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.

8 thoughts on “The 1,000-year-old solution”

    1. Sue Vincent,

      Amazing how much we “sophisticated” moderns can learn from the past — if only we’d listen.

      BTW – what was ailing the pigeons?


      1. When you consider ow many modern pharmaceuticals are plant derived or synthetic imitations … the old ones knew a thing or two.
        The pigeons had a cold. Daft as that might sound… but it was racing season and they were champions, you see… 🙂


  1. Via your post on the British Library. A residual great institution, with deep courtesy. Seems a visit to another age if you secure a reader’s ticket and find your requested books waiting for you! The post above also of interest. We, moderns, might get back to what the Amerindians take for granted, or perhaps I mean grant for taking.

    Liked by 1 person

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