Honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution produced by honeybees. It is commonly used as substitute for sugar or a flavor enhancer. But other than that, honey is also effective in treating burns and wounds and it has been used for this purpose for many centuries. Now it is known that the secret of honey lies on its antibacterial activity.
How Can Honey Stop Infection?
We know that bacteria love sugar, but why most bacteria and other microorganisms cannot grow or reproduce in honey? Here are the reasons:
Acidity - Honey is acidic, and acids prevent the growth of bacteria.
Hydrogen Peroxide - When honey is applied as a wound dressing, it is diluted with fluids from the damaged tissue and combines with an enzyme added by the bee to form hydrogen peroxide, the same antiseptic found in drugstores. Diluted honey can serve as an excellent antiseptic because the naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide won't harm the tissues and no scarring will occur.Applying Honey as a Wound Dressing
Usually, 20 ml of honey (25 - 30 g, 1 ounce) is enough on a 10 cm X 10 cm (4 inch X 4 inch) dressing. The honey dressings should be cut to a size that extends beyond the edges of the wound.
To prevent honey oozing out from the wound dressing, waterproof dressings are needed. Absorbent dressings are not recommended as they soak the honey making it less effective. Adhesive tape or bandages can be used to hold the dressings in place.
It is better to spread the honey on the dressing first before applying it on the wound area.
If there are abscesses in the wound area, fill it with honey before applying the dressing pad, so that there is honey in contact with the wound.
The amount of honey required on the wound depends on the amount of fluid it exudes. Honey will be useless if it is diluted by large amounts of fluid. Also the frequency of dressing changes depends on how fast the honey is being diluted by fluid.
On deeper infections, more honey is required to get an effective antibacterial activity.
Daily dressing changes up to three times daily may be needed.
Exudation of fluid should be reduced after few days use of honey dressing. During this time, less dressing changes will be needed.Honey Used as Medicine
Below are some common problems which can easily be prevented from the use of honey:
Allergies - Raw honey is an excellent treatment for 90% of allergies.
Anemia - Honey is a great blood enricher. The darker the honey the better. Take 1 ripe banana with 1 tablespoon of honey, 1-2 times a day.
Appetite - Honey improves appetite in children suffering from appetite loss.
Conjunctivitis - Dissolve honey in equal amount of warm water. When cooled, apply as lotion or eye bath.
Fatigue and exhaustion - Honey is the best ingredient to remove tiredness and fatigue almost instantly because it is easily absorbed in the blood. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of honey in warm water or quarter honey balance of water in a jug and keep in the fridge.
Headaches and Migraine - Take 2 teaspoons at meals to prevent headache. For migraines, take 1 dessertspoon of honey dissolved in a half glass of warm water. Repeat in 20 minutes if migraine persists.
Heart Diseases - Honey can fight against cholesterol. Pure honey taken with foods daily instead of sugar relieves complains of cholesterol. This is helpful for old people, especially sufferers of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and others.
High Blood Pressure - Take mixed 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder 2 times a day.
Insomnia (Sleeplessness) - Take 1 teaspoon of honey mixed in lukewarm water or milk and drink before going to bed.
Poor Digestion - Mix 1:1 honey with cider vinegar and dilute with water.
Skin - Honey is a good moisturizer. It also helps in reducing skin problems like pimples.
Sore Throat - Let 1 teaspoon of honey melt in the back of the mouth and trickle down the throat.
Stomachache - Take 1 teaspoon of honey, juice of a ½ lemon with a hot glass of water first thing in the morning.
Teeth - Although honey is sweet, it helps to maintain and protect teeth.
Important: Honey contains a certain bacterium that might be harmful in infants; it should never be fed to children younger than one year old. Otherwise it could lead to food poisoning.
Now you know that when honey is applied properly to a wound, it can promote healing just as good as or often better than, over-the-counter ointments and dressings. It is also a great preventive medicine on common ailments.