1,000-year-old onion and garlic eye remedy kills MRSA

1000YearOldRemedyYesterday we reported on the growing concern over antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

Superbugs, are super bacteria that created over time as a natural phenomenon due to overuse of antibiotics.

Modern medicine faces a major challenge in treating these bacterial diseases in the future—because the resiliant bacteria have adapted to the modern antibiotics in use today.

But now there’s some good news on the horizon: Scientists have once again “discovered” that an ancient herbal remedy may be able to do what modern medicine cannot.

The latest discovery—or “rediscovery” really—demonstrated that a 1,000 year-old eye infection remedy was able to kill the dangerous MRSA bacteria.

Scientists from the University of Nottingham recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy which was found in Bald’s Leechbook—an old English manuscript containing instructions on various ancient treatments.

The venerable “leechbook” is held in the British Library.

Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee translated the recipe for an “eye salve,” which includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile.

Experts from the university’s microbiology team recreated the remedy and then tested it on large cultures of MRSA.

The results may not be surprising to alternative health promponents who have been preaching the antibacterial benefits of garlic, onion and wine for decades; however, BBC News reports the scientists were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

The leechbook is one of the earliest examples of what might loosely be called a medical textbook. And, in this case, an amazing aspect of the textbook is that it is actually the remedies that have a profound effect; not a individual stand-alone ingredient.

In each case, they tested the individual ingredients against the bacteria, as well as the remedy and a control solution.

They found the remedy—the correct ratio of ingredients—killed up to 90% of MRSA bacteria and believe it is the effect of the recipe rather than one single ingredient.

Researcher Dr. Freya Harrison said the team thought the eye salve might show a “small amount of antibiotic activity.”

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

Dr. Lee said there are many similar medieval books with treatments for what appear to be bacterial infections.

She said this could suggest people were carrying out detailed scientific studies centuries before bacteria were discovered.

At this point, with the battle against superbugs using modern medicine being lost, one has to wonder if these same studies and remedies are still going to be utilized centries from now.

Read more at BBC News here.

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