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|In addition to being a marvelous food—a veritable storehouse of B vitamins, various minerals, and antioxidants—honey is one of the oldest known medicines in continuous use. Dr.*May Berenbaum, an entomologist with the University of Illinois, comments: “Honey has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of medical problems like wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers and scrapes.” the CNN news organization reports: “Honey fell from favor as a wound dressing when antibiotic dressings were developed during World War II. But the new research—and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—are putting this old-time folk remedy into the contemporary medicine chest.” For example, one area of research has involved the treatment of burns. It was noted that patients had a faster healing time and less pain and scarring when honey dressings were used.
Studies show that because of an enzyme added to the nectar by the bees, honey has mild antibacterial and antibiotic properties. This enzyme generates hydrogen peroxide, which kills harmful bacteria. Additionally, applied topically, honey has been found to reduce inflammation and to promote the growth of healthy tissue. Thus, New Zealand biochemist Dr. Peter Molan says: “Honey is becoming accepted as a reputable and effective therapeutic agent by practitioners of conventional medicine.” In fact, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved honey as a medicine, and medical honey is being marketed as a wound dressing in that country. Since the enzyme is destroyed by heating and exposure to light, unpasteurized honey is used for medicinal purposes.
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