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Exclusive: Honey may surprisingly heal multiple wounds: Study

Porni Banerjee | ০৮ এপ্রিল ২০২৪ ১৭ : ৫০


Porni Banerjee

Who knew those tiny bees could create a wonder liquid that is loaded with wholesome nutrition? Derived straight from the Mother Earth, honey – a magical ingredient – has been serving mankind since time immemorial in promoting overall good health.

But the story doesn’t end here. An amazing fact is that throughout history, honey has also had significantly positive impacts on healing infected wounds. Ancient Egyptians, ancient Greek, Chinese and even Ayurvedic science used honey in treating a variety of deep wounds, skin cuts and burns. Interestingly, even in World War 1, honey was used to repair wounds of the armies in the battlefield.

In fact, studies claim that Apiculture – the practice of beekeeping to produce honey – dates back to at least 700 years BC. Its contributions go beyond medicinal purposes as honey was also used in religious ceremonies to pay tribute to Gods and embalm the deceased. Moreover, the role of honey in healing infected wounds was first reported in Europe and the USA in the mid-20th century.

“One would be surprised to know that honey, when applied topically on affected areas, can accelerate healing of a broad range of wound types, including skin burns, cuts, scratches, diabetic ulcers, malignancies, leprosy, fistulas, leg ulcers, septic, sores, bruises, amputation, abdominal wounds, surgical wounds,” said Bengal-based honey researcher Swarnendu Sarkar.

On being asked about what makes honey so extraordinary in healing wounds, Sarkar said, “Raw honey with adequate moisture level and zero adulteration is the best in recovering wounds faster. However, processed honey found in our households can also serve the purpose to some extent.”

Having said that, Sarkar believes that different types of honey, including coffee, berry, multifloral, monofloral, black cumin, neem and acacia can work wonders in promoting wound healing.

A study on the effect of honey on complicated wounds was conducted from 1991-2000 at different institutions, which considered a few rats and nearly 1000 patients having burn wounds, bedsores, diabetic ulcer, and post-operative wounds. Diabetic ulcers are open wounds or sores that take time to heal and common in uncontrolled diabetes. 

The result was impressive! The study showed that applying honey as a universal topical agent on varied wounds, even during emergencies and disasters, can inhibit bacterial growth and significantly improve wound healing process.

The study also found that the efficacy of many antimicrobial agents has become futile with the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. For this, one of the alternative methods is the use of honey as a wound healing substance, which is now gradually gaining traction in medical science.

“Honey contains proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, sodium, lipids, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and amino acids that make it an excellent natural remedy to address wound healing with minimum trauma during dressing. Thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities as well,” jointly said Dr Provas Banerjee, Professor at Santiniketan Medical College and Hospital in West Bengal and Professor Jyotirmoy Chatterjee from IIT Kharagpur.

“I have treated a number of patients – some with severe electric burns, incurable infected legs, bedsores, abscesses (pocket of pus), diabetic ulcers and oral ulcers and others with major wounds on different body parts – only by topically applying honey as an emergency solution. Although certain surgical methods were used during treatment, honey was the hero ingredient,” added Dr Banerjee.  

“Ever since I started researching on honey, I had a strong belief that this wonder liquid can transform numerous lives. That’s why I say, ‘Bees make medicine for mankind. Save bees, Save the world, grow more apiaries,’” noted Dr Banerjee.

Hence, honey, as a cost-effective solution, can cut hospital workload and can be incorporated in mainstream medicine in the management of complicated wounds, thereby enhancing treatment process. So, the next time you suffer a wound, try applying honey and see the difference. 




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