Using honey for wound care has occurred throughout history due to it's inherent antimicrobial properties. Depending upon the different flowers visited by the bees, honey is able to fight a wide range of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
What is it in honey that makes honey for wounds so effective?
One of the key antimicrobial agents present in honey is hydrogen peroxide. Some of the glucose (sugar) in honey is converted into hydrogen peroxide. This conversion is done by the bees who add glucose oxidase to glucose to turn it into hydrogen peroxide. The honey now contains a natural preservative that stops it going off by killing bacteria. Happily for us it also makes honey good for wound care on our bodies too. Honey is naturally very viscous which forms a protective barrier when applied onto the wound that stops infection.
Honey for wounds in medical procedures
Honey is used in a medical setting particularly for the treatment of burns when it accelerates healing and lowers the risk of infection. Other types of wound such as surgical wounds can also be treated with honey especially when other methods were unsuccessful. Honey is also used in skin grafting procedures to help stop infection and inflammation and promote healing. The stickiness of honey is also useful to fix skin grafts and stop them shrinking.