Isaac Newton proposed curing plague with toad vomit, unseen papers show

1 year ago 22

Notes made in the shadow of a devastating outbreak show the great scientist sketching out some distinctly queasy remedies

It is not as bad as suggesting injections of disinfectant. Isaac Newton’s 17th-century prescription for plague – which blended powdered toad with toad vomit to form “lozenges” to drive away the contagion – has been revealed.

Two unpublished pages of Newton’s notes on Jan Baptist van Helmont’s 1667 book on plague, De Peste, are to be auctioned online by Bonham’s this week. Newton had been a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, when the university closed as a precaution against the bubonic plague, which killed 100,000 people in London in 1665 and 1666.

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