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Honey as Medicine – Prevent Infection, Kill Bacteria, Promote Healing

Did you know you can use honey as medicine? If I had to choose only one medicine I could have in stock, I think it would be honey. These days, specialty wound-care centers might agree.

honey as medicine

Honey has become a staple for those hard-to-heal wounds, such as diabetic leg ulcers, burns, even wounds with gangrene. It kills bacteria resistant to other antibiotics and actually heals tissue, nursing the skin back to health. Not only that, but it can decrease the pain. But here’s the catch. Some types of honey work better than others. Before we get into that, let’s go over the basics, like …

How Honey Prevents Wound Infections

  • It seals the wound from outside contaminants.
  • It’s a mild acid. Most bacteria can’t grow well in that.
  • It has a low water content. Bacteria don’t like that either.

How Honey Kills Bacteria

  • It dries them up. The high sugar content dehydrates bacteria.
  • It produces hydrogen peroxide. When diluted with, say, body fluids, enzymes in the honey create a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Enough to kill bacteria.
  • Its enzymes create antibacterial chemicals we’re just beginning to isolate. Some types of honey produce more of these chemicals than others. Some don’t produce much at all.

How Honey Heals

Honey has been shown to speed up the growth of various body tissues. It helps form new blood vessels, collagen, and the epithelial cells that cover the underlying tissue. The way it does this is:

  • Honey seals in the good tissue fluid containing enzymes and proteins that promote healing.
  • It provides nutrition to the tissue.
  • Honey decreases inflammation and swelling in a yet unknown way.

Some studies have suggested honey even decreases scarring.

Some Concerns About Using Honey

Even with all its antibacterial properties, honey can contain a few bacteria. Although some can cause bad skin infections, I can’t find a study where any have. Still, physicians worry because it’s possible. We do know babies have died ingesting honey that contained a few botulism spores. This is thought to be due to their still developing digestive system. To my knowledge, no one over 12 months old has ever even gotten sick from these sparse spores. Okay, now for the finale.

Some Types of Honey Fight Bacteria Better Than Others

Even though all types of honey are acidic and dehydrate bacteria, and most types create hydrogen peroxide in varying quantities, not all contain those other antibacterial chemicals we’re just now discovering.

Have you heard of Manuka honey? It’s made in New Zealand, and it’s known as the most effective honey and the one with the most antibacterial chemicals. That may be because it’s been studied the most or because it’s been marketed the most, or just maybe because it really is the best bacteria fighter.

Medihoney is Manuka honey that’s been zapped clean of bacteria (including botulism). The zapping may kill the peroxide-creating enzymes but apparently doesn’t harm the antibacterial chemicals. It’s the honey the wound-care centers use. I hoped to find a study comparing the antibacterial potencies of various U.S. honeys but could only find studies on honeys made abroad.

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jar of raw manuka honey

Honey as Medicine – Which Honey Should You Stock for Medicinal Use?

  1. I’d get some Medihoney for the medical survival kit. It’s more expensive, but it’s not going to spoil. (Actually no honey is going to spoil.)
  2. I’d have some good-tasting local honey for extra stocking supplies. Use it to eat, for coughs, etc., and for an antibacterial in a pinch. (Learn more about using honey for coughs in my blog post, “The Safest Cough Medicine“. Don’t feed it to babies. Laurie’s note:  you can also use honey to make simple cough drops.)

Important caution: Never try to treat a bad wound by yourself when you can get medical help. For one thing, even with honey, it could turn into a very serious limb- or life-threatening infection.

How to Use Honey on Wounds

After cleaning the wound, put honey on one side of gauze or a clean cloth, and lay it onto the wound. Or pour a thin film of honey directly onto the wound and put the gauze over that. Either way, seal the honey in with surgical or duct tape on the edges of the bandage. Clean and repeat twice a day. If supplies are scarce and the dressing stays clean, you could cut that back to once a day or even a bit longer. Have you ever used honey for a skin infection? What type? Do you have some stored just in case?

Comment from Chody D. on the Common Sense Home Facebook page:

A friend of mine cut the end of her thumb off with a machete. She was keeping it covered in honey. I thought I was gonna have to force her to go to get antibiotics when it got infected. About a week later she came to my house and her thumb was COMPLETELY healed!!! I was shocked! I will never doubt the magical medicinal uses of honey again.

Is Manuka Honey Safe to Use on Pets?

Update by Laurie:  Several people have asked whether it is safe to use manuka honey on pets. The answer is “yes”. You can read more about treating pets with honey at “Using Manuka Honey for Dogs, Horses, and other Animals

Make Sure Your Honey is Real

Much of the honey on US store shelves is imported from China, and may be contaminated with heavy metals and illegal antibiotics. Look for products from local apiaries and other trusted brands.

This is a guest post by by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Hubbard teaches down-to-earth, improvisational survival medicine for disasters. He’s been a family physician for over over 30 years.

Disclaimer: This post is for general information only and not meant to be your only source of information on the topic. Use at your own risk. Please consult your health-care provider for personal advice.

honey jar close up

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  1. Hello Lori, I met a couple about 2001 that was very iluminating about the healing capabilities of honey.
    The wife was making dinner and when she opened the oven it blew up in her face. Before help arrived her husband smeared honey on all of the burned areas. The doctors told him that was the best thing he could have done because it block all the bacteria. And if you looked at her there wasn’t a scare to be seen. Ever since then I have always kept a jar of raw honey in the house. Now your story has even given people more reasons to have on hand at all times. Thank you for all the work you do in collecting and posting so much good information on being prepared for as many things as we can.

