Eastport, NY (PressExposure) April 11, 2008 -- An old household remedy is finding its way back into modern medicine. Scientists are now discovering that a particular type of honey is more effective in treating wounds than most antibiotics. Even chronic wounds infected with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria can be healed quickly with this honey. It's called 'Manuka Honey' and it comes from beehives located in New Zealand.
The use of honey for medical purposes was known to the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago. Even in the last two world wars, bandages with honey were used to treat wounded soldiers. However, the advent of antibiotics replaced this household remedy with the misconception that medicine was more effective than honey. The problem is that today we are faced with germs that are resistant to almost all types of antibiotics. As a result, the medical use of honey is becoming attractive again for the treatment of wounds. The reason being is that recent studies show that honey is actually more effective, despite what doctors once thought.
When using dressings containing Manuka Honey, dead tissue is rejected faster and wounds heals more rapidly. In addition, changing bandages is less painful, because with honey they are easier to remove without damaging the newly formed layers of skin. Some wounds often smell unpleasant which can be an enormous strain on the patient. Honey also helps in this instance by reducing malodor. Even wounds that don't heal for years can be brought under control with the use of Manuka Honey within a few weeks. Less serious wounds can be healed with Manuka Honey in a few days or even within a few hours.
"It has already been proved that Manuka Honey can destroy antibiotic-resident bacteria such as MRSA, says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International, manufacturer of Manuka Honey products. "Additionally, Manuka Honey is also known to have an antiseptic effect." When producing honey, bees add an enzyme called glucose-oxidase. This enzyme produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide which is an effective antiseptic. The advantage of the hydrogen peroxide found in honey is that small concentrations are able to kill the bacteria because it is constantly being produced in a slow-release manner. Normally, much larger quantities of hydrogen peroxide are required because hydrogen peroxide loses its potency over time. However, in large concentrations it damages skin cells. This is a side effect that does not occur with honey.
Manuka Honey, also known as Leptospermum Honey, comes from a tree species that grows in New Zealand and Australia. Honey from these trees has a particularly strong anti-bacterial effect, even when diluted. Honeybees gather nectar from the flowers that grow on this tree and take it back to their hives where they produce this unique type of honey. "What makes Manuka Honey more potent in treating wounds and other health conditions is the present of an additional antibacterial compound other than hydrogen peroxide," says Buonanotte. "This other antibacterial component has become known as the unique Manuka factor, also known as UMF."
Honeymark's wound care product containing Active UMF Manuka Honey is called "First Aid Antiseptic Lotion" and it is available on their website. Honeymark expects to have their products on the shelves of major retailers later this year. In addition to their wound dressing, Honeymark also makes Manuka Honey products that are effective in treating eczema, arthritis, ringworm, athlete's foot, psoriasis, etc. Honeymark also plans to introduce a cosmetic line containing Manuka Honey by mid 2008.