Civil War plant medicines blast drug-resistant bacteria in lab tests

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Claude Bauer

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Mrs. V

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I just read this in my newsfeed. Very interesting. When I do my living history presentation, I always pull out a specimen of Feverfew. Used for headaches, and it makes a good styptic as well. Plus, I like the flowers in the summer!
 
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dhh712

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I would bet that good old penicillin would have saved more lives than tree bark.
For sure--at that time, before the different germs started developing resistance to the antibiotics.

Sure. But. Drug resistant bacteria exists because of drugs. Those were not around during the Civil War, so this is a bit of a fantasy paper.
I think the paper was focusing more on what new drugs we can develop now, based on historical use, in order to fight anew the germs that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics we currently have. But yeah, if it's saying that tree bark would have worked just as well as penicillin during this time--I'd be a little skeptical of that (though it may have worked in some cases; at that time though, penicillin would have been much stronger since the germs have never seen it before).
 
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This reminds me of an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Radiolab. This podcast used to be about science. (Lately, the podcast leans more towards the hosts' personal political opinions.)


Anyway, this particular episode was about two friends who were both Viking enthusiasts. As in, they were into Vikings the way that posters on this board are into the Civil War. One of these women just happened to be a microbiologist. The other woman was a historian. The women came across an approximately 1,000-year-old book of Viking medicine. This was by no means a formal scientific study, but they "made" one of the cures listed in the Viking medicine book, and then tested it against a sample of a staph infection. The Viking medicine appeared to kill the infection.

Again, this was no scientific study.

However, the podcast speculated that the treatments listed in this book of Viking medicine went out of use because their effectiveness diminished because the infectious diseases evolved to be resilient against them. So, as time went by, people stopped using these treatments. Then, as the diseases evolved further, the diseases in turn stopped being as resilient to the treatments. This is why the one treatment "worked" against an infection in this non-scientific experiment.

Here is the podcast episode and the transcript. Staph Retreat
 

dhh712

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This reminds me of an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Radiolab. This podcast used to be about science. (Lately, the podcast leans more towards the hosts' personal political opinions.)


Anyway, this particular episode was about two friends who were both Viking enthusiasts. As in, they were into Vikings the way that posters on this board are into the Civil War. One of these women just happened to be a microbiologist. The other woman was a historian. The women came across an approximately 1,000-year-old book of Viking medicine. This was by no means a formal scientific study, but they "made" one of the cures listed in the Viking medicine book, and then tested it against a sample of a staph infection. The Viking medicine appeared to kill the infection.

Again, this was no scientific study.

However, the podcast speculated that the treatments listed in this book of Viking medicine went out of use because their effectiveness diminished because the infectious diseases evolved to be resilient against them. So, as time went by, people stopped using these treatments. Then, as the diseases evolved further, the diseases in turn stopped being as resilient to the treatments. This is why the one treatment "worked" against an infection in this non-scientific experiment.

Here is the podcast episode and the transcript. Staph Retreat
That's awesome. Good point that the germs would become resilient to the "natural" medicines as well like the tree bark. Isn't that stunning how they develop resistance, like with "biofilms" and "quorum sensing"? The devilish little creatures are literally out to kill us in any way they can yet we can't even see them! (Well, it can be theorized I suppose that they're just wanting to reproduce in their environment, which sometimes happens to be in our bodies. Yet I maintain they're out to maliciously kill us and they know it!).
 
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