Ye Olde Medical Journal: Did Medieval Doctors Know the Cures for Modern Diseases?

Apr 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm |
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A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library…

Posted by The University of Nottingham on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This is one of the best reasons we’ve ever seen as to how the past can help us learn for the future.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham are combining the school’s specialties of molecular microbiology and early medieval (Anglo-Saxon and Viking) history to study what older civilizations knew about medicine and anti-infection remedies.

Diseases and human health have been issues since the beginning of time, with many viruses still confounding scientists today as much as ever. Contrary to the belief that people were generally incapable of preventing and curing infection before the scientific advancements of the Enlightenment, these English researchers are currently investigating just how Anglo-Saxons and Vikings took care of the sick and suffering hundreds of years ago.

Some popular ingredients? Garlic and other close relatives like onions and leeks. Doesn’t sound too bad! One of the most surprisingly advanced remedies they’ve found so far? Some medieval manuscripts contained a remedy that scientists have just proven can help kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – the dangerous bacteria behind pink eye, staph infections, and MRSA.

Should the future of medicine keep looking to the past?


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Should the future of medicine look to the past? Turns out the Vikings knew a lot about modern medicine! How cool is this?