Where are the standards?
I was surprised this morning to find that the Washington Post had published this piece. It's about a biochemist who is promoting manuka honey from New Zealand as a wound-healing agent, and it also does a pretty good job of promoting manuka itself.
But the article presents almost no evidence that manuka works. Instead, it interviews other honey experts, who lament the slowness of the medical community in accepting alternative treatments. The writer does, to his credit, quote researchers in the field who acknowledge that more research is necessary - including in vivo studies. One small, unpublished study is described: it's not clear whether it was s randomized, and though 7 of 10 wounds colonized with MRSA were no longer colonized at the end of the study, no comparison result is offered.
Apparently the FDA has approved manuka as a wound dressing, but what does that mean? that they don't think it will kill you? and if so, how do they even know that? Are the standards different for wound dressings from, say, anti-cholesterol drugs?
Why so much fuss about something that hasn't even reached the level of credible research? The article has that alternative-medicine air of "let's take back medicine from evil Pharma, and go back to natural remedies used for thousands of years" - even if there's really no good evidence that those natural remedies were actually effective or safe.