Honey and Antibiotics: Understanding Their Roles in Healing

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In this installment from my ‘Ask Me Anything’ series, which you can find on my social media channels, I delve into the topic of honey and wound healing.

“How effective is honey for treating bacterial infections? I love honey and hope to use it to help myself get better. I’m cautious about too much pharma antibiotic usage.”      

I think your caution is warranted and that antibiotics are overprescribed for sure. That said, there’s a time and place for everything and antibiotics are an amazing medical breakthrough.

The big question I have is whether we are talking about a systemic infection or a skin infection?

There’s a solid amount of research showing that applying honey to skin wounds can accelerate healing and reduce the likelihood of infection. This is due to several antibacterial properties that honey has, such as high sugar content, low pH, and the presence of antimicrobial peptides.

The best honey for this purpose is medical-grade varieties like Manuka honey, which has been shown to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains like MRSA.

For systemic infections, however, the situation is different. Honey is not typically effective for treating systemic bacterial infections. For milder infections, herbal antibacterials may work. For severe infections, though, traditional antibiotics are usually necessary to effectively combat the infection. While honey has many health benefits and can support the immune system, it should not be relied upon as the sole treatment for serious internal infections.

So, basically, honey applied to the skin can be great for wounds, burns, or infections, but it’s not a replacement for antibiotics in the case of more severe and/or systemic infections.

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