    1. Thank you for sharing that story. August had a bad burn on his hand several years back (he put his hand on a hot tiller manifold). We treated it with honey and it healed beautifully with no scarring.

  2. I got rid of my sons eczema by having him drink Georges aloe juice. You can also spray it on topically but he drinks 2oz twice a day. If he starts to get a flare up, he just drinks it that day and its gone by the next tastes like water

  3. Good morning,
    I have enjoyed this article and comments. I am using Medihoney for my open wounds from my reconstruction surgery. The PA at my doctor’s office recommended it. I was not sure about the differences between it and Manuka honey. I know that we will be making sure we keep either on hand from now on.
    Thanks for the information.

  4. My good friend had vaginal repair surgery and now has an infection. She is on oral antibiotics but I told her about manuka. What would be a safe way to use it in a “closed” area of the body?

    1. Your friend should really talk to her doctor about internal use. Getting the honey to the area in question may introduce additional outside microbes to the infection area if one was not very careful. Excess sugar in the area could also throw the microbe balance out of whack, encouraging yeast overgrowth.

  5. I just bought a jar of manuka honey at Trader Joe’s. It say it is from New Zealand and has 10+ on the lid. I bought it to have “just in case”. do you think this would be ok or do I need to have the medihoney?

  6. HELP! Mother with cancer is bed bound and developed tailbone bed sores. Some open, some new, some black, some red. I’m confused if I should or can use manuka honey or raw honey. Because of her decreasing health and poor prognosis, her body is unable to heal. Should I even consider manuka? THANK YOU !!

    1. Either raw or manuka should help. The manuka just has a little extra help. Do talk to your mother’s healthcare providers so they know about the issue, and make sure there aren’t any problems with using the honey. Saying a prayer for your mom. Cancer is terrible.

  7. I have got a bad rash under my left breast. It happened after a particularly sweaty workout session about 9 days ago. The rash was red and itchy. When it didn’t improve after I tried hydrocortisone cream on it for two days, I went to see my family doctor. She took one look at it and said it’s yeast infection. She prescribed Clotrimazole 1% cream. I have used it for 6 days and the rash has not improved (seemed to be spreading too). Do you think manuka honey will help? I don’t have access to medihoney, but have put some NZ manuka honey UMF20 on the rash. I’m just worried that the sugar in the honey will feed the yeast.

    1. I would not use honey, for exactly the reason you mentioned – any sugar will feed the yeast.

      Topical creams may provide relief for some, but if it’s not improving with the cream, you’ll probably need a systematic approach. I had a bad overgrowth a couple years ago and got it under control with diet changes, supplements and herbs.

      More on candida – and

  8. The doctor said to use sterile honey…. OK that’s a good option, but if it’s not readily available would regular Manuka honey do the trick? I imagine in the ‘old days’ the honey was not gamma-rayed to sterilise it and it was still safe to use! As long as authentic Manuka honey is used, it should be OK, right????

  9. I have had very good luck with giving my 17 year old fur baby Honey – it has helped whatever bug she had that caused her breathing problems at night – where the vets and dr.s x-rays proved nothing! Now with one tablespoon each night (those allergies) or whatever it was are not interfering with our sleep (and that is healthy in and of itself.)

  10. Will be posting something I am now trying instead of all these expensive bandages. Like the AB bandages that we have to use due to fluid leakage on dad’s legs. Will share in a couple of days. If this works. One could save a lot of monies here instead of using AB bandages. However, please note that I am not telling anyone to do this. Always, always check with your doctor. Everyone is different and has different ailments.

  11. Note: I am going to be whipping the raw honey to take out the larger size granules due to wrapping his legs some of the granules even though it melts on skin since I apply AB’s bandages to them. I don’t want to take any chances here. On possibly any imprints of large granules pressing on his legs once wrapped.

    Whipping the honey, makes it smoother to apply to areas of concern. At least for me it does.

    The bandages are AB bandages for fluid seepage and then use a gauze wrap over the bandages to secure the AB’s into place.

    Then cover both legs with a gate stocking. I then put non skid footie’s on him while he is in doors.

    When he goes out for his appointments. We bought him Dr Scholls shoes.

    We bought the next shoe size up for him due to his edema. You fold over two Velcro tabs over top of foot to adjust to the edema of the feet.

    They cost around $20.00 at Walmart. I also, am careful to remove the gauze wrapping on his his legs.

    These can be cleaned by soaking in peroxide with little Castile soap and very hot water.

    Rinse and line dry. If you don’t have a line? Then take clothes pins holders and hang them on to the fan for quick drying time” making sure you don’t clip them to far back into the fan blades.

    Do not put into washer or dryer they will fray.

    You can re-use to save money on the gauze wraps and the gate stockings. Bandages throw out!

    Remember to keep everything sterile!

      1. I will have to see if our Walmart carries these socks. We don’t have a Walgreens here. :(. Will be doing the infrared light therapy tomorrow on dad’s right lower part of his leg. The sores are now pretty much closed up on this leg. Talking about the raw open sores he had on his leg not too long ago! Yippy! Praise God!

