Honey is a sugary, syrupy substance that has been shown to have bioactive compounds that can help heal wounds.
People have used honey for thousands of years for wound healing. While we now have other very effective wound healing options, honey may still be good for healing wounds .
Honey offers the following benefits in healing wounds:
- Acidic pH promotes healing: Honey has an acid pH of between 3.2-4.5. When applied to wounds, the acidic pH encourages the blood to release oxygen which is important for wound healing.
- Sugar has an osmotic effect: The sugar naturally present has the effect of drawing water out of damaged tissues known as ( Osmotic effect). This reduces swelling and encourages the flow of lymph to heal the wound. Sugar also draws water out of the bacterial cells, which can stop them from multipying.
- Antibacterial effect: Honey has been shown to have an antibacterial effect on bacteria commonly present in wounds such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus( MRSA).
Though there are different kinds of honey such as Gelain, Tualang and MediHoney ( a branded honey sterilized with gamma radiation), most medical professionals use the MANUKA HONEY which comes from the MANUKA TREE. The reason why this honey is unique is because it contains the compound methygloxal. Tis compound kills bacteria and it can easily pass through the skin to get the bacteria.
Wound healing professionals have used honey to heal the following types of wound:
- Venous and diabetic foot ulcers
HOW TO APPLY HONEY ON WOUNDS.
- If you’re applying honey on wounds at home, here are some of the guidelines:
- Always begin with clean hands and applicators such as sterile gauze and cotton tips.
- Apply the honey to a dressing first, then apply the dressing to the skin. This helps to cut down on the messiness of honey when applied directly to the skin.
- Place a clean dry dressing over the honey. The dressing could be sterile gauze pads or an adhesive bandage.
- Replace the dressing when drainage from the wound saturates the dressing. As honey starts to heal the wound, dressing it would be less frequent.
- Wash your hands after dressing the wound.
However, it is important to note that if you have a wound or burn, ask your doctor if honey is a possibility for treatment. For severe wounds, its best a doctor or nurse shows you how to treat it with honey for the first time. Reason being that the amount of honey and the way the dressing is applied can impact how effective the wound healing will be.
Honey has almost equal or slightly superior effects when compared with conventional treatments for acute wound and superficial partial thickness burns. More randomized controlled trials with significant statistical power comparing different kinds of honey, are required in order to create a strong body of evidence towards definite recommendations for medical use.