Honey is a substance that has been used for thousands of years for healing wounds. Honey is an option for wound care when you would like to have an all natural option for healing. Other antibiotics are effective for healing, but honey can be a good alternative for naturally healing the body and cuts, scrapes and certain chronic wounds.
Honey has a pH balance that promotes oxygenation of wounds and has antibacterial properties. Honey can be found at medical-grade level and can be used in the treatment of some specific chronic wounds that are longstanding. The acidic pH of honey between 3.2 and 4.5 promotes healing by encouraging the blood to release oxygen which in turn promotes healing. Maintaining an acidic pH also reduces substances known as proteases that can inhibit wound healing.
As a sugary substance, honey has an osmotic effect and can draw water from damaged tissues in a process called osmosis. This process reduces swelling and can encourage lymph to flow to the wound for improved healing. The process of osmosis also pulls water from bacterial cells and can assist in preventing bacteria from multiplying. Honey itself has also been shown to have an antibiotic effect on MRSA and VRE resistant bacteria.
When using honey for wound healing, many health professionals utilize a specific type of honey called Manuka honey. This specific honey comes from Manuka trees and contain a specialized compound methylgloxal which is cytotoxic and kills bacteria. Professionals have utilized Manuka honey in the treatment of boils, burns, ulcers, diabetic ulcers and other chronic wounds.
Various clinical trials have been conducted and published regarding the effects of Manuka honey and wound healing. Researchers have found that honey seems to help heal post-operative wounds and burns and in some instances, it is more effective than conventional treatments.
It is always a good idea to consult with a doctor or wound-care nurse to determine the best approach for any specific non-healing wound or sore. Some basic steps to follow for application include:
- Start with clean hands and sterile dressings. Apply the honey to the dressing, then apply the dressing to the skin. Honey medicinal patches can also be purchased to place over a wound. Deep wounds like accesses should be filled with honey and then covered.
- Cover the wound with a clean, dry sterile dressing. An adhesive bandage can also be used. Using an occlusive bandage is best because it will keep honey from seeping out the sides.
- Change the dressing and replace it with new honey and fresh sterile dressing when drainage saturates the dressing.
- Always wash hands after applying dressing to wounds.