Honey has a long tradition of being used to treat skin infections, burns, and wounds.
Modern in-vitro studies have found that some honeys are in fact effective against dangerous bacteria, including some antibiotic-resistant strains. There's also some in-vivo evidence that honey works to disinfect wounds and speeds up healing for burns and infected wounds.
Honey can also soothe a dry cough, and is thus an active ingredient in cough syrups.
There is a significant variation of effectiveness between different kinds of honeys, though. Depending on the individual bee colony's territory and the plants blooming there, as well as other factors, the honey's healing properties can vary greatly.
Honey in Modern Herbal Medicine:
The US National Center for Biotechnology Information lists an article discussing the medicinal property of honeys with emphasis on their antibacterial activities.
Honey in Fiction:
Today's post will look at the treatment of battle wounds: A topic that often comes up in fantasy novels, and one that our average fictional healer or herbwoman has to deal with on a regular basis.
Nature provides a number of remedies that a healer can use to treat wounds. Some examples for such natural medicines are honey, comfrey and yarrow.
In the following snippet from Patricia Brigg's novelette "Silver" (from the short story collection "Shifting Shadows"), werewolf-cum-healer Samuel uses a salve made from these ingredients to treat a grievously injured fae woman:
The woman didn't stir beyond a flutter of her eyelashes when I stitched up a particularly nasty tear over her hip. The worst hurt was a gash in her thigh that was too old to stitch. It would likely cause her trouble long after it healed. I covered it with a salve of fat, honey, yarrow and comfrey that the little fae, who had shyly introduced herself as Haida, had brought back when I asked her if she had such a thing.
*** Please note: This blog is not intended as medical advice. ***
Do not try this at home.
(Or at least, don't use any of the remedies described here this without consulting your physician first.)