March 31, at 7: In a paradigm-shifting manner, the efficacy of medieval medicines against modern infections instead shows that medieval practitioners were operating within a lengthy tradition of observation and experimentation with recipes that may inspire present day research. Websites that have attempted to translate the remedy have also listed onions. This salve—which probably dates back to Roman times—was presumably based on the fact that willow catkins and bumblebees are themselves covered in soft fluffy hairs. Anglo-Saxon English, like contemporary Ireland, possessed a written medical literature from c.
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Bacteria, especially Staph, continue to chew through our existing antibiotic supply and our research pipeline cannot keep up. It was composed sometime around the 8th or 9th century for a man named Bald and survives to this day. It records many Old English remedies a healer of that day could call upon.
For a thousand years we have ignored this work, relegating it only to a historical curiosity. After all who would believe elves and dragons could be behind your gouty toe? What they found was remarkable. Staph Infection Ointment The recipe called for garlic, leek, honey, wine, onion, and fresh bile from a slaughtered cow.
Bald evidently did not feel listing the exact type of wine to be of importance and some of the vegetables grown today differ slightly from a thousand years ago.
Luckily the researchers were well versed in Anglo-Saxon history and deduced the correct formula. The two scientists are part of a club that re enact Middle Age mock-combat by donning armor and, with blunt weapons, beat each other up in a local park.
Did I fail to mention the two scientists are women? When they initially tested the ointment against Staph in the lab, they were dumbfounded. Ninety percent of the bacteria perished. They also tested the components separately and destructed the recipe to no avail. Only when following the Leechbook formula did the researchers continue to kill ninety percent after ninety percent of the bacteria.
MRSA did not exist until a few decades ago. Surely a thousand year old remedy would wither before the might of this modern killer. But when they checked their Petri dishes the next morning, another ninety percent kill rate was tallied. As impressive as a ninety percent kill rate sounds, the regulatory hurdles and lack of big money champions will likely keep this out of mainstream medicine. But if we ever do eventually exhaust our antibiotics, it would be foolish to put the recipe back on the shelf to collect dust.
Who knows what other hidden gems are waiting to be rediscovered?
Gems from Bald’s Leechbook
Bacteria, especially Staph, continue to chew through our existing antibiotic supply and our research pipeline cannot keep up. It was composed sometime around the 8th or 9th century for a man named Bald and survives to this day. It records many Old English remedies a healer of that day could call upon. For a thousand years we have ignored this work, relegating it only to a historical curiosity.
The only copy still in existence, now held at the British Library in London, is believed to be a copy of the original manuscript, dating from the early 11th century. The cures listed in the leechbook leech is an Old English word for a physician, incidentally begin in head-to-toe order, before moving onto descriptions of how to treat various injuries and diseases, covering everything from snakebites and spider bites to demonic possession and insanity. The book is renowned for advocating surgery to correct a harelip , as well as outlining a relatively informed method for amputating a limb —and not only that, but in researchers at the University of Nottingham found that one of the eye salves listed in the book was effective in killing the notoriously antibiotic-resistant infection MRSA. If the headache only affected one half of the head, however, it was best to smear a mixture of laurel oil and vinegar all over their cheeks. No problem. Just smush up some betony leaves, smear them on the injury—and stuff some cress up your nose.