Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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October 15, 2006

Honey Heals Your Wounds

Honey is more effective in treating difficult-to-heal wounds than antibiotics, says Jennifer Eddy, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Even methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the so-called flesh eating bacterium is no match for the antibiotic compounds the bees manufacture for us - for free.


Image credit: Graham Soult

Meanwhile, antibiotics are losing much of their appeal as many common bacteria develop resistance. Chickens are fed grains mixed with antibiotics, calves and pigs are routinely injected as a "precaution". Pharmaceutical companies are pushing antibiotics as the solution to all health problems in animal husbandry. We eat the residues of these antibiotics in many of our foods, and of course bacteria, being exposed to the drugs at every turn, find ways to resist their deadly properties.

That resistance is getting more and more problematic as hospitals become a breeding ground for infections.

Not only wounds are healed by honey, apparently there are also anti-viral properties in honey. Here is an anecdote from the time of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic:

"During the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, my dad was a little boy, 8 years old, in Stockton, California. His dad was a beekeeper, and kept some filled honeycombs in a closet in the house.

During the epidemic, the family members would go into that closet and eat some of the fresh honey every day, whenever they wanted.

The flu decimated the population of Stockton, including the families of their neighbors. Next door, only one little boy survived, and when he came out of the house, they couldn't recognize him, he was so emaciated. Other whole families were entirely wiped out. They piled corpses in the streets, as there weren't enough healthy men to bury them.

Dad's (large) family escaped the flu intact. It skipped their house completely. Dad always said he thought it was something in the honey they ate that protected them.

He may have been right. I recently read that they've discovered that honey has a compound that turns into something like hydrogen peroxide inside you. For whatever it's worth, this gives some protection from viruses."

Honey could also save limbs that might otherwise need to be amputated, as our standard medical treatments fail. Here is the article in Wired which provided the stimulus for this post:

- - -

Honey Remedy Could Save Limbs

Oct, 11, 2006
(original article here)

When Jennifer Eddy first saw an ulcer on the left foot of her patient, an elderly diabetic man, it was pink and quarter-sized. Fourteen months later, drug-resistant bacteria had made it an unrecognizable black mess.

Doctors tried everything they knew -- and failed. After five hospitalizations, four surgeries and regimens of antibiotics, the man had lost two toes. Doctors wanted to remove his entire foot.

"He preferred death to amputation, and everybody agreed he was going to die if he didn't get an amputation," said Eddy, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

With standard techniques exhausted, Eddy turned to a treatment used by ancient Sumerian physicians, touted in the Talmud and praised by Hippocrates: honey. Eddy dressed the wounds in honey-soaked gauze. In just two weeks, her patient's ulcers started to heal. Pink flesh replaced black. A year later, he could walk again.

"I've used honey in a dozen cases since then," said Eddy. "I've yet to have one that didn't improve."

Eddy is one of many doctors to recently rediscover honey as medicine. Abandoned with the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s and subsequently disregarded as folk quackery, a growing set of clinical literature and dozens of glowing anecdotes now recommend it.

Most tantalizingly, honey seems capable of combating the growing scourge of drug-resistant wound infections, especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or the infamous flesh-eating strain. These have become alarmingly more common in recent years, with MRSA alone responsible for half of all skin infections treated in U.S. emergency rooms. So-called superbugs cause thousands of deaths and disfigurements every year, and public health officials are alarmed.

Though the practice is uncommon in the United States, honey is successfully used elsewhere on wounds and burns that are unresponsive to other treatments. Some of the most promising results come from Germany's Bonn University Children's Hospital, where doctors have used honey to treat wounds in 50 children whose normal healing processes were weakened by chemotherapy.

The children, said pediatric oncologist Arne Simon, fared consistently better than those with the usual applications of iodine, antibiotics and silver-coated dressings. The only adverse effects were pain in 2 percent of the children and one incidence of eczema. These risks, he said, compare favorably to iodine's possible thyroid effects and the unknowns of silver -- and honey is also cheaper.

"We're dealing with chronic wounds, and every intervention which heals a chronic wound is cost effective, because most of those patients have medical histories of months or years," he said.

While Eddy bought honey at a supermarket, Simon used Medihoney, one of several varieties made from species of Leptospermum flowers found in New Zealand and Australia.

Honey, formed when bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar, contains approximately 600 compounds, depending on the type of flower and bee. Leptospermum honeys are renowned for their efficacy and dominate the commercial market, though scientists aren't totally sure why they work.

"All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide," said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. "But we still haven't managed to identify the active components. All we know is (the honey) works on an extremely broad spectrum."

Attempts in the lab to induce a bacterial resistance to honey have failed, Molan and Simon said. Honey's complex attack, they said, might make adaptation impossible.

Two dozen German hospitals are experimenting with medical honeys, which are also used in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. In the United States, however, honey as an antibiotic is nearly unknown. American doctors remain skeptical because studies on honey come from abroad and some are imperfectly designed, Molan said.

