Mayo Clinic Collaboration Mining Of Ancient Herbal Text Leads To Potential New Anti-Bacterial Drug

Published: Dec 29, 2006

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A unique Mayo Clinic collaboration has revived the healing wisdom of Pacific Island cultures by testing a therapeutic plant extract described in a 17th century Dutch herbal text for its anti-bacterial properties. Early results show that extracts from the Atun tree effectively control bacteria that can cause diarrhea, as claimed by naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumpf, circa 1650. He documented his traditional healing methods in the book Ambonese Herbal. The Mayo Clinic-led team's report appears in the Dec. 23 edition of The British Medical Journal, In their report, Mayo Clinic researchers demonstrate the feasibility of using sophisticated data mining techniques on historical texts to identify new drugs.

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