Web for Wounds: When Spiderwebs Were Used as Bandages!

Think twice before obliterating the cobwebs with your deadly broom, because those annoying spider silk meticulously woven and carelessly hung according to their convenience, are (or were) actually quite handy. You might have heard about the aborigines using the spider silk as fishing lines to trap the unsuspecting fish in the web of lies (see what I did there?), or their usage as crosshairs in telescopes and guns, but the ancient Greeks used the spiderweb for a very different (and weird) purpose. They used it as bandages, and let's face it, that's the closest anyone ever came to being Spiderman (well, technically)!

Although we tend to mistake all spiderwebs to be the same, in reality, spiders weave in response to the situation they are in, and each type of silk is unique. The dragline, for instance, is known for its mechanical properties. But that is a story for another day, as we shift our focus back to the Greeks. They did not just maniacally grab cobwebs to put on the wounds. The process involved cleaning of the wounds with honey and vinegar combined, and then gently placing the web upon the affected area, and it was kept that way until the bleeding ceased. The reason why spiderweb did not cause any complications when used to treat wounds, was because of its antiseptic properties. Apart from that, the webs are also rich in Vitamin K, which explains why the Greeks were so obsessed.

While you may be having constant deja vu about a certain guy being bitten by a certain radioactive spider, there are scientists out there who are actually quite keen on synthetically producing spider silk, and a team from Nottingham University infact succeeded in doing it! Their research is ongoing, but next time you hurt yourself, don't just go pulling a Greek spider-medical kit stunt all by yourself instead of seeing your doctor.

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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