Honey is produced by what is commonly known as the honeybee. Bees consume nectar from flowering plants and, through a process of partial digestion, transform this nectar into honey. The honey is then deposited back at the hive in wax honeycombs. Bees produce honey as their primary food source and for overwintering. Modern beekeeping practices encourage excess production so honey can be collected without endangering the hive.
The historical record suggests that honeys role among humans dates back at least as far as 10,000 years when honey would have been collected from wild bee colonies. Domestication of the first bees probably took place around the time of the Egyptian pyramids. In fact, Egyptian papyrus dating back some 3,600 years lists nearly a thousand natural remedies and in more than half, honey is a key ingredient. The ancient Greeks, Chinese and the 4,000 year old Ayurvedic natural healing medicine of India all speak of the healing power of Honey.
Allergy sufferers have long sought relief by consuming honey from local sources. The idea here is that the local honey contains trace amounts of the offending pollen and by consuming small amounts of local honey overtime the individual will slowly develop a natural resistance to the allergen. Honey has long been used to combat a sore throat or cough and some have had success using honey to help deal with insomnia. Honey has even been shown effective at treating some internal conditions such as Colitis.
But the most significant healing power of honey can be seen when it is used topically to treat infection, prevent infection, and especially to treat burns. Honey possesses some very unique characteristics when used for topical treatment. The pH of honey is typically between 3.2 and 4.5. This acidic pH prevents the growth of many bacteria. Honey also contains the enzyme glucose oxidase which, in the presence of oxygen and bodily fluids, acts as a catalyst for the glucose in honey to produce hydrogen peroxide which is a powerful disinfectant/antiseptic. Honey is hypertonic whereas it readily absorbs water. Therefore it can keep a wound dry and draw off fluid that bacteria need to live. Honey is such a powerful antibacterial that it is capable of treating severe conditions such as MRSA that are known to be resistant to conventional antibiotics.
Honey also possesses enzymes, antioxidants, and other trace elements that help speed the healing process and improve results. Honey has been shown to reduce the healing time of severe burns by as much as half when compared to conventional therapy and with significantly less scaring.
Honey can be applied to any cut or burn– even sunburn will benefit. If the skin is not broken, honey can be applied and gently massaged in or just spread over the affected area. It may or may not be covered with a bandage. With broken skin as a result of severe burns, cuts or surgical incisions, any excessive bleeding would need to be dealt with first then honey can be liberally applied. If a bandage is used, even it can and should be laced with honey. The honey will help kill any existing infection as well as protect from future infection and speed the healing process while reducing scarring.
There are some things to consider when purchasing honey. Raw honey that has not been pasteurized (heated) is always best and will contain the most active and healthy enzymes. Unfiltered honey as compared to filtered honey would contain more trace amounts of pollen and therefore be more beneficial for those wanting to use honey to treat allergies. Also the floral source and the region where the honey is collected is a consideration. Bees that visit a wide variety of flowering plants will produce a more diverse honey and certainly different flavor of honey than honey produced by bees that visit only a small variety of floral plants in their particular area.
It’s time to rediscover one of natures’ most amazing healers. The world turned its back on honey sometime around the 1940’s in favor of antibiotics. Now those antibiotics are coming up short, and where they fail honey is succeeding. Perhaps we should have stayed with honey in the first place.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains