Manuka honey has been shown to be effective against common bacteria and fungi infections including:
E. coli, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella, Staph aureus, Strep pyogenes, and Candida albicans. Many of those bugs cause common GI illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, and of course, Candida albicans is responsible for those nagging yeast infections. Staph aureus is notorious for complicating wound healing and skin infections, and there’s supporting research from one New Zealand researcher that suggests wound gels which contain antibacterial, raw honey have been helpful against MRSA ( or methicillin-Resistant Staph aureus.)
What are the healing properties of honey useful in wound healing?
It has a high osmolality, which means when applied to wounds, it draws fluid and lymph from the underlying tissue to the wound area. The fluid helps provide nourishment to the healing wound.
It has a very low pH, in the acidic range, which decreases bacteria growth, since bugs aren’t fond of acidic environments. The acidic environment has also been shown to promote fibroblasts activity. Fibroblasts are cells heavily involved in connective tissue production, antiaging and wound healing process.
Honey also contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid, two substances that are responsible for honey’s biggest antibacterial activity. Some research suggests that hydrogen peroxide also promotes angiogenesis, or new blood vessel formation, which allows for more oxygen delivery to wounds and helps with healing.
Keep in mind that only unpasteurized honey will provide glucose oxidase, as pasteurized honey, which is heated, will cause proteins (enzymes) to denature (change shape) and lose their effectiveness.
You can also apply honey not only on your cuts or wounds, but your pet’s too, and there’s even some research indicating that honey can speed up the healing process of burns and diabetic ulcers.
Other potentially medicinal properties of honey are:
It functions as a soothing cough agent
It may exhibit antioxidant effects that reduce symptoms of colitis
It decreases foul odors from poor wound healing
It may alleviate seasonal allergies, although more research is needed in these areas. On that note, when isn’t more research needed? 😉
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