Manuka honey is undoubtedly one of nature’s best healers. The honey, native to New Zealand, has demonstrated various healing capabilities.
Manuka honey is acidic, which promotes healing and blocks enzymes from breaking down the healing proteins. Manuka honey also contains large quantities of MGO, which helps give it anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The honey is also able to absorb water, allowing it to clean the wound out.
Perhaps the most appreciable properties of manuka honey are the fact that it can treat untreatable wounds and bacteria can not form a resistance against it. This makes Manuka honey stand out as a wound-healer.
Despite these properties though, it is important to apply the honey correctly to get the most out of your treatment. We will guide you on how to apply Manuka honey properly in this article.
Understand the wound
Before you begin to apply the honey to your wounds, you need to understand them better. Not all wounds are the same, and some may need to be treated differently.
If your wounds are now merely scars, you can typically start applying honey on them right away. The same goes for wounds that are small or not deep within the skin.
If the wound is a gash and runs long and deep, you have to consider some things first. For one, you should consider if you need to get the wound stitched. All wounds deeper than ½ inches need to be stitched. The honey can heal the wound, but it can not do the jobs that stitches do. In such cases, you should always get your wound stitched first.
You also need to consider if your wound has a deep cut or wound bed. In such cases, the method of application of honey would be different than other types of wounds. Similarly, if your wound is chronic in nature, such as an ulcer, you should not use honey unless advised.
In case of any confusion, you should always consult your doctor. If wounds are not properly cared for, they can get worse! In cases of small wounds, you can apply honey without much advice but for deep wounds or wound beds, always consult a professional.
Understanding the honey
Another important aspect of using Manuka honey on wounds is understanding the type of honey to use. There are a number of different types of honey available in the market, and it is important to be able to choose the right one to ensure your wound heals properly.
The first distinction comes in the form of honey being raw or medical grade sterile. Most people will be able to use both types with equal effectiveness. However, for people that have allergies, the raw honey can be problematic.
If you’re allergic to pollen or have a weak immune system, you should always opt for the medical-grade sterile honey. Most other people can use honey raw, although using sterile honey would still be more beneficial since it would ensure that you don’t increase the wound infections.
It is also important to understand the honey that you are buying. Manuka honey is often sold with the label of “active Manuka honey”. This is nothing special since it indicates that the honey has anti-bacterial effects due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide. All kinds of honey are active honey.
What you should instead be looking for is a UMF rating. The UMF rating indicates the amount of some compounds found within the honey. These ratings range from 5 to 20. You should ideally aim for UMF ratings of 12 and higher.
Ratings of 12 and higher indicate high levels of anti-bacterial compounds and can help you quickly heal wounds.
Sterilize hands and applicators
This step is only relevant if you plan to use the honey yourself. You should always sterilize the objects you are using to apply the honey to your wounds. This can include cotton. You should also sterilize your hands.
By properly sterilizing your hands and equipment, you would ensure that no further infections are transferred to your wound. You can sterilize the cotton by dripping isopropyl alcohol on it as you hold it over the sink. You can use a sanitizer or soap for your hands.
If your wound is chronic in nature or very deep, you should ideally go to a doctor and let them do all of the procedures for you. They will properly sterilize the equipment as well.
Clean out the wound
Honey tends to absorb the contents of the wound, and applying it to an uncleaned wound would mean that you would need to replace it very quickly. To get the most benefit, you should thus clean your wound out before you apply Manuka honey over it.
The procedure for cleaning a wound is very simple. You simply wash your wound to remove any mud or debris. If some debris won’t remove from washing, you should use sterilized tweezers to pull it out. You can use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize the wounds.
In case of the wound is fresh, you should also remove any flowing blood. To do this, you should first apply gentle pressure on the wound to let the blood ooze out. After the blood flow has stopped, you should wash out the wound with clear water.
If the bleeding does not stop, you should consult a doctor right away.
Apply the Manuka honey on the wound
There are two different ways in which the honey can be applied to the wound. Understanding the difference between the two is important for healing your wounds.
The first method would be to apply the honey directly onto the wound. This should only be used if you have a deep wound bed. In this case, the honey should fill the entire bed and we thus need to apply it directly onto the wound.
For most other wounds though, you apply the honey onto the dressing first and then apply the dressing onto the wound. This reduces the messiness of the procedure and makes application easier.
Now you can even buy dressings that already have honey applied to them. These are called honey-impregnated dressings, and you can easily find the right type for your requirements. These dressings will not be effective if you have a wound bed though.
Apply the dressing on the wound
Irrespective of if you want to apply the honey directly onto the wound or onto the dressing, you will need a good dressing to let your wound heal. There are many different types of dressings available, which makes choosing one harder.
For applying Manuka honey to wounds, we recommend you use occlusive dressings. These are water and airtight. This means that no moisture escapes them, and they seal up the wound absolutely.
By using this type of dressing, you would ensure that no honey seeps out from the wound. This will allow the honey to do its work properly.
To properly apply the dressing, you should dry out the wound and the area surrounding it. This does not apply if you have a wound bed that you placed honey in.
After the area is dry, you should place the dressing directly over the wound, with the side you applied honey on in contact with the wound. You should then bandage the wound up to secure the dressing in place.
If the wound is in an area that is difficult to reach, you should always ask someone for help. This ensures that your wound is properly dressed and heals well. You may also get the help of a doctor in such cases.
Replace the dressings
Once you have applied the dressing and honey onto the wound, it will eventually get saturated. This is because the drainage from the wound mixes with the honey. The honey would thus no longer be effective.
This means that once the honey has been saturated, you need to replace it. To do that, you should first undo the bandage and slowly peel the dressing off. After that, you should run clear water over the wound and slowly clean the honey out.
After that, you can follow the steps again to redress the wound.
You will need to change dressings less often as the wound starts to heal. This is because the drainage would then be reduced and you will find the honey lasts longer. However, you should still replace dressings from time to time to ensure optimal recovery.
In case Manuka honey doesn’t work
Despite the many properties of Manuka honey that make it effective for wound healing, it will not always heal the wounds. This can be due to the nature of the wound. If you see no improvement to the wound within a week, you should consult your doctor.
Your wound may also negatively react to the honey due to allergic reactions, not previously known to you. These can include dizziness, nausea, swelling, and stinging sensations. If you feel any such reactions, you should stop applying honey to your wound and consult a doctor immediately.
Manuka honey is indeed a miracle worker. With the number of diverse healing properties that it possesses, it can quickly help you seal up almost any wound.
However, wounds can be very complicated and you should always consult a professional in case you are unsure or react badly to it. Better safe than sorry!