The Ancients Knew the Disease Fighting Properties of Garlic +
About 1,000 years ago, if one had an infection of an eyelash follicle, then known as a wen, the treatment was with a potion called Bald’s eyesalve, which is made from wine, garlic, leek, onion or another Allium species and ox gall (bile).
The mixture was to be stored in a brass vessel for at least 9 days prior to use.
Individually, many of these ingredients, including not only garlic but also copper and bile salts, are known to have antibacterial activity, which led the researchers to suspect the mixture would have a small amount of antibiotic activity.
Researcher Freya Harrison, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Nottingham, said that “we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.”
They tested the salve on Staphylococcus aureus in synthetic wounds as well as on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in mice wounds, with results showing it killed up to 90% of the resistant bugs.
It was the combination of the ingredients that proved to be so effective.
According to the researchers: “While the antibiotic potential of some materials used in historical medicine has been demonstrated, empirical tests of entire remedies are scarce. This is an important omission, because the efficacy of ‘ancientbiotics’ could rely on the combined activity of their various ingredients.
This would lead us to underestimate their efficacy and, by extension, the scholarship of premodern doctors. It could also help us to understand why some natural compounds that show antibacterial promise in the laboratory fail to yield positive results in clinical trials.
We have reconstructed a 1,000-year-old remedy which kills the bacteria it was designed to treat and have shown that this activity relies on the combined activity of several antimicrobial ingredients.
Our results highlight (i) the scholarship and rational methodology of premodern medical professionals and (ii) the untapped potential of premodern remedies for yielding novel therapeutics at a time when new antibiotics are desperately needed.”
It is impressive that the disease-fighting properties of the allium family of vegetables were known long before it was possible to identify their exact antibacterial properties.
The recipe for Bald’s eyesalve came from “Bald’s Leechbook,” which is considered to be one of the earliest known medical textbooks.
Today we know that garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic properties.
The combination of biochemicals in garlic, including tannins, saponins, phenols, flavonoids, and essential oils, has clealry been found to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Some of the superbugs killed by garlic were resistant to more than 10 different antibiotics.
Researchers write in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, “Natural spices of garlic … possess effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens and can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial diseases.”
Like garlic, leeks also have sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are responsible for many of their health benefits.
Allicin is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, for instance, and in addition to warding off antibiotic-resistant superbugs, this compound may also neutralize dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.
The problem of antibiotic resistance needs to be stemmed through public policy on a global level, including improving sanitation and eliminating the unnecessary use of antibiotics in agriculture and human medicine.
That said, get involved on a personal level.
Reducing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a significant reason for making sure you eat only grass fed, Organically raised meats and animal products.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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