Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Spider Web Medicine
So I've been down in the basement this week, finishing the project, and cleaning up cobwebs. As the daughter of a swamp rat I have a hard time getting rid of cobwebs because of their medicinal value. Yes, cobwebs are one of the greatest healing sources of wounds there is. In times past this was well known, but most people today give you a funny look if you reach for a spider web to cover a cut. But it works and science can prove it.
Spiderwebs are secreted from...well...spiders, and because of their living origins and because they are so thin, they should rot quite quickly. The smaller something is, the faster it rots. But spiders excrete an antimicrobial fluid that keeps the web from rotting. This will last on the web long after the spider as deserted it. This is why cobwebs build up in your basement instead of just disintegrating to dust. You have to take down cobwebs, they don't do it for you.
Now science is looking into this "new" source of antibiotics because of how fast bacteria are becoming resistant to the antibiotics we have created in labs. They are working with the bacteria Escherichia coli or E. Coli, and testing it against many different species of spider's webs. So far every web they have tested destroys the number of E. Coli cells that are in the petri dish. And it is only taking small amounts of the web to destroy large amounts of the E. Coli bacteria.
So the next time you get the broom or duster out to get rid of those "dirty" cobwebs, remember, they may be the cleanest thing in your house. And if you are out int he wilds and give yourself a cut, look around, Mother Nature may provide you with the perfect healing salve in the form of a spider web.
Spiderwebs can also be wrapped around feet to help get rid of athlete's foot or bandaged onto ring worm sores to help kill the spores that cause them.
So the old swamp rat (my dad) was right when he would run his hands through the alders and gather up spider webs to wrap up our blisters from paddling the canoe all day. It is amazing how much wisdom we have lost by letting the big chemical companies save us from all those bad germs out there. Now those chemicals are no longer working against the new super strains of bacteria and we are "crying for our mommies" and their ancient wisdom. Let's hope it isn't all gone.