The deadly superbug MRSA — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — kills at least 23,000 U.S. citizens in a year as of 2013 research from the CDC, and has been predicted to eventually cause more deaths than cancer. But it may have finally met its match, in the form of a garlicy concoction from a 10th-century manuscript.
As described by an old English medical text called Bald’s Leechbook, the recipe calls for “garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile,” and was originally created as an eye salve, according to the BBC.
The researchers, members of the University of Nottingham’s microbiology team, expected a “small amount of antibiotic activity,” but “were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was,” Dr. Freya Harrison told the BBC. When tested against a control sample, the simple salve killed up to 90 percent of MRSA bacteria.
The research will be presented at the upcoming Annual Conference of the Society for General Microbiology.