Honey for Healing Cuts and Burns

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Natural Remedy- Honey helps speed healing of cuts burns and wounds
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I’m often amazed at things that our generation thinks we’ve discovered, only to find out that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had been using them for years. An excellent example of this is using honey for healing wounds.

I’d seen some studies recently on using honey in hospitals for helping wounds and burns heal and I’d also known veterinarians who had used it on animals, so I started looking in to it more.

I also mentioned it to several people, and the ones old enough to remember more than a couple decades ago remembered using honey as a remedy. What’s old is new again, I suppose. I’d personally used honey internally for digestive problems and mixed with cinnamon during illnesses, but am glad to see all the research on topical ways to use it for healing wounds as well.

Research on Honey for Healing

Often, it seems that there is an unspoken divide between natural remedies and conventional medicine, but honey bridges this gap. There is a great deal of research supporting the use of certain types of honey in a medical setting, and it has been a natural remedy for centuries.

Research is even showing the ability of honey to help in cases of MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus), which are resistant to antibiotics.

This study explains:

“Honey works differently from antibiotics, which attack the bacteria’s cell wall or inhibit intracellular metabolic pathways. Honey is hygroscopic, meaning it draws moisture out of the environment and thus dehydrates bacteria. Its sugar content is also high enough to hinder the growth of microbes, but the sugar content alone is not the sole reason for honey’s antibacterial properties.

When honey is diluted with water, reducing its high sugar content, it still inhibits the growth of many different bacterial species that cause wound infections.

In addition to its antibacterial properties, medical honey hastens the healing of wounds through its anti-inflammatory effects. The amount of wound exudate is related to the activity of the local inflammatory process, in particular in wounds, which are colonized or infected with bacteria. Thus, the anti-inflammatory action of honey reduces oedema and the amount of exudate by down regulating the inflammatory process. It also reduces pain, as the pain in wounds results from the nerve endings being sensitized by prostaglandins produced in the process of inflammation, as well from the pressure on tissues resulting from oedema.”

Research has also shown the benefit of using certain types of honey when dressing burns. An especially compelling study showed that none of the nine most common organisms found in burn wounds could survive even a 30% concentration of raw honey. Another study showed that 28 of strains of bacteria that are most-resistant to antibiotics were all eliminated by raw honey.

Honey has been used in a medical setting for the following:

  • As a salve on burns to reduce rates of infection and speed healing
  • On amputee patients to speed recovery and reduce risk of complications
  • In deep or puncture wounds- honey is used to fill the wound as it heals
  • On bedsores
  • On surgical wounds to speed healing
  • On puncture wounds
  • To fill abscesses after they have been drained to prevent complications

I know several midwives who recommend honey to patients to speed healing after a c-section.

My Personal Experience

My husband recently got a pretty severe cut on his foot. It had visibly cut through a vein and took a long time to stop bleeding. For several days after he cut it, it would re-open and bleed if he did too much activity.

I wish I’d remembered to try honey right away, but as soon as I remembered, I applied it to his foot. By the next morning, some of the redness was gone and after two days, it had closed up and was no longer bleeding if he moved around too much. I now also use raw manuka honey in place of antibiotic ointment for all cuts/burns at our house.

How to Use Honey for Healing

Regular raw honey can be used for healing, but a specific type has been shown to be most effective: Manuka Honey. It is made by bees after they pollinate the manuka (tea tree) flowers, giving it additional antibacterial properties.

It is important to only use raw (and preferably manuka) honey for wounds and burns. Regular honey found in most grocery stores has been heated and sometimes chemically altered, making it ineffective for wounds.

Regular raw/manuka honey can be used and I keep both of those on hand, but I also keep a specific medical-grade honey on hand since it has been verified to have a high concentration of manuka for additional antibacterial properties. I have the following three things at our house for burns and cuts:

  1. Medihoney Gel for burns and cuts
  2. Medihoney wound paste
  3. Medihoney wound dressings for big wounds

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Have you ever used honey as a natural remedy? How did you use it?

