Antimicrobial assays of three native British plants used in Anglo-Saxon medicine for wound healing formulations in 10th century England

Article


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.
AuthorsWatkins, F., Pendry, B., Sanchez-Medina, A. and Corcoran, O.
Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Three important Anglo-Saxon medical texts from the 10th century contain herbal formulations for over 250 plant species, many of which have yet to be evaluated for their phytochemical and/or pharmacological properties. In this study, three native British plants were selected to determine antimicrobial activity relevant to treating bacterial infections and wounds.
Materials and methods: Several preparations of Agrimonia eupatoria L., Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh. and Potentilla reptans L. were screened for antimicrobial activity against selected Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria of relevance in wounds using a 96 well plate microdilution method (200, 40 and 8 µg/mL). Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined for the most potent extracts from 2-0.004 mg/mL and HPLC chromatograms examined by multivariate analysis. Principle components analysis (PCA) was used to identify chemical differences between antimicrobial activity of the crude extracts.
Results: The HPLC-PCA score plots attributed HPLC peaks to the antimicrobial activity with all three plants inhibiting growth of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus by >50% in four or more extracts. The first two principal components (PC) represented 87% of the dataset variance. The P. reptans 75% ethanol root extract exhibited the greatest range of activity with MIC50 at 31.25 µg/mL to a total MIC that was also the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) at 1 mg/mL. Additionally, the root of P. reptans inhibited growth of Gram-negative bacteria with the 75% ethanol extract having a MIC50 at 1 mg/mL against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the decoction a MIC50 at 3.9 µg/mL against Escherichia coli.

Conclusions: The results indicate a moderate antimicrobial activity against common wound pathogens for P.reptans suggesting it may well have been effective for treating wound and bacterial infections. Anglo-Saxon literary heritage may provide a credible basis for researching new antimicrobial formulations. Our approach encompassing advanced analytical technologies and chemometric models paves the way for systematic investigation of Anglo-Saxon medical literature for further therapeutic indications to uncover knowledge of native British plants, some of which are currently lost to modern Western herbal medicine.

Keywordsethnopharmacology; herbal medicine; Anglo-Saxon medicine
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Journal citation144 (2), pp. 408-415
ISSN0378-8741
Year2012
PublisherElsevier for International Society for Ethnopharmacology
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.09.031
Publication dates
Print21 Nov 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Nov 2012
Copyright informationNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 144(2), doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.09.031
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