This 1,000-year-old Garlic and Onion Eye Remedy Kills MRSA

The experts have said that a 1,000-year-old remedy for eye infection can hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

The scientists remade a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon cure using garlic, onion and part of a stomach of a cow.

They are amazed to find it nearly completed wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or well-known as MRSA.

Their researches will be shown at the national microbiology conference.

This treatment was found in Bald’s Leechbook, which is an old English manuscript that has instruction on many treatments held in the British Library.

Dr. Christina Lee, the Anglo-Saxon expert from the University of Nottingham, translated this recipe for an eye salve that includes onion or leeks, garlic, cow bile and wine.

Experts from the microbiology team of the university remade the cure and then tested the remedy on large cultures of MRSA.



Tom Feilden, the science editor of Today Programme

The leechbook is one of the first examples of what might nearly be named a medical textbook. It looks like the Anglo-Saxon physician might actually have tested something really close to the modern scientific method, with its importance on experimentation and observation.

Bald’s Leechbook could contain some essential lessons for our modern day fight with anti-microbial resistance.

In each case, they examined the single ingredients against the bacteria and also a control solution and the remedy.

They discovered that the remedy killed up to 90 percent of the MRSA bacteria and they believe that it is the effect of the whole recipe rather than just one ingredient.

Dr. Freya Harrison said that the crew thought the eye salve may show a “small amount of antibiotic activity”. She said that they were completely blown away by just how effective the mix of ingredients was.

Dr. Lee said that there are many similar medieval books that contain treatments for bacterial infections. She also said that this could suggest folks were carrying out scientific studies centuries before the discovery of the bacteria.

The team’s finding will be displayed at “Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology” that will be held in Birmingham.

Bald’s eye salve
Bald’s eye salve



Equal amounts of garlic and onion or leek, chopped and crushed in a mortar for 2 minutes.

Then, add 25 ml or 0.87 fl oz of English wine, which is taken from a historic vineyard located somewhere near Glastonbury.

Dissolve the bovine salts in a distilled water, add and keep chilled for 9 days at 4°C.