View Full Version : Healing With Honey

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 12:13 PM
By Nancy Eischen

Spring brings a picture-perfect day. You're enjoying yourself on a well-deserved vacation. Then you fall, a victim of loose gravel. Your leg is a mess. At the local hospital, you're given a cream to apply two times a day to keep infection at bay.

Returning home after a week of pain and aches, your leg isn't healing as it should. A call to the local herbalist or homeopath and it's suggested that you apply honey to the wound. That's too simple. "How can honey do anything to help this?" you ask. The reply, "Honey not only can heal, it will improve your overall health."

Sweeteners come in many forms, but none as sweet as honey. Honey remains the one confection offering life-giving qualities not found in any other sweetener. Sugar has more calories. Artificial sweeteners can ultimately do more harm than good. But honey is a natural choice, even for diabetics (in moderation). The bear in the woods knew what he was doing when he fought the bees to get to his favorite sweet stuff.

Native Americans learned from the animals around them. As they watched a bear walk through swarms of bees, pulled like a magnet to the hive despite being stung many times over, they had to observe the pain the animal endured to get the sticky stuff.
When they finally got their own hands on honey, they discovered that it not only tasted great, but it healed their bee stings and other cuts, too. The women used it on their faces. Taken for colds, it soothed sore throats. Given to children in the evening, honey was found to keep many an animal skin dry by morning.

Modern creams and antibiotics may help heal, but they often have the disadvantage of killing tissue and causing scabs and scars. But not all of us think to put honey under that Band-Aid or bandage.
Results of a three year clinical trial at the University Teaching Hospital in Calabar, Nigeria, showed that unprocessed honey can heal wounds when more modern dressings and antibiotic treatments fail. In 59 patients treated for wounds and external ulcers, honey was effective in all but one case. Topical applications kept sterile wounds sterile until they had time to heal, while infected wounds became sterile within a week. Honey was also shown to remove dead tissue from persistent wounds, helping some patients avoid skin grafts or amputations.

"Honey provides a moist healing environment yet prevents bacterial growth even when wounds are heavily infected," notes Dr. Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. "It is a very effective means of quickly rendering heavily infected wounds sterile, without the side effects of antibiotics, and it is even effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria."

What gives honey its healing capacity? A combination, it seems, of several factors: Honey's acidity, or pH, is low enough to hinder or prevent the growth of many species of bacteria, although this acidity may be neutralized as honey is diluted, with, for example, body fluids from a cut or wound.

Then there's honey's osmolarity, or tendency to absorb water from a wound, which deprives bacteria of the moisture they need to thrive. Hydrogen peroxide plays another big part. When honey is diluted (again, say, with fluids from a wound) an enzyme is activated to produce hydrogen peroxide, which, as we know, is a potent antibacterial (who doesn't have a brown bottle of this stuff in their medicine cabinet?).

Honey has also been shown to reduce the inflammation and soothe the pain of deep wounds and burns. And honey dressings won't stick to wounds, since what ends up in contact with the affected area is a solution of honey and fluid that can be easily lifted off or rinsed away. That means no pain when changing dressings, notes Molan, and no tearing away of newly formed tissue.

"Honey is an ideal first-aid dressing material," he adds, "especially for patients in remote locations, where there could be time for infection to set in before medical treatment is obtained. It is readily available and simple to use."

But honey's healing powers reach beyond wounds and burns. There's also evidence (some scientific, much anecdotal) to suggest that the antibacterial powers of certain honeys, in particular New Zealand's manuka honey, may be effective against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, the main culprit in many stomach ulcers. Doctors have yet to prove this, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to give it a try in the meantime. Beginning and ending your day with a tablespoon of honey on a piece of toast may just calm the fire in your belly.

Some not-so-scientific research has also found that honey can speed alcohol metabolism to sober a person up. The high fructose content may help to relieve that morning-after hangover and the tired feeling that goes along with it.

"Honey does not have to be digested before it is absorbed," notes Dr. Susan Percival of the University of Florida's Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. "It is already the two simple sugars, fructose and glucose."

