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Scientists Recreate Medieval Medicine, Find That It Kills MRSA

(Photo: British Library)

Pictured above is Bald’s Leechbook, a 10th Century Latin and Anglo-Saxon manuscript owned by the British Library. It’s a reference manual for what passed for pharmaceutical science at that time. And it’s holding up pretty well, even though it’s a thousand years old. Scientists made a salve using a recipe in the Leechbook. In laboratory experiments, that salve killed the deadly MRSA infection.

The drug is called “eyesalve.” It consists of two species of onion, wine, and cow bile. When prepared according to the instructions, eyesalve proved highly effective in treating MRSA-infected mice. The Daily Telegraph reports:

None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe the MRSA populations were almost totally obliterated: about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived in mice wounds.

Researchers believe the antibacterial effect of the recipe is not due to a single ingredient but the combination used and brewing methods. Further research is planned to investigate how and why this works.

Microbiologists at Nottingham University said they were ‘genuinely amazed’ by the discovery.

“We thought that Bald’s eyesalve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab,” said Dr Freya Harrison who led the work in the laboratory.

“But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.

-via Weird News


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