Medieval Medicine for the Modern World

Posted on March 13, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What can a Medieval medicinal text teach us about combatting modern-day infection?

For as long as humans have been around we have been fighting infection, and more often than not, losing.

petri dish with microbes growing on it, using medieval medicine to fight infection
Source: THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM

In 1928 though, penicillin was invented, and it revolutionized medicine. Since the inception of this wonder drug, the bacteria that cause infections have continuously adapted to become resistant to the medications we develop to combat them. These highly resistant infections like MRSA are becoming increasingly difficult to treat as a result of this arms race between antibiotics and the infections they cure.

Today we bring you one of our favorite podcasts, Radiolab, for a fascinating tale in the history of this arms race.

This is the incredible story of what happens when we open the doors to possibility by bringing science, an ax-wielding nun, and medieval history together…

Via: Radiolab 1

The future of medical research…

So, what does using a medieval medicine to fight infection mean for the future of medical research?

Well, beyond the remarkable properties that this discovery has to potentially treat highly resistant infections like MRSA, it says something more about the future of medical research.

There is a wealth of discovery out there when it comes to developing new drugs and improving our health. Whether we research what cures animals are using on themselves, or turn to ancient texts to see what worked for our forefathers, it is clear that we must begin thinking crossdisciplinary as medicine continues to innovate.

Innovation comes from breaking down the barriers between what we know, and what we think is possible. When we begin to think of the world of science as a place that can be influenced by the “unscientific” fields of history, art, literature, or design, we open up the realm of what is possible and make way for powerful and important innovation.

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV