Honey has been used in food and medicines in many cultures since ancient times. It is known to exert a soothing effect when applied to open wounds, and has been used successfully to treat burns, ulcers and infections in humans and animals. As concerns about antibiotic resistance grow, the use of natural infection-fighting products like Manuka honey is increasingly mainstream.
What is Manuka honey?
When it comes to healing, not all types of honey are equal. The beneficial properties of honey depend largely on what the bees producing it are feeding on. ‘Monofloral’ honey is produced by bees that forage predominantly on one plant.
Manuka honey is a monofloral honey derived from the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), which grows on the East coast of Australia and in New Zealand. Manuka honey is a darker-coloured honey, and studies have shown that darker-coloured honeys are richer in antioxidants.
Manuka honey contains the compound methylglyoxal (MGO), often referred to as Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). This is responsible for its unique antibiotic properties.
How does it help heal?
Manuka honey is used predominantly to aid wound healing. When applied to wounds, Manuka honey provides a moist wound environment and a protective barrier, preventing bacterial infection. It also helps remove damaged and dead cells, which – if left behind – provide a medium for bacteria to grow on, perpetuate inflammation and delay wound healing.
Manuka honey has several advantages over topical antibiotics. It acts locally on the wound, so there are no systemic side effects as there can be with antibiotics. As well, its effectiveness is not reduced by antibiotic-resistant organisms. And it is non-toxic if ingested.
What are the health benefits?
Manuka honey is a natural product that:
How do I use Manuka honey?
Manuka honey can be applied directly onto the wound bed, or on to dressings that are applied to wounds. PAW Manuka Wound Gel is a sterile, medical-grade wound dressing made from Manuka honey. It contains natural oils and waxes designed to reduce stinging associated with application of pure honey, and can be used on wounds in dogs, cats, horses and other pets.
Before applying Manuka honey, wounds should be flushed (but not scrubbed) with sterile saline. A layer of approximately 3mm of PAW Manuka Wound Gel can be applied to the wound, followed by a non-adhesive dressing. The frequency of dressing changes varies depending on the nature and severity of the wound. At the time of dressing change, remove the gel by flushing with sterile saline.
PAW Manuka Wound Gel can be applied directly to open wounds, cuts, burns and grazes. It’s the ideal item for your first-aid box, whether you’re at home or on the go. But, as always, if you’re at all unsure, speak to your vet about the best course of action.