For centuries, honey has been considered an essential ingredient to soothe and heal wounds naturally. This is because honey contains beneficial compounds that aid in the overall healing process.
What makes honey effective for wound healing?
More than simply being a sugary and syrupy substance, honey contains bioactive substances that help heal wounds, which include the following.
Acidic pH level Honey has a pH level range between 3.2 and 4.5, which encourages the blood to release oxygen, thereby promoting faster healing. In addition, the pH level helps balance the activity of proteases to break down proteins and encourage new tissue to form over the wound.
Sugar content Organic honey is considered a natural sweetener that contains fructose, glucose, and sucrose. The different types of sugar help reduce swelling in the wound and prevent bacteria from thriving by drawing the moisture from the wound.
Antibacterial properties Antibacterial properties are also found in certified organic honey, especially Manuka Honey. While most types of honey contain a compound known as hydrogen peroxide produced by the glucose to protect the affected tissue from damage, Manuka honey contains an active compound known as methylglyoxal (MGO), which is stronger and more effective in getting rid of bacteria.
In what instances can you use honey?
Now that you know what honey characteristics make it useful for healing wounds, the next step is to understand where it’s best applied.
Before applying honey to your wounds or burns, be sure to consult with your doctor first. While general application of honey can work for mild cases, using honey to treat severely damaged skin may require assistance from a doctor or wound-care specialist. This is because the type of honey and the amount of honey used can impact the effectiveness of its wound healing properties.
Organic honey is most commonly used as a topical antibacterial solution to treat many infections, including burns, wounds, bedsores, and leg ulcers.
- Burns There are different types of burns, one of which is called a thermal burn. This is caused by an external heat source, whether from an open fire, steam, or extremely hot liquid. Another type is called sunburn, which is brought about by long exposure to harsh ultraviolet rays. Both of which can be treated using honey.
On the other hand, severe types include chemical, radiation, and electrical burns, which may require immediate medical attention.
Wounds Wounds either caused by an injury or a surgery can be treated by honey, provided that it’s superficial. Applying honey on deep wounds and organ-related wounds will not work effectively. In such cases, visit the doctor immediately.
Bedsores Also known as pressure sores or ulcers, bedsores are wounds that develop on certain areas of your skin that experience the most pressure from lying down, sitting, or wearing casts for prolonged periods. Bedsores develop when the blood supply is cut from the skin. As the epidermis dies, an ulcer starts to form. It begins to turn red and painful until, eventually, it becomes purple. If left untreated, the ulcer will break open and become infected. Before it worsens, apply honey to the affected area to promote skin cell regeneration and healing.
Leg ulcers Leg ulcers occur when there's a break in the skin of the leg caused by an injury, allowing bacteria and air to penetrate the underlying tissue. Although they can heal within a week or two, you can apply honey to the affected area to speed up the healing process. When honey is applied properly, you should see the swelling and inflammation subsiding and the discomfort easing.
How do you use honey for wound healing?
To apply honey properly, these are the necessary steps you need to take.
- Use clean hands and applicators.
- Apply the honey to the dressing.
- Place the dressing on the damaged skin.
- Cover the dressing with dry gauze or adhesive bandage.
- Replace dressing once it’s saturated.
- Always wash hands after every dressing.