Superbug Medieval Remedy

March 31st, 2015

Anglo-Saxon cow bile and garlic potion kills MRSA

In the UK, the Telegraph reports:

A thousand-year-old medieval remedy for eye infections which was discovered in a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the superbug MRSA.

Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee, from the School of English, at Nottingham University, recreated the 10th century potion to see if it really worked as an antibacterial remedy.

The ‘eyesalve’ recipe calls for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and oxgall (bile from a cow’s stomach).

It describes a very specific method of making the topical solution including the use of a brass vessel to brew it, a strainer to purify it and an instruction to leave the mixture for nine days before use.

None of the experts really expected the concoction to work. But when it was tested, microbiologists were amazed to find that not only did the salve clear up styes, but it also tackled the deadly superbug MRSA, which is resistant to many antibiotics.

“We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab,” said Dr Lee.

“We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings.

“But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.”

Dr Lee translated the recipe from Bald’s Leechbook, a leatherbound Old Enlgish manuscript which is kept in the British Library.

The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.

“Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections, weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections,” Dr Lee added.

The scientists at Nottingham made four separate batches of the remedy using fresh ingredients each time, as well as a control treatment using the same quantity of distilled water and brass sheeting to mimic the brewing container but without the vegetable compounds.

None of the individual ingredients alone had any measurable effect, but when combined according to the recipe the MRSA populations were almost totally obliterated: about one bacterial cell in a thousand survived in mice wounds.

Researchers believe the antibacterial effect of the recipe is not due to a single ingredient but the combination used and brewing methods. Further research is planned to investigate how and why this works.

Microbiologists at Nottingham University said they were ‘genuinely amazed’ by the discovery.

“We thought that Bald’s eyesalve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab,” said Dr Freya Harrison who led the work in the laboratory.

“But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.

“This truly cross-disciplinary project explores a new approach to modern health care problems by testing whether medieval remedies contain ingredients which kill bacteria or interfere with their ability to cause infection”.

Scientist Dr Steve Diggle added: “When we built this recipe in the lab I didn’t really expect it to actually do anything.

“When we found that it could actually disrupt and kill cells in (MRSA) biofilms, I was genuinely amazed.”

Dr Kendra Rumbaugh, of Texas Tech University in the US, who was asked to replicate the findings, said that the salve performed ‘good if not better’ than traditional antibiotics at tackling the superbug.

The team at Nottingham is seeking more funding to extend the research so that it could be tested on humans.

The findings were presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology in Birmingham which runs from March 30.

Share

The Most Common Sources of Food Poisoning

March 22nd, 2015

E. Coli
Beef: 46 percent
Vegetable row crops: 36 percent

Salmonella
Seeded vegetables: 18 percent
Fruit: 12 percent
Eggs: 12 percent
Chicken: 10 percent
Beef: 9 percent
Pork: 8 percent
Sprouts: 8 percent

Campylobacter
Dairy: 66 percent
Chicken: 8 percent

Listeria
Fruit: 50 percent
Dairy: 31 percent

Share

GMOs Are Healthier

February 25th, 2015

Almost all GMO’s that are produced for human consumption are healthier for you than their non-GMO counterpart. For instance, colored carrots, tomatoes and potatoes are being bred to help prevent cancer.

The USDA reports:
Researchers with the Agricultural Research Service may have found the best way to entice consumers to eat their veggies: Surprise them. They’re breeding carrots that come in a palette of totally unexpected colors including yellow, dark orange, bright red–even purple.

With their flashy colors, these conventionally-bred carrots could dress up any dull meal. But what’s getting scientists’ attention is finding that the bright veggies are full of pigments with impressive health-promoting properties.

Xanthophylls give the yellow carrots their golden hues and have been linked with good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, a type of carotene also found in tomatoes that’s believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers.

Purple carrots owe their color to anthocyanins. In a class all by themselves, these pigments are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can guard the body’s fragile cells from the destructive effects of unstable molecules known as free radicals.

At first, Philipp Simon–the carrots’ breeder who works at the ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit in Madison, Wis.–was unsure if these complex vegetables could provide nutrients in a form that the human body can use.

But in studies with nutritionist Sherry Tanumihardjo from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Simon found that yellow carrots’ lutein was 65 percent as bioavailable as it is from a lutein supplement. The two also discovered that lycopene from red-pigmented carrots is 40 percent as bioavailable as it is from tomato paste.

And for consumers who don’t like tomatoes, having another food source of lycopene would be good news.

Learn more: Food For Thought

Share

10 banned foods Americans should stop eating right now

January 26th, 2015

Remember: There are NO known health risks to GMO’s.

10 Banned Foods to Avoid

Are you eating food that’s already banned in other countries but is still allowed to poison and kill Americans? Learn these pernicious ingredients and common foods through this infographic. Use the embed code to share it on your website.

 
Share

Coconut Myth

December 19th, 2014

A new study on coconuts reported by Australia’s ABC found that health claims about coconuts and coconut water have been exaggerated:

It is moderately rich in potassium and also contains small amounts of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. However, both the banana and the potato carry roughly the same amounts of potassium — and you don’t see potatoes being endorsed by celebrities and sold as the next crackpot Superfood.

Coconut water sales reached almost half a billion dollars world-wide in 2013. On supermarket shelves, in yoga studios and gyms it’s being heavily pushed as a rehydration liquid for athletes and lovers of natural food.

Sure, when you sweat, you lose water, sodium and lots of minerals. But studies have shown that coconut water is about as good at rehydrating you as generic sports drinks or, wait for it, water out of the tap. The false marketing claim that it is superior as a rehydration liquid to sports drinks was withdrawn in the USA after a 2011 class action lawsuit.

But what about the elite athletes who push themselves for more than an hour every day? In that case, coconut water does not have enough sodium to do a good job. And if you drink large amounts of coconut water to get enough sodium, you’ll soon realise that coconut water does have a laxative effect — which, to put it mildly, is not good for replenishing your bodily fluids. Another problem for the elite athletes is that because coconut water is not formulated in a factory, its ingredients can vary enormously from batch to batch.

But as a refreshing occasional drink, coconut water is fine. Just don’t waste your money filling your pantry with it, thinking that it is health-giving.

So what about coconut oil? It also has celebrity endorsement ranging from Olympic champions to movie stars like Angelina Jolie to Miranda Kerr, who claims she eats a spoonful every day. Its loudly trumpeted health benefits include controlling sugar cravings and your weight, as well as relieving stress and boosting your immunity. There is no compelling evidence for these claims.

One of the odd features of coconut oil is that it is rich in saturated fats — quite different from practically all the other oils that come from plants. It’s about 91 per cent saturated fats and only 6 per cent mono-unsaturated fats — virtually the opposite from olive oil which is 14 per cent saturated fats and 72 per cent mono-unsaturated fats.

From a storage point of view, saturated fats have an advantage. They make coconut oil resistant to oxidation and turning rancid – so you can store it for a few years before it goes off.

But from a health point of view, saturated fats have a big disadvantage. They are very strongly associated with bad blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. This is the overwhelming majority view of bodies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organisation, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association and many other professional medical and dietetic organisations. There is a minority view that saturated fats are good for you, but let me emphasise that this is very much a minority view.

Share