I Am My Own Lab Rat

How I treated my MRSA with a Medieval Potion


In 2001 I suffered a seizure of unknown etiology and, because the physicians could not determine what had caused the seizure, they kept me in semi-intensive care for a full week. Some time after I returned to my life at home, I discovered that I had a supperating lesion that produced immense quantities of pus, so much that it plastered my T-shirt to my back. It did not respond to my simple first-aid attempts so I visited a dermatologist and was given a prescription for an antibiotic. The antibiotic was not effective against the infection. I visited the dermatologist's office again and told the receptionist that the medication was not proving effective, and asked that the dermatologist provide an alternative prescription. I was ushered into a regular examination room. After some time the dermatologist arrived. She stood in the doorway and shouted angrily at me that I had an infection that had colonized the passages of my nose, an infection that I would never be be freed from. With that she stormed out and I left her care forever.

The original lesion eventually cleared up, but a succession of similar infections occurred, usually in areas of my upper torso that had relatively little muscle covering and must not have had a very rich blood supply. When I visited my GP an assistant MD (in training I believe) examined one of the lesions that had already begun healing and was covered with new scar tissue. At or around that time I was treated with antibiotics including an antibiotic ointment to be squeezed into my nostrils. I received tempory relief, but after a month or two the symptoms returned. It was difficult to get anything other than a noncommital indication that my words had been heard and understood by my GP except when I finally complained that the lesions were painful. Somehow their being mildly painful (I have high tolerance to pain) was the key to getting suggestions for other ways of treatment.

So far the following treatments have been tried without success:

Hibiclens solution used for bathing several times per week.

Povidone iodine surgical scrub (my own idea) also used several times per week.

Bleach added to bath water for soaking for about 20 minutes several times per week.

Puracyn disinfectant (Hypochlorus acid) sprayed on every two to three days.

Silver sulfadiazine ointment, prescribed by a new dermatologist. Applied to active lesions and covered with plastic film (Saran Wrap) to prolong the period the medication would be in contact with open sores. It was mildly effective but only reduced the severity of symptoms.

Curad Silver Solution. applied to open sores. It may have been slightly more effective than the silver sulfadiazine.

During this time I discovered that that lesions that healed would usually acquire a covering of seborrheic dermatitis and that an infection would frequently recur from under this layer of abnormal skin cells.

In all this time, the only treatment that was effective was the use of the "advanced healing" bandages that have a colloidal  layer that absorbs drainage from the infected lesion and prevents the lesion from drying, thus giving the body's immune system easy access to all regions that may harbor MRSA or other bacteria.


I had read that a prescription for an ophthalmic solution had been found in a medieval text and compounded. Researchers had discovered that it was effective against MRSA. Unfortunately the translated text did not give amounts of the several ingredients. I decided to approach the compounding of the medicine as I would an equally vague description of the preparation of soup. I would tackle the problem based on my experience as a cook.

Here is what I came up with:

1 oz chopped onion

1 oz chopped garlic

1 500 mg. capsule of ox bile

Wine to produce a final 4 oz. preparation

Or, for a year's supply:

One bigger-than-a golfball package of elephant garlic (or other garlic of similar weight)
One small onion of about the same weight
5 500 mg. capsules of ox bile
Wine to make about a quart of strained blenderized product

Put  dry ingredients in blender, add enough common red wine to cover. Run blender until it has thoroughly shreded all of the vegetable fibers. Strain into a bronze flask with stopper or a glass jar with a few bronze screws. Add enough wine to make 4 oz. Cap and store at 40° fahrenheit for two weeks.  Or, if you're doing a year's supply, enough wine to make a quart and about 1/2 pound (about 1/4 kilogram) of 3 inch bronze screws (cost almost $9 from Lowes Home Improvements).

Around two weeks after I prepared this potion, I developed a deep abscess that broke through to the surface. It appeared to be filled with blood, but no blood flowed from the lesion. I rubbed a few drops of the monk's potion into the open wound, and felt some granular detritus. so I kept working on it with my finger tip until I judged that there was no longer any coagulated blood or other potential harbors for germs in the lesion. I put a few more drops of potion into the wound and forgot about it. It was bedtime, and I saw no need to bandage the open sore.

The next morning I observed that a very unusual surface had formed over the wound. It looked more like a layer of epoxy plastic such as JB Weld than the usual scab. The surface that forms over lesions treated with the potion takes on its color, which in turn is a darker version of the color of the red wine used to make the medicine. The skin around the sealed lesion was somewhat inflamed and remained pink for about a day. Effectively, that slight inflammation was the last symptom of infection observed.

Since that time I have applied the medieval medicine to anything showing signs of the MRSA infection. At one point I decided to let a sore grow so that it could be cultured, but that was a second thought after I had doused the lesion with the medicine. One dose terminated the infection.