Which means, explains Percival, that the sugars from honey go directly to the bloodstream and can provide a quick boost when needed. Regular table sugar, on the other hand, is a disaccharide, which must be cleaved in two before digestion.

Along with fructose, honey enzymes enhance the digestive process to relieve indigestion. Daily use of honey creates heat and energy, wards off fatigue, and aids recuperative power.

Eating locally produced honey may also help to minimize the symptoms of hay fever and related pollen allergies, which leave so many of us sniffling and sneezing at this time of the year.
John Heinerman, a noted medical anthropologist and author of Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices (Prentice Hall, 1996), notes that the best course of treatment is to take one tablespoonful of local honey after each meal, beginning a month before pollen season starts. He also recommends chewing some of the comb between meals.

Being a hay fever sufferer himself, Heinerman says, "Although [honey and honey comb] have never actually cured my hay fever as such, I can testify that they have reduced the misery and aggravation of watery eyes and runny nose by at least 80% during the allergy season."

Plagued by worrisome wrinkles? Honey softens and moisturizes for a healthy complexion. Beekeepers' hands are often noted as being soft and smooth during honey season. To take advantage of honey's skin-softening potential, splash warm water on your face to open the pores. Then apply a thin honey mask, wash it off, and finish with a bit of cold water to the face. Dry skin cells plump up and wrinkles tend to smooth away. Dairy cream, whipped egg white, fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or any fruit juice may be mixed into your honey mask.

Add to all of the above the fact that honey is just plain good for you. It's chock-full of nutrients, albeit at low levels. Honey is an excellent source of potassium. It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and ascorbic acid, not to mention calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and sodium, too.

"Table sugar has no nutrients or antioxidants at all," notes Percival. "So using honey as a sweetening agent has its advantages."

Darker honeys contain higher amounts of minerals than lighter honeys. Enzymes also do their part to make honey far more nutritionally complex than other sweeteners. With so much going for honey, isn't a teaspoonful on your breakfast toast or Band-Aid a simple solution to healing wounds inside and out?

The Horned God
Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Honey in moderation would be compatable with the paleolithic diet, I think I'll give it a try. :)

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 12:40 PM
Honey in moderation would be compatable with the paleolithic diet, I think I'll give it a try. :)

You're still doing this? I remember you once made a post (or even a thread?) about it.. Do you think you can rehash it with some news?

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 12:51 PM
Honey in moderation would be compatable with the paleolithic diet, I think I'll give it a try. :)You should make sure the honey you're using is un-pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys the enzymes which makes honey better over sugar.

The Horned God
Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 01:13 PM
You're still doing this? I remember you once made a post (or even a thread?) about it.. Do you think you can rehash it with some news?

Sure I can, there is absolutely tons of stuff on the web about it. If anyone's interested, I can be the Caveman food expert from now on. :D

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 01:31 PM
This would be very nice. At least, I am intrested. :)

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 02:06 PM
Out of curiosity: has either of you ever used honey on a wound?

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 02:07 PM
Not yet, but I know that my grandmother used it.

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 07:01 PM
Do germs not just get nutrients from the honey, to help them fester in the wound?

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 08:42 PM
I bought myself a bottle of "Propolis":

