A 1000-year-old medieval remedy for eye infections could hold the key to killing drug-resistant superbugs.
Discovered in a manuscript in the British Library, the 10th century potion was recreated by Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee from Nottingham University.
When tested, microbiologists were amazed to find that not only did the salve — made from garlic and onion or leek, wine and bile from a cow’s stomach — clear up styes, it also tackled the deadly staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bug.
“We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments,” Dr Lee said in a statement.
“We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge.”
MRSA, one of the worst super bugs often found in hospitals, is a strain of staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics.
Dr Lee translated the recipe from Bald’s Leechbook, a leather-bound old English manuscript containing Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.
The Leechbook called for a specific method of making the topical solution including a brass vessel for brewing, a strainer for purifying and an instruction to leave the mixture for nine days before use.
Scientists at Nottingham made four batches of the remedy using fresh ingredients each time.
None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe the superbugs were almost completely wiped out.