Another time an infection got started I plannned to let it develop without interference so the pus could be cultured, but I didn’t have the will power to refrain from treating it just so I could show it to my dermatologist.

I doubt that people would willingly accept the instillation of this liquid in their eyes because the alcohol content is pretty high. If it was used for eye treatments in medieval Europe, their patients must have had some very nasty symptoms I should think. (I have never seen any sign of fermentation or other forms of microbial colonization of the solution even in quantities left unrefrigerated for days or weeks, but that is no guarantee that application to eyes might not cause a secondary infection.) But maybe a single drop of it would quickly be diluted by tears, or maybe the medieval doctors added enough water to avoid its being too stingy. I just read somewhere that it was used for sties, so in that case the physician would not have been flooding the entire eye socket with potion.

My guess is that thoroughly working the solution into a wound helps to clear out any potential refuges for the MRSA, and that the saran wrap-like seal over the wound avoids the kind of scab that may also be a base for MRSA to form a plaque on.

The “Advanced Healing” bandages are really the only other thing that has ever helped. Their efficacy indicates to me that MRSA can only get around my immune system when it can form or find refuges from natural body fluids that carry immune cells directly to the MRSA.

Note Well: I am not an MD. I don't advise you to do what I have done. I am only reporting on what I have done and am including the information that so far I have remained in good health.

See:
1. http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/4/e01129-15.full — This is the most useful article that I have found thus far.
2. http://www.sveducationalservices.org/an-antibiotic-from-balds-leech-book/
3. http://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/monica-v-golik-mahoney-pharmd-bcps-aq-id/2015/04/ancient-recipe-may-burst-the-mrsa-bubble
4. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-32117815
5. www.medievalhistories.com/medieval-eye-salve-kills-superbugs/
6. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/medieval-medical-books-could-hold-recipe-new-antibiotics-180962947/
7. https://www.sciencealert.com/1-000-year-old-onion-and-garlic-remedy-kills-antibiotic-resistant-bugs
8. http://www.futurity.org/mrsa-ancient-remedy-888122/
9. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/getting-medieval-on-bacteria-ancient-books-may-point-to-new-antibiotics/
10. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27263-anglo-saxon-remedy-kills-hospital-superbug-mrsa/
— this site reports that some experimenters had the solution spoil by the time the medicine was supposedly ready. I suspect that they failed to refrigerate it and/or contaminated it somehow. I once accidentally left a bottle of the potion unrefrigerated for several weeks. It formed a little mold on the surface but was otherwise o.k.
11. http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/health/anglo-saxon-potion-mrsa/index.html
12. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/07/anglo-saxon-mrsa/
13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo4K51bQVs0

On the way the wine should keep the monk's potion from spoiling if it's made proper see:
https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2004/11/16/Red-wine-has-anti-bacterial-impact-new-study

I have found several references in one of the websites linked above that may be of interest:
1.       Rayner E. AncientBiotics – a medieval remedy for modern day superbugs? The University of Nottingham. Available at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2015/march/ancientbiotics---a-medieval-remedy-for-modern-day-superbugs.aspx [Accessed 4/2/2015]
2.       Harrison F, Roberts A, Rumbaugh K, Lee C, Diggle SP. A 1,000-year-old antimicrobial remedy with anti-staphylococcal activity.  [absctract]  Society for General microbiology Annual Conference 2015. Birmingham, UK.
3.       Tsao SM, Yin MC.  In-vitro antimicrobial activity of four diallyl sulphides occurring naturally in garlic and Chinese leek oils. J Med Microbiol. 2001;50:646-9.
4.       Tsao SM, Hsu CC, Yin MC. Garlic extract and two diallyl sulphides inhibit methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in BALB/cA mice. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003;52:974-80.
5.       Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings. MMWR. 2002;51:RR-16.
6.       Mermel LA, Allon M, Bouza E, et al.  Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of intravascular catheter-related infection: 2009 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;49:1-45.
7.       Marcinakova M, Klingberg TD, Laukova A, Budde BB.  The effect of pH, bile and calcium on the adhesion ability of probiotic enterococci of animal origin to the porcine jejunal epithelial cell line IPEC-J2. Anaerobe. 2010;2:120-4.
8.       Kheadr E, Dabour N, Le Lay C, Lacroix C, Fliss I. Antibiotic susceptibility profile of bifidobacteria as affected by oxgall, acid, and hydrogen peroxide stress. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007;51:169-74.
9.       Borkow G, Gabbay J, Dardik R, et al.  Molecular mechanisms of enhanced wound healing by copper oxide-impregnated dressings. Wound Rep Reg. 2010;18:266-75.
10.   Beeton ML, Aldrich-Wright JR, Bolhuis A. The antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities of copper(II) complexes. J Inorg Biochem. 2014;140:167-72






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