I thought last week was chaotic with me tumbling from one day to another, but this week has been even worst!  Despite working flat, to arrange the Stickler conference taking place on 3-5 November, attending my weekly hydrotherapy class and running my monthly creative write group, I had to take time out for yet another hospital appointment. Having studied the history of medicine I was intrigued to learn that Manuka honey is now being used in hospitals to save limbs, aid the healing of burns, and to treat antibiotic-resistant infections.

Of course the use of honey is not a new idea, the Ancient Egyptian know a thing or two about honey and were the first to recognize honey’s powerful healing properties using it to treat burns and wounds as they are doing today. It is also one of the world’s oldest foods and found in the tomb of Tutankhamen, It is quite certain that the alcoholic fermentation of honey was known to the ancient Egyptians when history began and can be traced in a mash of beer-bread of Eleventh Dynasty date (2000 BC) and it was certainly used in another Egyptian mash of Roman date (1st century AD) found in the Fayum.

Honey was the main sweetener in Egypt – sugar was yet to be defined, with the people of this time valuing honey highly.  It was commonly used as a tribute or payment. Honey was also used to feed sacred animals. Not only used for the preservation of meat, but was also the most widely used medication. Of nine hundred remedies recorded in various papyri, over five hundred were based on honey. As early the sixth dynasty an official named Sebni takes honey on his expedition to the country of the’ negroes’ to exchange it for their goods, and it also featured prominently in religious ceremonies, including offerings to the dead.

In about 1200 BC, King Ramses III offered the gods of the Nile tens of thousands of jars filled with honey, estimated to weigh about fifteen tons.

Beekeeping soon became an ancient activity. It was one of the important minor industries in ancient Egypt and honey is mentioned frequently in the ancient records, the earliest references to it that can be traced being of the Sixth Dynasty. Egyptians learned to cultivate bees and even how to use smoke to drug them so that honey could be collected without paying the price of stings.

I learned that today Manuka honey is a world class wound healer and should be kept in every home medicine cabinet for everything from routine cuts and scrapes to more serious injuries. Its wound healing is thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it has been shown to make wounds heal faster.  It can be used on a kitchen accident or as sunburn to reduce the pain, prevents infection, and helps to help speed up the healing process .because of its amazing healing abilities.

Manuka honey also has potent antibacterial properties. In fact, it is used in hospitals around the world to prevent and combat antibiotic resistant MRSA infections after surgeries in hospital. Today, it is possible to buy possible to Manuka honey bandages with the honey already on the bandage.

A number of people swear by Manuka honey as an effective treatment for acne. This is probably due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying it topically as well as taking it internally may help to keep the complexion healthy, and several studies have found Manuka honey to be effective against fungal infections such as ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot. Apply the honey to the infection several times a day and cover with a bandage.
Inflammation plays a huge role in many different disease processes. The anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka are a big reason that it works so well in wound healing, burn healing, and other health benefits.  We have all recognized that Manuka honey not only soothes your sore throat but it may also fight the bacteria that cause them. When sore throat symptoms appear, try taking several teaspoons of Manuka honey a day and this also applies to dogs too.  By feeding them a teaspoon of Manuka two to three times per day may ease the symptoms associated with kennel cough.
Manuka helps acid reflux symptoms by coating the intestinal tract and esophagus which relieves symptoms and prevents damage from stomach acid., and Manuka may help to alleviate the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, by reducing inflammation and repairing damage. It also encourages the growth of good intestinal bacteria and fights unwanted bacteria. Studies have also found that it may prevent the growth of h. pylori, a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers.

A 2004 study in the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology found that people who ate or sucked on a Manuka product three times a day had lower levels of plaque and bleeding gums due to gingivitis. Manuka may help to fight off several different types of bacteria present in the mouth.

One hospital, The Royal United Hospital in Bath, Avon s now using medical grade Manuka honey and the sterilised larvae of the common green bottle fly to treat patients and their wounds. Doctors say the honey’s high sugar content creates a waterless environment in which the bacteria is unable to survive, while its acidity – due to the presence of the enzyme, glucose oxidase – adds to its unique antibacterial properties.

Unlike supermarket honey, Manuka brands, which are harvested from the native New Zealand Manuka plant, have been sterilised by radiation to kill any lurking bacterial spores.

Kate Purser, of the Royal United Hospital, said: ‘Honey has been used in healing for centuries but these new products have overcome the problems associated with using conventional honey and bring it into a modern healthcare setting.  Dorothy Yeo, from Bath, who recently began using honey dressings on her ulcer, said: ‘I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere and the pain made it hard to sleep. ‘But now I’m able to sleep without tablets, and new skin is forming over my ulcer. I’m very pleased and I’d recommend it to anyone.’

So perhaps now when you see a jar of Manuka honey you will look at it in a new light, and I hope that next week will be a less hectic week for me.

About Wendy Hughes

Wendy turned to writing, in 1989, when ill-health and poor vision forced her into early medical retirement. Since then she has published 26 nonfiction books, and over 2000 articles. Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as The Lady, Funeral Service Journal, On the Road, 3rd Stone, Celtic Connections, Best of British, and Guiding magazine. She has a column in an America/Welsh newspaper for ex-pats on old traditions and customs in Wales. Her books include many on her native Wales, Anglesey Past and Present, The Story of Brecknock, Brecon, a pictorial History of the Town, Carmarthen, a History and Celebration and Tales of Old Glamorgan, and a book on Walton on Thames in the Images of England series, a company history and two books on the charity Hope Romania. She has also co-authored two story/activity books for children. Her latest books are: Haunted Worthing published in October 2010, a new colour edition of The Story of Pembrokeshire published in March 2011, and Shipwrecks of Sussex in June 2011 and Not a Guide to Worthing in 2014. She is working on a book entitled A-Z of Curious Sussex which will be published in 2016 Wendy also works with clients to bring their work up to publishable standard and is currently working on an autobiography with a lady that was married to a very famous 1940’s travel writer. Wendy has spent many years campaigning and writing on behalf of people affected by Stickler Syndrome, a progressive genetic connective tissue disorder from which she herself suffers. She founded the Stickler Syndrome Support Group and raises awareness of the condition amongst the medical profession, and produces the group’s literature, and has written the only book on the condition, Stickler The Elusive Syndrome, and has also contributed to a DVD on the condition, Stickler syndrome: Learning the Facts. She has also writing three novels, Sanctimonious Sin, a three generation saga set in Wales at the turn of the century, Power That Heal set in the Neolithic period entitled Powers that Heal, and a semi biographical book entitled New Beginnings which deals with two generations coping with blindness and a genetic condition. She has also had a handful of short stories published, and in her spare time is working on several at the moment. She also gives talks on a variety of subjects including Writing and Placing Articles, Writing Local History, Writing as Therapy, Writing your first novel, etc, and runs workshops on the craft of writing – both fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, and a member of the Society of Authors.