A MRSA Cure From a Medieval Recipe

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have reproduced a 1000 year old potion that is apparently very effective against antibiotic resistant staph infections.MRSA-cure-1

The staph bacteria invades the immune system cells and uses them as a breeding ground. This cellular terrorism makes it very hard to get rid of such infections. For several decades, antibiotics would overcome this bug, but as inevitably happens, the bacteria mutated around it, and we are now faced with SuperBugs, serious antibiotic resistant pathogens.

MRSA-cure-2The official name is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA for short, and is a serious situation.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham discovered a remedy in a 1000 year old document called Bard’s Leechbook. Following as closely as possible the step-by-step instructions, which included garlic, onion, wine, and cow bile. The group concocted a potion which was then tested on MSRA strains in a petri dish. The results were, according to a US collaborator, nothing short of astonishing. The bacterial colony was effectively devastated.

Of particular interest was the potion’s ability to penetrate the bacteria’s protective biofilm coat, which is apparently a major factor in its resistance to antibiotics.

Two problems remain. The obvious one: would this work on people? And the second: could they reproduce the medieval emollient again? The recipe is quite detailed.

They have managed to reproduce it, and so far, it works on mice.

The work was part of a grander project called the Ancient Biotic Projects

How the potion works is a bit of a mystery at this point.MRSA-cure-robin-hood

The University of Nottingham is apparently seeking funding for additional research, so one might expect the usual pharmaceutical industry pile-on. Or would a 1000 year-old recipe be firmly in the public domain.

In any case, MRSA causes more that 500,000 hospitalization per year, and kills 19,000 in the US alone. These are epidemic level numbers, so anything helpful is most welcome.

One wonders what other remedies might be found in the University of Nottingham medieval library. And was the remedy ever used on Robin Hood?

PS Dr. Mike here: I have ‘Cheap English Skin’ which was not made for lifeguarding, surfing, mountain climbing and all of the other wonderful things you get to do in the California sun. Why do I mention this? During one of the surgeries removing part of my nose for squamous cell skin cancer- hello sun!- I contracted MRSA and was very nearly one of those MRSA deaths mentioned above. Cow bile? I’m in!


  1 comment for “A MRSA Cure From a Medieval Recipe

  1. Helene
    April 3, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you for this. I was particularly scared in the ENT Ward (Ear, Nose & Throat), when I had my air-way expanding op., but everything was perfect.
    Hospital was fully compliant with Health Care instructions.
    Statistic in this post is tragic whatever the figures are, but if MRSA concentrated in some particular areas, then it is indeed an outbreak, even large outbreak.

    Surely, everything was done, what should be done and with vital timetable – wards closing, transfer, cleaning, treating/nursing patients (all of them – infected and not infected, because in hospital patients are so vulnerable to infection). Than the compliance to be monitored as well.

    In my opinion, medieval recipe was written for a purpose, therefore I am not sceptical.

    And what the author called ‘Cheap English Skin’, is actually called ‘Fair Skin’. True – not good for all those wonderful things to experience in California sun. I can recommend only TWO Prescriptions to try to avoid further damage to health. Prescription 1 – Wide brim hat, thick cotton t-shirt (we all know that thin cotton will not protect from sunburn) and still try to avoid too much exposure to sunlight, because UV radiation in California is so strong (not good for ‘Fair Skin’). Prescription 2 – move to the North, where is low sunlight and sit in front of the fire place reading adventures of the Robin Hood, or medieval recipes…

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