The more we learn about life thousands of years ago, the more surprised we get at their level of knowledge. Complicated procedures such as brain surgery have been going on for centuries, with a sweet medicine to ease the pain.
Many assume that cavemen could do nothing more than eat, sleep and light a fire, but evidence suggests they could perform far more sophisticated tasks … including brain surgery.
Evidence of brain surgery dates back 6,000 years, all the way to the Old Assyrian Colony Period in modern-day Turkey.
Archeological evidence shows skulls with marks indicating an effort to access the brain to help cure a real or perceived ailment—some with evidence of healing thereafter and others … well, not so much.
Additionally, ancient writings have been found that discuss the need to operate on the brains of patients and the differing techniques used to do so.
While not many of us would prefer surgery in ancient days to that which is offered in modern hospitals (especially not after viewing some of the skulls of the patients), those prehistoric surgeons did know enough about the patient’s medicinal needs to break into their version of the drug cabinet and pick up the best antibiotic they had.
When a patient was on the operating stone, with his/her head laid open to potential infection, ancient surgeons raided the nearest beehive and picked out a trusted antibacterial agent—honey.
That’s right. It may seem strange to think of now, but honey was a key ingredient in many healing strategies centuries ago. Moreover, this ancient remedy might be relevant today as well.
Although not a current choice for brain surgery, honey can be used to fight infections now that many bacteria have become more resistant to antibiotics.
In addition to being an excellent sweetener, honey turns out to be an excellent remedy in treating infections; it has even been shown to work against chronic wound infections that had not responded to normal medicine.
How does it work? Well, honey has five factors that make it effective.
For starters, when honey is diluted with water, its enzymes produce the chemical compound hydrogen peroxide, an ingredient commonly found in cleaning products precisely for its devastating effect on germs.
Honey is also naturally acidic. When diluted, it has a pH of approximately 3.5, acidic enough to slow bacterial growth.
Also, honey contains a lot of sugar, which is what makes it sweet, but not much water, which bacteria require to grow.
Some honey has been found to contain Methylglyoxal, an additional antibacterial compound. And lastly, Bee defensin 1, a protein also found in honey, works as an antibiotic, too.
The combination of these five factors helps honey serve as an effective killer of bacteria. It helped ancient surgeons protect their patients with brain injuries from infection, and it could well serve in a variety of medical uses today.
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