For many older folks, it’s their worst fear.
You go into the hospital for some minor procedure… and you NEVER come out.
It could happen…
Because once they cut you open, you’re in the crosshairs for COUNTLESS infections!
And the BADDEST of them all are caused by bugs that have learned to resist the drugs that are supposed to kill them.
Mainstream medicine is HELPLESS in the fight against so-called “superbugs.”
But you’re not.
Because natural medicine is now getting reacquainted with an herbal trick used by battlefield physicians during the American Civil War to treat wounded soldiers.
It’s not just a powerful antiseptic…
But also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
A field-tested ‘wilderness antibiotic’
During the American Civil War, there was something that killed MORE soldiers than the battle itself…
At the war’s height… amid high rates of infections… the Confederacy’s military field hospitals couldn’t access enough conventional medicine to keep its troops alive.
Out of desperation, the Confederate Surgeon General commissioned South Carolina-based botanist Francis Porcher to compile a guide to traditional plant remedies.
Of course, in order for the medics to get their hands on them, it was ESSENTIAL that the plants be native to the U.S. – and SOUTH of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Although MANY of the plant medicines from that 1863 compendium have been forgotten…
There’s one that’s recently stepped BACK into the spotlight.
And not just for its ability to heal wounds (including snakebites, according to local slaves)…
But also to CONQUER infection-causing bacteria that’s learned to resist antibiotics.
Today, we know it as the “devil’s walking stick” — Aralia spinosa, the spiny shrub that pricks you when you grab its stalks.
A member of the ginseng family, it fit the bill for the Confederacy – geographically AND medicinally.
Its densest populations occur along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast of America… as well as in the forests of Appalachia.
It’s got the largest leaves of any American tree in the lower 48 states. And this time of year, the foliage turns vibrant – from yellow to bronze and red.
But as pretty as their fall colors are, the leaves are also what held the power to save some soldiers’ limbs… and maybe even some lives… when used topically.
In an NIH-funded study published earlier this year in Scientific Reports, A. spinosa exhibited antimicrobial activity SPECIFICALLY against a superbug that’s been associated with wound infections.
I’m talking about Staphylococcus aureus.
That’s the most dangerous type of staph bacteria…
And it’s the culprit of MRSA infections, commonly acquired in hospitals and nursing homes.
It can start as a simple skin infection… perhaps in a surgical wound… and end up DEADLY.
The good news is that in a lab, this powerful leaf extract showed the ability to stop S. aureus in its tracks.
But not by killing the bacteria directly…
Instead, it inhibits 2 mechanisms CRITICAL to the survival of S. aureus:
- quorum sensing, a signaling process that causes the bugs to become more toxic, and
- biofilm formation, which can “shield” the bugs against antibiotics.
This two-fold action essentially DISARMS the bacteria’s offenses AND defenses!
The researchers aren’t yet sure WHY A. spinosa works… or which of its chemical constituents can claim responsibility for its victory over this horrific superbug.
But they’re not giving up studying it until they find out.
In the meantime, you won’t find Aralia spinosa on the shelves of the supplement aisle just yet.
But this shrub grows so abundantly… you’re sure to be able to find some leaves for foraging… and someone well-versed in indigenous healing (particularly the Iroquois) or Appalachian folk medicine who knows how to use it.