1,000-year-old onion and garlic ‘eye remedy’ kills MRSA

In the age of AIDS, avian flu and Ebola, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, is terrifying.
The superbug, which is resistant to conventional antibiotics because of their overuse, shrugs at even the deadliest weapons modern medicine offers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated MRSA contributed to the deaths of more than 5,000 people in the United States in 2013. It even attacked the NFL, and some say it could eventually kill more people than cancer. And presidential commissions have advised that technological progress is the only way to fight MRSA.
But researchers in the United Kingdom now report that the superbug proved vulnerable to an ancient remedy. The ingredients Just a bit of garlic, some onion or leek, copper, wine and oxgall — a florid name for cow’s bile. The oxgall remedy, billed as an eye salve, was found in a manuscript written in Old English from the 10th century called “Bald’s Leechbook” — a sort of pre-Magna Carta physician’s desk reference. Garlic and copper are commonly thought to have antibiotic or antimicrobial properties, but seeing such ingredients in a home remedy at Whole Foods area far cry from researchers killing a superbug with it.’ Christina Lee, a historian from England's University of Nottingham, discovered Bald's eyesalve recipe. Scientist tested the individual ingredients against the bacteria, as well as the remedy and a control solution. They found the remedy killed up to 90% of MRSA bacteria and believe it is the effect of the recipe rather than one single ingredient.

Mechanism of Action:

When the medicine was too diluted to kill Staphylococcus aureus, researchers found that the formulation interfered with bacterial cell-cell communication (quorum sensing). This finding is very significant, because bacteria have to talk to each other to switch on the genes that allow them to damage infected tissues. Many microbiologists think that blocking this behaviour could be an alternative way of treating infection.

Why MRSA is a superbug:

MRSA - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus – is the most common 'superbug' found in hospitals. What singles MRSA out from other bacteria is that it cannot be killed by the standard antibiotic methicillin (a synthetic form of penicillin). In majority of cases this bacteria does no harm, because it has not got into the bloodstream and the immune system is strong enough to repel infection. The bacterium is, however, dangerous to anyone who is ill or who has had an operation - making hospital patients particularly vulnerable. The most common way the infection is spread in hospitals is by a member of the medical team touching a patient who has the bacteria on their skin, then moving on to another patient and passing on the bug into a wound. The bacteria can also survive away from the body; in dust, in unwashed bedding and on medical equipment.
MRSA with in human white cell

Evolution of a bug

Evolution - MRSA

Antimicrobial properties of Plant components from this formulation: Garlic, Onion and Wine


Allium sativum (garlic) has been recognized not only as a spice but also as a substance which exerts control on microorganisms. Recent publications indicate that garlic extract has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against many genera of bacteria and fungi. Allicin, one of the active principles of freshly crushed garlic homogenates, has a variety of antimicrobial activities. Allicin in its pure form was found to exhibit antibacterial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including multidrug-resistant enterotoxicogenic strains of Escherichia coli. The main antimicrobial effect of allicin is due to its chemical reaction with thiol groups of various enzymes, e.g. alcohol dehydrogenase, thioredoxin reductase, and RNA polymerase, which can affect essential metabolism of cysteine proteinase activity involved in the virulence of E. histolytica. (A complete blog on Garlic can be found in ‘Living Embryophytes’)


Onions have amazing antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Onion bulbs contain a good number of phytochemicals, most of which are hydrocarbons and their derivatives. These include: Dipropyl disulphide (which is used as a flavour compound), Allicin (which has antidiabetic, antihypertensive, antibiotic and antithrombotic activities), diathyl sulphide (which is of insecticidal property), Dimethyl disulphide (which is used as a gas odorant and in chemical synthesis), Mercaptopropane or propylmercaptan (which is used as flavour compound).


For years, drinking wine in moderation has been credited with improving heart health. The antibacterial properties of wine also can offer a significant measure of protection against common food-borne illnesses. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia reported that compounds in red wine appear to reduce the risk of infection with harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonellas species. Red wine has been found to discourage the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium transmitted by food and water. In the United States, H. pylori infection is a primary cause analizado parejas heterosexuales of stomach ulcers and acid reflux symptoms.In spite of its potent antibacterial properties, red wine does not appear to harm the beneficial bacteria that normally inhabit the human gut. Known as probiotics.


Oxgall is a purified, dried form of ox bile. The major composition of Oxgall is taurocholic and glycocholic acids. Oxgall inhibits gram positive bacteria other than enterococci. Oxgall is used as a selective agent for the isolation of Gram-negative microorganisms, inhibiting Gram-positive bacteria.


Copper has been identified as a metal containing antimicrobial properties from olden days. Surfaces of metallic copper or its alloys, containing at least 70% copper, can eliminate in a few hours several pathogenic organisms including bacterial strains associated with nosocomial infections, influenza virus, HIV, and fungi such as Candida albicans. In March 2008, the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), supported by scientific evidence gathered to date, registered copper as the first and only metal with antimicrobial properties.
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