Investigation of antimicrobials from native British plants used in 10th century Anglo-Saxon wound healing formulations

PhD Thesis


Watkins, F. 2013. Investigation of antimicrobials from native British plants used in 10th century Anglo-Saxon wound healing formulations. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Health Sport and Bioscience https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3456
AuthorsWatkins, F.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

Chinese and Indian cultures consider their ancient herbal texts valuable
resources in the search for novel compounds with potential pharmacological
applications. However, despite a rich history of medicinal plant use throughout
the British Isles, much of the native flora recorded in the Anglo-Saxon medical
texts (the Herbarium, Bald’s Leechbook and the Lacnunga) studied here has yet
to be evaluated. A model was developed for bio-screening medicinal plants
using <30 g of dried material for bioassay and structure elucidation. In this
study, six native species were screened using a 96-well microdilution bioassay
(200, 40 and 8 μg/mL) against representative strains of Gram-positive and
Gram-negative pathogens commonly found in wounds. All plants exhibited
activity against Gram-positive organisms in one or more leaf extracts (MIC50
200 μg/mL). Of the 8 extracts per plant, the 25% and 75% EtOH root extracts
of Agrimonia eupatoria L. and Potentilla reptans L. were effective against S.
aureus at the lower concentration (MIC50 8 μg/mL) and inhibited growth of
Gram-negative pathogen E. coli (MIC50 40 μg/mL). P. reptans was selected for
further investigation on the basis of its activity against E. coli and underreported
phytochemistry compared to A. eupatoria. In the MIC assay the 75% EtOH root
extract of P. reptans demonstrated the widest range of activity against S.
aureus (MIC50 31.25 – full MIC of 1000 μg/mL). The P. reptans root decoction
was the most potent extract against E. coli (MIC50 3.9 μg/mL) and comparable
to chloramphenicol, a broad spectrum antibiotic. Principal components analysis
(PCA) when overlaid with antimicrobial activity, directed the optimisation of the
HPLC and LC-MS methods. Seven antimicrobial compounds were putatively
identified for P. reptans (agrimonolide-6-O-glucopyranoside, chlorogenic acid,
ellagic acid, epicatechin, procyanidin B, procyanidin C, and tormentic acid).
This study has shown some native species in the Anglo-Saxon formulations
may have been effective for treating bacterial infection in wounds and that the
medical texts are a valuable source for rediscovering plants and medicinal uses
lost to Western herbal practice.

Year2013
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.3456
Publication dates
PrintDec 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jan 2014
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
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Antimicrobial assays of three native British plants used in Anglo-Saxon medicine for wound healing formulations in 10th century England
Watkins, F., Pendry, B., Sanchez-Medina, A. and Corcoran, O. 2012. Antimicrobial assays of three native British plants used in Anglo-Saxon medicine for wound healing formulations in 10th century England. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 144 (2), pp. 408-415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.09.031