Going through old papers can yield a lot of surprising things. Recently, while perusing an old box of schoolwork, I discovered an old poem I wrote as a child titled ‘My Family as a House’. Intrigued, I read some pretty standard comparisons like mom=foundation, dad=walls and so on, until I struck pure gold.
“My sister is like the fire alarm. Loud and annoying, but essential when we need her.” Genius!
In a similar perusal of a far more ancient, likely far more boring text, scientists have discovered something arguably more useful than a early propensity for simile.
While researching recipes found in perhaps the earliest known medical textbook, the 1,000-year-old “Bald’s Leechbook” the team or researchers stumbled across a recipe called “Bald’s Salve”. The rather simple recipe, written below, describes a precise process for creating an antibiotic ointment that has shown incredible promise for combating one of the most persistent bacterial scourges known to man — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
When treating even advanced colonies of the bacteria, Bald’s Salve has consistently killed 90% of the bacteria which is equally exciting and baffling, raising a number of questions. How did these ancient people get this recipe? How many more seemingly magical recipes like this are still hiding in ancient tomes? How do I get some Mandrake Root to start whipping up some of these recipes in Harry Potter?
Fortunately, the researchers are going to move on the same tack to attempt to answer all of these questions… except the Harry Potter one.
The Recipe: ” “Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together… take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek… let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…“