Honey, this mysterious product produced by bees, heals infected wounds which are recalcitrant with antibiotics in record time. Whether it is burns, varicose ulcers, surgical incisions or injuries resulting from diabetes, the results obtained are miraculous…!
From the Pharaohs pharmacopoeia
￼This remedy, which appeared in the pharmacopoeia of the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago, is today rediscovered by the medical profession, struggling with microbes that resist most common antibiotics. In addition to its antibacterial effect, honey has several other virtues which contribute to increasing its use in modern medicine. This is the case in Australia, New Zealand and Europe in particular, where a sterile preparation intended for wound care, called Medihoney, has been approved by the European Union.
The team of Dr. Arne Simon, pediatric oncologist at the University of Bonn, Germany, applied the golden substance for the first time in 2002 to the postoperative wound of a 12-year-old child who had had a tumor removed malignant (lymphoma) in the abdomen. As in all young patients receiving chemotherapy, the wound was slow to heal and was even infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which threatened to spread into the bloodstream and cause death of the child given weakened immune systems in people who are undergoing chemotherapy. "With the honey, the wound healed within 48 hours and the boy was then able to leave the hospital," says Dr. Simon on the phone from Bonn. " Since then, we decided to study the effect of Medihoney more systematically. "
Impressed by the results they obtained in various circumstances with Medihoney, the German researchers saw fit to confirm them in a large multicenter study which they are currently setting in motion. They therefore seek the participation of health professionals specializing in wound care and working in various hospitals around the world, to whom they will send software allowing them to collect their clinical observations on the use of Medihoney compared to more conventional treatments.
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Antimicrobial and healing
The antimicrobial activity of honey praised by German researchers is exerted primarily by osmosis due to the very high sugar concentration of the syrupy substance, which greatly exceeds that of the surrounding tissues and bacteria, which then empty out. their liquid content. By inducing the migration of exudate - the liquid that oozes through the walls of the vessels - towards the surface of the wound, the osmotic effect creates a wet and not very adherent interface between the dressing and the wound, which facilitates the change bandages. This procedure becomes less painful for the patient and does not damage the newly formed layers of skin.
In addition, an enzyme, glucose oxidase, introduced by bees into honey at the time of its production, synthesizes hydrogen peroxide continuously and in small quantities, nevertheless sufficient to kill the germs without however destroying the cells of the skin, unlike the occasional application of an antiseptic which, moreover, will lose its antimicrobial power over time.
The phytochemicals present in the nectar of certain flowers which the bees gather also contribute to the bactericidal action of honey, which manifests itself in infected tissues located deep down. This is why the floral source of honey is of great importance because certain honeys, in particular those resulting from the nectar of two species of Leptospermum (manuka and jellybush), shrubs of New Zealand and Australia, can be up to 100 times more active against microorganisms than other honeys due to their particularly high content of these phytochemicals, says Dr. Simon.
Where the antibiotic fails ... honey heals!
￼The antibacterial effect of Leptospermum honey is effective in fighting various bacteria, for example MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Pseudomonas spp., Against which antibiotics are ineffective.
So far, no resistance has been reported from bacteria of clinical interest to honey, "probably due to the unspecific nature of its bactericidal action, which makes it an attractive alternative to antibiotics", underlines Dr. Simon.
￼ Besides killing microorganisms, honey has various other interesting effects. It reduces edema and tissue inflammation. It dislodges and repels dead tissue. It acts like a deodorant since it removes this unpleasant odor which emanates from certain infected wounds and which handicaps patients enormously, to the point where they no longer dare to leave their homes.
In addition, its cost is far from prohibitive, unlike that of silver-based dressings, which are part of the new treatments used in wound care. A tube of Medihoney can be used to make several dressings and sells for as little as 13 euros.
￼ Despite these multiple beneficial effects, Dr. Simon advises against using honey bought in food stores to treat wounds, burns or live wounds because this honey occasionally contains spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, responsible for botulism. It is also for this reason that we must avoid giving honey to very young children, because once in their immature digestive system, the spores will be able to reactivate and secrete toxins capable of causing serious discomfort, underlines the doctor.
Honey preparations from Leptospermum like Medihoney have undergone sterilization by gamma irradiation. This irradiation does not affect their antimicrobial activity and makes their use safer in the clinic. These preparations are also subject to quality control which ensures the uniformity of their antibacterial power.
Even if the curative effect of honey mixtures like Medihoney is indisputable and powerful, Dr. Simon does not recommend that it be used in the first place to treat an open and infected wound since the release of hydrogen peroxide that it induced is not immediate. “For the first 48 hours, treat infected wounds with a real antiseptic. Then, we continue the treatment with honey [Medihoney], whose sustained effect is very beneficial. When changing the dressing, all you do is rinse the wound with a sterile Ringer's solution [a solution of distilled water containing various salts at a concentration similar to that of body fluids], ”warns the German specialist.
