Herb Formulas Notebook

Bald's Eye Salve

Bald's Eye Salve

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Source: Bald's Leechbook (9th century)
Author: Unknown

Category: Formulas that are Applied Externally

Pattern: A "Wen", a stye. In TCM terms probably Wind-Heat or Toxic Heat and Blood Stasis around the eye.

Key Symptoms: A red, painful lump on the inside or outside of the eyelid.

Cong Bai
Da Suan
Niu Huang

Ox gall is not commonly available today but in the research of Harrison et al (2015): DOI 10.1128/mBio.01129-15 showed it was possible to remove with only a partial reduction in antimicrobial activity.

Preparation: "Make an eyesalve against a wen: take equal amounts of cropleac [an Allium species] and garlic, pound well together, take equal amounts of wine and ox gall, mix with the alliums, put this in a brass vessel, let [the mixture] stand for nine nights in the brass vessel, wring through a cloth and clarify well, put in a horn and at night apply to the eye with a feather; the best medicine."

Actions: Heals a "Wen". In TCM terms clears Wind-Heat and resolves toxicity.

Although not a Chinese formula this has come to considerable attention for its potential to eliminate Medically Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) discovered by Harrison et al (2015): DOI 10.1128/mBio.01129-15 and reflects my eventual intention to include both western and eastern remedies in this database since I believe that ancient medicine shared a similar approach of using formulas to create complex solutions that we are only beginning to recognise as an science in itself.

In the paper and in a follow up video update to the research Freya Harrison discusses by removing single ingredients they found that the brass seems to be dispensable and probably the ox gall too if a small sacrifice in efficacy is acceptable, suggesting the main action comes from onion or leek, garlic and wine distilled for 9 days.

It is interesting to note its choice of ingredients are very similar to a Chinese method of formula creation including ox gall whose Chinese indications are Toxic Heat syndromes and deep rooted boils, garlic that is also indicated for swellings and boils, and onion or leek whose Chinese equivalent would be Cong Bai (spring onion) that can be used as an external wash for pain and injury. All these are extracted in wine that also has Blood Invigorating properties on its own and draws out the more invigorating aspects of the other ingredients.

Research Links:
Science Direct
Google Scholar
Journal of Chinese Medicine
American Dragon

Reference Notes: (click to display)

These pages are intended to assist clinicians and are not intended for self-diagnosis or treatment for which a qualified professional should be consulted.