In a review published this year, Molan collected positive results from more than 20 studies involving 2,000 people. Supported by extensive animal research, he said, the evidence should sway the medical community -- especially when faced by drug-resistant bacteria.

"In some, antibiotics won't work at all," he said. "People are dying from these infections."

Commercial medical honeys are available online in the United States, and one company has applied for Food and Drug Administration approval. In the meantime, more complete clinical research is imminent. The German hospitals are documenting their cases in a database built by Simon's team in Bonn, while Eddy is conducting the first double-blind study.

"The more we keep giving antibiotics, the more we breed these superbugs. Wounds end up being repositories for them," Eddy said. "By eradicating them, honey could do a great job for society and to improve public health."

See also:

Honey Mixture Improves Skin Conditions
A mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax may relieve the symptoms associated with eczema and psoriasis, reports Complementary Therapies in Medicine

Honey as a topical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds

Harnessing honey's healing power
Professor Molan has shown that honey made from the flowers of the manuka bush, a native of New Zealand, has antibacterial properties over and above those of other honeys.

The Evidence Supporting the Use of Honey as a Wound Dressing
Positive findings on honey in wound care have been reported from 17 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants, and 5 clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants treated with honey. The effectiveness of honey in assisting wound healing has also been demonstrated in 16 trials on a total of 533 wounds on experimental animals. There is also a large amount of evidence in the form of case studies that have been reported. It has been shown to give good results on a very wide range of types ofwound. It is therefore mystifying that there appears to be a lack of universal acceptance of honey as a wound dressing. It is recommended that clinicians should look for the clinical evidence that exists to support the use of other wound care products to compare with the evidence that exists for honey.

APIMEDICA Presentation: Therapeutic Uses of Honey
Honey has a very broad spectrum antimicrobial activity. It is effective against most species even when diluted 10-fold or more. Glucose and oxygen, in the presence of glucose oxidase, produces gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Manuka (Leptospermum) honey is unique in its non-peroxide antibacterial activity.

Facts On Honey and Cinnamon

This anonymous article should be taken with a grain of salt, but it does stimulate thought and of course anyone is free to decide whether to try what is proposed or not...

It is found that mixture of Honey and Cinnamon cures most of the diseases. Honey is produced in most countries of the world. Ayurvedic as well as Yunani medicine have been using honey as a vital medicine for centuries. Scientists of today also accept honey as a "Ram Ban" (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

UK Nursing Magazine Outlines Evidence for Use of Honey in Wound Care
Honey is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and case studies have demonstrated its usefulness on non-healing wounds. A laboratory study on the effect of honey on cells implicated in prolonged inflammation demonstrated that the honey was able to modulate the activity of monocytes to release growth factors and anti-inflammatory agents, although how this is achieved is not yet understood.

Honey treats most diseases in Yemen
Singers have long used honey to soothe their vocal chords. Dieters use it instead of sugar because it satisfies their sweet tooth and keeps them full longer. Even the Quran lauds the salubrious effects of honey. "And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; There issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men," says the passage, written 1,400 years ago.

The Healing Properties of Raw Honey
Researchers in Manchester, England are treating mouth and throat cancer patients with honey, seeing if it will reduce their chances of contracting bacterial infections, especially ones that are resistant to antibiotics. Honey has been shown to have an antimicrobial effect against many bacteria and fungi.

FDA Quietly Acknowledges Medical Benefits of Honey
Using honey to treat wounds is nothing new; even ancient civilizations used it in this manner. However, this is the sort of thing that usually gets relegated to "folk healing". It seems scientifically obvious: honey is very acidic (antibacterial), and it produces its own hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluid which drains from a wound! The extremely high sugar content of honey means it contains very little water. So, it draws the pus and fluid from the wound, thereby speeding the healing process. Furthermore, the honey contains powerful germ-fighting phytochemicals from the plants that produced the pollen harvested by the honeybees. Having already been accepted by the overseas mainstream medical community for some time, North America finally caught on.

Scientists Identify a Secret Ingredient in Honey That Kills Bacteria
A new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections.

None of your Beeswax - Honey in Medicine
In the abstract, if one reads between the lines, it says in as polite and scientific a language as one can generally get away with in such a milieu, "why the heck are you ignoring this?"

Some clinicians are under the impression that there is little or no evidence to support the use of honey as a wound dressing. To allow sound decisions to be made, this seminar article has covered the various reports that have been published on the clinical usage of honey. Positive findings on honey in wound care have been reported from 17 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants, and 5 clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants treated with honey. The effectiveness of honey in assisting wound healing has also been demonstrated in 16 trials on a total of 533 wounds on experimental animals. There is also a large amount of evidence in the form of case studies that have been reported. It has been shown to give good results on a very wide range of types of wound. It is therefore mystifying that there appears to be a lack of universal acceptance of honey as a wound dressing. It is recommended that clinicians should look for the clinical evidence that exists to support the use of other wound care products to compare with the evidence that exists for honey.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Sunday October 15 2006
updated on Wednesday December 15 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

Great site with some very interesting articles.

