Honey Heals Wounds, Burns and Ulcers

raw honey heals ulcers and wounds

Raw honey on the comb.

Yes, honey is sweet. But it also heals cuts and abrasions, as well as burns and skin ulcers. How about stomach ulcers? Read on.

Honey heals skin wounds

Researchers from the University of Auckland recently conducted a Cochrane meta-analysis of research on the use of honey for skin wounds. They found 26 studies that included 3,011 people. Some studied honey for minor wounds and post-surgery wounds, while others looked at applying honey to burn wounds. Others studied the application of honey to skin ulcers. These included two studies of diabetic foot ulcers.

The researchers found that honey dressings heal partial thickness burns and a variety of other types of wounds more quickly than conventional dressings. They also found that in some cases, burns and other wounds heal more quickly with honey than with silver sulfadiazine dressings. Other studies showed no difference between silver sulfadiazine dressings and honey dressings. Silver sulfadiazine dressings are the current standard of care for helping healing and preventing infections in wounds.

The researchers also found that that honey heals infected post-surgery wounds faster than antiseptic washes followed by gauze. Honey treatments also had fewer adverse events according to the meta-analysis.

Honey also was found to heal Fournier’s gangrene faster than Eusol soaks.

Manuka honey treats wounds and skin ulcers

Manuka honey stands out as one of the better honey wound healers. Manuka’s antibacterial effects have been proven in other research.

Researchers from the Kingdom’s West Cumberland Hospital found that Manuka honey treats pilonidal sinus wounds and helps them heal faster.

The researchers tested 17 patients with chronic or recurrent pilonidal sinus disease, a condition where wounds open up at the lower spine in a region called the pilonidal sinus. The disease is considered a congenital defect within the skin of the spinal region. The condition produces recurring cysts, and continual wounds form from the cysts.

The wounds are difficult to heal.

A dressing with Manuka honey was prepared and applied to the patients following surgery. A total of 15 of the 17 patients accomplished complete wound healing with the Manuka honey dressing. The average healing time was 49 days. Only two patients had a recurrence of the wounds within several months of the therapy.

The researchers concluded:

“Manuka honey dressing therapy provides an effective topical treatment for chronic/recurrent pilonidal sinus disease.”

In 2005, a case study series done at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland also studied raw Manuka honey. The researchers tested using Manuka honey as part of wound dressings. They found the honey increased the healing time of leg ulcerations.

The researchers concluded:

“The use of Manuka honey was associated with a positive wound-healing outcome in these eight cases.”

Another study found that Manuka honey was effective in treating wounds infected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Staph bacteria can cause gangrene if not treated correctly.

Heartburn solved by Case Adams NaturopathCan honey treat stomach ulcers?

The human studies above indicate that honey is both antibacterial and has a protective effect upon the epithelial mucosal membranes of the skin. The stomach wall is also a mucosal membrane. But is there any evidence that honey help treat a stomach ulcer?

This has yet to be proven out on human clinical trials. But multiple animal studies have confirmed that honey definitely has a healing effect upon the stomach mucosal membranes. These studies have found honey decreases inflammatory responses and stresses upon the gastric mucosa.

This has been found using Manuka honey and non-Manuka honey.

Honey has also been shown to reduce and inhibit Helicobacter pylori infections. Many ulcers have been linked to H. pylori infections.

Another study showed that honey was more effective than piroxicam and had similar effects to omeprazole in its protection against ulcerative conditions.

Why raw honey is better

One of the reasons honey heals wounds better is because it is antibacterial. This antibacterial property allows it to protect the wound from infection while the body works to heal the wound.

Raw honey means the honey is not heated and strained through screens. When the honey is heated, it loses some of its antibiotic potential.

Manuka honey is produced by bees that collect pollen from the Manuka tree. The Manuka tree grows primarily in New Zealand and Australia. Most Manuka honey is sold as raw because of the commitment of New Zealand manufacturers. Manuka honey is known for its antimicrobial properties, as has been shown in the research. Other evidence has illustrated that Manuka honey stimulates the immune system.

REFERENCES:

Cooper R. Honey for wound care in the 21st century. J Wound Care. 2016 Sep;25(9):544-52. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2016.25.9.544.

Jull AB, Cullum N, Dumville JC, Westby MJ, Deshpande S, Walker N. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Mar 6;(3):CD005083. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005083.pub4.

Bischofberger AS, Dart CM, Horadagoda N, Perkins NR, Jeffcott LB, Little CB, Dart AJ. Effect of Manuka honey gel on the transforming growth factor β1 and β3 concentrations, bacterial counts and histomorphology of contaminated full-thickness skin wounds in equine distal limbs. Aust Vet J. 2016 Jan-Feb;94(1-2):27-34. doi: 10.1111/avj.12405.

Molan P, Rhodes T. Honey: A Biologic Wound Dressing. Wounds. 2015 Jun;27(6):141-51.

Guthrie HC, Martin KR, Taylor C, Spear AM, Whiting R, Macildowie S, Clasper JC, Watts SA. A pre-clinical evaluation of silver, iodine and Manuka honey based dressings in a model of traumatic extremity wounds contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. Injury. 2014 Aug;45(8):1171-8. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2014.05.007.

Thomas M, Hamdan M, Hailes S, Walker M. Manuka honey as an effective treatment for chronic pilonidal sinus wounds. J Wound Care. 2011 Nov;20(11):528, 530-3.

Almasaudi SB, El-Shitany NA, Abbas AT, Abdel-dayem UA, Ali SS, Al Jaouni SK, Harakeh S. Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, and Antiulcer Potential of Manuka Honey against Gastric Ulcer in Rats. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:3643824. doi: 10.1155/2016/3643824.

Alagwu EA, Nneli RO, Egwurugwu JN, Osim EE. Gastric cytoprotection and honey intake in albino rats. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2011 Nov 23;26(1):39-42.

Roldán-Rodríguez AE, Vega-Quispe EJ, Silva-Ocas I, Lemus-Arteaga KE, Gonzales-Saldaña JG, Ruiz-Urbina FN, Urtecho-Gaitan IF, Zamora-Mostacero VE, Vargas-Ferrer JE, Valverde-Quezada GJ, Vásquez-Sandoval KO, Huamán-Saavedra JJ. Gastroprotective effect of honey in Holtzman rats with piroxicam-induced gastric ulcer. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2016 Jul-Sep;36(3):219-224.

Matongo F, Nwodo UU. In vitro assessment of Helicobacter pylori ureases inhibition by honey fractions. Arch Med Res. 2014 Oct;45(7):540-6. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2014.09.001.

Gethin G, Cowman S. Case series of use of Manuka honey in leg ulceration. Int Wound J. 2005 Mar;2(1):10-5.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.