The healing power of maggots

  • Why we’re witnessing a return to ancient remedies
  • The weird Welsh teabags that squirm
  • The health benefits of leeches and maggots

Imagine this…

You’ve got an open wound on your foot…

So your GP sends you to the hospital for treatment…

You’re expecting to get the wound cleaned and dressed, along with a quick course of antibiotics…

But as you sit in the examination room, you sense that something weird is going on…

The nurse brings out something that looks like a teabag…

As she brings it closer, you can see that the teabag is SQURIMING…

“What’s that?” you ask.

The nurse replies: “Maggots.”

At this point, you might expect to wake up from your nightmare.

But this scenario is a reality.

It’s one startling example of a return to ancient remedies that are being actively supported by the NHS.

And it could be the answer to one of the biggest health threats of our time.

Revealed! The ancient remedy in a Welsh business park

In an unremarkable business park in Bridgend, South Wales, there is a laboratory owned by a company named BioMonde.

Its technicians spend their days farming flies in order to produce thousands of ‘medical maggots’.

These are sterilised, then put into aseptic polyester nets, called ‘BioBags’.

They supply around 25,000 of these maggot patches to Britain and Europe every year.

The NHS take some of these, too, and they’re used to clean wounds in British hospitals.

The sterilised maggots eat away at the dead tissue and bacteria, leaving healthy tissue untouched.

Now, when I say that maggots ‘eat’, it’s not quite how you might imagine.

According to Rebecca Llewellyn from BioMonde, “They don’t even have teeth… What they do is secrete enzymes which effectively liquify the woundbed and any necrotic or dead tissue. Then the larvae will effectively drink that back up as a food source. They have rough parts on the body which exfoliate the wound and tiny mandibles on the top of the head which they use to drink through, almost like straws.”

While this might sound utterly horrific to most people, it is actually a tried and tested ancient remedy.

Take the Mayans, for example…

They would soak bandages in animal blood, leave them exposed, then wrap them on a wound to encourage maggots.

The Romans also used maggots to purify wounds and prevent infection.

It’s also believed that ancient Aboriginal tribes in Australia placed maggots on wounds then covered them with a special type of clay to keep them in place.

These cultures understood the healing powers of maggots long before modern medicine caught on.

It’s a reminder that, sometimes, the old ways are the best.

Using maggots is 100% natural, so there’s no risk of an allergic reaction or side effects. More crucially, there is no need for antibiotics.

And that’s the main reason why the medical establishment is resorting to maggots…

How ancient remedies could fight Superbugs

Antibiotics were always a bit of a blunt instrument.

They work for some bacterial infections but are completely useless against viruses.

The biggest problem was how they were prescribed for every little cough and sneeze – until it got to the point where patients demand them, thinking they are some kind of magic cure-all.

The more that antibiotics are used to treat trivial conditions, the more likely they are to become ineffective for treating more serious conditions.

Now we’re starting to see the consequences of all that antibiotic use.

Bacteria are becoming resistant to the drugs and we’re seeing the emergence of “superbugs” that are immune to even the most powerful antibiotics.

These include:

  • MRSA (methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • The bacteria that cause tuberculosis

This is why the NHS and other health organisations are finally taking action to reduce the use of antibiotics.

The use of maggots is one example. But there are other ancient remedies being considered.

For example… leeches.

The return of a Mediaeval favourite

Leeches were a hugely popular mediaeval remedy, cultivated in special ponds for medical use and with leech sellers found in most marketplaces.

Now they’re being used by the NHS.

Leeches secrete a substance that thins the blood, improves circulation and helps prevent blood clots in patients who’ve undergone surgery.

The NHS buys its leeches from a farm in the village of Hendy, near Swansea, run by Carl Peters-Bond, the UK’s only official leech farmer.

Carl describes the substance produced by leeches as being like “Aspirin or Warfarin but much more powerful.”

I find this absolutely fascinating.

First, because Wales seems to be a hotbed of alternative medicine production.

Second, because it endorses what I, and other natural health writers, have been saying for decades.

When I started writing the Good Life Letter in 2006, I enthused about folk medicine and ancient remedies in an era when most in the medical profession would have scoffed at me.

For example, I wrote about the use of lemons, honey, garlic and vinegar, going back to the Ancient Egyptians.

Also the many widely available herbs and oils that could perform as well as most shop-bought remedies.

And I warned about the over-use of pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, with their dangerous side effects and environmental problems.

Now we have the NHS using leeches and maggots to mitigate against the growing antibiotic resistance crisis.

And as reported in The Guardian at the beginning of March, we are now seeing a major revival of ancient remedies “after their efficacy amazed doctors”.

It has reached a point where researchers are now going through historical documents to find other lost and forgotten natural techniques.

That’s quite a turnaround!

Maybe for inspiration they’ll take a look through the extensive Good Life Letter archives on the website here.

Anyway, I am glad that we’re seeing a change in the medical establishment’s attitude to natural remedies, albeit a slow one.

The sooner we wean ourselves off antibiotics, the better.

Finally today…

Don’t miss our alternative to cough medicine

The Met. Office say that temperatures are expected to hit minus 12C this weekend in some parts of the UK.

There also seem to be a lot of coughs and colds doing the rounds too.

It’s like winter doesn’t want to end!

Along with this news, I’ve read that some cough medicines are being withdrawn from the shops over safety concerns because and ingredient called pholcodine could cause an allergic reaction.

So if you want a natural, chemical-free alternative that works just as well (if not better) than the shop-bought stuff, then try Balsamic Throat Syrup.

But hurry, there are only 28 left in our Good Life Shop!

You can get your hands on one here.