If you’ve been keeping up with our multi-part series about how some old-timey medicine was just as advanced as medicine is today, you’ll understand why scientists love trying out recipes that they find in historic textbooks. At worst, they’ve ruined several hundred dollars of lab equipment – at best, they might discover the elixir of life.
Case in point: the millennia-old recipe that turned out to be capable of killing the modern-day superbug MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, for the medical nerds out there).
It all began after the wacky future-sitcom pairing of Freya Harrison, a microbiologist, and Christina Lee, a historian, who tried their hand at experimenting with a recipe from the Anglo-Saxon medical textbookBald’s Leechbook, which as of this writing isn’t available in an eBook format. After gathering the necessary ingredients (and trying to find those that most closely matched their historic counterparts), they created their brew and let it stand for the nine days dictated by the recipe (which we can’t help but read with a witchy tone of voice).
Testing their concoction on several scraps of MRSA-infected skin, they found that it killed 90 percent of the bacteria, making it equally as strong as the modern-day antibiotic currently used to treat the disease.