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JOURNAL: Journal of Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing (2002;29:295–300)
ABSTRACT: Topical application of honey is beneficial in the treatment of wounds and burns.
COMMENTARY: A number of properties inherent to honey might contribute to its ability to fight infection and promote healing.
Its high sugar content allows it to draw infection and fluid from wounds by a process called “osmosis.” Honey prevents bacterial growth through its acidic pH and through the work of an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide.
Its ability to keep the area around a wound moist and protected promotes fast healing and prevents scarring.
Honeys also contain components from the specific plants used by the bees in their production, and it is speculated that some of these components might further add to the antibacterial and wound-healing effects of certain honeys. The process of pasteurization, used to sterilize commercial honeys, destroys the enzyme involved in the production of hydrogen peroxide, rendering these honeys less antibacterial.
Raw honeys maintain their enzymes, and honeys produced for therapeutic use are sterilized through an irradiation process that does not damage their constituents. There are currently two therapeutic honeys available: Medihoney of Australia and Active Manuka Honey of New Zealand. Both are derived from bees using the flowers of tea trees (Leptospermum spp.) as their