Properties of Honey
New use for "Honey" sounds interesting...................
Honey Best Ointment for Wounds, Biochemist Says
Sept. 18, 1999
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER -- Honey, an ancient Greek balm for sores and abscesses,
has fallen into disuse.
- After all, who wants to drizzle the sweet, sticky, golden goo on a
burn or wound? New Zealand biochemist Peter Molan, for one. After nearly
20 years of research, Molan has come to the conclusion that
honey cleans and heals wounds better than the dressings and ointments used
- ''I've just been asked to send some honey over to a hospital in
Britain where they've got a teenager who has a wound so painful that they have to give him
general anesthetic every time they change the dressing,'' he told a ballroom full of rapt
beekeepers at Apimondia 99 on Thursday. Molan works with doctors and nurses at
Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand.
- They are setting up a pilot study to assess honey's efficacy as a
treatment for bedsores, diabetic foot ulcers and other hard-to-heal lesions. When he
burns himself in his kitchen at home, as happened recently, he
automatically reaches for the honey as first aid. About 50 studies, published in the
British Journal of Surgery and other journals, attest to honey's ability to maintain a
moist healing environment, banish infection, promote new skin growth and prevent scarring.
- Clinicians who are skeptical haven't read the literature, Molan said.
''Most would be surprised to know there have been randomized, controlled trials
which have proved that it's more effective than the two most widely
used treatments for burns,'' he said. Those treatments are silver sulphadiazine
ointment and polyurethane film dressings. Molan said he doesn't have the complete
answer to how honey works, but said bees add enzymes to nectar to turn it into honey.
''One of those enzymes produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid,'' he said.
- Honey releases its hydrogen peroxide slowly, so it is less damaging
to skin tissue than the drugstore type, he said. Molan said that in the last 10
years, medical personnel in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain have rediscovered
honey as a wound dressing. He has helped design honey-impregnated dressing pads and
honey packaged in tubes, so they aren't getting it from grocery-store jars. ''It
definitely helps, in getting honey recognized as a medicine, to have it looking like a
medicine,'' he said. Molan said he has found that New Zealand manuka honey has a
more potent antimicrobial action than other honeys.