Healing Honey for Wounds

February 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Some people suffer wounds that just won't heal. To solve the problem, doctors are going back in time to find a solution that helps heal everything from diabetic sores to burns. Josh Pennington has mowed the lawn more times in his 63 years than he can count, but the routine chore nearly killed him when he hit a stone that wounded his leg. That wound wouldn't heal.

"I do a lot of hunting and fishing outdoors where I could possibly get it infected, so that was always on my mind," Pennington told Ivanhoe.

His wound was so deep, it exposed his bone -- and nothing he tried for three years would fix it. To solve the problem, doctors at Georgetown University tried a new bandage infused with honey.

"As long as it's clean and it's healthy and it's showing progress, I'm with the program," Pennington said.

Medi-Honey is a highly-absorbent, seaweed-based bandage soaked with a special kind of honey produced only in Australia and New Zealand. The honey is concentrated and provides an ideal environment for wound healing.

"It kills bacteria with some of the enzymes it has in it," Christopher Attinger, M.D., Chairman of the Division of Wound Healing at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., told Ivanhoe.

The acid in the bandage also helps lower the pH level in chronic wounds for better healing. Unlike antibiotics, the honey poses no toxic effects or risks of resistance.

"We're starting to use manuka honey as a first-line drug as opposed to waiting to see whether other dressings work, because we've had excellent success with it," Dr. Attinger said.

In just months, Pennington's wound shrunk 95 percent.

"Power to the bees," Pennington said.

He couldn't be happier that this sweet new treatment gave him his life and use of his leg back.

Researchers believe the Medi-Honey bandage may also protect wounds from infections like MRSA. A box of the bandages costs $50.



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