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A Sweet Bacteria Fighter

written by Marina Zacharias

Natural, unprocessed honey has two or three particular properties that have been shown to be effective at eliminating bacteria. It has been used for untold centuries to successfully treat wounds.

Honey’s high sugar content gives it a high "osmolarity". This works to kill bacteria in much the same way that salt does in curing meat. When you cover a piece of meat with salt, the fluids within the meat and bacteria cells next to the salt, are pulled into the salt because of "osmotic" pressure. This is natures' way of trying to dilute the salt so everything is in balance. When the fluids are pulled from bacteria cells, they can no longer survive. Honey’s high sugar content is one of the factors that make it such an excellent wound healer.

An enzyme in honey (glucose oxidase) produces hydrogen peroxide which is one component that helps kill harmful bacteria (See Volume 1 Issue 1 for more on Hydrogen peroxide). Additionally, there are other as yet unidentified substances that come from flowers when bees collect pollen. These floral, antibacterial substances are what make certain varieties of honey more effective than others. This is one of the reasons that you must be sure to use raw honey that has not had its effectiveness destroyed by processing.

Lately there has been a great deal of research being done (outside of this country) on the beneficial effects of using honey to cure ulcers. There have been reports from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia, where doctors have had positive results in curing ulcers, using local raw honey. The most commonly recommended daily dosage of honey appears to be about 20 gm. per day. (This is by weight measurement, not volume. Raw honey is sold by the pound)

Over here, there hasn’t been much interest (which translates into research money) in testing the bacterial-killing effectiveness of the thousands of different varieties of honey. After all, we wouldn’t want to disturb the hundreds of million of dollars in profits from the sale of antacids, would we?

Master herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy has always praised honey not only for its well recognized ability to inhibit bacteria but also as the greatest of natural energizers, a nerve tonic and a supreme heart tonic. She has on occasion, grown a special herb garden specifically for her bees. The honey provided from these bees was said to be very healthful and she states that the bees themselves enjoyed excellent health and possessed complete resistance to the many diseases afflicting the local ‘white sugar fed’ bees.

Next time you or your animal gets a cut or wound, reach for the honey instead of the cortisone cream! Why not throw the Tagamet and Pepcid in the garbage where they belong and enjoy the sweet, sweet joy of natural honey!!