using Manuka Honey to aid Wound Healing

Manuka Honey is known for its rich antibacterial properties, which has made it somewhat of a superfood in the realm of general everyday wellness. However, these properties have been shown to be so strong that these uses have extended to the world of medicine.

All around the world, doctors specifically request the use of Manuka Honey in wound and burn treatment, as this is known to increase not only the speed of healing but also reducing the risk of infection and scarring.

Why Manuka Honey Is So Effective In Wound Treatment?

Manuka Honey gets its strong antibacterial properties from its high levels of methylglyoxal or MGO. These levels are only possible due to Manuka Honey's unique creation process. Bees pollenate a specific species of flower known as the Manuka Flower, which is found only in certain places in New Zealand. The nectar from these flowers, when used to create honey, result in extremely high levels of MGO.

MGO has been shown in numerous studies to be an effective antibacterial agent, particularly in the treatment of wounds. 

For example, this study conducted in 2017 concluded that "In addition to bacterial growth inhibition, glyoxal (GO) and MGO from Manuka honey can enhance wound healing and tissue regeneration by their immunomodulatory property."

Some other interesting studies:

  • Manuka Honey helps inhibit and treat MRSA infections [1, 2, 3]
  • Manuka Honey effective in healing eyelid wounds [4]
  • Manuka Honey successful in treating diabetic foot ulcers [5]
  • Success with 40 patients treating wounds with Manuka Honey [6]
  • Manuka Honey a potential agent for treating diabetic wounds [7]

How do you use it?

When applying honey on wounds, a few precautions should be made before you start:

  • Make sure your hands are clean
  • Have sterile gauze and cotton tips 
  • Have a bandage ready to cover the dressed wound.
  • Make sure you are in a clean and quiet setting - for example, a doctors clinic or a clean bathroom, rather than a gym or by the side of a football field.

The next thing you want to do is apply the honey to the wound. Follow these steps:

FOR BASIC SCRAPES AND CUTS

  • Clean the wound first. You can use an alcohol based antiseptic or basic Dettol.
  • Using clean hands or applicators, apply the Manuka Honey to the dressing first, rather than directly to the skin (this is because honey is messy to deal with, so applying it to the skin first can be difficult).
  • Apply the dressing to the skin.
  • Cover the dressing with a clean piece of gauze or bandage. Occlusive dressings are best to avoid the honey leaking.
  • Replace the dressing every few days, or whenever the fluids from the wound starts to saturate the dressing.

For burns

(It's important to note that only minor burns should be treated at home. For serious burns, see a doctor or hospital as soon as possible)

  • Get the patient to an area that is safe and quiet. Preferably far away from the place they suffered the burn.
  • Wash the burn gently. Do not use ice or ice water. Cold water from a tap will be fine.
  • Gently pour a small amount of honey over the wound. It is best not to touch the wound directly, as burns result in very sensitive skin, especially if blisters are present.
  • Place a piece of gauze over the wound, and repeat three or four times or until the wound is bandaged and covered. 
  • Do not pop and burn blisters and peel away the skin. Leave the burn covered with honey for several days, and monitor the pain. If the pain reduces, let the dressing sit and only change if it becomes saturated or starts to leak. If the pain starts to increase, see a doctor.

In both cases it is also recommended that you use a jar of Manuka Honey that is new or is kept specifically for wound treatment. Do not use a jar of Manuka Honey that you or others have been eating out of and dipping potentially contaminated utensils in.

Using manuka honey products specifically for wound treatment

One of our top recommended brands of Manuka Honey, Comvita, also makes products that are designed specifically for treating wounds.

 For example, their MediHoney Wound Gel is designed for household use and a great way to dress wounds to encourage faster healing and lower infection risk. 

One thing that is interesting about Comvita is they are also a supplier of medical honey to hospitals in New Zealand and other countries, which is a testament to the purity and safety of their honey for medicinal use.

The FDA has also approved Manuka Honey for use in treating wounds, which shows how effective it can be when used properly.

Manuka Honey is sometimes considered better for wound treatment, as it's a natural treatment that is less likely for patients to be allergic to, and is much harder for bacteria to grow resistance to. Even nursing schools are now taught in New Zealand that Manuka Honey should be considered and encouraged as a method of dressing wounds.

Where to get good quality Manuka Honey for dressing wounds?

Our Where To Buy page is a resource that lists our top recommended Manuka Honey brands and where to buy them. 

Who are we?

I'm Erin, and my husband and I have been raising bees in Northern New Zealand for over 30 years. We no longer raise bees on Manuka flowers, but it remains one of our favorites, and we eat it daily, among other honeys like Kamahi and Rata. Since Manuka has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, we thought we should educate people on the true benefits of Manuka and how to find quality Manuka honey. Above is our guide, written by us and designed by our brilliant computer whiz of a son, Byron. We hope you find it helpful! Learn more about us here.