Civil War plant guide reveals 3 plants with antibiotic properties

Scientists have found that extracts from plants that people used to treat infections during the Civil War have antimicrobial activity against drug-resistant bacteria.
tulip poplar

The tulip poplar is one of the plants the scientists examined.

The Civil War began in 1861 as a result of growing tensions over slavery and states’ rights between the northern and southern states.

The southern states had seceded in 1860 and formed the Confederate States of America.

The war Civil War ended with the Confederate surrender in 1865.

During part of the war, Confederate surgeons did not have reliable access to medicines because the Union Navy prevented the Confederacy from trading.

As infection rates rose among the wounded, the Confederate Surgeon General commissioned a guide to plant remedies.

Francis Porcher, a botanist and surgeon, compiled a book called Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests. It lists medicinal plants of the southern states, including plant remedies that Native Americans and slaves used.

The Confederate Surgeon General, Samuel Moore, drew from Porcher’s work to create a paper titled “Standard supply table of the indigenous remedies for field service and the sick in general hospitals.”


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