Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Can Honey Heal?
Is it true that honey has healing properties? If so, what kind of honey is best?
Answer (Published 2/15/2007)

Honey is an ancient remedy that can help heal many kinds of wounds, including some serious ones that don't respond well to conventional treatments. In some studies, honey has been found to be effective against the flesh-eating strain of Staphylococcus aureus, which has become resistant to the antibiotic, methicillin.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

Part of the reason honey may work so well is an enzyme added by bees that results in the formation of small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, an effective germicide against many bacteria that cause wound infections. But beyond that, honey's healing properties aren't well understood. Researchers haven't yet discovered which of its many components (about 600 are known) contribute to its therapeutic effects.

Still, evidence is accumulating to confirm its health benefits, and modern science is now uncovering much about the nature of honey and its many positive actions. A review published in the March 1, 2006 issue International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds looked at the results of 22 clinical trials involving more than 2,000 patients and concluded that honey quickly clears up existing wound infections and protects against further infection, reduces swelling and minimizes scarring, helps remove infected and dead tissue, and speeds healing by stimulating new tissue growth.

Much of the research into honey's healing properties is being done at the Waikato Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. Studies are also ongoing in Germany, where pediatricians have been using honey to treat wounds in children with cancer. The German physicians say that even persistent wounds that refused to heal for years can be brought under control with the type of honey being studied.

The honey used in the New Zealand research is available commercially as manuka honey (it's a type of honey, not a product, hence no capital "M"). The German physicians are using Medihoney, developed in Australia. I wouldn't depend on the honey you buy at the supermarket – or the health food store – to treat your next cut or burn, but you can try one of the medicinal honeys. However, if you have a bad burn or an open wound, be sure to get prompt medical treatment. Using honey correctly to treat a serious wound requires considerable expertise. For more information on this subject, visit the Waikato Honey Research Unit (

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here