While most think of honey as something used to sweeten food, it also has unique properties that are the bee’s knees when it comes to healing burns and wounds. But it’s not just any old honey that’s buzzing with healing powers Honey:+a+potent+agent+for+wound+healing? +Lusby,+P.E,+Coombes,+A.,+Wilkinson,+J.M.+School+of+Biomedical+Sciences,+Charles+Sturt+University,+Wagga+Wagga,+Australia.+Journal+of+Wound+Ostomy+Continence+Nursing,+2002+Nov;29(6):295-300.. Certain types of medical grade honey may help prevent infection when applied directly to wounds Honey+and+microbial+infections:+a+review+supporting+the+use+of+honey+for+microbial+control.+Al-Waili,+N.S.,+Salom,+K.,+Butler,+G.,+et+al.+1+Al-Waili's+Charitable+Foundation+for+Sciences+and+Trading,+New+York.+Journal+of+Medical+Food,+2011+Oct;14(10):1079-96..

A Sweet Deal for Healthcare — Why It Matters

People have been using honey for thousands of years as a home remedy for things like aiding digestion and calming a cough. Because of its and other antimicrobial effects, honey also has the ability to kill many kinds of bacteria, and (by forming a moist environment) can speed the healing of wounds and minimize scarring Honey+for+wound+healing,+ulcers,+and+burns;+data+supporting+its+use+in+clinical+practice. +Al-Waili,+N.,+Salom,+K.,+Al-Ghamdi,+A.A.+Al-Waili's+Foundation+for+Sciences,+Chronic+Wound+Management+and+Hyperbaric+Medicine,+Life+Support+Technology+Group,+New+York.+The+Scientific+World+Journal,+2011+Apr+5;11:766-87.. However, with the , natural remedies like honey have fallen by the wayside as modern drugs become the treatment of choice to tackle wounds and infections.

As honey makes its comeback, the sweet stuff has been found to be a safe, fast-acting natural antiseptic, making it a good salve for burns and wounds Honey:+a+potent+agent+for+wound+healing? +Lusby,+P.E,+Coombes,+A.,+Wilkinson,+J.M.+School+of+Biomedical+Sciences,+Charles+Sturt+University,+Wagga+Wagga,+Australia.+Journal+of+Wound+Ostomy+Continence+Nursing,+2002+Nov;29(6):295-300. Wound+healing+with+honey--a+randomised+controlled+trial.+Ingle,+R.,+Levin,+J.,+Polinder,+K.+Department+of+Family+Medicine,+University+of+Limpopo,+South+Africa.+South+African+Medical+Journal, +2006+Sep;96(9):831-5.. Research also shows that honey can be used as a natural remedy to that may be resistant to strong antibiotics Honey+for+wound+healing,+ulcers,+and+burns;+data+supporting+its+use+in+clinical+practice. +Al-Waili,+N.,+Salom,+K.,+Al-Ghamdi,+A.A.+Al-Waili's+Foundation+for+Sciences,+Chronic+Wound+Management+and+Hyperbaric+Medicine,+Life+Support+Technology+Group,+New+York.+The+Scientific+World+Journal,+2011+Apr+5;11:766-87. The+effect+of+manuka+honey+on+the+structure+of+Pseudomonas+aeruginosa.+Henriques,+A.F.,+Jenkins,+R.E.,+Burton,+N.F.,+et+al.+Centre+for+Biomedical+Sciences,+Cardiff+School+of+Health+Sciences,+University+of+Wales+Institute,+Cardiff,+UK.+European+Journal+of+Clinical+Microbiology+and+Infectious+Disease,+2011+Feb;30(2):167-71. The+effect+of+manuka+honey+on+the+structure+of+Pseudomonas+aeruginosa.+Henriques,+A.F.,+Jenkins,+R.E.,+Burton,+N.F.,+et+al.+Centre+for+Biomedical+Sciences,+Cardiff+School+of+Health+Sciences,+University+of+Wales+Institute,+Cardiff,+UK.+European+Journal+of+Clinical+Microbiology+and+Infectious+Disease,+2011+Feb;30(2):167-71..

High Five to the Bee Hive — The Answer/Debate

Manuka honey is the queen bee when it comes to antimicrobial properties. It comes only from New Zealand and Australia, where bees congregate and (a type of evergreen) A+survey+of+the+antibacterial+activity+of+some+New+Zealand+honeys.+Allen,+K.L.,+Molan,+P.C.,+Reid,+G.M.+Department+of+Biological+Sciences,+University+of+Waikato,+Hamilton,+New+Zealand.+Journal+of+Pharmacy+and+Pharmacology,+1991+Dec;43(12):817-22.. Other types of honey lack the key substances that make Manuka honey so potent, like that produces hydrogen peroxide, and an antibacterial property Honey+for+wound+healing,+ulcers,+and+burns;+data+supporting+its+use+in+clinical+practice. +Al-Waili,+N.,+Salom,+K.,+Al-Ghamdi,+A.A.+Al-Waili's+Foundation+for+Sciences,+Chronic+Wound+Management+and+Hyperbaric+Medicine,+Life+Support+Technology+Group,+New+York.+The+Scientific+World+Journal,+2011+Apr+5;11:766-87..

Most commercially sold honey (think cute bear shaped containers in the grocery aisle) goes through a , which not only cooks out those beneficial anti-bacterial components, but also destroys the . This keeps the honey in a liquid state for a longer period of time, which may be good for the shelf life, but not for slathering on a cut or burn Honey:+a+reservoir+for+microorganisms+and+an+inhibitory+agent+for+microbes.+Olaitan,+P.B.,+Adeleke,+O.E.,+Ola,+I.O.+Department+of+Surgery,+Ladoke+Akintola+University+of+Technology+Teaching+Hospital,+Osogbo,+Osun+state,+Nigeria.+African+Health+Sciences,+2007+Sep;7(3):159-65..

So don't search the pantry for the nearest honey jar. Dousing wounds with store-bought honey (which isn't medical grade) can cause more harm than good, and it may worsen the wound, since like medical grade varieties. Manuka honey can be purchased online or at health food stores. And look for the name and level of UMF clearly displayed on the front label, which guarantees the honey has high antibacterial activity (UMF10 is the minimum). Remember that honey is most effective on superficial wounds Honey+as+a+topical+treatment+for+wounds.+Jull,+A.B.,+Rodgers,+A.,+Walker,+N.+Clinical+Trials+Research+Unit,+University+of+Auckland,+Auckland,+New+Zealand.+Cochrane+Database+of+Systematic+Reviews,+2008+Oct+8;(4):CD005083.. Leave the deep gashes and serious burns to the professionals. All hail Winnie the Pooh!

Photo by Kristine Lockwood