Mead as an antibiotic

A group of scientists in Sweden is brewing mead they say will help fight against antibiotic resistance. Honey Hunter’s Elixir is technically a new type of mead, but there aren’t many drinks out there that are older – the ancient honey brew has been around for over 2600 years.

drinking mead

Often called “the drink of the gods,” it was long believed that mead could sustain good health (or even make you immortal). The Vikings drank it, the Maya drank it, even the Egyptians drank it, and all of them held a strong belief that it had many medicinal properties.

After a millenia of mead dominating the fermented beverage scene, it fell out of fashion, and so did the belief that it could cure what ails ya. But now with findings pointing to the restorative properties of honey, we’re wondering if those ancient civilizations were onto something.

honey hunter's elixir

Olofsson and Alejandra Vasquez discovered in 2014 that bees had a lactic acid in their stomachs that when mixed with honey could cure chronic wounds in animals that had previously resisted other types of treatments. The bacteria found in bees and subsequently in honey and mead have the potential to kill off human pathogens that had previously proved resistant.

To brew Honey Hunter’s Elixir, the brewery and scientists decided to use all 13 beneficial honeybee lactic acid bacteria plus the wild yeasts from the honey itself, leaving nothing to chance. If you’re wondering why your own mead isn’t curing your strep throat, it’s because modern mead processing kills off all life in the honey, including helpful flora.

Currently, the mead is being tested in human trials and scientists are scurrying to determine all the possible applications should it be found that this mead can be used as an antibiotic. More than just a super awesome recreation of a historical bevvy, antibiotic mead could be a huge medical advancement for countries that have trouble accessing antibiotics, or for fighting diseases that have become resistant to other antibiotics.

The more important question, though, is where was I when they were picking volunteers for the human trials?

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