This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in November of 2021. For the original video go to https://youtu.be/Xo6LvSrpcno
Brad: We’ve got Chris here today. He’s done an incredible amount of research. He has great information. What we’re going to talk about is wound care. Burns, cuts, even bad wounds that you see in the hospital.
Brad: That’s right. Also, the treatment for this is so interesting because it’s so simple and it’s been around for thousands of years and you can go to the store and buy it off the shelf, well not exactly.
Chris: Not exactly.
Brad: Close. I mean, he’ll tell us all about it. So, should we get on? Wound care and what are we talking about?
Chris: Well wound care and honey, Brad. So that’s the interesting concept.
Brad: That’s it? Honey?
Chris: Yep. Short and sweet.
Brad: But you can’t just go buy it in the store?
Chris: And that’s the interesting distinction, is that when we’re treating wounds specifically with honey, you want to use a medical grade honey. This is not the stuff that you buy in the little honey bears at the grocery store. That is very processed, vastly different. It’s not the same as say, raw honey. Or even, slightly processed or very processed honey. So, it’s a medical grade honey. The one that I’m most familiar with and what I’ve done, basically most of the research with is Manuka honey, which comes from the Manuka tree, which is in New Zealand and Australia. So, happy to everybody that’s down under in the southern hemisphere. The bees that work on the Manuka tree and do all their pollen and making their hives and creating this honey, the Manuka plants, pollen carries lots of large anti-microbial properties, as well as antifungal properties. In the processing of the honey, which is kind of interesting itself, they make it medical grade.
Brad: The bees do?
Chris: No, the bees don’t. This is where people step in. They collect it from the bees who’ve done all the hard work.
Brad: With the Manuka trees.
Chris: Yeah, it’s just like how bees buzz around, they grab their pollen, they bring it back to the hive and they create a honeycomb and honey and it’s their fuel source. With respect to wound care, they talk about the Manuka factor, and you want the higher factor. If you’re buying it and the product that I always recommend is Medihoney. That’s the manufacturer that makes it, and it’s special. They process it so that it’s medical grade, it’s irradiated so there’s no impurities, bacterial properties, just bits and things that could cause a problem with wound care.
Brad: Which, you’re talking the biggest thing is creating an infection. I’m assuming.
Chris: Yeah. We’re going to stop an infection. It’s one thing if we cut our hand, it’s a bad laceration, you can just toss a little Medihoney on there. You would put it on the dressing, cover it up and let it go. It’s probably going to heal quickly. The wound care I’m talking about is much more severe wounds. We’re talking about like a diabetic foot ulcer, maybe a first or secondary burn. Keeping in mind guys, if you are going to use Medihoney for wound treatment, you can’t be allergic to bees, you can’t be allergic to certain pollens. With some of these more serious wounds, let’s say a diabetic foot ulcer, you’re going to want to make sure that you talk to your doctor about medical guidance and/or maybe even get together with a wound care clinic to make sure you’re applying it right, making sure you’re observing these proper things with wound care management, because obviously with some of these wounds, they can be very serious, and they can go sideways in a big hurry.
Brad: I just want to clear it up with some people who haven’t been in the diabetic field or in the medical field, these wounds are open wounds. They’re deep, they can be one to two inches deep, and they can take months to heal. So, these are serious wounds.
Chris: These are serious wounds that we’re talking about and if those of you have experienced some of these, maybe you already know what we’re going to talk about, but it’s something that you’re already going to have had doctor guidance within many cases, because you’ve been on antibiotics, debridement, surgical debridement, which is where they’re pulling away to try and get the healthier tissue.
Brad: Taking the dead tissue off.
Chris: Exactly, so not to get overly gory, but yeah. This is serious stuff, folks. Make sure that you’re clear with your doctor. Make sure that you’re not allergic to bee pollens, honey, or any component of that because we don’t want to make something worse. That’s the most important thing. With respect to these types of wounds, and a lot of the evidence surrounds burns and diabetic ulcers. Those are the two that we’ll focus on, but first and second-degree burns, it’s an excellent choice. The reason that, the principles of honey are a couple of different things. You want to talk about that it’s moist healing. You want to talk about its pH.
Brad: Acidic level?
