There's strong evidence that the sweet sticky stuff has antibacterial properties that can speed up the healing process
It soothes sore throats and tastes great in tea. But honey is more than a sweet addition to your diet — it's also a powerful way to help wounds heal.
In a new British Journal of Surgery report, researchers looked at 44 reviews of wound treatment strategies for a variety of injuries. Among the most interesting findings: There was strong evidence showing that honey can cut healing time when applied to mild to moderate burns.
That's something our ancestors may have already known, since honey has been used for healing since ancient times. Between 50 A.D. and 70 A.D., the Greek physician Dioscorides wrote in his medical treatise De Materia Medica that honey was good for treating ulcers. The Edwin Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian medical manual written around 1600 B.C., recommends using honey, usually combined with oil, to treat everything from head wounds to a broken nose to a dislocated jawbone.
"Honey has antibacterial properties, although ancient peoples didn't understand that," says Arlene Shaner, reference librarian for historical collections at the New York Academy of Medicine, which holds the Edwin Smith Papyrus. "But they understood that honey was soothing or healing."
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