1,000-year-old Onion and Garlic Eye Remedy Kills MRSA

A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs, experts have said.

Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.

They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

…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.

Source: 1,000-year-old onion and garlic eye remedy kills MRSA

The article is poorly written, but in the context of the article – not misleading. They specifically tested the remedy against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and it worked.  All MRSA are S. aureus, but most S. aureus are not MRSA.

Honestly, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. They added a mixture to culture, and it happened to kill 90% of the bacteria. Adding bleach, 100% ethanol, and other substances can also kill 90%+ of MRSA in culture. In vitro results almost never translate perfectly to in vivo results.

In addition, there’s no evidence/proof provided that it actually works in vivo through some as of yet unknown mechanism. We do already have a small arsenal of drugs to fight both hospital acquired and community acquired MRSA, and I doubt a mix of onion, garlic, and cow’s stomach will replace any of those robust treatments.  Bile salts have been known to inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria (such as Staphylococci) for a very long time in Microbiology. In fact, a lot of common culture media such as MacConkey Agar use bile salts to prevent the growth of those bacteria.  Consider the science news life cycle:

SMBC had a similar take: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=1623

What’s really worrying is: I’ve noticed problems with scientific articles for a while, but never questioned reporting on the politics, international affairs, economics, etc the same way…

Three Cheers for the Onion

Onions are eaten and grown in more countries than any other vegetable but rarely seem to receive much acclaim. It’s time to stop taking the tangy, tear-inducing bulb for granted and give it a round of applause, writes the BBC’s Marek Pruszewicz.

…Without doubt, onions would have been traded along the Silk Road as far back as 2,000BC, around the time the Mesopotamians were writing down their onion-rich recipes, Kelley says.

Source: Three cheers for the onion

Onions have either no vitamin K, or an amount so small it’s insignificant.

I only found out about 6 months ago that onions have vitamin C – not a lot, but apparently for some having the cold or flu meant chicken and onion stew.  Onions have roughly half the amount of vitamin C, but limes and lemons are typically smaller.  Still, the knowledge might’ve stopped UK sailors from being known as “Limeys” because they used limes to counter scurvy.