Page 1

HEALTH

Liquid

Made by honeybees drinking nectar from flowers and stored in wax honeycombs, the honey that lines our supermarket shelves in neat jars isn't far removed from the liquid gold favoured by ancient civilisations, albeit with slightly more processing. And modern science is showing our ancestors we're on the right track – the topical and edible health benefits of honey are many. Honey has been shown to be effective in the treatment of ulcers, burns, skin wounds and as an antiinflammatory to relieve pain. Plus, your mum was right – it's a sound cough remedy.

gold

It’s often paired with tea and hot water, it’s perfect on porridge, ancient civilisations used it as natural medicine and New Zealand is home to its most potent variety. The correct answer? You guessed it: honey. Angela Tufvesson looks at the topical and edible health benefits

HEAL THE WOUND

Applying honey preparations directly to wounds or using dressings containing honey improves healing, say scientists. Honey helps reduce infection and pain, clean wounds and decrease healing time. “Honey is used widely for a variety of skin complaints like acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds and burns,” says naturopath Jules Galloway from Let Go and Live, an online health and detox program.

D

18 Australian Natural Health

www.naturalhealthmag.com.au

GREEN AND GOLD In an age where too many products claim to be natural and too few actually are, rest assured that honey is one of the goodies. Producing honey is a byproduct of the honeybee’s main ecological function – pollination. So harvesting beeswax causes little harm to the environment and honey can be sourced from local beekeepers, which limits transport miles and ultimately reduces your eco-footprint.

germs. The hydrogen peroxide it releases is similar to germ-killing bleach, except that it stays active for several days, killing bugs and preventing others growing. And because honey contains a high concentration of sugars – glucose and fructose – it attracts water, meaning there's little water available in the wound for the growth of microorganisms. Who knew sugar could have such a positive effect?

ON THE INSIDE

THINKSTOCK

THINKSTOCK

id you know that honey has been used and consumed throughout recorded history for over 4000 years? The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Romans employed honey in the treatment of wounds and intestinal disorders. An ancient Egyptian text prescribes a mix of grease, honey and vegetable fibre as a standard wound treatment. The Roman scientist Pliny combined honey with the fat of fish to treat wounds. It really is an ancient remedy.

One University of Sydney study found that some honeys could be more effective than antibiotics in treating surface wounds and infections. Most infection-causing bacteria in hospitals are resistant to at least one antibiotic, but researchers found that Manuka and jelly bush varieties of honey worked on all the infectious bugs tested. “Our research is the first to clearly show that these honeybased products could in many cases replace antibiotic creams on wounds and equipment such as catheters,” says Associate Professor Dee Carter. “Using honey as an intermediate treatment could also prolong the life of antibiotics.” So how do the contents of Pooh Bear's pot achieve such success? “Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial effects due to the hydrogen peroxide activity, and it also forms a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the wound,” says Galloway. In ancient times there was no knowledge of bacteria, but we now know that festering wounds are the result of infection by microorganisms – and honey is an antimicrobial substance…it kills

www.naturalhealthmag.com.au

Honey's appeal is broader than just skin conditions – in its edible form honey helps reduce inflammation and the risk of illness. “Honey has immune boosting and soothing properties,” Galloway says. “It is used widely for a variety of conditions including throat infections, stomach ulcers and to help improve general immune function.” Drinking tea with honey is a time-honoured and natural way to soothe a sore throat, not to mention a lot more pleasant than sucking on a cough lolly. Research has found it may also be an effective cough suppressant. In a study published in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bed coughed less than those who received a cough suppressant or nothing at all. Galloway says locally sourced honey was traditionally used as Australian Natural Health 19


HEALTH

Liquid

Made by honeybees drinking nectar from flowers and stored in wax honeycombs, the honey that lines our supermarket shelves in neat jars isn't far removed from the liquid gold favoured by ancient civilisations, albeit with slightly more processing. And modern science is showing our ancestors we're on the right track – the topical and edible health benefits of honey are many. Honey has been shown to be effective in the treatment of ulcers, burns, skin wounds and as an antiinflammatory to relieve pain. Plus, your mum was right – it's a sound cough remedy.

gold

It’s often paired with tea and hot water, it’s perfect on porridge, ancient civilisations used it as natural medicine and New Zealand is home to its most potent variety. The correct answer? You guessed it: honey. Angela Tufvesson looks at the topical and edible health benefits

HEAL THE WOUND

Applying honey preparations directly to wounds or using dressings containing honey improves healing, say scientists. Honey helps reduce infection and pain, clean wounds and decrease healing time. “Honey is used widely for a variety of skin complaints like acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds and burns,” says naturopath Jules Galloway from Let Go and Live, an online health and detox program.

D

18 Australian Natural Health

www.naturalhealthmag.com.au

GREEN AND GOLD In an age where too many products claim to be natural and too few actually are, rest assured that honey is one of the goodies. Producing honey is a byproduct of the honeybee’s main ecological function – pollination. So harvesting beeswax causes little harm to the environment and honey can be sourced from local beekeepers, which limits transport miles and ultimately reduces your eco-footprint.

germs. The hydrogen peroxide it releases is similar to germ-killing bleach, except that it stays active for several days, killing bugs and preventing others growing. And because honey contains a high concentration of sugars – glucose and fructose – it attracts water, meaning there's little water available in the wound for the growth of microorganisms. Who knew sugar could have such a positive effect?

