Helpful Hints on the Sweet Uses Of Honey

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A growing number of people have a sweet idea on how to treat bumps, cuts and other "ouches." They’re using honey.

A spoonful of honey can dry those tears and maybe even bring a smile, but did you know that a dab of honey applied once the injury has been cleaned will also aid in healing? That’s right, all natural honey is an effective treatment for minor abrasions and burns. A recent review of medical research documents honey’s effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent. Antimicrobials inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and help prevent infection.


The Ancient Healer

The ancient Egyptians used honey to treat cataracts, cuts and burns. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, prepared honey-based cures for skin disorders and ulcers. Even in modern times, honey has been used as a healer. During World War I, German doctors used honey mixed with cod liver oil to surgically dress soldiers’ wounds.


The Latest Scientific Buzz

A recent review of scientific literature by Richard F. Stier, microbiologist and independent researcher, has indicated that honey is an effective antimicrobial agent.

"Honey is antimicrobial for many reasons," says Stier, "including its high sugar content, which limits the amount of water available to microorganisms for growth and its low protein content, which deprives bacteria of nitrogen needed for growth. The presence of hydrogen peroxide in honey and the antioxidants in honey also help to inhibit bacterial growth."

At the same time, honey has other properties that help promote healing and prevent scarring. Honey is hygroscopic, which means it can draw moisture from the air. "When used on minor skin injuries, honey’s hygroscopic nature promotes healing, helps prevent scarring and keeps the injured area from adhering to the bandage," says Stier.

Sweet Relief

Scrapes and abrasions happen often in an active family, but good home treatment can reduce scarring and prevent infection. While honey is a useful treatment for minor scrapes or burns, serious wounds should always receive professional treatment. For the everyday bumps and scrapes, a few simple steps will bring relief:

  • For scrapes, wash the area with soap and water to remove any dirt. For burns, hold the injured area under cold running water until it feels better.
  • Apply honey directly to the scrape or burn to help prevent infection.
  • Use a bandage to cover the area.
  • Reapply honey and bandage for several days.

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