The healing properties of honey may help to treat viral lesions and rashes on the skin, according to a review of studies published in the “Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products” in 2013, though research is limited. Honey has natural anti-viral compounds and prohibits the growth of other harmful organisms. If you have an infection or wound, consult your doctor before self-treating it with honey.
Honey and other bee products such as propolis and royal jelly have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties. An article published in the “Journal of Food Science” in 2008 notes that honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Pasteurizing honey prevents yeast from growing in it, keeping it safe for consumption and skin use. Bacteria and viruses cannot live or reproduce in honey due to its high acid content.
Treating Skin Rashes
Honey may also help treat skin rashes when used topically. A study published in 2013 in “Transitional Biomedicine” showed that honey had anti-viral activity against the varicella zoster virus, which can cause skin rash and nerve pain in a condition called shingles. Researchers tested manuka and clover honeys on skin tissue infected with the virus; both types were able to fight the virus. The study concluded that honey may be an inexpensive way to treat viral skin infections such as varicella roster.
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The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores on the lip and mouth area. A similar virus can also cause lesions in the genital area. Research published in the “Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products” in 2013 compared honey as a topical treatment with acyclovir, an anti-viral drug for herpes lesions. Patients who used honey showed better results and no side effects. They also had a lower rate of recurrent lesions. The researchers concluded that honey was a promising treatment, but further studies are needed to determine the best type of honey for this use.
Another external use of honey is in wound care. Honey has been used topically to help heal burns, infected lesions, nonhealing ulcers and wounds, boils and diabetic foot ulcers. Its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and healing properties help to cleanse the wound and prevent infection for faster healing. For this reason, sterile dressings that are soaked in honey may be useful for wound care in injuries and illness. Further research is needed to determine the best type of honey and method for topical skin treatment.