  12. I am my Father-in-law caregiver. However, took my two years course to become a Cert. Aromatherapist which was back in 1998 graduated and continued into the fields of natural therapy.

    Please note here, I am not a doctor nor an RN. And I always tell my patients. Always check with attending doctors before embarking on any alternative healing measures.

    My father-in-law is not a candidate for vascular surgery. By both doctor and wound clinic due to his age of 95.

    He was first diagnosed with cellulitis on his lower extremities over a month going on two months now with edema and ulcers. And the bottoms of his feet had a mild fungal problem.

    Now, mind you his regular doctor did what he could. Which the one thing that he had done was stopped the anti-fungal for his feet? Okay, I thought. I can deal with this. Then a couple of weeks ago he was finally finished taking his oral antibiotics.

    Not much the doctor could do. So, Doc referred dad to the wound clinic.

    After some testing by the wound clinic. Diagnoses was “Chronic Venous Hypertension with edema and ulcers”. And the bottoms of his feet had a mild fungal problem. “Treatment for feet was “I used tea tree oil, and olive oil, to heal that one.

    So the fungal infections is now gone from the bottoms of his feet.

    Now, mind you his regular doctor did what he could for his legs.

    Took him to the wound clinic. They said there is nothing that can be done.

    I spoke up and then asked this question? Since the wound clinic took pictures from all angles of his low extremities that were all blistered up, seeping, red and raw with open sores along with edema.

    Let’s just say. I was ready to just take over here. But couldn’t. You have to watch your mouth and go about this in the right way. I did just that.

    I said to the doc at the wound care center in front of all three RN’s. If there is nothing that you can do for him. Then I have a few ideas here. They said it could not hurt.

    However, the first and more important step here is to make sure you clean areas very well before applying raw honey.

    I use our raw honey we buy from local bee keeper.

    The first more important step here. Is to make sure you clean areas very well with warm soapy water and pat dry.

    Never rub hard on the open areas. I started using raw honey for about 5 minutes, 30 next day. Then would rinse off and bandage up and use gauze for his wrap. Now have worked up to doing this method of using raw honey for 24 hours let still. Unless, your gauze is wet from fluid leakage. Then you will have to do this again at least before bedtime.

    Wound clinic wanted to see my father in law again a week later. They were very well pleased but just bandaged him up, wrapped both leg and put a gate stocking on him over the bandages. Nothing more!

    Said we would like to see him back in a week. I said I take care of a lot of people. I can’t! He was doing much better, his legs were not blistered, or raw. So, I am continuing with my process here with raw honey, and dressings here.

    I will post again in two weeks. If you all don’t mind? His appointment is scheduled again for Oct 26th. There is much more that is in store for my father in law. But first have to take this one step at a time here.

    God Bless You All.

    1. Thank you for sharing your family’s story, Kellie, and I’m so glad your father-in-law is doing better. If you would like to share photos of his progress, too, you can email them to me at laurie at commonsensehome dot com, and I will add them to the post.

      1. On October 26th when I take my father in law back to the wound clinic. I will get the first digital pictures that were taken at the wound clinic and will scan them for you and will add my new pictures of his healing. My printer is not working right now. So once I get the new printer. I will share with you. Thank you, for your page. This is great! Will be getting some pictures tomorrow evening. I will be doing infrared light treatment once his skin is all healed up. Will again after a few weeks will send you other pictures. Mind, the doctors said it can’t hurt. Since there was nothing they could do for him. Plus have spent many, many hours on researching.

  13. it’s pain or not when put manuka honey on the wound. I tryon my open wound that already 3month. it’s because motorcycle hit a wood. that wood hit my feet. doctor sew up.but cannot close. now all open again. Its pain so I wash off. maybe I try again. thank you.

    1. Is there any chance that wood is still in the wound? After 3 months, the wound should be closing – BUT – if you still have chunks of wood in it, that would prevent healing.

      If you can find plantain (the weed, not the fruit), and make a drawing poultice, this may be helpful. There are photos here –

      Cabbage also makes a good drawing poultice. Chop and crush the leaves to release the juices. Wrap the leaves in a thin cloth to form a poultice. Apply the poultice to the wound. Leave in place for 15 -60 minutes. Rinse the wound with tepid water. May be repeated 2-3 times daily.

      Plantain is used in a similar manner, but can be left on up to 8 hours.

  14. Laurie,

    Have you ever heard of using honey on dry, chapped lips? Bad case of dry, irritated (inside) lips which often flare up. Thanks.

    1. I know honey can be used as a lip scrub to remove lose skin on the lips, but I haven’t heard of it being used as a balm. You could test on a small area and see if it feels better or worse. I’d probably look into diet changes and probiotics, to help boost the good microbes in your system and general health. A healthy human body has 10 bacteria cells for every human cell, so it’s important to have healthy bacteria. You may also want to do a simple saliva pH test to see if you are too acidic, which could contribute to mouth irritation.

  15. hi…i’m sodiq I hv a small wound 3weeks ago but felt like it is a minor injury and I kept putting on shoes till the wound gets worse now it has hole and lage area…I tried to dry it with hot things sometimes still no difference nd nw I smell odour and whenever I put on long trouser to close d leg in case im going out it swells up nd like water comes out….im fed up can I try honey ?

