Doctors now using raw honey to fight infections in patients  

Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-25 06:48:46-04

Raw honey is one of the many medicines used at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk.  Jamie  Clements is a wound care nurse who often uses Medihoney on her diabetes patients who have  infected sores that won`t heal.

“With the diabetic patient, they usually have vascular issues and neuropathy and uncontrolled blood sugar, so it`d be a difficult wound to heal and so they might be walking on it so the antimicrobial aspects of Medihoney would be a good aspect,” says Jamie Clements, a nurse at Bon Secours DePaul

Honey has a long history in medicine used by the romans, Greeks and Egyptians for burns abscesses and wounds. Now thanks to a study published this month, doctors better understand why it works so well.  Dr. Nancy Khardori is an infectious disease expert at Eastern Virginia Medical School and has used honey in her practice.

“You have to look at honey as a very complex material, a complex material with a low PH, acidic PH and generally speaking most bacteria will not survive at that PH,” says Dr. Khardori.

In addition to being acidic, there are other components that make this nectar an effective infection fighter. Earlier this month, researchers at Lund University in Sweden found a group of 13 lactic acid bacteria in the honey. So-called good bacteria that eat bad bacteria like staph infections including MRSA.

In the lab, when the honey was applied to these potentially deadly pathogens, the honey counteracted them.

“Because of the diversity of the multiplicity of the chemicals one can expect activity against a lot of difficult bacteria,” says Dr. Khardori.

While its use is relatively new in the west, honey is commonly used in Dr. Khardori`s home in India.

In developing countries, people use it anyway. They just buy it from the store,” says Dr. Khardori.

If you want to start using honey at home, there are two things to consider: First, you want to use raw honey because it has all the antibacterial benefits, and you don`t want to use the same batch of honey on your cereal or toast that you’re using for your wounds. That can just make you sick.

If you are using raw honey, you don`t want to feed it to a baby under the age of one. They don`t have the immune system yet to fight off even the good bacteria contained in the honey.