Like any good infectious disease physician I am always excited with the prospect of a novel treatment for a nasty infection such as MRSA. Usually these new therapeutics come in the form of traditional antibiotics such as tedizolid, ortivancin, or dalbavancin.
However, the latest MRSA treatment to capture the headline is called Bald's Eye, a medieval remedy for eye infections. This concoction consists of a combination of garlic, onion, cow's bile, and wine. In a remarkable study of its efficacy using an MRSA skin infection mouse model, the potion proved efficacy.
The lesson to be drawn from this success is not that every ancient remedy should be dusted off but that when exploring novel therapeutics, the scientific method must be followed. Just looking at the ingredients, one can see the biological plausibility of an anti-infective property (as bile is known to be anti-bacterial). A similar story of adhering to the scientific method can be seen in the determination that the ancient Chinese herbal remedy artemisinin had anti-malarial effects.
It is only by adhering to the scientific method, which is really the art of logic applied to scientific problem-solving, that arbitrary notions are dismissed and efforts focused on the truly possible.