Herbalist: While standard antibiotics typically have just one active ingredient, herbal antibacterial remedies typica...

on July 30 at 01:39AM


Aren’t the guests the ingredients in the antibiotics that the bacteria is meant to resist against? The herbal antibiotic has several ingredients whereas the other one has only one ingredient the bacteria is meant to combat... wouldn’t resisting all several ingredients in the antibiotic as similar in difficulty as it is to satisfy 12 guests?

1 Reply

Shunhe on July 30 at 03:52PM

Hi @mresende,

Thanks for the question! Yeah, this one’s kind of a weird one. So in the original argument, the herbal antibacterial remedies have several active ingredients vs. standard antibiotics which only have one, so the herbal remedies are supposed to be better at resisting new strains of bacteria. And then we consider things from the point of view of a single strain of bacteria: the difficulty of developing resistance to a herbal antibacterial is like a cook’s difficulty in preparing a single meal that’ll please a bunch f guests, which is harder than preparing a meal that’ll please a single guest.

So here, the “cook” is supposed to stand in for the bacteria. The “meal” that the cook is preparing is the resistance of the bacteria. The “guests” that the cook is serving are going to be the active ingredients. So when there’s a bunch of guests, it’s harder to please them, similar to how when there’s a bunch of active ingredients (like in herbal remedies), it’s harder to resist all of them. And when there’s just a single guest, it’s easier to please, similar to how it’s easier to resist one active ingredient (like in standard antibiotics).

So now we’re asked for what corresponds to a standard antibiotic, and the answer here is going to be a single guest. Because for a cook, a single guest is easier to please, and for a bacteria, a standard antibiotic is easier to resist against. So one way to think about it is that each guest is an ingredient, but the question wants us to think about it in another valid way: the group of guests is the herbal medicine, and the “single guest” (referred to at the end of the stimulus) is the standard antibiotic.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.