Is Honey Good for a Cut?

Written On: by Theo The Beekeeper

You may have heard somewhere that honey is a good treatment for cuts and wounds, and you might be wondering if this is actually true. Luckily, we have answers for all of your questions about honey as a treatment for wounds!

Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey can be an excellent treatment for wounds such as cuts. Honey is an amazing natural healing assistant for any burn, cut, or other wound.

Honey can help cuts heal by increasing oxygen flow to the area, fading scars, and reducing inflammation. Throughout the healing process of a cut turning into a scar, honey can help with a variety of issues when it comes to healing wounds.

How Do Cuts Heal?

A scar shown when first healing and after fading
A scar shown when first heal and after fading.

The first step in healing a cut is stopping the bleeding. Bleeding often stops on its own as blood cells being to clot, or clump together into a more solid material than free-flowing blood. Platelet blood cells are responsible for clotting, and eventually the clotted platelet cells become a scab that falls off the wound as part of the natural healing process.

After the blood has clotted and bleeding has stopped, blood vessels in the area open up wider and bring nutrients and oxygen to the area. This typically causes some minor inflammation. Oxygen is an essential part of the wound healing process, as are white blood cells. White blood cells protect the wound from infection by attacking any invading bacteria trying to live in the cut.

Once white blood cells and oxygen have arrived, new red blood cells come to the area and start creating new skin or tissue in the area. They build collagen across the cut, which helps to create the structure of a scar. Scars are often red at first, and then fade out to a lighter color.

Can You Put Honey on an Open Wound?

Because honey can occasionally become contaminated with germs and bacteria during processing, it is probably best to wait to apply honey to a wound until it has scabbed, and the bleeding has stopped. If you apply the honey or any other non-sterile material to the wound while it is still bleeding, any bacteria present on the foreign material could enter your bloodstream and cause infection.

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Is Honey an Antibiotic?

Honey is, in fact, a natural antibiotic. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which functions by destroying the cell walls of bacteria. You might have had hydrogen peroxide in its pure form poured on your wounds as a child to clean them and help them heal. Honey performs the same effect, leading to better wound healing and reduced risk of infection.

Honey also has a low pH, meaning that it is highly acidic. pH is essentially a measure of the free hydrogen ions in a substance. Lower pH means that there are more hydrogen ions in the substance, while high pH means there are more hydroxide ions than hydrogen ions. Bacteria are very sensitive to the pH of their surroundings, and low pH can kill or maim bacteria to the point where they cannot function. This makes honey an excellent antibacterial treatment.

What Are the Benefits of Using Honey for Healing Wounds?

Honey has many benefits when it comes to healing wounds such as cuts. While it probably should not be applied directly to an open, bleeding cut, as soon as the cut has scabbed over and bleeding has ceased, honey can be an excellent treatment for healing any cut.

Honey’s Acidic pH Aids Healing

Honey has an acidic pH between 3.2 and 4.5, which helps the blood to release oxygen molecules. This helps with wound healing because oxygen is essential for the creation of new tissue in a cut, helping it to scar over. While scars are typically seen as a bad thing, they are actually very important in wound healing, and the appearance of a scar means that the wound has almost finished healing.

Sugar Content Reduces Swelling

The sugar content of honey has an osmotic effect, meaning that it drains water out of tissue. In the case of cuts, this osmotic effect works in two ways. Firstly, it draws water out of the damaged tissue, reducing swelling. Secondly, it draws water out of bacterial cells, making it more difficult for them to multiply.

Antibacterial Properties

Honey also has antibacterial properties that help protect your body from infection. Applying honey to a wound is an excellent way to prevent bacterial infection in the cut or burn. Honey can fight many common bacteria that may infect wounds, making it a great treatment for healing cuts and even tattoos.

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Peroxide Helps Fade Scars

Honey contains compounds that interact to form hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a gentle bleach on the skin. This can help lighten scars quickly if applied to a scar at any point in the healing process.

How Long Should You Leave Honey on a Wound?

Person's hand being bandaged
Person’s hand being bandaged.

You can use honey as a dressing on a wound, which means placing it on the wound and covering it with a bandage. You can leave honey on a wound for up to around twenty-four hours before changing out the dressing.

The honey itself will not cause damage to the wound or surrounding skin, but the dressing should be changed frequently to prevent infection from any bacteria that may enter the dressing or wound during your daily activities.

What Kind of Honey Should You Use for Wound Healing?

The best kind of honey to use for wound healing is raw, unpasteurized honey. This honey has all of its anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties intact because it has not been processed at high temperatures or filtered extensively.

Manuka type honey is especially good for wound healing, as it is derived from tea tree plants, which add to the anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties of the honey.

How Do You Prepare and Use a Honey Wound Dressing?

The best way to prepare a honey dressing for a wound is to use sterile cotton balls or q-tips to apply the honey to a gauze bandage in an even layer. Then, take the gauze and apply it to the wound with the honey side facing the wound.

You can leave a honey dressing on for around twenty-four hours before changing it, but it is totally okay to change it more frequently if it gets dry or sticky. You should change any wound dressing at least every twenty-four hours because this reduces the risk of bacterial infection.

Author

Theo The Beekeeper

When I was a kid, my dad used to keep bees around the small farm we had, and I absolutely loved helping him. In the past few years, we’ve picked up the hobby again, and I’ve been doing a lot more research. This website is the accumulation of things I’ve learned along the way! You can learn more about my journey and the resources I’ve developed on my about page.

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