Monday, 30 March 2015

Medieval Cure for MRSA found - yay witches!

Merry meet!

To me a witch is not just someone who dresses in velvet and lace while surrounded by candles and incense while they call upon ancient gods, though I have been known to be found that way myself so I'm not judging. No, to me a big part of the Craft is about the ancient herbalism that my ancestors would have relied on at a time when medicine was based on the ancient Greek teachings of Hippocrates and the theory of the four humours, so I was really excited to discover an article that explains an Anglo-Saxon potion might just work against one of the most antibiotic-resistant infections around.

The article explains that Anglo-Saxon expert Dr. Christina Lee asked some microbiologists if they would help recreate a 10th century recipe for an eye salve from a copy of Bald's Leechbook in the British Library.  Dr. Lee explained that this particular recipe was chosen because many of the ingredients are already being investigated for their anti-bacterial properties, and so they recreated it as faithfully as they could following the quite clear instructions in the textbook and were astounded to find that it worked incredibly well against MRSA, a "superbug" which is present on our bodies naturally but poses a real problem for bodies in a weakened state such as after surgery.

Interestingly they found that even when the salve was diluted to a point that it wouldn't kill the bacteria it still had an effect because it stopped the cells from communicating with each other and therefore the genes that allow the cell to damage infected tissue were prevented from being activated.

Further research is now being done, but this could well prove to be a major breakthrough not just in modern medicine but also in our understanding of Anglo-Saxon medicinal practices too.  How amazing to think that the healers who worked on my ancestors could help us today!


For more information check out the above video or the article from medievalists.net

Blessed be )0(