The Healing Power of Honey

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Score one for “old wives’ tales” and folk remedies.  The New York Times Health column is reporting that studies have found honey to be effective and safe for the healing of small burns.  Topical use of honey even outperformed antibiotic creams for speeding healing.

In fact, the medical profession is impressed enough that at least one pharmaceutical manufacturer is now offering a honey-based medication.   This article from the Associated Press appeared in the Worcester Telegram last month.  It reports that Derma Sciences, Inc.  has developed an antibiotic wound dressing made from manuka honey.  Called Medihoney, scientists hope that this dressing will work even on antibiotic-resistant topical infections.

A December report also found honey to be effective in soothing children’s coughs.  But parents should remember that honey should not be given to children under one year of age.

Honey is considered a food-grade herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  In small doses, it is believed to strengthen the digestive system and soothe and moisten the Lungs.  While not traditionally used for wound healing in TCM, it is interesting to note that TCM theory states that the Lungs are responsible for the health of the skin.

I always find it noteworthy when Western scientific research “discovers” something that traditional healers have used successfully for centuries.  I believe that it is important to be an educated consumer, but I don’t think we can automatically discount everything that hasn’t been proven by Western research.

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