Life & Style | Health

Honeyed healing

This sweet syrup does more than add taste to bread. It can also be used as a salve to treat cuts and bruises

  • By Meera Manek
  • Published: 23:51 August 22, 2008
  • Unwind

  • Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • Honey has more benefits than you know

When I cut my finger recently, I had just heard about the healing properties of Manuka honey and had fortunately bought a jar of it.

So, instead of spreading the sweet and sticky syrup on my toast or adding it to my porridge, I applied a layer of Manuka honey to the cut and wrapped it tightly, wondering whether it would really make a difference.

From a tale in Greek mythology — where Zeus' life was saved by bees feeding him honey — to Egyptians who treated wounds with honey some 4,000 years ago, the liquid has been used as medication for centuries in many cultures. Even Ayurveda mentions that honey, or madhu, promotes healing.


Medical professionals have now turned their attention to honey, which contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic with antibacterial properties.

Dr Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand found that honey also has a high sugar content — a property that helps it absorb moisture from wounds — and contains propolis, which can kill bacteria.

However, according to Molan, honey used on a wound must be of medical grade and appropriately sterilised. Only certain honeys are effective in treating wounds.

In a study of 345 honeys in New Zealand, Molan found that 36 per cent had no antibacterial property.

The most effective healing honey is produced by bees that gather pollen from the Manuka bush — hence Manuka honey.
Manuka honey helps heal skin ulcers, wounds and burns.
Studies have shown its effectiveness in relieving stomach ulcer symptoms, gastritis and sore throat while also boosting the immune system.

Luckily for me, using the off-the-shelf Manuka honey had no adverse effect on my finger and a week later, the cut healed naturally.

— Meera Manek is a UK-based freelance writer

Unwind with Gulf News' weekly feature publication

Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Russell Hemmings
    Life the Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising


More from friday

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from aquarius

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

  • claudia (4)
    And the InsideOut Home Of The Year winner is...

    Claudia Baliyan's apartment in Dubai Marina impressed the judges. Here's why

More from insideout