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Thread: Penicillin??

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    Default Penicillin??

    I know penicillin is made from a mold that grows on plants, but does anyone know if it can be found locally in Western New York, or even the Northeastern section of North America? I just watched a TV show tonight called Revolution, and supposedly they were making it on a poppy plant farm. This area may not be the most ideal for this, but I think it'd be good to know, just in case of an emergency.. I'm also curious about ergot and rye grass. There have been many instances of mass hysteria, and I believe ergot definitely played a part in it all. If there's a medicinal use for it, please speak up.


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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I doubt they were growing on the poppy plants. The most common ("civilian") growth mediums are bread and citrus fruit peels.
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    I have couple strains of pennicilium that grow on my cheese. Wonder if I could harvest some of that.

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    You ever get green mold on bread? That is the stuff. Before pennicilin was discovered people would bandage wounds with moldy bread. It is very common, you can assuredly make some at home.

    Though, since the discovery of antibiotics, many bacteria have become immune to it, so it is not as useful as it used to be. Still, knowing how to make it is a good skill.

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    I sure a TV show would use some literary license to lead people to believe that growing penicillin or find it wild, is a considerable stretch.

    Seems that the gist of the story line, was of the grower guy, that was into growing and manufacturing pharmaceuticals, for power and profit, but was the only source around for them, good or bad.

    Mixing the two, poppies and penicillin, doesn't wash.

    You need to research this considerably further.........TV show do put ideas into peoples heads....good and bad.
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    When I hear of green spored mold on bread my first thought is generally Trichoderma. Azure blue, or light blue-green are common for domestic Penicillium species. It should be noted that hundreds of species of molds grow in homes, on bread and other nutrient sources. Identifying them positively to species is not a simple matter of noting their spore color and the medium on which they grow. Do remember that while some household molds are harmless (or even tasty), others are pretty toxic. Some infact produce toxins which are immunosuppressants.

    I've commented on this before, but Penicillin is not one substance, but a family of substances. Those which are used in modern antibiotics are not produced by the mold, but synthesized from precursors obtained from the mold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    You ever get green mold on bread? That is the stuff. Before pennicilin was discovered people would bandage wounds with moldy bread. It is very common, you can assuredly make some at home.

    Though, since the discovery of antibiotics, many bacteria have become immune to it, so it is not as useful as it used to be. Still, knowing how to make it is a good skill.
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Further, I would point out that many strains of the various mold species used to produce various antibiotics or their precursors are likely to be GMOs. The ramification here is that the laboratory strains of these species used to not share identical properties with the wild strains of the same which might be encountered in "the wild". These differences could range from the proportions of metabolic products produced, to even the identity of the metabolites themselves.
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    Senior Member WolfVanZandt's Avatar
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    Ergot has been used as an abortifactant. Some ergot derivatives have been used in the treatment of Parkinsonism.

    The big problem with ergot is that the therapeutic dose is very close to the lethal dose, which is why I question the link between ergot poisoning and the werewolf trials - not to mention that it's a theory without any evidence.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    The symptoms, symptomatic doses and lethal doses are different between the various alkaloids, who's concentrations and proportions again vary between strains and the couple of Ergot species which produce them. Ergotamine itself is also used to treat migraine, as well as being the primary precursor in the synthesis of LSD. These alkaloids (and all indoleamines) are very different from the β-lactam and the antibiotic compounds made from it.

    As for the theory, it's just a fun theory, originating in a speculative college paper if I recall.
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    Even at the height of penicillin's heyday it could only treat a specific type of bacteria based on how the bacteria divide and penicillin's ability to impact that cell division. It worked on Gram Positive bacteria but not Gram Negative. So it has never been a panacea but it was an important step forward. Add in the ability of Gram Positive bacteria to adapt defensive mechanisms toward penicillin and you will find the efficacy of home made "penicillin" to be nill and probably far more dangerous than beneficial because of other contaminants (bacteria, fungi, etc.) that would be included.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    With the proper education, experience and resources, myco-antibiotics could certainly be produced in the home, provided you accept that that place in the home by definition would be a compounding pharmacy, and the diyer by definition would be a pharmaceutical chemist. but hey, even professional compounding houses make dangerous mistakes, as this recent fungal meningitis outbreak bears out.

