Winnie the Pooh was one smart little bear. Honey, it appears, may be able to cure what modern medicine cannot. I was going to share with you how wonderful my skin feels after using a honey mask, but after reading some amazing stories about how honey has saved limbs and lives, that seemed a tad shallow. Thankfully most of us will never have to face a life-threatening injury, but with the emergence of drug-resistant super-bugs, it's reassuring to know that something as natural as honey is coming to the rescue.
The healing ability of honey has been recognized since ancient times and was regularly used to treat wounds and fight infections before the discovery of penicillin. But don't rely on some of today's over-processed honey that has been stripped of its antioxidants, enzymes, and antibiotic properties to do the same: Look for raw honey, and if you want the very best you may want to splurge on a jar of Manuka.
Super Manuka Honey
You may be wondering what makes this honey so special and why people are paying upwards of $30 a jar. Although all honey has some antibacterial activity from naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, honey derived from the Manuka bush in New Zealand has been found to have an additional, more powerful antibiotic, known as "nonperoxide activity" or NPA. One way to ensure you are getting genuine Manuka honey is to look for the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) trademark. You will also see a number next to this which rates the NPA potency of the honey. Anything labeled UMF 10+ is considered strong enough to be therapeutic. However, you will find that Manuka honey without this trademark is a little cheaper. Hospitals use a sterile grade of Manuka on serious wounds, burns, drug-resistant staph infections, and even MRSA. If you're not dealing with a dire wound and just want to enjoy good honey that's a lot more affordable, then stick with raw honey.
How to use Honey
Cleopatra was renowned for her flawless skin and was said to have bathed in milk and honey. As well as being an effective moisturizer, honey also contains glycolic acid, a very gentle alpha hydroxy acid which loosens dead skin cells and brightens your complexion. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties can work wonders on acne, eczema, and other skin irritations.
"The secret of my health is applying honey inside and oil outside"