The 1,000-year-old solution

Anglo Saxon helmet

My father is in a nursing home, and a couple of weeks ago, we had a bad scare when he was exposed to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA. It’s a “superbug” that sneers at modern antibiotics. Fortunately, Dad responded well to the treatment and is doing well — but he’s being watched in case it flares up again.

MRSA is the scourge of nursing homes. So this BBC News story caught my eye:

Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.

They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.

Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference. …

The remedy was found in Bald’s Leechbook – an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library.

The leechbook is one of the earliest examples of what might loosely be called a medical textbook

It seems Anglo-Saxon physicians may actually have practised something pretty close to the modern scientific method, with its emphasis on observation and experimentation.

Bald’s Leechbook could hold some important lessons for our modern day battle with anti-microbial resistance.

How about that? A home remedy from the time of Beowulf works better than any of our over-priced, hyper-marketed pharmaceuticals.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs


The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by ambrose.

Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman: Video Tribute to Terry Pratchett
P.J. Parrish: What does your character want?
Alice Osborn: 5 Tips on How to Make a Living as an Author
Rod Dreher: First You Change the Language…
James Machin: H. P. Lovecraft’s pivotal moment
Jami Gold: Write what you want to learn about
Stephen Masty: Awareness of the Past Heightens Creativity
Jacqueline Seewald: Overcoming Writer’s Block (Part 2)

Michael Brown, RIP

We’ve lost a gifted but underappreciated songwriter. His name is one you may not recognize: Michael Brown:

Michael Brown, a songwriter and keyboardist for the “baroque rock” band the Left Banke who co-wrote its 1966 pop hit “Walk Away Renee,” died March 19 at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 65.

The cause was a heart ailment, a family spokeswoman said.

Mr. Brown was born Michael Lookofsky and grew up in Brooklyn. He was a classically trained keyboardist, and his father ran a New York music studio where the Left Banke recorded.

Brown will be remembered for “Walk Away Renee,” a tearful and lovely song about a couple breaking up. But in my opinion, Brown’s most moving and magical creation was “Pretty Ballerina.” For me, this wistful, haunting melody still defines the late 60s. I can still hear it playing on the radio of my father’s 1968 Buick Skylark. It’s a sweltering summer afternoon, and I can see the girls at my high school I was too shy to approach smiling back at me.

Here’s to you, Michael. Thanks for the memories.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Jack London

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by jack.

Andrew Solomon: Advice for Young Writers
Coastal Mom: The Way We Write
Jeff Wills: A Winter’s Morning Walk [Beautiful. Don’t miss!]
Dave’s Corner of the Universe: Geek Obscura: UFO
James Scott Bell: Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Characters
In My Cluttered Attic: Its National Visit MY Blog Day!
A Vase of Wildflowers: Links for Readers and Writers
Clare Langley-Hawthorne: Reimagining the Past