Honey as healer

Ancient healer effective in treating infected skin lesions

Jem Bonnievale was 15 when he contracted meningococcal septicemia caused by an infection of Neisseria meningitidis. By the time the British teenager reached the hospital, he had multiple purple batches on his legs and fingers, which rapidly progressed to tissue death. Both legs were amputated below the knee as well as fingers on both hands. He endured multiple skin grafts and suffered for months with non-healing infected sores. His case was extreme and difficult to treat because of the severe pain it caused. "I can't even begin to explain how painful it was just to have a small piece of dressing changed. The nurses tried everything to make it easier, like changing the dressing in the bath, but it was agony," said Jem. Over the next six months the success of the grafts was variable and the sores showed heavy growth of Pseudomonas and Staphlococcus aureus. All traditional treatments were tried without success.

When nothing else had any effect on the chronic infected sores, clinical nurse Cheryl Dunford and her colleagues turned to honey. Dressing pads impregnated with sterilized active manuka honey from New Zealand were applied to one leg and a traditional dressing to the other leg. Within a few days, the honey dressed leg showed a reduction of wound bacteria. Both legs were then treated with the honey dressings. Within 10 weeks, all lesions were healed. Jem was released from the hospital, fitted with artificial legs and is getting on with his life.

The use of honey as medicine is mentioned in the most ancient written records. Today scientists and doctors are rediscovering the effectiveness of honey as a wound treatment. Dr. Peter Molan, Professor of Biochemisty at Waikato University, New Zealand has been on the forefront of honey research for 20 years. He heads the university's Honey Research Unit, which is internationally recognized for its expertise in the a

Contact: Mary Ann Johnson
Zuckerman Fernandes & Partners

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