    1. Please see a doctor! You may still have something stuck in the wound, and it sounds like it has a deep infection that may kill you. This could be very serious. Please get help from someone local who can look at the wound and treat it properly.

  16. plz I hv wound on my leg I hv used many drugs still nothing has come out of it….it pains me…nd smell odour.. and like a hole is on the wound should I use honey nd how should I use it ?

  17. Hi! On nov27th I had an abscess drained at the ER it turned out to be a staph infection. On December 1st I was told I don’t have to pack the open wound anymore and that’s it’s healing when the doctor looked it. Now today December 5th the last few days my open wound has been itchy the foul smell is going away. But today as I was changing the dressings I saw a blood spot about the size of a mini m&m’s. I got scared and worried and I called urgent care they are telling me to get it drained again? Which is weird everything has drained out the past few days. So I decided to buy the manuka honey today. I’m asking how do I apply it onto my wound? Or on the dressing gauze? Will it help my wound to heal faster and also drain whatever is left in my open wound? Sorry for my little story. Thanks in advanced.

    1. The honey can be applied to gauze and then to the wound, or directly to the wound. Please be careful and seek medical attention if the would gets worse or does not improve. It should draw out moisture from the wound and speed healing. Again, if you do not see improvement, please see a doctor.

  18. Can anyone speak on honey helping severe eczema that causes skin cracking/splitting issues? Would it just be applied a couple times a day?


    1. You could try it, but long term diet changes and gut healing is probably a better bet. I’ve been dealing with psoriasis this year, and relief from topical treatments has been temporary at best.

  19. Thank you for your article n I learned a lot thru the various comments.
    I need to ask if anyone can advise. Let me share about my sis. My 67 year old sister is diagnosed with stage 4 vulva cancer, after chemo n radio therapy, she developed very bad bacteria infection which leaves her with a large hole in her groin. we tried manuka honey and, thank God, the swelling went down and pus significantly reduced.
    Her case is complicated as she has to change her dressing at least 3 times a day as she is wearing a diaper.
    may I ask, would u know if applying a lot of manuka honey on the wound dehydrates a patient?
    Thank you.

    1. I don’t think the manuka honey itself would cause excess dehydration, but the infection could lead to dehydration since the body is concentrating fluids in the swollen area instead of in normal circulation. Plenty of fluids (unless you are told otherwise by your doctor) is normally a good idea.

  20. I was wondering if this would help on boils on someones butt. But my mom is diabetic . And she has one we cant get rid of. I was hoping this might help. What are your thoughts on this. Useing that manuke honey.

  21. You make no mention of honey used to treat eye problems. I use runny honey to reduce the irritation of blepharitis, a chronic condition for which there is no known cure, and would also use it on sties and other eye infections.

  22. Hi from New Zealand. A couple of comments from the home of Manuka. 1st a minor one in relation to one of the photos on this page. I would not use any honey that can be squeezed out of a bottle, call me cynical but I have seen far too many lab results showing those clear runny products have been watered down with sugar water. Unless you know the beekeeper, leave the clear runny stuff alone.

    after that cautionary note, using honey on wounds is commonplace here, and not necessarily the high priced manuka. There are many benefits from muli-flora honey, and even common single source ones…but my personal preference is multi flora, bringing many potential components into the mix. I have used it on large wounds on my horses, and even the veterinarians will tell you to use it to promote healthy new wound tissue. For large wounds, common practice now is to leave the wound alone with a large honey bandage for as long as possible – till you can’t stand the smell! or the bandage is falling off, a week to 10 days. This works extremely well; it allows the body to get on with the healing and repair process without being disturbed by frequent bandage changes, which can introduce new contaminants.

    1. Just a note – I did know the beekeeper who provided the honey in the squeeze bottle directly. He does part of his harvest like that for gift giving and people who like a small container to dispense on the table. Most of my honey I buy in bulk.

        1. Thank you very much for the quick reply Laurie. I really appreciate it.
          Today I went and bought a small pot of manuka honey. I made sure it was pure. It was cloudy and thick like creamed honey. I put it on the wound 9 hours ago and the swelling has gone down already.
          I really hope this works. That would be super amazing. xoxox

  23. Hey! I have been using medical manuka honey to heal wounds for many years. Feel free to write me with any questions you may have. My website is in Norwegian, but I am working on translating it to English..

    You will also find me on facebook:

    1. Cyst on our dog’s leg burst about one month ago and was treated with betadine until now with no improvement. It is about 4″ diameter, exudes fluids and very smelly.
      Yesterday, bought Wedderspoons Manuka honey K factor12 at a local store. It is hard to know if this is genuine or not. Also ordered Kiva brand because it is said to be genuine (UMF 15+). Any suggestions on the right type of Manuka Honey to buy and really, really would appreciate advice on how to treat the wound with honey; how much to use, how to spread the honey and dress the wound, how often to treat and what to expect and approximate days of usage before improvement (that is diminishing smell, reduced fluid flow and general sealing of the wound) can be seen. Have to spread the honey on the dressing because it will hurt the dog if honey is poured on the wound and then spread.

      Thank you for your time.

      1. If you want to contact Dee directly, you’ll need to visit her site.

        Disclaimer – I am not a vet, so I can only share how we’ve used honey in the past.

