The “eyesalve” remedy that dates back to the 10th century was discovered in a leather-bound volume of Bald’s Leechbook at the British Library. Bald’s Leechbook is considered to be one of the earliest medical textbooks ever discovered.
Christina Lee, a researcher at the University of Nottingham and an expert on Anglo-Saxon society, managed to translate the ancient manuscript. According to Lee, there were some ambiguities within the ancient text that made the translation a bit difficult.
Lee said that the scientists chose this particular ancient treatment because it contained ingredients like garlic, which is currently being investigated by researchers for its potential antibiotic effects.
According to Lee, they wanted to see if the treatment actually worked, especially since they were told that it was the “best of leechdoms”.
So Lee gathered a team of microbiologists to see if the ancient remedy actually worked.
The recipe involves two species of Allium, such as garlic and onion or leek, wine and oxgall, which is bile from the stomach of a cow. All the ingredients need to be brewed in a brass recipient.
Freya Harrison, an expert in microbiology and one of the scientists involved in the experiment, said that they tried to recreate the medieval potion as accurately as possible. The indications were written very precisely in the Bald, which made it easier for the scientists to follow the instructions, regarding ratio of the ingredients and the way they should be mixed together.
The recreation of the medieval potion was done at a laboratory of School of Life Sciences.
The potion had to be left to brew for nine days before being used, according to the ancient text.
The scientists then tested the potion on different cultures of the MRSA virus.
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and it’s a type of staph bacterium that is very resistant to antibiotics.
Although the researchers were not expecting the potion to work, they were amazed to see that it can actually kill 90% of the MRSA virus.
Image Source: cbsnews
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