Using Mānuka Honey to Heal Wounds & Burns at Home Naturally
Does Mānuka honey really help to heal wounds? In 2007 the first honey-based wound products were approved by the FDA for minor and surgical cuts, burns, and on some ulcers. Since then floods of honey products have come on the market.
Using honey on cuts and wounds is not a new or radical find. Honey has been used in medicine for centuries, one of the most common uses is as a wound dressing. But when it comes to choosing a honey to use on your body there is one particular honey that stands out, Mānuka honey.
Traditionally Māori have used the Mānuka tree for its aid as an antiseptic in wounds and burns. Today we can have the healing properties of the Mānuka bush and the magic of bees (apitheripy) in Mānuka honey. Mānuka honey can be used to dress and treat minor scrapes and cuts to promote rapid healing.
Why use honey on wounds?
Honey is effective in providing a protective barrier; it helps to maintain a moist environment, preventing dressing sticking to wounds and inhibiting bacteria growth. Honey is also known to draw out dead skin tissue (necrotic and devitalized tissue) that has to be removed to allow a wound to heal.
Honey can help to:
Mānuka honey has strong antibacterial properties that can help stop harmful bacteria in its tracks by literally dehydrating the bacterial microbes, not only helping to fight wound infections but acne and other skin problems too.
Microbial is a microorganism characteristic that can cause infections and disease, so of course antimicrobial means to help fight these. Applying Mānuka honey to cuts, rashes and wounds can help prevent infection and potentially speed up healing time.There are no known strains that can resist these effects, which makes Mānuka honey so effective.
The anti-bacterial benefits of Mānuka honey help to fight against infection. Studies have found that Mānuka honey applied to chronic wounds can reduce pH levels and decrease wound size.
What makes Mānuka honey different from other honeys?
We hear the claim that your local honey is just as good as Mānuka honey all the time. But when it comes to the benefits of generic honey it just doesn’t compare to Mānuka honey.
Regular honeys do in fact have some natural antimicrobial, immuno-stimulant and wound healing properties. However when it comes to containing high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, New Zealand’s very own Mānuka honey, blows regular honeys out of the park.
Most honey gets its beneficial qualities from MGO. It is believed that the antibacterial properties in regular honey are peroxidase-based. When regular peroxidase-based honey is used on wounds its benefits can be offset by the enzyme from our body.
Not only can the benefits of general honey be equalized, some store bought honeys are heat treated and stored in unfavorable conditions. Which creates a huge variety in its quality and decreases its benefits. Not to mention it doesn’t go through a rigorous grading process (UMF), so when you use regular honeys you are taking a shot in the dark. Learn more about Clover verse Mānuka honey - here
Whereas, the MGO found in Mānuka honey remains active when used on wounds. Thats because Mānuka takes it a step further, containing Leptosperin, DHA and Methylglyoxal (MGO), which are the essential compounds that set it apart from other kinds of honey. Mānuka honey's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are heightened compared to other honeys. There is another property in the antibacterial compound of honey which has only been found to occur in Mānuka honey. This component is believed to double the antibacterial potency of the methylglyoxal.
These compounds form the foundation of a highly-respected quality mark, Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF®). Certified UMF® guarantees a range of grades denoting a genuine, unadulterated product with all the associated health benefits.
Which UMF Mānuka honey is best on wounds and burns?
When it comes to Mānuka honey, the higher the UMF rating/MGO, the higher the benefits. So if you're using Mānuka Honey on your wounds and burns, we suggest you use a higher UMF rating.
Happy Valley’s UMF 20+ Mānuka honey is the ideal honey to have in your first aid kit, especially when it comes to infected wounds. Our UMF 20+ Mānuka honey is our highest UMF rated honey, it has a MGO ≥829 mg/kg and can be used to combat more targeted health problems.
However if our UMF 20+ Mānuka honey is out of your price range and your health needs, our Happy Valley UMF 15+ and UMF 18+ Mānuka honey also have great alternatives. Our UMF 5+ and UMF 10+ are perfect for your everyday happiness, but we would not recommend them for targeted health problems like wounds and burns.
But don’t just take our word for it. A 2017 study on the healing effects of Mānuka honey on horse wounds found that UMF 20+ Mānuka honey healed wounds faster, compared to UMF 5+, generic honey or untreated wounds.
According to Professor Dar "If a wound is heavily contaminated or at risk of infection using a high UMF manuka honey is warranted but if the wound is not heavily contaminated then using a lower and less expensive manuka honey may be beneficial. Store-bought generic honey probably has no beneficial effect over no treatment”.*
Are there side effects of using Mānuka Honey on wounds?
There are large numbers of successful cases of Mānuka honey being used on wounds and cuts, not just on humans but animals too. There are no recorded cases demonstrating any significant side effects from using Mānuka honey on lacerations, however, some people have complained of a stinging sensation.
The stinging feeling is caused by the acidity in the honey, and can occur when an injury is inflamed. When a cut is inflamed the nerve endings that detect acidity become more sensitive. If you find this occurs, using a gel can help to release Mānuka honey's benefits more slowly so that the infected cut can handle the acidity.
When you buy our UMF Happy Valley Mānuka Honey you can be assured that our Mānuka honey is a genuine, helpful natural alternative to help heal wounds and burns.
Check out our range of UMF honeys - UMF 20+, UMF 18+, UMF 15+ - suited for your first aid kit.
* Research from animals to humans cannot be directly translated, however, body's of research suggest that it is likely that the effects are similar and safe.