Research supports the use of honey for healing cuts, burns, puncture wounds because of its natural antibacterial properties.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


68 responses to “Honey for Healing Cuts and Burns”

  1. Mandy Avatar

    Hey Katie! When my twins were born prematurely, they had UVCs for their medications and TPN. They were unable to receive pumped milk for the first few days. TPN is pretty hard on veins and both girls ended up with burns from the TPN just below their navels from where the catheters leaked. They used Medihoney patches and they worked great. When our sickest baby came home, she was on a lot of support and they sent tubes of Medihoney and the patches hone with her. We’ve used it for so many things and it works great. She had a G-tube that would sometimes get red around it, and the honey would resolve it within hours. It’s amazing stuff! I wasn’t aware you could get it personally, outside a medical setting. Thank you!

  2. Megan Goddard Avatar
    Megan Goddard

    What would you recommend for ammonia burns from cloth dipering? I have FINALLY figured out how to rid the ammonia (unfortunatly its not natural) but my little one has raised bumps from the cloth diapers….would honey help this? Desperately seeking an effective treatment. He is 7mo and we usually cd 100%. However, taking a break to heal his skin and I want to avoid chemicals. Coconut oil amd other natural mixes are not helping. Red, dry and slightly raised. Poor lo. Have also used oatmeal bath and air/sushine.
    Help Katie!

  3. Emma Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    I have Bee Vital Manuka Honey Active 5, from Australia. It doesn’t say it is raw though. Can I use this or should I look for raw honey?
    Congratulations on the launch of your cook book too, so exciting for you!
    Light & happiness

  4. Sara Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Can you please summarize what the difference are between the three Medihoey products are?

  5. Brandy Avatar

    For seasonal allergies
    Kefir may help. I used to not be able to breathe.now it’s gone

    I was wondering what everyone uses for wound cream when they want the wound left open but don’t want sticky honey all over the bedding at nighttime ….?

  6. Sara Gordon Avatar
    Sara Gordon

    Hi Katie,
    Can you please summarize what the difference are between the three Medihoey products are?

    1. Gina Avatar

      I would love to know the answer to this as well. As I was reading the description on Amazon it looks like the wound dressings are clearly for the larger open wounds, but I can’t really seem to differentiate the gel vs the paste. I will definitely start using this. I’ve been wanting to find a natural alternative to Neosporin for my family. TIA!

  7. Kelly Larsen Avatar
    Kelly Larsen

    Hi Katie,
    I wanted to comment because after reading this post, I instantly went on amazon and bought some honey for our home – just in case. Every time I opened the cabnet in the bathroom for something, the box would be sitting there and I’d always think “I can’t wait to see this stuff work.”

    About a month ago, my husband fell during work and ended up with a huge gash in his arm which required stitches. I am grateful that the location of the gash was in a good enough spot where there weren’t any other side effects; phew! Anyway, I thought “here’s my chance to see what the honey could do.” After about a week of healing; and him working; the stitched spot started to look red and angry; so after some convincing we did the honey. In TWO days; not only did the infection completely disappear but the left over healing from the wound and stitches healed. AMAZING.

    My husband now refers to it as the “Magic Honey”.

  8. EL Mohel Castorena Avatar
    EL Mohel Castorena

    When honey is not available I use “NOW Foods Solutions Cocoa Butter”. It works on cuts, scrapes and weather beaten hands. 100% pure. My mother in-law had fallen and her face was
    all scraped up. Doctors wanted to use anti-bacteria cream. The coco butter worked and no marks were left.

  9. Lily Avatar

    I deeply appreciate your articles. I had a boil under my big toenail on the right foot. Was told to apply neomysin ointment and take antibiotics. That was 3 months ago yet my toe has not healed well. I will now apply raw honey (and I have that) and cover it with gauze overnight. For your information my skin around the nail is dark and is becoming like a blister. Thank you for this information.

  10. Becky Avatar

    I use raw buckwheat honey in my creams because of its anti-bacterial properties. What do you think of buckwheat honey compared to manuka?

  11. Miqui Avatar

    Two weeks ago I burned my thumb on my toaster oven (400 degrees). I put honey on it and covered it with a bandage. The pain was gone in just a few minutes. Now it is barely noticeable. My friend was upset that I didn’t use Neosporin. I told her there was no need. I’m sure she expected me to get a serious infection!

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