Figs--the earliest known ancient drug for cutaneous anthrax.

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  • Author:  Liubov Louba Ben-Noun  

  • Abstract:  BACKGROUND: Anthrax is an often fatal bacterial infection, occurring in cutaneous, inhalational, gastrointestinal, and meningeal forms. Evaluation of anthrax treatment from ancient history may help healthcare providers to handle this serious disease more efficiently. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the biblical descriptions of anthrax, focusing on its therapy in ancient times. STUDY SELECTION: All biblical texts associated with anthrax were examined and passages relating to this disease were studied closely. DATA SYNTHESIS: Biblical passages such as: "Take a cluster of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil [anthrax], and he recovered," and "Let them take a cluster of figs, and lay it upon the boil [anthrax], and he shall recover," convincingly indicate that figs have healing properties in cutaneous anthrax lesions. CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of this study, the National Institutes of Health together with the pharmaceutical industry may consider to work on isolation of compounds from fig plants to develop products against cutaneous and possibly other forms of anthrax once screening tests are completed.

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