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Potion knocks out super-resistant microbes

A 1,000-year-old formula for a potion from the world’s first known medical textbook has shown remarkable results in killing Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to Australian Popular Science.

The British researchers who tested the potion will present their findings this week at an annual microbiology conference in the UK.

The recipe for the potion comes from Bald’s Leechbook, which was written in the 9th century.

take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together, take wine and bullocks’ gall, of both equal quantities, mix with the leek, put this then into a brazen vessel, let it stand nine days in the brass vessel, wring out through a cloth and clear it well, put it into a horn, and about night time apply it with a feather to the eye; the best leechdom.

The researchers tested the concoction on cultures of MRSA bacteria in synthetic wounds as well as in rats. No individual ingredient had no effect on the cultures, but the combined liquid killed almost all the cells; only about one in 1,000 bacteria survived. At more dilute concentrations, the salve didn’t kill the bacteria, but still interrupted their communication, preventing them from damaging tissues. Some researchers have been looking into this type of communication interruption as a possible new way to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab,” Christina Lee, a professor in Viking studies at the University of Nottingham whop translated the formula, said. The researchers hope to recreate more ancient elixirs to test them against modern medical conditions and bacteria.

The British researchers will present their findings this week at an annual microbiology conference held in the United Kingdom.