1,000 year old Anglo-Saxon potion kills MRSA superbug

The British Library Board (Royal 12 D xvii) bug MCRS

A thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon potion for eye infections may hold the key to wiping out the modern-day superbug MRSA, according to new research.

The 10th-century “eyesalve” remedy, as CNN reports,  was discovered at the British Library in a leather-bound volume of Bald’s Leechbook, widely considered to be one of the earliest known medical textbooks.

Christina Lee, an expert on Anglo-Saxon society from the School of English at the University of Nottingham, translated the ancient manuscript despite some ambiguities in the text.
“We chose this recipe in Bald’s Leechbook because it contains ingredients such as garlic that are currently investigated by other researchers on their potential antibiotic effectiveness,” Lee said in a video posted on the university’s website.
“And so we looked at a recipe that is fairly straightforward. It’s also a recipe where we are told it’s the ‘best of leechdoms’ — how could you not test that? So we were curious.”
Lee enlisted the help of the university’s microbiologists to see if the remedy actually worked.
The recipe calls for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and oxgall (bile from a cow’s stomach) to be brewed in a brass vessel. Recipe was recreated and tested on cultures of MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacterium that does not respond to commonly used antibiotic treatments. The scientists, Cnn reports, were astonished by the lab results.
Lee, who translated the text from Old English, believes the discovery could change people’s views of the medieval period as the “Dark Ages”.
Read the whole story here.
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