Today in History:

Civil War plant guide identifies extracts effective against drug resistant bacteria.

Due to the Union blockade, the Confederacy had limited access to conventional medicines. Francis Porcher, a botanist, was commissioned to find and catalogue plants native to the southeastern US that could be used as medicines in their place. From Porcher's research, Samuel Moore, the Confederate Surgeon General, published a field guide of native plant medicines to be used by battlefield physicians, including methods of collection, preparation, and administration. Scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, analyzed the properties of extracts from 3 plants listed in Francis Porcher's, Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests. Their findings show that these plants have antimicrobial activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria linked to wound infections. Specifically, they were effective against Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Results appear in the journal Scientific Reports.