Propolis has been justly called Nature's premier preventive. The immune system is supported and strengthened by the ingestion of propolis. Modern scientific studies indicate that those who take propolis regularly escape winter colds and sore throats and seem to develop a natural immunity to common viruses, including the various strains of flu.
Chemical antibiotics destroy all bacteria in the body, both the friendly, (necessary flora required for healthy functioning in the entire gastrointestinal tract) and the bad intestinal flora. An individual who constantly takes prescribed antibiotics for one condition after another soon learns to his sorrow that the drugs may no longer work as well as they once did. As invading bacteria get "smarter," the drugs become less and less effective.
Propolis, the natural antibiotic, works against harmful bacteria without destroying the friendly bacteria the body needs. Propolis has also been proven effective against strains of bacteria that resist chemical antibiotics.
The field of influence of propolis is extremely broad. It includes cancer, infection of the urinary tract, swelling of the throat, gout, open wounds, sinus congestion, colds, influenza, bronchitis, gastritis, diseases of the ears, periodontal disease, intestinal infections, ulcers, eczema eruptions, pneumonia, arthritis, lung disease, stomach virus, headaches, Parkinson's disease, bile infections, sclerosis, circulation deficiencies, warts, conjunctivitis, and hoarseness.
Propolis helps regulate hormones and is an antibiotic substance that stimulates the natural resistance of the body. Propolis may be used by everyone, sick or healthy, as a means of protection against microorganisms. Propolis is also efficient against conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, or different fungi. Propolis cures many diseases because it is a special natural substance with strong effect.

(and it contains 96% alcohol :beer1: )

The Horned God
Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 09:48 PM
Do germs not just get nutrients from the honey, to help them fester in the wound?

When the honey is placed in contact with the bacteria the water leaks out of the bacteria due to osmotic pressure, and the microbe dies. Also as mentioned above, the honey produces hydrogen peroxide which is bactericidal when in contact with the water from the cell.


Explanation of osmosis.
Consider a semi-permeable membrane that allows water to pass through it, but not larger solutes such as salt. First, suppose such a membrane separates two volumes of pure water. At a macro scale, there will be no flow from one side of the membrane to the other, but at a micro scale, every time a water molecule hits the membrane, it has a certain probability of passing through; individual molecules are passing through the membrane all the time, but the circumstances on both sides are the same so the net flow is zero. Now imagine the the same membrane separates a volume of pure water from a volume of a solution. Again, every time a water molecule hits the membrane, it has a certain chance of passing through, but because there are fewer water molecules per volume in the solution, the water molecules on that side will collide with the wall less frequently. As a result, there will be a net flow of fresh water to the side with the solution. Assuming the membrane does not break, this net flow will slow and finally stop as the pressure on the solution side becomes such that the diffusion in each direction is equal.

Example of osmosis
A practical example of this osmosis in cells can be seen in red blood cells. These contain a high concentration of solutes including salts and protein. When the cells are placed in solution, water rushes in to the area of high solute concentration, bursting the cell.

Many plant cells do not burst in the same experiment. This is because the osmotic entry of water is opposed and eventually equalled by the pressure exerted by the cell wall, creating a steady state. In fact, osmotic pressure is the main cause of support in plant leaves.

When a plant cell is placed in a solution higher in solutes than inside the cell osmosis out of the cell occurs. The water in the cell moves to an area higher in solute concentration, and the cell shrinks and so becomes flaccid. This means the cell has become plasmolysed - the cell membrane has completely left the cell wall due to lack of water pressure on it.

In unusual environments, osmosis can be very harmful to organisms. For example, freshwater and saltwater aquarium fish placed in water with an different salt level (than they are adapted to) will die quickly, and in the case of saltwater fish rather dramatically. In addition, the use of table salt to kill leeches and slugs depends on osmosis.

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 10:11 PM
I know what osmosis is... thank you. :)

The Horned God
Tuesday, July 5th, 2005, 10:41 PM
I know what osmosis is... thank you. :)

Oops, of course you do. :redface:
No slight intended.

The Horned God
Thursday, July 7th, 2005, 01:20 PM
You should make sure the honey you're using is un-pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys the enzymes which makes honey better over sugar.

This is the way our ancient ancestors would have obtained honey; straight from the hive and eaten it comb and all. This has to be best and most natural way to eat it imo (flick the bees off first of course :D).

Thursday, July 7th, 2005, 03:45 PM
At the place where I bought the propolis, they offered the combs with honey as well. First it´s very sweet and after a few seconds it tastes like old chewing gum.

The Horned God
Thursday, July 7th, 2005, 04:29 PM
At the place where I bought the propolis, they offered the combs with honey as well. First it´s very sweet and after a few seconds it tastes like old chewing gum.