        When my husband severely burned the palm of his hand on a hot engine, creating a large, deep blister, we coated the area in honey and changed the bandage daily for two days. He found that when he unwrapped the bandage, the honey had all dried, and it was no longer sticky. After two days, the wound had healed so well that he no longer felt the need to use honey and switched to a simply large bandage.

        To wrap the dog’s leg, I would apply a good layer of honey to a gauze bad large enough to cover the affected area,and then secure the pad with a wrap. Change the wrap daily, or sooner if it becomes soiled.

        Time to improvement with vary with the type and degree of injury, but with my husband’s hand we saw improvement within 24 hours.

  24. This is a great article with excellent comments as well. Personally, I have been using local honey for years, we have one spoon a day and I can’t remember the last time we had a cold at home. My baby used to have endless sore throats unti he started having honey daily after 12 months and now he is a super healthy baby boy. Seriously local honey does miracles to my family and I am so thankful for that.

  25. Living in Australia, i find Manuka easy to buy, and locate. During winter i buy the Manuka 30+ antibacterial rated Manuka. And i also use it in homemade cough syrups. It’s a wonderfuly therapeutic honey and soothing to sore throats. My health food shop also stocks pure, non heated, raw organic honey, complete with propolis, also effective for anti bacterial treatments. We are spoiled here for pure, wholesome, healthy, organic honey. Honey is such a perfect natural food. Love it.

  26. I hope someone else hasn’t asked you this, I hate asking repetitive questions, but I’m sorry if they have. Where do you get your Manuka honey? Hope I spelled that right, lol. I am nervous about ordering stuff like that because their are so many scams out there.

    1. I picked up a jar at the local health food store, but the brands listed/linked in the article are ones that were specifically recommended by Dr. Hubbard. A good local, raw wildflower honey is also excellent. I haven’t purchased store honey in years because we have a number of local apiaries. These are neighbors I know I can trust.

  27. Hello Bee Products lover, Our new title to arrive is Bee Products for
    Better Health and you may want to review it. A digital sampler or hard
    copy is available and our trade discounts are good. Let me know if you
    would like more information. Thank you, [email protected].

    1. According to FTC guidelines, as a blogger I am not allowed to give out specific health advice. As someone who doesn’t know the details of your situation, even as a friend it wouldn’t be the best option to give advice long distance.

      In general, if there are stomach/digestive system issues, odds are that the internal wee beasties that keep our guts working are out of whack. A healthy human has more bacteria cells than “human” cells in their body. Most of us have many things in our environment, such as processed foods, environmental toxins and antibiotics, that cause the bad microbes to grow and the good ones to die off. Eating good quality food (less processed, plenty of veggies and some fruits, GMO free if you can) and including prebiotic and probiotic (live culture) foods in your diet can help restore conditions in the gut that promote healing. There is no “magic bullet”, just diet and lifestyle changes that make it easier for our bodies to do their jobs and heal.

      1. Want to try Manuka Honey but don’t know how to pick it out. Is there a trick with this honey because it has numbers and letters on them. Just not sure what brand or how to pick one. Really want to try it.

  28. Please be careful when you purchase honey. These days large and familiar honey “manufacturers” are substituting honey from China which is not honey at all and laced with Melamine (yep, the plastic dinner plate material from the 60’s and the stuff that was found in pet foods the past several years as a filler).

    I suggest finding a Local Honey Source (farm, farmers market, CSA) in your town or neighboring town to get source your honey. Nothing like local honey AND it will inoculate you against local allergies as well!

    I live in Texas and use Texas Honey or Arkansas farm Honey (my friends know the farmer!) When you’ve tasted local honey you will NEVER go back and all the common sense points are especially pertinent !

    1. That’s a good reminder. I buy in bulk from a local apiary, but I know that can be a challenge for some. Supporting your local honey producers is a win/win for you and them.

    2. Hi, in many cases this is not the manufacturers ‘substituting’ , this is outright brand fraud coming out of China (Mostly). It is a real problem for many of our New Zealand brands, and there have been many cases now documented of honey fraud.

      I agree with many here, get your local wildflower or multiflroa honey and support your local beekeeper!

      Btw it is a bit of an eye opener when we start reading about ‘raw’, it had never occurred to me that honey would be anything other than straight from the bees bum (well, legs and mouth) I don’t think I have ever come across pasteurised honey here, but possibly I never look at the processed stuff.

  29. Absolutely the one thing I will never be without is honey. We use it for people and animals here on the farm, inside and out. I sliced my fingernail open with a t-post – honey. Hubby sliced his hand moving some metal sheeting – honey. My daughter cut her hand on a cat food can, which of course was filthy – honey. My youngest daughter had a fairly severe injury to the inside of her mouth – cottonballs soaked in honey and warm water, packed them between her teeth and cheek and the wound had healed with no visible injury at all within 48 hours. In all cases, the wounds healed incredibly fast with little to no scarring.

    Just this past week I wrote on my farm blog about coming home from town and a couple days later I knew I was getting sick. I drank honey and cinnamon tea with orange peels (anti-bacterials and vit C), all day long for two days and beat the illness back.

    I am not selling anything, and I am not a beekeeper. Just a mom who has seen the amazing healing results using honey.

