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
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)doi: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.