Checkout my blog:

Posted by: Chris on October 15, 2006 09:20 PM


I have bee hives and can ship natural unprocess honey any where in the USA (America)

Posted by: John Hamblin on October 29, 2006 09:11 AM


In case you'd want to know... that is a hover fly in the flower photo, not a honeybee.

Posted by: Mike on December 15, 2007 09:24 AM


honey is great but if your just talking about a wound you can put dettol(chloroxylenol) or iodine on it: it kills everything. Antibiotics are for internal use and you can't go injecting people with honey can you?

Posted by: Frank on December 27, 2007 07:18 PM


This is a great collection of info. and have enjoyed reading it. Although, Mike is correct. That is a type of fly and definitely not a honeybee.

Posted by: Allison Fouse on April 29, 2008 07:57 PM


In 1973 my girlfriend spilled hot cooking oil over all of the back of her hand when the fry pan with the loose handle allowed this to happen as she was transporting the pan with frying food. She immediately developed 2nd degree burns as we were preparing ice water to immerse her hand in. The cold water controlled the pain. Later, after drying the hand, I dried the hand, lanced the blisters, and spread honey over the hand and rolling a bandage over all of the hand. Keeping the air off of it controlled pain, too. The next day we started a scheduled one week camping trip. We changed the dressing when honey eventually would soak through it. After the trip, a doctor looked at her hand and was very surprised at the rapid recovery and condition of the hand. The only mistake we made, was not to allow the hand access to more air drying time between change of dressing, just as you would not want skin to be immersed in water for extended days (remember WW I soldiers in trenches who got "trench foot?"). We have also used honey on sunburns which speeded skin recovery and even prevented peeling.
Yesterday, she (now my wife and age 62)) developed a small but impressive wound on her elbow after falling on a sidewalk she was jogging on. Her friend with her took her into a nearby hair dresser's shop and thoroughly cleaned the wound and used hydrogen peroxide. Once home, I spread honey on it and bandaged it. The honey is from a local bee keeper who does not use heat to extract the honey from hive's frames. This preserves the enzymes that promotes tissue and skin healing. From what I have read recently, it may be helpful not to "smoother" the wound, but to use sufficient amounts to leave a light layer of honey over the wound considering the dressing absorbing some of the honey. We will change the dressing twice per day both for the "airing and drying" but also to monitor for healing progress.
I first learned about the amazing properties of honey when I was half way through high school in the 1960's with facial acne. My mother got me off of cane sugar and products that contained it, and reduced my fatty food intake that teenagers tend to eat. She allowed me to use honey to address my sweet tooth urges. I washed my face a number of times each day. My face cleared remarkably in a week and a half. Her resource: Gaylord Hauser, a popular nutritionist author published in the 50's and 60's.
I got into his books after my face cleared. He discouraged cane sugar and promoted honey. He described some amazing properties about honey, including perfectly eatable honey found in the tombs of the Egyptian pharohs. At age 61 I have had a wonderfully healthy life that includes between one and two pounds of honey consumption per week. I promoted my father's health from severe hayfever by getting him to eat local bee keeper's honey and pollen before spring. This enormously mitigated the wind borne pollen aggrivating cause of allergies.
In my opinion, there is a big difference between locally produced honey gathered from bee keepers who do not use heat nor filters to extract honey. This preserves the enzymes and the amazing healthful properties of the pollens. In full disclosure, I am not a bee keeper or in anyway connected with the industry. I am not in the health care business. I have promoted the healing benefits of honey and byproducts to friends over the years. The evidence is overwhelming for such an inexpensive, healthful food.

Posted by: Gary on August 2, 2008 12:45 PM


I have enjoyed reading interesting articles on your website.

May be you can check out my blog, too.

Posted by: Miki Rina on December 8, 2008 10:29 AM


Thank you for coming here Miki,

and for letting us know about your blog. You certainly have an interesting site


Posted by: Sepp on December 8, 2008 02:10 PM


Hey I like honey a lot of good uses for it. It's a great ingredient for some home health remedies.

Posted by: robert home remedy on March 4, 2009 11:54 PM


Very interesting. I've always known that honey was a food of many medicinal properties, but I never knew it was this powerful.

Glad to find so many uses for such a great thing from nature!

Posted by: Travis on August 31, 2009 09:05 PM


Great! Call me a believer in honey as from now. I tried it on my lip and I have reason to believe it was responsible for healing my lip in no time, as I experienced excruciating pain before I used it and, in no time did it clear up and left me an astounded believer in the use of honey to heal wounds! Try it too, and see what I mean. Afterall, it costs peanuts to get it!

Posted by: Wale Alalade on September 18, 2010 06:45 AM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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