Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Efficacy of Natural Remedies

I saw a report on the BBC about how honey is being used to treat "hospital infection 'superbugs' which are resistant to strong antibiotics." I can't access the original broadcast online because I'm not in the UK, but apparently the BBC first reported on this in a 2002 article. Here's an excerpt:
They discovered the high sugar content slowed bacterial growth, while the honey's texture acted as a seal against outside infection of wounds.

In its undiluted form, honey had the effect of killing off bacteria, which researchers believe could be linked to enzymes in the bees themselves or present in pollen.

I found this item interesting because I've been using honey lately for my severely chapped lips. Chapstick itself wasn't working; it wasn't until after I started smearing honey on my lips at night -- a remedy that I read about online -- that my lips began to heal. Another time, I had a case of poison ivy that refused to go away. It wasn't until after I took a bath with baking soda that I started feeling better. Benadryl, calamine lotion, nothing had worked prior to that.

It makes me wonder what other natural remedies work perfectly well for our physical maladies -- except our usual impulse is to purchase our relief in the form of a pill, cream or syrup. I'm sure there are manufactured products that are more effective and more convenient than the natural remedies.

At the same time, I wonder if the variety of products out there exists just so we as consumers come to believe all our problems can be solved by buying something. (And that goes as well for companies that specifically market "natural" remedies when a generic product would work just as well.)

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Blogger dan dan noodles said...

When I was in college, my R.A. taught me how to fill holes in the wall with toothpaste, thereby avoiding being charged for damage to school property.
It's a failsafe method and beats having to deal with the expense and mess of dealing with plaster or what have you. Granted, it only really works for smaller holes (made by nails and the like) but I think it underscores your point.

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