From Mother Earth News
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.
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.
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.
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“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 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.
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.
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 percent during the allergy season.”
As for trouble sleeping, or keeping asleep, studies show a large teaspoon of honey, taken 1 hour before bedtime works better then most prescribed sleeping pills!
But honey must never be given to children under 2 years old.
Celebrate national honey month, and enjoy!!!!