Chris: Yeah, because honey is naturally acidic. That acidic environment specifically, we’ll just jump right in, is something that bacteria do not dig. So, it’s just not good for them, but it also provides a moist healing environment. It also provides natural debridement and natural anti-inflammatory activity. Sometimes you think all that inflammation is good for wound healing, but it controls it a little bit more to allow for better healing, but it also keeps it moist. So, when you apply it to the wound, whether you must pack it in there or if you’re going to apply it to something more topical, usually you want gloves. Wash your hands with soap and water, wash the wound area. Usually, I recommend using a normal saline or you could use a dilute, warm, soapy water. Rinse well, pat, let the area dry first before you apply to the wound. You’ll squirt a measured amount of honey onto the wound itself, or if it’s a little deeper you’re going to want to make sure it covers the entire wound depending on the size of your wound, so you want to get it in there.
Brad: Could you just use distilled water?
Chris: Well, distilled water you could rinse with, but I think I would use normal saline specifically because it’s naturally antimicrobial and it also flushes.
Brad: That’s something you can easily get?
Chris: You could buy wound wash. It’s just a product you can get at any pharmacy, you can buy it online, Amazon has it. So that’s going to be an aspect that you will use to help to prep the wound.
Brad: So, you want to clean the wound and then put the honey directly on the wound?
Chris: You can, but it’s better to put it on the dressing itself. Sometimes when the wound is very deep, there’s an applicator tip that you can place it in there. Some of these wounds that people may have experienced are deep. Even like an inch down into the skin with folds. You want to make sure that it gets in there, but it’s easiest to put it right on the gauze dressing and then apply it to the wound. Then you want to tape it down with a gentle tape so like a paper tape or a Nexcare pore tape by 3M type of thing, that’s breathable. It has micropores in it. You want good air transfer. A lot of times this skin is already broke down from the wound itself. We don’t want to cause anything. You don’t want to be using duct tape. Don’t want to be using something as aggressive as athletic tape.
Brad: That’s something I would think of.
Chris: We’re talking your language.
Brad: Physical therapists are all trained in wound care. I had training in it. I did not do it much once I got out in the field. A lot of this stuff is making sense to me when I think back. I think the paper tape you’re talking about is something that it’s relatively inexpensive.
Chris: It’s inexpensive, it’s breathable, it’s adhesive, but it’s not going to damage the skin per se.
Brad: So, you could go online or to the pharmacy and ask for paper tape? It’s easy to work with. I’ve always enjoyed working with it, itcomes off easy. Everything’s good about it.
Chris: Yeah, it’s very easy to use. It sticks and more importantly, it comes off well. The other thing you want to know, honey, just like anybody that’s ever-had honey, it’s sticky. So, with that, the other thing you want to do is put an occlusive dressing, a covering, over the gauze. I’m a cheapskate, cellophane works, you know, saran wrap works well. Cut out the same appreciable size, tape that over the wound and just keep the honey in place. If you’re sitting around watching TV, you’re not going to get honey on your furniture. You’re just not going to make a mess.
Brad: Then the dog comes along and wants to lick it.
Chris: Yeah, we don’t want to go there. The nice thing about it being a clear dressing and there’s more expensive ones like Tegaderm too, that you can use. To me, you want something that’s inclusive and clear so you can see it. Basically, when that dressing fills up with the exudate from the wound, all the byproducts, and we’ll talk about more of that in a minute, that’s time to change. So, what do you do? You’ll gently pull it off. You’re going to wash the area out, and then you’re going to start over. With these wounds early on, you’ll see more frequent dressing changes and more frequent applications of honey. As time goes by, you’re going to see that dressing gets less and less messy, the integrity of it and the wound starts to heal more. That’s how you know healing is taking place. Less dressing changes.
Brad: What’s the dressing again that you put the honey on?
Chris: It’s going to be a sterile gauze. I always like a non-stick gauze too because the wound itself and the material that you’re using it’s still going to be absorbent and some people may even put another layer of gauze over it to help drain, depending upon the type of wound that it is. That’s one of the things we should interject here. One of the concepts of why honey works so well is it’s got a high sugar content. So, what it does, it draws fluid from inside your body and the wound to the honey where it absorbs that. When it gets saturated, that’s another sign, and you’ll see that in your gauze. That means you’re going to have to change it. You have a dirty dressing at that point.
Brad: I know I mentioned that high sugar content draws and works by osmosis.
