MASH Main St Animal Services of Hopkinton
72 West Main St
Hopkinton, MA 01748
Here is an informational article from one of Dr. Margo’s friends. And a pod cast as well
MEDICAL HONEY FOR WOUND HEALING
Signe Beebe DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVT
Integrative Veterinary Center
Sacramento, CA USA
All civilizations have relied on natural therapeutic agents to meet their primary health care needs at some point in time. Honey and honey containing salves have been used to relieve pain, promote wound healing and to treat sores, boils, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, burns and skin disorders for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks physicians and the Egyptians were among the first to record the beneficial effects of honey for wound care. The ancient Egyptians were the earliest recorded beekeepers and honey for wound healing was an integral part of the “Three Healing Gestures”. This included cleaning the wound, applying a salve made from honey, lint, (vegetable fiber) and grease (animal fat), and bandaging the wound. Despite the long history of honey for medical conditions, it largely fell out of favor in conventional medical practice during the era of modern antibiotics in the 1970s. Due to the development of antibiotic resistant wound infections, the use of honey for wound care has undergone a renaissance in the last few years. Today honey is being investigated and incorporated into modern therapeutic wound healing products. Honey is particularly useful for the treatment of poorly healing or chronically infected wounds and for those animals that develop undesirable side effects such as intolerance or resistance to conventional pharmaceuticals.
Not all honeys have equal medicinal value. The anti-microbial activity of the honey has been shown to vary in quality according to its floral source. Historical records show that when honey was prescribed for a medical condition the type and location of the honey was nearly always specified. Doctors throughout history knew that honey obtained from specific floral sources produced better clinical results than honey from other plants or regions. Modern laboratory testing of many different types of honeys using bacterial cultures to evaluate their antimicrobial effects have validated this clinical observation. Not all honeys have equal medicinal value. The anti-microbial activity of the honey has been shown to vary in quality according to its floral source. Historical records show that when honey was prescribed for a medical condition the type and location of the honey was nearly always specified. Doctors throughout history knew that honey obtained from specific floral sources produced better clinical results than honey from other plants or regions. Modern laboratory testing of many different types of honeys using bacterial cultures to evaluate their antimicrobial effects have validated this clinical observation. Recent investigation and research on honey shows that it contains antibacterial compounds that are effective against many common antibiotic resistant bacteria. In addition it has been shown to inhibit the growth of a wide range of fungi, protozoa and viruses, and may have use for the treatment of cancer patients.
Honey is composed of 17% water and 82% sugar (primarily glucose and fructose), proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and a variety of floral phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give honey its characteristic color, flavor, and biochemical properties (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial). In essence, honey may be thought of as a concentrated plant fluid with added bee proteins that makes honey an “herbal medicine”. All honey has high osmolarity, low pH, low water content and upon dilution produces hydrogen peroxide that is responsible for its antibacterial properties. However not all honeys exhibit equal hydrogen peroxide activity and so vary in their antimicrobial potency. There are also certain types of honey that contain floral phytochemical factors that are responsible for strong non-peroxide antimicrobial effects. These honeys maintain their antimicrobial properties even when diluted by large amounts of wound exudate. The Leptospermum spp (manuka and jellybush) honeys from New Zealand and Australian are in this group and are currently under intense scrutiny for use as wound healing “medical grade honeys”. In 2007 the FDA approved the use of a line of manuka honey based wound dressings called MediHoney that are distributed by DermaSciences Inc.
For more information on medical honey: www.bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/special.shtml and www.dermasciences.com
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