Bees, Kitchen Adventures

Mead: The natural alternative to antibiotic resistance?

I’ve been organizing some thoughts to write a book and came across this relevant article. With overuse of sanitizing detergents and cleaners plus having a huge amount of antibiotics passed to us through industrial raised meats, humans are showing alarming signs of antibiotic resistance.

Could alcohol be the key? I’m not talking about pasteurized and filtered beers or sulfate laden wines or distilled spirits that are all biologically dead. I’m talking about the dying but recently reviving art of natural fermentation. Coupled with fermented foods likes yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc. alcohol may be the key to our health.

“Honey-based mead may curb antibiotic resistance, say makers” from Reuters describes a new mead developed on ancient recipes. The only ingredients are honey and water. In its normal state, the sugar in honey is supersaturated beyond the point of feeding microbes because to bees, fermented honey is spoiled food. By adding water, honey is made appealing to the naturally occurring but dormant microbes in the substance can now ferment it into alcohol.

Here are the key figures from the article bulleted with my thoughts proceeding each:

Probiotics are gaining more and more importance resulting in more recommendations by doctors? My own recommended them to help recover from Giardia I picked up in Africa.

  • Mead has 100 billion live probiotic bacterium per serving.

The honey stomach of bees contains lactic acid bacteria, same as most human orifices including the birth canal. The helpful bacteria makes an inhospitable environment for disease-causing pathogens.

  • These bacteria plus honey have closed chronic wounds in horses who had become resistant to antibiotics.
  • These same bacteria have been proven to kill human pathogens as well. Even those that have shown resistance.

Diverse array of probiotics.

  • 13 lactic bacterium found in bees plus the wild yeasts all act to spontaneously ferment the mead.

This is the point that brings everything home for me. Researchers used modern science to identify the value of the microbes in honeybees stomachs and applied them to an ancient craft of making mead.

  • The results thus far have been promising and human trials are starting soon.

Cool stuff!

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