Is Mead a Panacea?

Living Antibiotics

There has been a good bit of hoopla recently about a new wonder drink called Elixir. The long and the short of it is that it’s a mead made through a (controlled) wild fermentation which has demonstrated extraordinary antibiotic properties. 

Elixir is being hailed by the denizens of the internet as a drink to cure all ills, prevent disease, and save the world. But is it true?

First, let’s see what the researchers have to say in their own words:

Living antibiotics is a natural innovation developed by Swedish researchers Alejandra Vásquez and Tobias Olofsson. Ten years ago they discovered the world´s largest concentration of collaborating beneficial lactic acid bacteria in honeybees. Further research showed that these bacteria work as living factories of antibiotics, producing not just one weapon as conventional antibiotics but hundreds of different weapons in order to fight infections. Living antibiotics revolutionize the concept of antibiotics; from the static compound, which generates resistance; to the active, which generates protection. 

So, first we have bit of clarification from all of the articles and videos, the mead itself is not the wonder drug, but rather the wound treatment potential of the honey. The mead is being used to fund and promote the idea (as well as to generate some Reuters worthy content).

Next, the researchers are raising money on Indiegogo, which is not how scientific projects are usually funded. That said, the world is rapidly changing and we think crowd funding science may be the next big thing. Although it removes some accountability, it can also combat certain forms of “science for hire.” Our opinion is that good science should be judged on the quality of the research and not its funding.

Speaking of the research, let’s look into that. Is there really solid, peer-reviewed evidence to support the bold claims that the lactic acid in honey is much, much better than antibiotics? Yes, it appears. 

Like good scientists (who want to sell a product), the researchers have conveniently compiled all of their research into one place. You should check it out! Many of the articles are even Open Access, which is pretty rare.

So, dear Meadiacs, here’s what we’ve got:

  • Is wound treatment an oft overlooked medical issue? Yes.
  • Are existing treatments insufficient and potentially harmful? Yes.
  • Is topical honey treatment an amazing potential treatment? It seems like it.
  • Is mead awesome? Yes.
  • Is mead going to save the world? Probably not.

Go read the science and decide for yourself!

2 thoughts on “Is Mead a Panacea?

  1. Hi and thanks for your sum up.

    In half a year we will finally publish the science behind the discovery of the original mead and its beneficial honeybee lactic acid bacteria. We are right now working on important analyses that we like to combine.

    Perhaps one day we can start to sell our mead in US if someone would be keen on being a retailer.

    Best regards/ Tobias, the scientist behind it


    1. Hej Tobias,

      I can’t wait to read your new work! I have really enjoyed your research so far. Please send us a link when it is published.

      Hopefully, I won’t have to wait until your mead makes it stateside before getting to try it since I travel to Scandinavia from time-to-time, but I’ll certainly be on the lookout over here!

      Ricky the Meadmaker


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