Medieval manuscript reveals natural remedy for bacterial infections and fight superbugs

Superbugs are a community of bacteria (viruses, parasites, or fungi) that are highly resistive to antibiotics. With antibiotic resistance on the rise and superbugs mutating to become even more resistive, researchers are searching for ways to effectively kill superbugs. However, the answer could lie in a medieval manuscript.

The manuscript describes a 1,000-year-old natural remedy consisting of onion, garlic, wine, and bile salts that could potentially be a strong antibacterial remedy. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports Tuesday, suggests that the remedy could treat diabetic foot and leg infections. The remedy is known asĀ Bald’s eyesalve.

The Bald’s eyesalve mixture in the lab. | Image: University of Warwick via CNN
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The main interest in Bald’s eyesalve comes in from its potential to fight MRSA superbugs, modern bacteria that is highly restive to antibiotics. These are also known as biofilm infections. It is estimated that biofilm infections cost the United Kingdon more than $1.3 billion every year, according to the study.

 Freya Harrison, a microbiologist at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick in the UK and an author of the study, says, “This is the real detailed hard slog of finding out more information and seeing if it really could be developed into something clinically useful.”

“We think it has particular promise for treating diabetic foot infections. They are the ultimate, super-resistant biofilm infection. They are a huge health and economic burden. They really can become untreatable,” Harrison continues. “There’s a high risk that these diabetic foot ulcers are completely resistant to any antibiotic treatment. Then there’s a risk of a person developing sepsis … and people end up having their foot or lower leg amputated.”

The first report of the potential of this remedy being used in the fight against MRSA superbugs was noted in research published in 2015. The latest research sheds more light on how the remedy could be put into practice. However, there will be a lot more testing and research required before the remedy could be made into approved medication.

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“In the next year we hope to have some idea of the chemistry, a better idea of the safety, and then it would be a case of saying is it actually effective but I’m sure you’re aware this work does take a long time,” Harrison said. “It’s important to recognize that most exciting-looking, potential anti-microbials ultimately fail to translate into a product. So we have to be very realistic and do a lot of detailed work to see if it will be useful.”

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Source: CNN, Phys.org

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