The home-made resin salve from Norway spruce is traditionally and widely used in folk medicine to heal various skin infections and wounds in Northern Finland. We have performed laboratory studies to solve the mechanism of resin salve. The resin salve exhibited a bacteriostatic effect against all tested Gram-positive bacteria important in human medicine including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), but was not effective against Gram-negative bacteria. An exception among the Gram-negative bacteria was Proteus vulgaris against which resin salve was effective. High amounts of lipophilic extractives, like resin acids were dissolved into water from the resin salve. Also, a large proportion of lignans and cinnamic acid were found in the water extract.
Keywords: Antimicrobial, resin, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), abietic acid, vancomycin-resistant enterococcus
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