properties of a range of herbal remedies, has not yet identified the active antimicrobial ingredient of raspberry juice.
Her research shows it's either not present or not potent in the leaves of the raspberry bush, traditionally taken as tea for a range of medical complaints, including diarrhoea in children.

Salmonella and other bacterial infections survive well in water, contributing to the rapid spread of gastroenteritis in communities such as schools and childcare centres, and being a major problem in developing countries.
They are not always treated with antibiotics but resolve with high fluid intake.
"What we've shown in our in-vitro research only applies to prevention, not cure," Dr Cavanagh said.
"But I have been approached today by someone who wants to do a clinical trial in India and if we do that we may be able to show that it is a treatment as well."

Dr Cavanagh said the bacteriological evidence so far suggested that a 35 per cent pure juice cordial at up to a 1:10 dilution may aid in preventing transmission of gastric bugs through contaminated water.

By Rada Rouse
Saturday, March 24, 2001


Upset tummy!


The World Today Archive - Wednesday, 21 March , 2001 00:00:00
Reporter: John Highfield

COMPERE: Well, let's take a good news story for a bit of a change.
One of the most common but serious afflictions in young children, gastroenteritis, could be prevented with simple raspberry juice, it seems.
That's the remarkable discovery from a chance overhearing of a conversation in a cafe in southern New South Wales. The conversation led to laboratory experiments at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga campus, which show apparently that a range of common stomach bugs such as e-coli are actually killed off by raspberry juice or raspberry juice cordial diluted to as low as 10 per cent strength.
Human trials are now being planned to try and prove that routinely drinking raspberry juice could act as a preventative against outbreaks of stomach infections in places like schools amongst children, or for children and adults whilst travelling.
This morning I spoke to the leader of the research team, Dr Heather Cavanagh.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: This was based on a coffee room conversation regarding the anecdotal use of raspberry cordial by local farmers when I first arrived in Australia. And I have to admit I thought they were pulling my leg. I thought it was like the five o'clock wave in Wagga. However once they had started talking about it, people from Queensland started telling me that they recommend holiday-makers use raspberry cordial. People from Perth starting telling me that the local pig farms use it. And it seems to be just widespread throughout Australia.

COMPERE: I believe the budgerigar breeders have it on their website that young budgies should be fed this.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: Yes. The Budgerigar Council of Victoria on their website recommend that "adding a few drops of raspberry cordial will help keep your budgies' water clean and bacteria-free" is the quote.
Obviously the belief in it is very strong. One raspberry cordial manufacturer has actually gone as far as producing a powdered raspberry drink powder - a powdered raspberry drink so that it's much easier for the farmers to add to the drinking troughs and into the water.

COMPERE: Now, you've done some laboratory experiments which tend to back up this folk medicine.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: Yes, without doubt. We have tested in the laboratory the activity of this raspberry cordial down to a one-in-10 dilution, which is much weaker than the manufacturers recommend, and we've found that it will kill the common food borne pathogens like E. coli and salmonella. It's also very effective on stapharius mycobacterium, which is one of the causes of TB [Tuberculosis] and clostridium, which is a common source of wind infection.
We are very interested in taking it on into clinical trial, and we're also very interested in looking at the effect on parasites like giardia, to know if things like the Sydney outbreak a couple of years ago can in fact be helped by raspberry cordial.

COMPERE: This of course has a very serious side because gastroenteritis, as I mentioned in the lead, is one of the most common baby afflictions. Not only that. In the developing world it's one of the most common killers.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: I mean, I have to qualify this by saying that we have no idea of the effect on people once you actually have the infection. I mean, that's something we would very much like to look at.
At the moment all we can really say is that having the raspberry cordial in the water when you're drinking it is much more likely to reduce your chance of picking up gastroenteritis. So at the moment we're looking at it as a kind of preventative. However, clinical trials may show that in fact it can be used as a treatment.

COMPERE: Well, certainly prevention is better than cure always.
At what strength must you use this? I mean, obviously you can't have it really diluted.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: No. The maximum strength that it's effective is one-in-10. However, using it at the manufacturers' recommended strength, which is one plus four, so, one in five, is perfect. That will keep your water clean.

COMPERE: But presumably you'd also have to buy a cordial that's got a fair amount of raspberry juice in it.

HEATHER CAVANAGH: Yes. You must buy the cordials that have at least 35 per cent raspberry juice.

