You’re chopping vegetables in the kitchen, and the knife slips. Suddenly blood is dripping from a gash in your hand. You search for antibiotic ointment but don’t have any. But there may be some in the kitchen cupboard—honey. Scientists recently published a review of honey in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. They examined 18 studies from the past 60 years, and found overwhelming evidence that honey can help speed up healing and prevent infection.
Actually, honey’s been used to treat wounds for thousands of years. But it fell out of favor in the 1940s when antibiotics came on the scene. Today, though, people are worried about antibiotic resistance and are also looking to natural remedies. Honey works because of a number of properties that inhibit bacterial growth. There’s its low moisture content. And as the glucose in honey breaks down in air, it naturally forms hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic agent. Scientists say that the research suggests that honey might be particularly useful when a wound becomes infected or fails to close or heal after surgery. Honey was even shown to reduce amputation rates among diabetes patients suffering from open, infected sores.