Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Honey One of Nature’s Healers

Keeping an Eye on Ugly Wounds
The Irish Times, 8/12/2008

Nature's healers

They say time is the best healer, but sometimes nature has a few other tricks to help.

In recent years, Manuka honey from New Zealand has been shown to aid wound healing, and it is now available in dressings.

Regular honey has some topical healing properties, but Manuka honey, which is produced by bees that visit the Manuka tree, contains an additional factor that is thought to help ward off the bugs.

"Honey has hydrogen peroxide in it, and for most honeys, that's what gives the anti-bacterial effect. But for Manuka honey, when they took out the hydrogen peroxide, it appeared to still have an anti-bacterial effect," says Dr Georgina Gethin, a lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Her studies on using Manuka honey to treat wounds have found it to be effective against MRSA, and also in the wound becoming more acidic, which is associated with healing.

However, she cautions against using food-grade honey on chronic wounds, as it could harbour bacterial spores. "If you buy a jar of honey, it was manufactured and packaged for eating. Whereas in wound care the honey now comes in tubes or dressings, and it has been sterilised so any potential spores have been eliminated."

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