Friday, December 28, 2018

What the Druids Knew About MRSA

Druid statue in the park
Croome Park, Worcs, England
By PicturePrince - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Gaius Julius Caesar feared the Druids. He knew them as powerful, knowledgeable, leaders of the Celts, the people who lived in northern Europe from Ireland to Turkey. So, he did his best to eliminate them. Sadly, through much of Europe and Britain, he and other Roman conquers succeeded. But they never subdued the people of the land that is today called Ireland.

The Druids knew a thing or two about life and how one might live in our world. They excelled in what we call medicine today. They knew about healing. Possibly, more than we understand today.

Fortunately, a few researchers are learning about the old ways and applying them today.

Take Dr. Gerry Quinn, for example. As a resident of Boho, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, he grew up with the healing traditions of the area which was, “previously occupied by the Druids, around 1500 years ago, and Neolithic people 4000 years ago”.

Quinn knew that, “Traditionally a small amount of soil was wrapped up in cotton cloth and used to heal many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections.”

Later in life, as a member of the Swansea University Medical School research team, he applied his knowledge by analyzing, “ancient soil from Ireland long thought to have medicinal properties”. Low and behold, the team discovered that the soil, “contains a previously unknown strain of bacteria which is effective against four of the top six superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA.”

Professor Paul Dyson of Swansea University Medical School said:

"This new strain of bacteria is effective against 4 of the top 6 pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics, including MRSA. Our discovery is an important step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance.”

“Our results show that folklore and traditional medicines are worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics. Scientists, historians and archaeologists can all have something to contribute to this task. It seems that part of the answer to this very modern problem might lie in the wisdom of the past."

My guess is that it's likely there is more to learn from our ancestors. Perhaps we should look and listen. We might discover that the Druids knew more than just about an antibiotic that takes out MRSA.

Here's the rest of the story:

Bacteria found in ancient Irish soil halts growth of superbugs—new hope for tackling antibiotic resistance, Swansea University Medical School,, 27 Dec 2018.

Zone of inhibition produced by Streptomyces sp myrophorea on a lawn
of MRSA. The bacteria is the brown spot, and the lighter color around 
the spot shows that it is inhibiting the spread of the MRSA which is
 surrounding it. Credit: G Quinn, Swansea University
Mary Black - Song for Ireland - 1998

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