    I would guess that any local raw honey is just as good as that highly marketed Manuka honey. I’ve never had anything but remarkable results with local honey, and I’d rather spend my money with my local beekeepers!

    Thanks for the great article.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Tina. I use almost all local honey, but I do keep one jar of the manuka around, just in case I need more “oomph”. I figure it’s so shelf stable that it will last virtually forever, so one jar goes a long way.

  30. My Dad was a beekeeper so needless to say honey was a staple in the house. We used it to cure just about everything. Our cough syrup was simple. It was Lemon and honey. I remember also adding a small amount of whiskey, brandy or whatever you had on hand. Also in the winter, you could add hot water( or a tea bag) and have a great drink.(minus the liquor!) My Mom used to make a candy that was out of this worlk. She lost the recipe but it was very simple. It consisted of powdered milk, peanut butter, honey. Formed into balls, rolled in powdered sugar. Then placed in the freezer to set.

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Becky. I’ve found a number of variations on the honey candy, the basic one being:

      1 C Powdered Milk
      1/2 C Honey
      1/2 C Peanut Butter

      A lot of folks mix in things like graham crackers, coconut or crisped rice cereal, too.

      1. I have a recipe I have had for years that calls for
        1c powered milk 1 c peanut butter 3T wheat germ i/4 c honey 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
        Mix all ingredients together shape in rolls roll in nuts or dried coconut and store in fridge. The coconut will absorb some of the moisture and will be dryer so I would either add a little more honey or eat it up faster

    1. Nancy – I’m not a doctor or dentist, so if you have something serious going on in your mouth you should probably seek professional help. For my part, honey is still a sugar, plus it would be pretty tough to keep it where you need it in your mouth, so it wouldn’t be my first choice to treat a mouth problem. I have used oil pulling with coconut oil to address minor gum irritation and inflammation – Diet changes (such as increasing herbs and anti-inflammatory foods) may also help address minor infections.

      1. Yes honey helps mouth problems. I have oral lichen planus and honey has helped me a lot when other things has failed me. I hope this helps.

        1. Hi, just wondering how you kept cavities at bay when using honey for lichen. Could you tell me When did you use the honey, eat a meal & brush? Also, do you happen to know if the form of lichen you have is related to lichen sclerosis of genitals?

      2. I have used coconut oil on my bottom gumline for canker sores or minor irritation/inflammation and it works wonders. I have also oil pulled…..both work but you have to be consistant with the oil pulling…..and use a firmer coconut oil…the one now feels slimier than the first brand I used.

  31. I use honey in my home made cough syrup, I always use local and it seems to do the trick! I usually take a few doses and I’m feeling amazing the next day. I boil echinacea, licorice root, onion, garlic and a few other dried herbs known to help with inflammation/antibacterial/ or any other ailments, for about 4 hours strain and add honey and brandy. Sometimes it even tastes yummy! Thanks for all f the information! I’ve always wondered what else honey does!

  32. I used manuka honey on my cat and it worked. Whenever he got scratched or bitten by another cat his wounds tended to abcess. That meant a trip to the vet or me spending alot of time and effort keeping the wound from closing over and getting even more infected (cats skin tends to close over wounds then get infected and pus doesn’t drain and it builds up). So I started putting manuka on his wounds right away, about 3 times a day for 3 days, and the wounds never got infected or abcessed. He’d lick at the honey but enough of it stayed on to work great!

  33. Nope, meant to leave a comment over there as well but didn’t get to it. (We had our local beekeeping association meeting last night and I should have thought to ask there as well but didn’t. Duh.) Yep, used a candy thermometer and just hit 300* per the directions but didn’t use a double boiler.

    I’ll let you know if I ever nail this!

    1. I may have to give them a try once harvest season calms down. I haven’t worked much with hard candies, but do have a candy thermometer that’s been collecting dust, and a stash of honey.

  34. Thanks for the post. Yes we have had great results with medihoney, my dad had a huge diabetic ulcers on legs. The wound specialist we got was awesome. She used Medihoney taught me how to do it in between visits. Cleared it up. Took a bit but worked! Not much scaring. Now when he starts a skin tear, I use it right away. Interesting part here, the insurance was not willing to pay for it as care. We fought them and they did send some. We paid 50%. Really! I now use it one my family, and also on my face too. Great stuff. Need to try

  35. Laurie, have you tried making those honey cough drops personally? I’d sure love to hear how yours turned out. I tried it yesterday and ended up with a bunch of black, burned honey goo. It seemed so simple…

    (I felt bad, wasting so much honey, but we set the burned goo out by our bee hives. I have no idea if they’ll eat or not but I guess we’ll find out! LOL)

    1. No, I haven’t tried them yet. Did you leave a comment for Jay over at Better Bee? I’m sure he would help troubleshoot. It sounds like you overshot hard crack stage. Did you use a candy thermometer and a double boiler? Those would give you more control.

  36. When you say the Medihoney is ‘zapped’, do you mean to say it has been irradiated? Do you use propolis?

  37. I’m a beekeeper. I eat at least a tablespoon of raw honey every day. For simple wound care, I mix one part local, raw honey with one part aquaphor ointment. A fellow beekeeper who is also a wound-care nurse taught me that and it works like magic. I also wash my face with honey and then use coconut oil as moisturizer. I am in my 50’s and am always told that I look like I’m 30something.

