“See that?” he said, while showing me what looked to be a pretty normal hand with just a twinge of scarring here and there.
“Two weeks ago I spilled hot oil on that hand and had major burns. I ran to the barn and plunged my entire hand into a vat full of honey. It stung a little but I pulled it out and wrapped it up. Within a week it was already almost totally healed up and wasn’t raw anymore. Looks pretty good now, eh?”
My friend was preaching on the virtue of honey in healing wounds. While I had heard that honey had been used 4,500 years ago to treat wounds, I primarily fermented it into mead and hadn’t seen a live demonstration of its efficacy - for wound healing that is.
I was impressed.
While medical research has focused primarily on Manuka honey (which comes from New Zealand,) all honeys seem to have a healing effect to a greater or lesser extent.
Does this mean you can run to the counter and grab a jar of honey and slather it on a cut or burn? Maybe.
Pure honey that hasn’t been radiation sterilized may have spores of botulism or other microbes that could infect the wound but this is relatively rare. There are honeys that are free from anything that could cause problems and these are often labeled as medicinal honeys.
Why honey now?
Primarily because the increase in the use of antibiotics has resulted in an increase in antibiotic resistant bugs such as MRSA.
While honey is starting to be used more extensively for wounds and burns, researchers are only now beginning to scrape the honeycomb and learn what honey can do. Just recently it was found that Manuka honey appears to reduce H. Pylori, that bug that causes stomach ulcers.
In an era when it seems that diseases around us advance almost as quickly as technology, it’s comforting to know that perhaps some of the most powerful disease fighting weapons might be literally, right under our noses.