Can honey be used to treat wounds

Honey as a miracle cure for wound healing?

Not all honey is suitable for wound healing. (Photo: imago)Honey tastes good and heals - not only in tea. Rather, honey can accelerate the healing of wounds and kill bacteria. Now researchers have found that New Zealand Manuka honey can even render the dreaded multi-resistant wound germs (MRSA) harmless. We asked an expert how honey heals and whether it is safe to brush any variety from the supermarket on damaged skin.

Honey kills stubborn bacteria

Can honey help where antibiotics are increasingly failing? Some studies have shown promising results. Researchers at the University of Wales in Cardiff treated multi-resistant bacteria, so-called MRSA germs, with mauka honey for four hours in the laboratory. The researchers discovered that ingredients in honey apparently prevent the bacteria from producing important proteins, thereby weakening them. Doctors hope to have a similar effect in the treatment of stubborn sinus infections. Doctors from Ottawa have shown in a laboratory test that certain types of honey kill more germs than antibiotics.

Sinus infection honey better than antibiotics

Medical honey has proven itself in wound healing

Doctors at the University Children's Clinic in Bonn have many years of positive experience with honey in wound healing. Of course, they do not spread honey from the supermarket on fresh surgical wounds, but rather special medicinal honey. Complications often arise when a large number of bacteria colonize wounds on which antibiotics are ineffective. "Medical honey is not a miracle cure, but it is a very good alternative," says senior physician Dr. Arne Simon in conversation with t-online.de.

It is better not to use household honey on wounds

There are many studies that show that different types of honey have an antibacterial effect. Many beekeepers swear by their self-produced honey as a medicine cabinet. Simon points out: "From a medical point of view, it is not advisable to use household honey. The natural product can also contain bacterial spores (including Clostridium botulinum) and fungi, which aggravate the wound." For example, honey is often touted as a home remedy for herpes. Many doctors believe that one should stay away from that. If the sticky mass is applied to the cold sore, it can cause fungal infections.

How medical and regular honey differ

Doctors are only allowed to use honey with a CE certificate for medical products to heal wounds. The so-called Medihoney is sterile due to the treatment with gamma rays and its germicidal effect must be proven in laboratory tests. While antibiotics attack the cell metabolism of bacteria, honey dries them out by dehydrating them. In addition, honey's enzymes produce small amounts of disinfecting hydrogen peroxide. Honey from the Manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) contains a particularly high proportion of antibacterial plant substances.

Medicinal honey can be bought

Manuka honey from New Zealand can be obtained by mail order as a grocery product, but not every variety is approved for wound treatment. If you rely on the healing powers of honey but don't want to take any risks, you can get medical honey in the pharmacy. However, it is much more expensive than household honey. "You can also have it prescribed by your family doctor - provided the doctor is open to this method," advises Simon. There are also ready-made dressings soaked in medical honey that accelerate wound healing.


More about health:
Plaster or air? How best to heal small wounds
Stiftung Warentest Label fraud in honey (January 2009)
When antibiotics fail, hospital germs become more dangerous
Kitchen hygiene Bacteria don't stand a chance

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.