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Archaeology & History

Anglo Saxon potion is found to kill MRSA

By T.K. Randall
March 31, 2015 · Comment icon 34 comments

Could ancient text books hold the key to treating today's ailments ? Image Credit: CC 2.0 Robert-Couse-Baker
A 1,000-year-old cure for an infected eyelash follicle has turned out to be effective against superbugs.
Before the advent of modern medicine people looked for solutions to their health problems using the limited resources available to them. Instead of the complex chemicals we see used in medicines today these early remedies would be made with plants, metals, animal parts and other materials that were abundant at the time.

Sometimes however, despite their crudity, ancient remedies have turned out to have unexpected benefits in situations where even our most sophisticated modern medicines have failed.

This was the case recently when microbiologist Freya Harrison and Anglo Saxon scholar Christina Lee got together to recreate some of the 1,000-year-old recipes described in an old medical compendium called Bald's Leechbook which is currently housed in the British Library.
Originally designed to treat an eyelash follicle infection, one peculiar concoction, which is made from garlic, leeks and a variety of other ingredients, turned out to be extremely effective at killing the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA that is normally very difficult to treat.

"The big challenge is trying to find out why that combination works," said researcher Steve Diggle.

If all goes well then the 9th century remedy could lead to the development of a new type of drug and there could be even more of them just waiting to be discovered within the book's pages.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (34)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #25 Posted by spacekatbaby 9 years ago
What exactly is wrong with a pharmacy company making money? What do you think they do with that money? They spend it on R&D and testing of new drugs that cost millions or billions to develop and see through the approval process. "Big Pharma" (said w/ disgust and derision) has made miraculous drugs and cures over the years that have saved millions upon millions of lives. Maybe they aren't perfect but I do know one way to completely screw it up, turn it over to the government (who already add so much to the cost on new drugs with the massive testing they require before approval) and that wil... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by spacekatbaby 9 years ago
Comment icon #27 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
Hi. It dont think its a matter of finding an alternative but just fixing the current system regarding the big pharm companies.a problem that as usual comes from the profit before people capitalist system we live in. its often the case that pharma companies oush for fda approval with persuasive inventives that some would call bribery. I agree that these companies have helped save millions of lives but they have also destroyed as many, and not to mention some very precarious ecosystems accross the world. I.e. Rain forrests. Due to them sourcing ingredients from rare species of orchid etc. You sa... [More]
Comment icon #28 Posted by regeneratia 9 years ago
Licorice root kills MRSA as well. I would add it with honey and some echinecea.
Comment icon #29 Posted by ChaosRose 9 years ago
Now people just have to decide for themselves what's worse...the disease or the cure.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Codenwarra 9 years ago
So they want to make a drug from it? Why can't they just share the recipe? Oh yeah, because it's about making money rather than saving lives. Nothing new here. If there is ever a patent application you can read the details in that.
Comment icon #31 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
What I was actually trying to say was that it is a very simple recipe. If it's so simple as onions and garlic and a few other smelly things, then we could make it ourselves. So why not give the recipe to us? Many people would make it. We've all been handed down homemade recipes, like poultices, that work quite well. Let the pharmaceuticals take care of the more complex products. And...I never said I hate pharmaceuticals. I think you might be thinking of someone else. Laughable response.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Harte 9 years ago
Harte, I don't have "such a penchant" about "Big Pharma". I only made one small post in this forum. How could that make you believe I have "such a penchant"? I don't know. I guess I'm too used to people whining about drug companies. Harte
Comment icon #33 Posted by TripGun 9 years ago
Don't forget, there is no money in a cure. So dilute it down to take several treatments.
Comment icon #34 Posted by lazynoid 9 years ago
After a MRSA breakout with both my kids football teams. I discovered a natural cure for MRSA since my both my boys have had reoccurring breakouts. I use Manuka Healing Honey (health food store) on the pimple like sore. I dip a paper towel into boiling water (let it cool a little) hold it on the sore, Then take a sterile pin to pop the sore, get the MRSA out with a ear swab, and put the makuka honey on it with a Band-Aid. Works amazing. The first boy to get it on the team had it get the size of a quarter within 4 days. No one knew what it was yet.

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