Honey Heals Wounds, Burns and Ulcers
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.
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.
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Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.