Raw honey has wonderful anti-bacterial properties, and has been used for wound care for centuries. How does it work? Raw honey contains small amounts of the enzyme glucose oxidase which, under the right conditions, can produce hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has long been used as a disinfectant, but it tends to lose its effectiveness fairly quickly when exposed to air and light. Raw honey solves this problem by producing small amounts of hydrogen peroxide directly inside of a bandaged wound.
Two things are required to convert glucose oxidose into hydrogen peroxide -- a pH of 6.1 and sodium. Honey has a low pH and no sodium so human skin and body fluids solve this problem. Author and beekeeper Joe Traynor explains: "[W]hen honey comes into contact with human skin or wounds, the dormant enzyme - glucose oxidase - becomes highly active at the interface of the honey and skin or wound, as bodily fluids raise both the pH and the sodium concentrations to the optimum range of enzyme activity. Thus, minute doses of hydrogen peroxide are continually released from the honey, directly to where they are most needed. Could man devise a more perfect, slow-release antimicrobial product for treating wounds? If a billion dollar, biomedical company gave their research and development scientists unlimited time and resources, it is doubtful they could equal what nature has already provided in honey." Honey: The Gourmet Medicine, pp. 11-12.
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