Honey has been used as an effective remedy for ulcers, burns and wounds over the years. There has been an interest in the medicinal properties of honey since then. So let’s find out how does honey work to treat infections?
How does Honey Work?
The following are the antimicrobial properties of honey:
Honey produces hydrogen peroxide, through a chemical reaction when conditions are just right. This hydrogen peroxide is produced, when honey is diluted by wound exudates via a glucose oxidase enzyme reaction. This is released slowly to provide antibacterial activity but does not damage tissue.
Honey is considered to be a super-saturated sugar solution, known as very high in osmolality. When it comes into contact with microbes it sucks the water from their cells and destroys them. This lack of free water, inhibits the growth of microorganisms.
Even when hydrogen peroxide activity has been removed, some honeys still have antimicrobial activity. The honey from Manuka trees, have high levels of this antibacterial phytochemical.
Honey is Used to Treat:
Honey is commonly used as a topical antibacterial agent to treat infections that includes the following:
- Pressure ulcers, Leg ulcers and Diabetic foot ulcers
- Infected wound resulting from injury or surgery
Honey is used when conventional antibacterial treatment with antiseptics and antibiotics are not effective. Studies have shown that, difficult-to-heal wounds respond well to honey dressings. THe swelling, inflammation and pain subside while promoting rapid healing with minimal scarring.
Take note that you cannot use a regular store bought honwy on every infection or wound. Manuka honey can be used as it contains numerous therapeutic qualities. Also it was approved as a wound treatment option by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration in 2007.
How to use honey on wounds
All wounds should be seen by a doctor or medical practitioner. The following are tips on how honey may be used to care for wounds:
- Deep wounds or abscesses need more amount of honey to penetrate deep into the wound tissues. Honey should be filled in the wound bed, before applying the honey dressing pad.
- The number of times a dressing should be changed depends on how rapidly the honey is being diluted by the exudate. If the wound is healing, this should become less frequent.
- The amount of honey to be use, will depend on the amount of fluid exuding from the wound. A large amounts of exudate require much more substantial amounts of honey to be applied.
- Spread the honey on a dressing and apply this to the wound, rather than apply the honey directly onto the wound.