Wound Honey

May 7, 2010 at 8:21 am 2 comments

I get a lot of “lifestyle” catalogs that feature things like yoga mats and scented candles and cloth diapers. One called “Chinaberry” features a lot of healing alternatives, like Neti pots for nasal congestion and homeopathic remedies for indigestion. Something in the latest issue of the catalog caught Candy Professor’s attention: Wound Honey.

Wound Honey is a special kind of honey from New Zealand called Active Manuka Honey. It turns out it is being packaged and sold by a lot of folks. The testimonials for the effectiveness of Manuka Honey sound an awful lot like the miraculous healings of a summer revival:

  • a woman whose foot was so far gone with untreatable infection, she faced amputation. After four days treatment with the honey, she was 80 percent improved, and in three weeks her wound was healed.
  • a 75 year old man suffered 14 months with diarrhea and was near death. After two days dosing with Manuka, his normal bowel function was restored.
  • for 8 years, a middle aged man struggled with a gaping arm wound that would not respond to 9 attempts at skin grafts. After four weeks of honey treatment, the wound closed and healed (this one came with pictures).

Now honey isn’t candy exactly, to be sure. But before someone figured out how to get sugar from plants, honey was basically all we had for hominid sweet tooth satisfaction. From time to time I have come across stories of the amazing curative properties of candy or sugar. I mostly take these with a grain of sugar. But this one about honey, well, I think there might be something to it.

It turns out that honey has a number of qualities that might be beneficial in healing wounds: it binds up the water, which inhibits the growth of micro-organisms that can cause infection. And some honeys, particularly this New Zealand honey, have been found to have high levels of antibacterial phytochemicals. Manuka honey dressings have been used especially to treat difficult and slow to heal wounds like leg ulcers and diabetic wounds.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. On the other hand, why are we so quick to believe that Big Pharma can solve these medical problems? Bees and honey are living things, with complex chemistries that we barely comprehend. Should it be so surprising that something from nature could heal?

Honey,” New Zealand Dermatological Society (facts without hype); Manuka Honey USA (sales, testimonials, a lot of hype)

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Smoking Smarties Candy Cookery

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  May 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

    There’s quite a bit of mainstream medical documentation about the antibacterial properties of honey, particularly in treatment of of nonhealing wounds, in both people and animals. My vet’s used a 50% dextrose solution–the medical variety, not the sweetener–to treat abscessed wounds in my pet rabbits. The wound is cleaned and drained and packed with dextrose-soaked gauze that’s changed daily. We’ve also used honey, which is a little messier but works!

    • 2. Candy Professor  |  May 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks for adding this info. Dextrose, how about that, I’ll have to find out more. There were reports of using sugar to treat wounds in WW I, but that is sucrose (glucose/fructose).


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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

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Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

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