ON THE INSIDE

THINKSTOCK

THINKSTOCK

id you know that honey has been used and consumed throughout recorded history for over 4000 years? The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Romans employed honey in the treatment of wounds and intestinal disorders. An ancient Egyptian text prescribes a mix of grease, honey and vegetable fibre as a standard wound treatment. The Roman scientist Pliny combined honey with the fat of fish to treat wounds. It really is an ancient remedy.

One University of Sydney study found that some honeys could be more effective than antibiotics in treating surface wounds and infections. Most infection-causing bacteria in hospitals are resistant to at least one antibiotic, but researchers found that Manuka and jelly bush varieties of honey worked on all the infectious bugs tested. “Our research is the first to clearly show that these honeybased products could in many cases replace antibiotic creams on wounds and equipment such as catheters,” says Associate Professor Dee Carter. “Using honey as an intermediate treatment could also prolong the life of antibiotics.” So how do the contents of Pooh Bear's pot achieve such success? “Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial effects due to the hydrogen peroxide activity, and it also forms a barrier to prevent bacteria from entering the wound,” says Galloway. In ancient times there was no knowledge of bacteria, but we now know that festering wounds are the result of infection by microorganisms – and honey is an antimicrobial substance…it kills

www.naturalhealthmag.com.au

Honey's appeal is broader than just skin conditions – in its edible form honey helps reduce inflammation and the risk of illness. “Honey has immune boosting and soothing properties,” Galloway says. “It is used widely for a variety of conditions including throat infections, stomach ulcers and to help improve general immune function.” Drinking tea with honey is a time-honoured and natural way to soothe a sore throat, not to mention a lot more pleasant than sucking on a cough lolly. Research has found it may also be an effective cough suppressant. In a study published in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bed coughed less than those who received a cough suppressant or nothing at all. Galloway says locally sourced honey was traditionally used as Australian Natural Health 19


HEALTH

a treatment for hay fever. “It was thought that consuming the honey made from local flowers somehow desensitised the hay fever sufferer to the local pollens.” Mainstream medicine doesn't fully support this theory, just as there is insufficient evidence for several popular honey-based claims – namely that honey helps improve athletic performance, reduce the effects of sunburn and soothe symptoms of asthma. But with concerns about the overprescribing of antibiotics on the rise, it's an area for ongoing research.

LEADER OF THE PACK

Unfortunately, harnessing the health benefits of honey is not as simple as a trip to the condiments aisle of the supermarket. Manuka honey – produced by bees drinking the nectar of the Manuka tree in New Zealand – is the big daddy of topical honey. Experts have long recognised the value of Manuka honey as a superior treatment for wound infections. Australian Jelly Bush honey, from a similar plant species, has also been found to share the same properties, say researchers from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.What makes Manuka and Jelly Bush more potent than other varieties of honey is the high level of additional nonperoxide, antibacterial components, which are stronger than typical hydrogen peroxide types of honey. And to make it even more difficult, 20 Australian Natural Health

Medihoney™ products provide a clinically proven, natural alternative for wound care - suitable for use by the whole family. They create an ideal wound healing environment and reduce the risk of infection. THINKSTOCK

One University of Sydney study found that some honeys could be more effective than antibiotics in treating surface wounds and infections.

Natural First Aid with Antibacterial Medical Manuka Honey

DOES HONEY MAKE YOU FAT? With all this talk of wound healing and clear throats, it’s easy to forget that honey is a sweetener. But the good news is it contains loads of healthful properties, plus it’s sweeter than sugar, so you'll eat less. “Raw honey is full of antioxidants, organic acids and amino acids,” says Christine Cronau, author of Great Health is a Piece of Cake. “The powerful antioxidants boost energy and health. Raw honey is also packed with minerals, enzymes and vitamins and contains nutraceuticals, which are nutrients found to neutralise free radicals and improve the immune system.” Different honeys can also have varying effects on blood glucose and insulin levels due to differences in their sugar content and physical form. Yellow Box, Stringybark, Red Gum, Iron Bark and Yapunyah honeys have been identified as low GI. Cronau recommends limiting your honey portion to one teaspoon a day, which equals about four grams of fructose. For recipes, honey is a great substitute for sugar, but try to limit it to two tablespoons per dish.

due to marketing confusion and the make-up of the end product, only some honey sold as Manuka honey possesses this non-peroxide type of antibacterial activity. “The strength of Manuka honey varies, and is often indicated by a UMF rating (unique Manuka factor),” says Galloway. “Other varieties have some antibacterial properties, but only Manuka

honey has been scientifically tested and graded before making it into the jar. Some say that tea-tree honey may have similar levels of antibacterial action, but it is yet to undergo the same rigorous testing.” If you'd prefer to chat to your chemist, standardised medicalgrade honey is sold in limited quantities in pharmacies and is primarily used for wound care. NH www.naturalhealthmag.com.au

CLEANS | PROTECTS | HEALS Suitable for general first-aid and most wounds including: burns

cuts & scrapes

leg & foot ulcers

surgical wounds

MEDIHONEY™ WOUND GEL

MEDIHONEY™ ANTIBACTERIAL MEDICAL HONEY™

Toll free: 1800 466 392 www.medihoney.com www.comvita.com It’s not just any honey It’s MEDIHONEY™ Always read the label. Use only as directed. Serious wounds should be managed under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Natural Health Magazine featuring Christine Cronau  

Natural Health

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you