COMPERE: What about pure raspberry juice? Is that even better?

HEATHER CAVANAGH: Yes. It works just as well. There's no problem with the raspberry juice. And obviously that's where the activity is coming from, because the results of using pure raspberry juice mimic the cordial exactly.
If there's a tummy bug at school and perhaps you want to give them that extra chance of not catching it, raspberry cordial may be the way to go.

COMPERE: It certainly is. Raspberry cordial - the miracle.

Well, Dr Heather Cavanagh is a lecturer in biomedical science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga. 

From the Budgerigar Council of Victoria Inc.

From a write up in "Australian Post", and from other sources, we have learned that early last year, cordial makers, Anchor Foods, in South Australia, discovered an untapped market of four million new customers a year. It all started as a result of a chance discovery by a Perth based team of scientists, led by Michael Gracey, Associate Professor of Child Health at the University of Western Australia. 

Professor Gracey and his team had been looking for a simple, cheap and effective way of providing drinking water that was safe from bacterial contamination. Suspecting that cordial might be implicated in intestinal infections, they set out to see if they could grow the dangerous bacteria in various cordials. 

They were amazed to discover that exactly the opposite was true. All of the cordials they tried, but particularly Anchor and Cottees Low Calorie, made short work of Salmonella, E. Coli and even the dreaded Vibrio~Cholerae, killing the bacteria in a matter of seconds. Anchor hadn't considered using cordial to combat diarrhoea in animals until February 1985, when a Western Australian farmer, Keith Davey, got in touch with their office in Western Australia to tell them he wanted to buy raspberry cordial in bulk to feed his piglets.

He had seen the initial publicity about Professor Gracey's findings and reasoned that cordial could work with pigs as well, because their digestive system is very similar to that of humans. Apparently gastric problems are very common in young pigs, with high mortality rates.

After experimenting with various flavours, Davey asked Anchor to settle on raspberry because all the others contained fruit particles which clogged up the teats of his piglets feeding equipment. The results he claimed to obtain could not have been more impressive. The mortality rate amongst his piglets dropped from around 4% to virtually nothing and his feed bill was halved.

Eventually Anchor developed a dry powder that could be added to water and this is a concentrated raspberry drink powder called "AWS 111" which has now been released on to the market. Silly as it may sound, farmer Keith Davey has been feeding his piglets raspberry cordial morning, noon and night, and pig farmers, and others too, all round Australia are following his lead. 

In the future this unusual application could be extended to include chickens, horses, cattle, greyhounds, etc.

Here in Sydney, and I believe also in Brisbane and Melbourne, numbers of canary breeders are getting on the bandwagon this year in the belief that AWS 111 raspberry solution will help them reduce mortality in their baby canaries this breeding season, and there is every reason to believe that AWS 111 added to the drinking water will do just that.

The theory advanced is that any bacteria received into the water from the parent bird's beak, will be killed within seconds, so that the adult birds and the chicks are drinking bacteria free water at all times.

Last breeding season, one of our members, the very prominent Norwich breeder, Ross Vincent, had his best year since 1981, with 80 odd youngsters and he gives full credit of his success to the use of raspberry cordial in the drinking water. He is completely sold on it and many others are now following his lead. The manufacturers say it is important to note that the use of their product is not a replacement for good management practices, especially hygiene. 

It is not a magic panacea, as it will not clean up a dirty operation.

Brig Pitman advised that Anchor raspberry diet cordial, 2 litre bottle has natural sugar in it and is cheaper to purchase than AWS 111. It is diluted in the drinking water 1:10.

NOTE: The Gloster Newsletter for October - November 1986 contains some information on the raspberry cordial saga, and I quote, "A Vet who specializes in pigs and poultry, advises that the use of raspberry cordial as a preventative of enteritis owes its success to the Sulphadimidine (SULPHA D) which is used as a preservative in the cordial". There you go, you will have to make up your own mind. Could be worth a try with Budgies, too? 'Ed'.

WARNING! Those of you who use Kaopectate to control diarrhea, especially in cats, need to be aware of the recent formula change. Due to concerns regarding lead levels in the old formulation the manufacturer of Kaopectate have changed the active ingredient to bismuth subsalicylate. Salicylates (e.g. aspirin, pepto bismol and now kaopectate) should only be administered to cats under veterinary supervision. Some dogs are also sensitive to salicylates.

Many breeders swear by the "magic" that raspberry cordial works.






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