￼In the Quebec medical community, the curative properties of honey, and especially preparations designed specifically for wound care, seem to be rather unknown, partly because these mixtures are not available in Canada. Some specialists have nevertheless already used it successfully. Lincoln D'Souza, clinical nurse at the McGill University Health Center, claims to use it for four to five patients per year, most often at the request of these same patients who have successfully obtained a preparation abroad. On every occasion, he has achieved excellent results. “We don't use it regularly because it's not available. If it becomes, it will have its place in our pharmacopoeia,
The Medihoney is currently available in most pharmacies in France, Germany, Austria and Great Britain as well as in Australia, where this product comes from.
Isabelle Reeves, professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec), knows the mechanism by which honey leads to the healing of wounds. However, she hesitates to replace it with new dressings based on silver nanocrystals which, in her eyes, represent the treatment par excellence.
The duty: www.ledevoir.com
Used in therapy since antiquity
￼Since Antiquity, honey has been known to be an effective antibacterial, the benefits are innumerable and different depending on the type of honey considered.
The Edwin Smith papyrus was discovered by Edwin Smith in Thebes in 1862. It is the oldest known document in the world dealing with surgery, mentioning various surgical acts, closing with the first known descriptions of sutures of chest wounds, meninges , bones of the skull, the external surface of the cerebral cortex, cerebrospinal fluid and intracranial pulsation.
In this document dating from 1700 BC. JC, are also proposed preventive and curative treatments using antibiotics such as honey and moldy bread (penecilin was already used without them knowing how to isolate it ...) to fight against infections, stopping bleeding with raw meat, and immobilization of injuries to the head and spinal cord.
- We also know that Hyppocrates advised honey to treat wounds and fight infections and that the Greeks already considered honey for its multiple medicinal properties.
- Recently recognized in therapy
- ￼After being put aside as an antiseptic with the arrival of antibiotics from the chemical pharmacopoeia, honey is back in force in Western medicine.
- Recently, Western medicine has taken an interest in honey for therapeutic use and has demonstrated its properties through numerous studies. Among these, we can note those carried out by the University of Bonn in Germany as well as in CHU (Limoge,…). Professor Descottes, former head of the visceral surgery department of Limoges, used honey in some of his treatments.
- Its effectiveness on certain types of burns is attested: it accelerates the healing of tissues. It is also used on other types of wounds, with some effectiveness, especially with thyme honey. Faced with the therapeutic interest of honey, certain laboratories incorporate it into their products.
- In addition honey is hydrophilic, which is an advantage over treatments that may require this product.
- See on this subject the article already published: capacity of honey to cure.
- Antibiotic properties
- Honey contains two proteins which explain its antibiotic properties:
- inhibins, which slow or inhibit the reproduction of bacteria;
- defensins (proteins found in various vertebrates and invertebrates, including insects) and which play a role in humans, in the immune system. A malfunction of this protein causes chronic diseases, including Crohn's disease.
- The bee produces it and adds it to the honey in which the defensins seem to maintain their immune properties, to the benefit of the bee larvae.
- The Dutch have recently shown that these defensins are the most natural antibiotic substance in honey. It has been shown in vitro active against Bacillus subtilis or against strains of Escherichia coli multiresistant to antibiotics, or against staphylococci responsible for nosocomial infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus) resistant to methicillin, Pseudomonas aeruginosa resistant to ciprofloxacin and Enterococcus faecium resistant to vancomycin. All these microbes were killed by 10 to 20% of honey in their culture medium (1 or 2 milliliters of honey for 10 milliliters of bacterial culture), or by 40% of sugar extracted from honey.
- Honey toxicity
- The honeys of certain regions of the world can, according to the flora gathered by bees, prove to be toxic during their consumption by humans. Very rare poisonings have been reported since Antiquity. They are due to the presence of andrometoxin, toxin from the nectar of certain varieties of azaleas, kalmias; or colchicine, in the case of colchicus honey.
- Honey taken orally (by mouth) is very good for all pharyngeal discomfort. But there is a very important limitation: you should never give honey before the age of one year. Before the age of one, honey can cause proliferation in the digestive tract of children who are not mature. Bees collect honey from flowers that contain dust. They therefore take a lot of elements. And among them, two are dangerous: clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which when it passes through an immature digestive tract, can multiply and give a toxin which passes into the blood and becomes dangerous. According to data from the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, there are regular cases of botulism in young children by ingestion of honey.
- Main sources:
- Futura Sciences: www.futura-sciences.com
- Le Devoir: www.ledevoir.com
- Health Passport: www.passeportsante.net
- Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org
- Jean-Paul Thouny
- Energy therapist, Voiron (Isère) France
- Email: jean-paul @ thouny fr
- Website: www.jean-paul.thouny.fr