Do you know why substances like salt, vinegar and sugar are used when preserving food? They are anti-bacterial, creating an environment that bacteria cannot live in.
Incredibly sweet honey is no different. It has long been used in traditional medicine as a topical (on the surface of the skin) treatment for wounds. There is evidence from over 2000 years ago of honey’s use as a wound treatment.
The Power Of Honey
The anti-bacterial power of honey may vary depending on the type of flowers the nectar used to make it was collected from. It is believed that manuka honey (made by bees that gather nectar from manuka flowers), is much more potent than other types of honey when it comes to wound healing. Some persons go as far as to suggest that manuka honey is,in fact, one of the only two types of honey that should be used on wounds, the other being raw, unprocessed honey.
Conventional medicine has recently rediscovered honey and its ability to perform where modern treatments are inadequate. Interestingly, it has been shown that honey can effectively neutralize certain types of bacteria that have been become resistant to antibiotic medication. For this reason honey is used to treat difficult to heal wounds.
How Does Honey Work?
There is an enzyme in honey that produces wound cleaning hydrogen peroxide when diluted. Honey studies have identify many other bioactive components in honey. Bioactive meaning that they work on cells and tissues in living things. These components have led to honey earning the distinction of being a biologic wound dressing.
Another way in which honey is thought to work as it helps to heal wounds, is that its intense sweetness has the effect of pulling lymph fluid out of the tissues that surround the wound. This lymph is vital for healing of the wound and along with the lymph, honey also draws out bacteria which are then unable to survive in the too-sweet environment it created.
Benefits of Honey As A Wound Treatment
Research into the use of honey on wounds is showing that it
- promotes healing, quickly clearing infections with no negative side effects
- stimulates the immune system
- promotes the growth of tissue to repair wounds
- suppresses inflammation and in so doing can leads to a reduction in pain and swelling related to the presence of the wound
Another effect of the use of honey on wounds is the elimination of unpleasant odours often associated with wounds.
Once the wound has healed, honey helps by allowing the bandage to be easilyremoved, taking all the dead tissue with it while causing no damage to the newly grown cells. Honey’s use on wounds, therefore, tends to result in much less scarring than when other substances are used.
To use honey for wounds some people simply apply it directly to the affected area. It is often used for cuts, bruises, burns (including sunburn) and diabetic foot ulcers.
It also good to know that apart from wound treatment honey can also be used for the relief of stomach ulcers, diarrhea, asthma, coughs and hay fever.