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Originally published March 21 2008

FDA Quietly Acknowledges Medical Benefits of Honey

by Liz Walker

(NaturalNews) In an Associated Press story dated December 27th 2007, it was revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had quietly approved a line of honey-based wound dressings during the fall of that year. Derma Sciences, Inc., a New Jersey manufacturer of medical wound and skin care supplies, was then able to market their MEDIHONEY product. MEDIHONEY is a line of wound dressings consisting chiefly of an absorbent alginate (which is a component of brown algae) pad, covered in Manuka (Leptospermum) honey.

Using honey to treat wounds is nothing new; even ancient civilizations used it in this manner. However, this is the sort of thing that usually gets relegated to "folk healing". It seems scientifically obvious: honey is very acidic (antibacterial), and it produces its own hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluid which drains from a wound! The extremely high sugar content of honey means it contains very little water. So, it draws the pus and fluid from the wound, thereby speeding the healing process. Furthermore, the honey contains powerful germ-fighting phytochemicals from the plants that produced the pollen harvested by the honeybees. Having already been accepted by the overseas mainstream medical community for some time, North America finally caught on. MEDIHONEY is, according to Derma Sciences' website, "the first honey-based product cleared for use by Health Canada and also the first cleared for use by the FDA."

Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is a New Zealand tree, related to the Tea Tree (Melaleuca). Much like tea tree oil, native New Zealanders have taken advantage of the Manuka's natural medicine for generations. It turned out that the honey produced from this plant's pollen has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Doctors found it very useful for treating burn and injury patients in Iraq. Widespread applications include treatment of surgical sites, trauma wounds, skin grafts, burns, and skin sores.

Doctors are even finding that Manuka honey works on drug-resistant infections. As pharmaceutical antibiotics become less and less effective, natural cures may be taken more seriously. Ironically, they have also discovered that these honey dressings can prevent the development of MRSA in an open wound (See Natural News Article Honeybees and Almonds, Pigs and MRSA: The Deadly Connections for another story linking MRSA and honeybees). It's very disturbing to consider the fact that we may be killing off the very methods by which we can defeat our pharmaceutically resistant 21st century superbugs!

While browsing Derma Sciences' website, I noticed that they also manufacture a product which incorporates "antimicrobial silver" into wound dressings. This product, ALGICELL Ag, has also been approved by the FDA. Could they be getting around to recognizing the benefits of colloidal silver, at long last? Perhaps even the FDA shall have to re-examine its position on nutraceuticals and holistic treatments, as it's becoming glaringly evident that Big Pharma doesn't have all the answers.


Honey Makes Medical Comeback (MSNBC)

Honey to Heal (Biotech Learning Hub NZ)

About the author

Liz Walker enjoys feeding people organic produce, promoting Community Supported Agriculture and natural health, exposing consumer and cultural rip-offs, hanging out with animals, and playing music. She and her friend Au write about green living and some of the above topics at

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