Honey is one common ingredient that many people are familiar with. Being a delicious and natural sweetener, many people use it as a good natural choice for a sweetener instead of processed sugar.
Honey contains a huge range of nutritional and medicinal value, and it has been used since the early days of the Egyptian tombs. Today, it is considered ‘liquid gold’.
In recent times, it has become quite popular due to its energy boosting and weight loss benefits. Adding a little honey to lemon water has helped people lose significant weight.
Not just weight loss, honey is a popular ingredient in folk remedies for combating common ailments, including headaches, acne, pimples, heartburn, nausea, constipation, dry skin, sleeplessness, anxiety, indigestion, coughs and sore throats, to name a few.
Also, this common kitchen staple can be used to treat leg ulcers, bed sores, burns, cuts and wounds. Honey promotes rapid healing by stimulating tissue regeneration, angiogenesis and fibroblast growth.
When applied to a wound, the enzymes introduced into the honey by bees slowly release antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which is effective against bacteria. However, it does not cause tissue damage and inhibit fibroblast growth. Also, the osmotic effect of honey keeps the wound moist and clean, which is important for formation of healthy granulation tissue to prevent scars.
Plus, the anti-inflammatory action of honey soothes and promotes healing by reducing pain and swelling.
Numerous scientific studies have been conducted to observe the wound-healing properties that honey possesses.
A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds conducted 22 trials involving 2,062 patients who received honey as a wound dressing. Researchers found that honey was beneficial as a wound dressing in the following ways:
- Its antibacterial quality clears an existing infection as well as protects wounds from additional infection.
- Its anti-inflammatory activity reduces edema and minimizes scarring.
- It stimulates growth of granulation and regeneration epithelial tissues to speed up healing.
- It removes offensive odors.
A 2009 study by University of Auckland researchers found honey to be effective in reducing the healing time of burn wounds. Using data from 19 clinical trials dealing with 2,554 patients with untreated wounds, researchers found that honey helped the wounds heal quicker as compared to normal gauze and film dressings commonly used to treat burns.
A 2011 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine highlights the medicinal property and antibacterial activity of local honey.
After thorough analysis, the potential of Manuka as well as Tualang honey against microorganisms led researchers to suggest its possible use as an alternative therapeutic agent in certain medical conditions, particularly wound infections.
Another study published in 2012 in AYU – An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda evaluated the wound-healing property of non-processed honey on traumatic cutaneous wounds.
In this study, 10 patients with cutaneous wounds were randomly selected for the clinical trial. The site of the wound, shape, size, floor and margin were recorded on day 0 and observed on day 7, 15, 20 and through the end of the healing process.
Ultimately, it was found that honey provides significant improvement in the healing process as it possesses antibacterial, wound-cleansing and wound-healing properties.
Another 2015 study published in Wounds – A compendium of Clinical Research and Practice concludes that honey, and Manuka honey specifically, is an important tool for wound care.