Chris: So, what you are going from, basically a low to high concentration. It creates a natural pump, so to speak, and it brings water into the honey. So, what that does from an anti-bacterial principle is it takes water always from bacteria. Water is important for bacteria to survive and proliferate or procreate. So, if we can eliminate the ability for those bacteria to try and thrive, you’re going to help your body’s natural immune system fight that and begin to heal faster. That’s one of the reasons why it works.
Brad: This is just one of the natural things that happens.
Chris: It’s a natural thing because of the honey and why it’s so effective and it’s been used for thousands of years. Along with that, the pH of the honey is slightly acidic. The bacteria don’t like that either. To date, we know of no anti-microbial resistance with honey.
Brad: Oh, really?
Chris: We’re talking about some of the big bugs. We’re talking like MRSA, Klebsiella. These are big, long words but just types of bacteria that they don’t like, C. Diff. All very serious infections that are just not good. And we found so far, honey is standing up to the test and I think it’s the environment that it creates for it. It’s pulling water away from bacteria, it’s acidic. Those are two things that bacteria do not like.
Chris: As a result of that, with frequent wound changes, doctor’s guidance, they’ve shown that even diabetic foot ulcers can heal within four weeks. You’re talking about some of that with wound vacs, antibiotics, colloidal silver, just a lot of different things, maybe slower healing. Sometimes it’s appropriate.
Brad: Chris is mentioning all these things, maybe if you’re not in the medical field, you wouldn’t know but wound vacs are very complicated. I’ve worked with them. There’s literally a little vacuum cleaner that sits on the side of your waist, usually clip it there and then that other silver, what was it?
Chris: It’s an antibiotic.
Brad: Yes. All these high-end, expensive things, and then we have honey, is standing up to the test.
Chris: Yeah, it’s kind of weird. It’s been around forever, and it seems to work, and it doesn’t work for everything. That’s why it’s always good to have medical guidance with this.
Chris: If you see it going sideways, you see more redness, a fever develop, pain. It’s calling your doctor right away because when these wounds get away from you, it can be a very serious thing. I think realistically, it has a lot of strong aspects to promote quicker, safer, faster healing.
Brad: Would it be appropriate if you read this and you have a wound and you’re not using any honey, I mean, ask your doctor, is this honey treatment going to work for me?
Chris: Let’s say you spill some coffee on your hand. We’ll call it first or second, it could easily be second degree, so you get the nice blister. With wound care, you never want to pop that blister. You want to leave that as a natural band-aid, but eventually that blister is going to pop. At that point, it’s appropriate to use the honey to allow it to heal quicker. They show it speeds up the healing time by a few days or even weeks if it’s a more severe infection. One of the unique aspects again with the acidity of honey is when these nasty wounds occur, they create a slimy barrier. Once the wound has had that, it’s very difficult to treat. Honey doesn’t allow that to happen because of the acidity, it debrides that, it pulls that stuff away and not like in a painful way, but it just breaks it up. Because of the natural anti-inflammatory aspects of the honey, it allows the healthier tissue to develop and heal. It’s fascinating stuff, how it works. Again, I want you to use a medical grade honey. The one that I’m most familiar with is the brand Medihoney. I think it’s an excellent product, but there’s other types of medical grade honeys out there that are perfectly acceptable to use as well.
Brad: Well, I am excited about this. I mean, I’m glad, I’m grateful, Chris seriously. Also, we talked about some other benefits of honey which we decided to put it into another one down the line, but we’re talking about some cough suppressant properties.
Chris: Honey itself, now this is where we kind of change gears, because Medihoney, we’d be going to the raw honeys and the less processed honey’s and I think something as simple as a cough, you can’t use it on kinds under the age of one. That can cause botulism. Be careful with that. No babies under the age of one, no honey ever. It’s basically their digestive tracks have not been able to handle the spores from botulism.
Brad: Right, but you’re saying that honey was better than some cough medicine.
Chris: Dextromethorphan’s. So, that’s the chief ingredient in say, Robitussin, Vicks, Delsym, Mucinex DM. It’s a commonly used cough suppressant.
Brad: Well don’t tell them, we’ll get into that another time.
Chris: Yeah, we’ll get into that. It will stop a cough. It’ll stop a sore throat, heart health, cholesterol health. It’s some interesting stuff.
Brad: It’s a good naturally healing, natural substance. Okay, Chris, I appreciate everything you’ve done for us today and really opened some avenues and some information. Thank you, very much and good luck, with wound healing!
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