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Honey: Rediscovering Nature's Antibiotic

Source: Kimberly Moore, The Wild Bee, New Zealand


Before the advent of antibiotics, it was not unusual for an experienced medical professional to slather honey on a wound to prevent infection and hasten healing. Modern clinical observations document honey’s effectiveness in treating cuts, wounds, burns, insect bites, yeast infections, various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and fungal infections from athlete’s foot to ringworm. Honey is a very effective means of quickly clearing even the most heavily infected wounds, without the side-effects and potential overuse of antibiotics. The manner in which honey heals is a synergistic interaction of five key elements:

Hydrogen peroxide, which is produced from an enzyme in honey, disinfects and heals skin wounds and infections due to its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic nature. Scientific evidence has proven that most strains of harmful bacteria cannot survive in the presence of oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the many components that help regulate the amount of oxygen getting to cells and increases oxygenation of tissues.
Honey creates a moist healing barrier between wound and dressing with no sticking and no tissue damage – scarring is reduced because skin cells grow without forming a scab. The antibacterial properties and viscosity also provide a barrier to cross-infection of wounds.
Honey supplies nutrients necessary for healthy tissue regeneration and stimulates the growth of new blood capillaries. Honey contains all the minerals necessary for sustaining life plus a wide range of amino acids, vitamins, trace elements, and large quantities of readily assimilated sugars. The Vitamin C content of honey is important because of its role in collagen synthesis.

The acidity of honey may also assist in healing as topical acidification of wounds promotes healing. Honey’s high sugar content has an osmosis effect on wounds. It draws lymph out to the cells while absorbing moisture and provides an anti-inflammatory action which reduces swelling, pain, and odor. Honey assists in lifting dirt and debris from the bed of a wound and induces sloughing of necrotic tissue. The cleansing effect of the osmotic flow and the enzymatic debriding effect of honey often make surgery unnecessary.

According to a study published by Robert Blomfield in the Journal of the American Medical Association, honey has been proven more effective than silver sulfadiazine and polyurethane film dressings for the treatment of burns. “Applied every 2 to 3 days under a dry dressing, honey promotes healing of ulcers and burns better than any other local application."


MANUKA is the Maori name for Leptospermum Scoparium, a native tree of New Zealand. Manuka has been used for centuries in traditional Maori folk medicine for treating fevers and colds and healing skin and stomach ailments. Known as "the Healing Honey of the Tea Tree," Manuka possesses strong curative properties derived from powerful antibacterial agents and high mineral content.

According to studies performed at The University of Waikaito, a few areas of New Zealand produce a Manuka honey which contains a second type of antibacterial activity in addition to hydrogen peroxide activity. This secondary activity is measured in a laboratory on a scale of 1-20 with Manuka honey testing above 10 referred to as “Active Manuka.” Amazingly, this antibacterial activity is unaffected by enzymes in the body that destroy the hydrogen peroxide components. It is also unaffected by light, heat, or time. In fact, experience has shown that some Active Manuka actually increases its level of activity over time.

When used in wound healing, Active Manuka maintains its potency even when diluted over 50 times (as will happen when used on or in the body.) It will also diffuse deeper into skin tissue than the enzymes of other honeys.

Active Manuka has proven to be a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent, killing bugs such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Helicobacter pylori. Active Manuka is highly effective against antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” and is often used when traditional methods fail to heal persistent wounds. Because of its exceptional healing powers, Active Manuka is classified as a Therapeutic Good in Australia (the equivalent to a drug registered and approved by the FDA.)

Honey should not be fed to infants under one year old.

The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, or cure of any illness or disease. For medical advice, you should always consult your physician.



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