Honey. sweet, sticky, gooey honey. You can spread it on toast and put it in your tea, and peeps into food sex like to spread it on their partner. I use it in chili. And of course we've all heard it has multiple uses in healing as well.
In New Zealand and Australia, there are labs devoted to honey-related research. Apparently, its antibiotic properties make it a wonder at healing wounds. Some even believe that if you cut yourself, honey is a better option than Polysporin.
But can you just smear yourself in Billy Bee to cure a wound? Not really. Turns out the most potent stuff is produced by bees that gather pollen from the flowers of the manuka bush, indigenous to New Zealand. You can find manuka products on health store shelves. Other honey has its uses, too. Just beware of conflicting claims.
What the experts say
"Our manuka honey is tested in a lab to determine it's antisceptic activity. A honey with a 16+ activity means 16 per cent antiseptic properties can naturally be found in that honey. It is very rare to find an activity higher than a 19+. Canada has no regulations [on the labelling of this content], so buyer beware. We are working toward trials with BC cancer research using organic manuka to prevent infections after cancer surgery. Manuka can inhibit the growth of the H. pylori bacteria [ which cause stomach ulcers] in test tubes. According to Dr. Rose Cooper in Wales, manuka honey can boost the immune system and can be effective on the bacteria MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). It can cure bacterial infections like gingivitis and prevent tooth decay."
CATHERINE MARTIN and SEBASTIEN MARTIN , president and vice-president, Wedderspoon Organic, Duncan, BC
"Honey has been used since ancient times for treating infected wounds , gastrointestinal infections , sunburn and eye infections . There are many clinical trials reported in medical journals. Its effectiveness for sunburn has led to its use for minimizing burns from radiotherapy for cancer. Manuka honey from New Zealand and its Australian equivalent, jellybush honey, have an unusual type of antibacterial activity. In many countries, they are registered as medical products, and many hospitals use honey-impregnated wound dressings, which, like other dressings, are sterilized with gamma rays."
PETER MOLAN , professor of biological sciences, director of the honey research unit, University of Waikato, New Zealand
"Anybody who has a chronic wound should see an experienced health practitioner. Honey fits into a treatment regimen as an antiseptic, but honey is not honey is not honey. In one study of 345 different honeys in New Zealand, 36 per cent had no antibacterial activity. Honey may contain spores, particularly of clostridium, which can germinate and create an infection. Over-the-counter honey may contain pollen particles that can generate allergic reactions. Honey used on a wound must be of medical grade, appropriately sterilized. You can't just run to the grocery store and pull any honey off the shelf."
DAVID KEAST , director, Chronic Wound Management Clinic, Parkwood Hospital, London, Ontario
"Honey enhances the therapeutic effects of medicine, which is why it is used as a vehicle for many herbs. We use it as a skin cleanser and scrubber -- 1 teaspoon with a little bit of milk. It also has a wonderful effect on cracked lips : a pply a half-teaspoon of fresh milk, quarter-teaspoon of honey and 2 to 3 drops of rosewater. A spoonful of honey will give instant energy . It has uses for hair loss , high cholesterol , low immunity , indigestion , toothache and urinary tract infection . It is incompatible with hot drinks. If you use honey in hot drinks it becomes toxic.-
SONAL BHATT , Dr. Sonal's Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies, Toronto