Medical-grade honey providing sweet results for patients at Kaiser Permanente Fresno

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Patients at a Fresno medical center, who are recovering from wounds, are getting treated with some sweetness. (KFSN)

Patients at a Fresno medical center, who are recovering from wounds, are getting treated with some sweetness.

Marsha Cortes of Visalia is happy to talk about her recovery from a bad spill on her bike. She was on a cycling trip in Tahoe when "I got tangled up and went over my handle bars; ended up with some good road rash," said Cortes.

Her leg took the worst of it, and when she returned home to get treatment from her doctor at Kaiser Permanente Fresno, she was surprised at what was about to be put on her wound: medical-grade honey.

Kaiser Permanente began offering honey therapy about two years ago, as one of its many options for wound care. But unlike some other treatments, the honey is a natural antibiotic.

"It seemed to keep the bacteria away so wounds were not getting infected," said Nancy Jameson, RN at Kaiser Permanente Fresno.

And that speeds up the healing process. Cortes took pictures because she couldn't believe how fast new skin developed in just days.

"The wound was healing quickly, more quickly than the other road rash I had on my elbow," said Cortes.

Medical-grade honey is made from Manuka honey by bees that pollinate a certain plant, so it's not the clover honey you have in your pantry. Honey has been used for more than 2,000 years for its medicinal purposes. Manuka honey has more healing properties and stimulates the body's own recovery process.

You can buy Manuka honey over the counter at most pharmacies but it hasn't gone through the sterilization process to make medical grade, enhancing its healing properties. That's why Kaiser Permanente recommends seeing your doctor before you try a honey therapy.

Patients who get the treatment usually ask, "Can I taste the honey?"

"People can taste it. It doesn't have the best sweet taste as honey does," said Jameson.

But the honey therapy has some pretty sweet results.

"The wound on my leg looks great. It's healed up," said Cortes.

Medical-grade honey can be used to treat wounds related to diabetes, ulcers, surgery and most lacerations. Scientists are also doing more research to see if eating honey can prevent bacterial infections.
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