Published on May 14th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans1
Healing Wounds with Honey
We need bees. Not only do these tiny pollinators bear gifts of wax used in many industries and a perpetual supply of pollen that sustains our food production, they also produce a powerful medicinal healer: honey.
The medical community is once again tapping into this ancient healer to find new ways to employ its many beneficial properties…
A celebrated wound-healer since the days of ancient Egypt and Rome, honey is making a comeback to the ranks of medicinal medicine. Some hospitals and pharmacies now carry MediHoney, a USDA-approved honey-infused wound dressing that is made from a base of highly absorbent seaweed fibers.
The dressings are infused with Manuka honey, gathered from the Manuka bush (also known as the tea tree plant) by bees in New Zealand and Australia. Manuka is a highly potent type of honey endowed with enzymes and properties that make it especially effective at fighting bacteria and speeding up the healing process. Healing with honey is clean because honey is hygroscopic, meaning that it draws moisture out of an area—a property that does not allow bacteria the moist environment it needs in order to thrive.
Healing wounds with this honey has several advantages, including cost effectiveness: because of the rapid healing process and the fact that honey is a natural substance (as opposed to something we have to manufacture), it is much more economical than using antibiotics or other polyurethane-based dressings. Unlike commercial honey, “medical-grade” honey is sterilized but is not pasteurized.
Manuka honey wound dressings are highly effective in most clinical settings and are said to:
- prevent infection and reduce odor from infected wounds
- heal longtime wounds
- last for about 1 week, much longer than any alternatives
- rapidly treat burns with minimal scarring
- promote the growth of healthy tissue and create sloughing of gangrenous and necrotic tissue so it can be easily removed
- cause no irritation or harm to regenerating tissues
Though regular honey has been used in wound treatment, studies found that Manuka honey is the most potent and rapid healer. To learn more about using sterilized Manuka honey at home, visit the SummerGlow Apiaries website.
While Manuka honey is not a panacea—as it is not effective in all cases and it cannot impact healing once an infection has reached the bloodstream—it contains many powerful and beneficial properties, causing the universal medical community to sit up and pay attention. Visit the New Zealand-based Waikato Honey Research Unit for the latest news on honey healing breakthroughs.