    Honey never spoils, unless you add a lot of water to it. You could eat honey from King Tut’s tomb and not get sick!

    1. Hello Everyone! Emily said on her post that her fellow beekeeper was a wound care nurse and that he/she uses raw honey with aquaphor ointment. So I’m guessing raw honey is as good as the Manuka honey. My Mom (79) has no circulation due to diabetes and gets pretty bad ulcers (she already had one of her toes amputated :o(). As someone else said, Manuka honey is really expensive (for me). A prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.

      Wishing everyone a Holiday Season filled with Peace, Love, Happiness, Blessings and much HEALTH… Namaste!

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘2044752375 which is not a hashcash value.

    2. I GOT A QUESTION, MY EMAIL IS [email protected]


      1. I don’t see any way this could work. When you eat honey, it’s digested in your digestive system. No honey goes directly into the blood. Even if the honey could go into the bloodstream, sugar attracts and binds water. It doesn’t attract more sugar.

      2. I have mild diabetes. I accidently discovered that lemon balm tea lowers my sugar. I told my doctor & he looked on the computer while I was talking. He turned to me & said “It does say lemon balm is good for diabetes.” It is an herb. A handful of leaves&quart of H2o heated.

  38. The only “sugar” that I consume, if at all, is raw, unheated, organic honey πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It’s so good. It doesn’t cause my body any problems…and I really do believe it has some sort of healing properties for the body πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Plus, I love to mix it with some organic peanut butter and organic, shredded coconut. It’s a nice treat πŸ™‚

  39. I have used both regular (raw) honey and Manukah honey for healing. We have some of the Manukah on hand for emergencies, especially for large wounds and for burns, because it hydrates while taking away the oxygen of all the bacteria. The reason Manukah is “better” (and yes it is, at least imo) is because the bees feed on the manukah flower, which grows only in NZ. The flowers are used for medicinal purposes, too. πŸ™‚ But the honey is a miracle thing.

    Personal, first hand story. I had a friend who had a major groin hernia. It was removed, but they had to do a lot of reconstructive stuff with wire mesh and such, to keep his “bits and pieces” all inside. The wound was huge – about 4 inches across. I could almost get all four of my fingers inside it. They stapled him and gave him the standard antibiotics (he’s a heart patient). After six weeks of antibiotics, both oral and ointment, he still had a gaping wound, only now it was infected.

    I went in to the doc with him and asked if he knew about Manukah, and he said no. I asked if there was any reason I should NOT try it. He thought about it quite seriously, wrote down all the information I had, then said go for it. At this point, my friend was told that he would heal but would always have a gaping hole in his side. Not a bad scar – an actual HOLE. Because it hadn’t healed up right. The doc said there was nothing to lose.

    Two weeks later, the wound was closed almost entirely. It had a puckered, nasty looking scar, but there was NO gaping, no hole. That doc now prescribes Manukah to all his post-op patients. True story. πŸ™‚ The wound eventually closed with only a minor scar, basically a lighter colored line that was the original four inches long. But no puckering, no huge nasty stuff, no oozing, no infection.

    All we did was pack the wound with Manukah honey and cover it with the sterile gauze the hospital gave us. We’d tape it on and leave it for 24 hours. Next day we’d do it all again.

    We use Manukah honey on scrapes, scars, warts, burns… just about anything. Just one note about burns – wait for the initial burn to be over with (ie at least 48 hours). The honey, like any other viscous liquid, can lock in the heat, causing the burn to be worse. Once you’ve reached the stage where any blackened skin has come off, and where you are no longer having to pack with cold water and ice, then you put the honey on.

    Note: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I just happen to be extremely accident prone and into natural healing. πŸ™‚ Please don’t take the above as a doctor’s advice… though if you’re stuck and have no hope of medical care, give it a try. Or do it with your doctor’s okay – you may convert him or her!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story – amazing!

      Last year my husband had a bad burn on his hand, and we used honey to heal it, too. It dried non-sticky, and the burn healed surprisingly quickly (it was pretty deep, with a blister over 1 inch long and 1 inch across).

    2. Hi, I really enjoyed your story and would love to learn more about how to treat warts. My grandkids have a couple,, Thank you jamie

    3. Do you think that raw honey with tea tree oil would be similar if that’s the main difference? I want to use it to treat cystic acne but raw honey is much better on my budget being 3 or 4 times cheaper now.

    4. I’ve heard that it is better not to use stainless spoon on honey, use porcelain or plastic spoon instead

      1. I wouldn’t allow a stainless steel spoon to sit in honey, as over time the acidity of the honey would react with and corrode the metal. This is why you won’t find metal honey dippers (which are meant to be left in the honey pot). If someone wanted to leave a dipper in the pot, glass, wood or porcelain would be least reactive. I wouldn’t recommend plastic, as I’m sure that would break down over time as well.

    5. After lacerating one of my toes with a knife (don’t ask) I stopped the bleeding using a coagulant, bandaged it up and got some sleep. About 20 hours later I broke out the med kit to go to work and discovered the cut that started from the tip of my toe went nearly back to the web and reminded me of a fillet of sorts. One toe was, for lack of a better description, 2 toes.

