Honey: Nutritional and Medicinal Value

F. R. Khan; Z. Ul. Abadin; N. Rauf

Disclosures

Int J Clin Pract. 2007;61(10):1705-1707. 

In This Article

But What Sort of Honey?

A dermatologist suggests Manuka honey, saying: honey, of a commercial grade, can contain a certain number of bacteria that an individual could introduce into a wound including 'botulism'. The honey that has been shown to be beneficial against some resistant bacteria is predominantly produced from the Manuka plant, which is native to New Zealand, and that is the Manuka honey. Manuka honey can be purchased in the UK and seems to be readily available.

No adverse effects have been noted in any of the studies in which honey has been applied topically to experimental wounds on animals. The many reports published in more recent times on its clinical usage on open wounds mention no more than a transient stinging sensation in some patients,[15] other than in two cases where the pain persisted for 15 min[16] and in two cases where the pain was such that the application of honey could not be tolerated.[15,16] Human allergy to honey is rare, but there could be an allergic reaction to either the pollen or the bee proteins in honey.[17] Reference has been made to dehydration of tissues if too much honey is applied to a wound, but it has been stated that the hydration of the tissues is easily restored by saline packs. Honey sometimes contains spores of clostridia, which poses a small risk of wound botulism. However, in none of the many reports published on the clinical usage of honey on open wounds, the honey that was used was sterilised, yet there are no reports of any type of infection resulting from the application of honey to wounds.

Looking at this information suggests an obvious conclusion. We should be using honey on surgical wounds. Patients about to undergo surgery should ask their surgeons if they can apply honey to their wounds postoperation. They should as well be given the options of others ways of wound healing, like maggots, plants, etc. with prons and cons.

Protocols in the human studies for honey have varied from twice a day to every hour. Raw honey was used in all the studies. Honey seems especially indicated when wounds become infected or fail to close or heal. It is probably even more indicated on the wounds left by laparoscopic surgery to remove cancer.


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