    I'd say, become a competent chemist first, *then* decide whether you want to play that game, try to do so in an accredited academic setting, but surely make sure i'm dying with no access to professional care before giving me any.
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    Being allergic to penicilin, and having experienced a pretty severe MRSA infection (which penicilin wouldn't help with, anyway), I'm wondering if there are any other "home-brewed" antibiotics anyone is aware of.

    Thoughts? Info?

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    Senior Member jfeatherjohn's Avatar
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    Buy aqarium meds...
    Even an incredibly competent pharmacist would not attempt diy antibiotics.
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjwilhelm View Post
    Being allergic to penicilin, and having experienced a pretty severe MRSA infection (which penicilin wouldn't help with, anyway), I'm wondering if there are any other "home-brewed" antibiotics anyone is aware of.

    Thoughts? Info?
    There are tons. Do you happen to be an experienced organic chemist?
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    As soon as I read the first post (and Chris's) I couldn't wait to read Canids response.... So many people think everything green on bread is Penicillin... Nasty Trich... always ruining my substrate....

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    Antibiotics are not new and don't require a chemistry degree to utilize. Many native peoples from around the world use(d) antibiotics. Some common ones in my area are Usnea, Chaga, Hen of the Woods, pine pitch and balsam poplar. Of course you want to know which one to use for your particular infection (something i'm still working on) and in what dosage. So it requires some work, but is not unimaginable to become proficient at it w/o a degree. As for penicillin.... don't know much about it....

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Yes, it is a wonderful thing that the plant and fungi kingdoms give us so many useful compounds (and indeed, our modern beta-lactam, tetracycline, etc derived mycoantibiotics stem from some of them), but in only very few cases are the quality, consistency or applications of these products competitive with refined drugs. raw Foxglove material for example is not a wise replacement for digoxin, or other glycosides used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

    A plant containing compounds which appear to have some efficacy in the treatment or one or another disorder in traditional usage, or in in-vitro trials which do not fully represent their cycle of in-vivo action is not always a substitute for isolated compounds who's effects have been fully evaluated in an objective proccess, followed by a history of carefully documented use the the whole system.

    There is surely room for both, but I'm not inclined to trust bracket fungi in a life threatening emergency if there is an established alternative with quantified efficacy.
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    Senior Member RandyRhoads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canid View Post
    . raw Foxglove material for example is not a wise replacement for digoxin, or other glycosides used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.
    .
    I've been wondering for so long if digitalis had any practical use for CHF or any other cardiac issues in wilderness medecine. Are most things in nature that meds are derived from not a practical solution to the problems they are used to treat once refined? Where do you learn more about things like this? You mentioned in only a few cases does it compare to refined drugs, in what cases?
    Last edited by RandyRhoads; 11-02-2012 at 12:07 AM.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    It's possibly useful for that, or for killing the patient faster. Digitalis species again demonstrate that the various species may contain varying compounds in varying proportions as to compare with a refined product which can be known to contain only what is put into it. What good is it to treat a patient for heart failure with a plant which also contains compounds which can cause heart failure?

    Name a single medicinal plant with only one bioactive substance in it. Let's take the shelf fungi example. Certainly many (probably most, for that matter) of them are shown to contain varying amounts of antimicrobial compounds. Because they are not sterile, they are also covered in potential sources of secondary infections. Some contain such small amounts of such substances that in their raw form they might be useless for treating a wound anyway.

    Many of these fungi produce compounds which have tumor inhibiting properties in one type of trial or other. These also contain several known or suspected human and animal carcinogens.

    I learn about this, such as I know, primarily from research material published online, and from various user generated wikis.
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    Senior Member RandyRhoads's Avatar
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    Ok, do you know of any plants or fungi that CAN be used like the man made refined drugs?

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