Chewing gum? Well, It's been a long, long time since I tasted honey on the comb, but I remember I once ate a whole block of I as child so I must have liked it. In those days (20 years ago) it was cheaper to buy it locally on the comb than from the shop in a jar, how times have changed..

Friday, July 8th, 2005, 09:40 PM
I´m not a comb-expert but it seems there are differnt types of combs. Maybe the one or the other taste better...

I also bought some bottles of met wine.:bier:

Friday, July 8th, 2005, 09:46 PM
Mhmm, mead! :beer1: (I know it's not the appropriate smiley, but there is no other drinking one). I prefer honey in this form. :D

Friday, July 8th, 2005, 09:54 PM
But very expensive; €9 per 0,75 l bottle!

Friday, July 8th, 2005, 09:57 PM
I pay almost everything for good mead. ;)

Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Interesting that as medical technology races to find the next "cure" that may kill you anyway, a growing amount of research is taking the more natural road less traveled and finding impressive results, not unlike a bandage made from shrimp shells (http://www.mercola.com/blog/2006/sep/29/an_awesome_natural_blood-clotting_bandage_made_with_shrimp_shells ) that promotes clotting.

Along those same lines, researchers in the UK are testing the effect of a particular kind of honey made only in New Zealand on 60 patients suffering from mouth and throat cancer to promote healing and limit their risk of contracting bacterial infections (http://www.mercola.com/2006/mar/7/doctors_get_rid_of_your_ties.htm) resistant to antibiotics.

This avenue certainly makes great sense, particularly in light of Australian research that, among other results, found honey hastened the healing of 15 mothers after Caesarean sections, eradicating any need to restitch their wounds.

The specific kind of honey British researchers are using, produced by bees who feed on Manuka bushes, believed to have special anti-infection and anti-inflammatory properties. Time will tell if honey produced in a far away land or in your back yard will have any real value, however.
If you're considering using honey to treat a condition, it should be raw honey (http://www.mercola.com/2004/dec/22/honey_cancer.htm), but be very, very careful about it and use it only in moderation.

Yemen Observer December 5, 2006 (http://www.yobserver.com/article-11338.php)

BBC News July 7, 2006 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/5157916.stm)

Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 05:33 PM
I knew that raw honey is wonderful for sore throats and such. There is always something new and wonderful to learn about nature.

Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 05:33 PM
My father buys honeycombs. Every day he takes a bite out of one and it he says it really helps with his allergies.

Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 07:09 PM

I knew this that Honey has all kind of good properties, but what I find fasinating is the usage it has/had in the Indo-European cultures, especially the Northern one.

Here is some more info on Honey that has to do with Ido-Euro and Northern Euro culture:


"It was an ancient Germanic belief that the moon was supposed to be a huge cup, filled with honey and mead; and the stars were swarms of bees, whose honey fell to the earth upon the oak and sweet ash. The honeydew which settled over the mighty sacred ash, Ygdrasil (representing the tree of the Universe), nourished the bees. The well of Ymir, the source of all wisdom, was under this tree and Odin pawned one of his eyes to obtain a drink from it.

The sweet ash which was believed to feed the bees with honey-dew had noteworthy significance in all mythologies. The word ash (in Latin melia, mel = honey) is derived from the Norse aska, meaning, man. Odin fashioned the first man from this tree." http://www.honey-health.com/honey-53.shtml

"The Norns of Hela sprinkle the great ash-tree each morning with precious mead from Urd's fount of life, so that its leaves may ever be green. Thence comes the honey-dew, which drips upon the world and is stored by the bees. And in Urd's fountain are the two mystic" http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/tml/tml07.htm




Thursday, December 14th, 2006, 07:24 PM
Honey is very good for dogs.

They love the taste and it's good for their insides too.

One of the cats ate some once but the others aren't that keen.

There is always something new and wonderful to learn about nature.

:D Couldn't agree more!

Why torture animals to find artificial means to keep people healthy when the answers are all outside??? :mad: