A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Ancient Medicinal Clay Could Fight Bacterial Infections
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
VANCOUVER, CANADA—A team of microbiologists has found that clay from Kismet Bay, British Columbia, which has been used for centuries by indigenous people for medicinal purposes, seems to show promise in fighting drug-resistant pathogens. According to a press release from the University of British Columbia, the greenish gray clay is found in a five-acre granite basin in the territory of the Heiltsuk people, some 250 miles north of Vancouver. Traditionally the Heiltsuk used the clay to treat such ailments as arthritis, skin irritations, and burns. Kismet Glacial Clay, a business formed to explore uses for the clay, approached University of British Columbia microbiologist Julian Davies to test the clay's properties. He found that when suspended in water the clay killed 16 strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are prevalent in modern hospitals. The discovery could lead to the development of new antimicrobial agents. To read in-depth about archaeology in British Columbia, go to "The Edible Landscape."
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