      Right away my interest was in pasting the 2 halves back together, keeping it as clean as possible and giving it time to heal. 96 hours later and I was happy with everything except that I was having trouble keeping both halves motionless so I made a trip to see if I could get a few stitches.

      “Too late” I was told. 12 hours thereabout is the deadline for stitching but I had a Doc look at it anyway since I was there. He asked me about my treatment, confirmed its cleanliness, offered a few pointers and a prescription for some oral antibiotics and offered to take another look 48 hours later that he also passed.

      Which brings me up to date. I expect some tissue loss as the 1/4 inch “flap” hanging from the side of my toe and I am not happy to say I haven’t picked up the prescription (which I will do tomorrow as a back up) but I absolutely believe people should be more responsible for their own health. Tonight I was reminded of honeys antibacterial properties so after my saline soak this evening, I applied some honey between the two halves and hope to lessen tissue loss and most importantly promote accelerate healing. I’ll try to keep you posted on the outcome.

      1. Steve – that must have hurt. Things happen, and yes, it’s a good thing to have an understanding of how to deal with traumatic injuries. You can’t always get to a doctor.

        From personal experience – this spring, while pruning badly overgrown bushes at the neighbor’s place, I nearly cut of the tip of my left index finger. Good news – the pruners were sharp, so it was a clean cut. Bad news – the pruners were sharp, so they went right through the nail and finger tip. Since I didn’t want to alarm the neighbor (she’s older and I didn’t want to freak her out), I let it bleed out into the mulch and buried the evidence, then scrounged a band-aid from the glove compartment. When I got home, I examined it, made sure it was reasonably clean. Very important note, folks, bleeding out is good – it helps to flush debris from the wound. You don’t want to do anything to seal or quick heal the surface if there’s still crap inside. If you can’t get it clean, make sure it can ooze out on its own. Since I had a tidy cut that was well bled, I tacked it down with liquid bandage, and then coated the area with honey. It took quite a while to all grow out (eventually a chunk of finger tip fell off), but now it’s healed cleanly and is no longer tender.

        Watch for signs of infection, like excessive swelling or radiating red lines from the wound area. The honey helps keep the swelling down, too, because it absorbs fluids. Keep me posted, and wishing you speedy healing.

      2. Toe laceration update.

        In my former post I had mentioned lacerating my toe by kicking a knife and some of the events that got me thinking about honey.

        The laceration itself was about an inch and a quarter to inch and one half inches deep and did not cut vertically down the toe but at roughly a 25-35 degree angle cutting off a mere sliver of my toenail at the top but cutting fairly centered at the bottom. I treated it with triple antibiotic cream about 24 hours later cleaning it out, wrapping it and staying off it to heal. In the following 72 hours I changed bandages about twice a day and soaked the foot in a saline solution for about 1 hour at a time removing it only to remove foreign matter.

        This treatment worked…but not quite as I expected. The toe was clean for sure but it was not at all looking like the 2 halves were ever going to heal together and remained quite independent of one another which is what caused me to go to the emergency room for stitches where I was told too much time had passed.

        I was sent away with a tip, such as it needed to dry out before it could really begin to heal so triple antibiotic ointment was working against the healing process and a prescription for oral meds. ($65 by the way) I won’t get into my finances here but save it to say I’m self employed and have spared little in getting my house ready to sell so the money just isn’t there.

        The newest info I can provide since my last post is after spilling a bit of honey in between the 2 halves of my toe and wrapping it up before bed , I allowed it to stay in place about 20 hours before soaking it again in saline. I was fully expecting to see some independent movement between the 2 halves after an hour long soak but this was not the case.

        The toe is now one integrated toe and the scab is beginning to appear all around the cut. I’m amazed at the speed in which this happened. Naturally I can only wonder what would have been the result if I had applied honey a few days earlier.

        Ms Laurie,
        Infection was/is still a major concern. The meds are beyond my budget right now and as much as I wanted to minimally have them on hand as a back up….that’s not going to happen. I have been blessed with exceptional health but I am not too proud to be cautious particularly at 50. So far I have avoided any of the tell tale signs such as fever, burning or redness and closely self monitor. Having served with the Marines (as any Marine will tell you) the feet get extra attention and I am no exception to the rule.

        Happy Independence Day!

        I’ll give it a few days and post an update.

        1. Oo-rah, sir. Thanks for the update, and thank you for your service. My brother was in the Marines, too. He’s in his mid-50s now.

          In addition to wound care, it’s not a bad idea to boost your intake of probiotics and/or probiotic foods. Help crowd out the “bad bugs” by flooding your system with the “good guys”. If you like spicy food, load up on it. Garlic, onions and many other herbs have a natural antibiotic component.

          Elevate the foot for a while in the evenings to help keep the swelling down if you can.

          A couple book you may want to watch for at the library, or when budget allows – “Emergency War Surgery: The Survivalist’s Medical Desk Reference” and “Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook“. Where There is No Doctor is the more handy option for the layperson, with drawings and basic care explanations. Emergency War Medicine is much more detailed and technical. I hope I never need most of the info in it, but it never hurts to be prepared. Husband has EMT training, I’m self-taught. always more to learn.

        2. How does it look now that it’s been nearly a year? I have a cut near my eye and can’t bare the thought of another highly visible scar so I’ve been trying honey as my antibiotic. To soon to tell for me as how well it’s working.