Ancient Cure Updated

Surgihoney Bio-honey

Super HoneyHospitals probably aren't going to abandon traditional disinfectants and antibiotics anytime soon, but the disinfecting honey known as surgihoney does have advantages of its own, such as the fact that it is generally non-toxic (don't feed it to babies, though) and affordable to produce depsite the mysterious demise of bees around the globe.

Super honey is a bioengineered analog to natural wound care that goes back thousands of years. Somehow or another, ancient people figured out that honey, alone or in poultrices, was able to prevent infection, cure wounds, and speed up the healing process. Whether this is a result of the natural sugars in honey, the fact that it is naturally antibacterial, or simple superstition-based dumb luck, is up to speculation since ancient people also thought that the sun might go away in the absence of a few well-timed sacrifices, but there you go. Someone had to go and figure out that some things worked and others didn't, but the advantage of the trial-and-error medical approach is that most errors sorted themselves out and you have the knowledge left over from the people who were lucky enough to survive and pass on the good news. If you think this sounds crass, then obviously you don't know much about how clinical trials work today, or what happens when you learn that your wonder drug has a significant enough side effect that you have to take it off the market.

Back to the Future for Medicine?

Natural disinfectants and complementary medicines for fighting infection have made the news for a number of years, but the introduction of an engineered form of honey holds promise for the refinement of medicine that is not as expensive as some cures, and also may hold out against antibiotic resistance that tends to plague new cures that come on the horizon every couple of years.

How clean is your hospital?

Infection control takes up a lot of a hospital's time, but it is a very tough battle. Many surfaces are now made of, or coated with, antibiotic and antibacterial paint and materials to try and prevent bacteria from being tranmitted through touch or aspiration. In some cases, coughing or vomiting by patients can spread disease. Doctors may be carriers of MRSA without knowing it, and in the same sense patients (or their visitors) could also be their own Typhoid Marys who bring infections that do not create havoc until they enter the medical environment. With any luck, this new disinfecting honey will be a major help in preventing the spread of disease, because even if your hospital thoroughly cleans each room between patients, there are so many places for bacteria to hide that you could end up infected on the ride home or through the normal course of your day. If you are in an assisted living center the danger of infection is also high, so proper wound care could create an additional barrier designed to keep out the living beings that surround our world.