The treatment of acute or chronic wounds can have a multitude of solutions. This can have your head spinning when it comes to choosing the right dressing for your wound. It is widely accepted that a moist wound bed heals better (and faster). Many dressings incorporate silver compounds as well as calcium alginate in order to facilitate quicker wound healing. One option that has been around for a while is the use of honey to facilitate wound healing. This may sound like one of those old home remedies, but there is plenty of proof to consider giving it a try.
While you may think of honey as something you can add to your cup of tea or a spread for toast or crackers, honey has a history as a medicinal product. Going back as early as the ancient Egyptians, honey has been recognized for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. When considering the use of honey as a medicinal product, care should be given not to give infants honey due to the risk of botulism according to foodsafety.gov. Most medicinal honey comes from New Zealand from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush. This honey has proven to be an effective antibacterial agent which can minimize the growth of E. coli and salmonella. It also has proven effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa according to webmd.com. Both of these bacteria can be found commonly in hospitals and your doctor’s office. The use of honey for wound care actually has a long history and currently Manuka honey has been used to treat wounds such as leg ulcers and other pressure sores. In 2007 the FDA approved these treatments for wounds and skin ulcers. What appears to aid in the healing process is the pH level of honey which tends to be acidic. Honey has proven effective throughout the years for treating wounds and burns due to its disinfecting properties also. It’s not just tasty, it can help you heal faster!!
Since medicinal honey is good for wound care, what is the best form of dressing available? It’s not necessary to go to the grocery store to grab a bottle of honey and slather it on your wound. The availability of wound options that incorporate Manuka honey can help to expedite healing. The benefits of honey can be found in paste form also. Wound filler paste can be advantageous to wound healing because of its low pH and high osmolarity. These are great for those wounds that are in an odd spot or placement on your body. Wounds such as a foot or leg ulcer, 1st/2nd° burns, and surgical wounds can benefit from these products. The use of wound and burn paste dressings can help with all phases of healing and is effective even in the presence of wound fluid. Wounds that produce moderate to heavy exudate can benefit from dressings such as calcium alginate dressings with active leptospurmum honey. As the dressing receives wound fluid, honey is released and the dressing absorbs the fluid and forms a gel. Another option available to wound patients is hydrogel dressings that incorporate the healing ability of honey. These are used for wounds that have light to moderate exudate and can be transparent for observation of wound healing.
Going back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, the benefits of honey have been well recorded. Honey is not just the sweetener or something to be ingested as part of a healthy diet, but a substance that has both anti-inflammatory and bacteria fighting properties. Its benefits have the medical profession as well as holistic healers turning to this natural substance to help with acute or chronic wound care.