Famous for his three laws of motion and in advancing calculus, Sir Isaac Newton also had a far-out idea during the Black death - a devastating plague that struck Europe and Asia - that is to make a treatment called the toad-vomit lozenges.
He gave detailed instructions on how to make the toad-vomit treatment written in his two unpublished handwritten pages that are now on the auction block.
Sir Newton describes in detail the process of suspending a toad by its legs in a chimney for three days until it vomits up "the earth with various insects in it." The vomit must be caught on yellow wax, Newton instructed.
Toad Vomit Lozenges
According to Fox News, when the toad dies, its body should be turned into powder, mixed with the vomit and a serum. It was then made into lozenges and worn on the affected area to drive away the contagion and draw out the poison, Newton wrote.
He added that the toad treatment was the best, but amulets made out of the gemstones hyacinth, sapphire, or amber could serve as antidotes when someone is in a pinch.
Of course, during the middle ages, Newton and other people do not know that the gemstones and toad vomits do not respond to the plague.
It was only in 1894 that the French-Swiss scientist Alexandre Yersin discovered that the disease is caused by a bacteria, named later as Yersinia pestis in his honor.
In modern times, the plague is treated with antibiotics and none of Newton's proposed techniques.
Newton's manuscript on the treatment will be sold at Bonhams, the auction house selling the documents. In 1665, the University of Cambridge in England temporarily closed its doors due to the plague that had swept through Europe.
While under lockdown, Newton was quarantined at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in Lincolnshire, England. He was able to investigate the laws of gravity and motion while being inside. But then 1666 has become known as his "annus memorabilia" or the Latin word for "wonderful year."
Plague Treatment Mostly Unknown to Many People
Newton's writings on the plague's causes, symptoms and treatments did not enjoy world recognition, unlike his famous laws of motion that became blockbusters.
But it was not entirely Newton's idea to use toad-vomit. He had been reading "Tumulus Pestis" or translated as "The Tomb of the Plague" written by Jan Baptist Van Helmont, a chemist, physiologist and physician from the Spanish Netherlands - a group of Holy Empire states that are also run by the Spanish Crown.
Van Helmont's writings on the chemical reactions of substances that were neither solids nor liquids led him to invent the word "gas," according to the Science History Institute in Philadelphia.
In 1936, Newton's manuscript was first sold along with numerous trove of his other writings in Sotheby's Portsmouth sale. But these two pages have been lost for more than 70 years and was only recently uncovered, Bonhams said.
The bidding for the manuscript is currently at $65,000.