Honey as Medicine
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Manuka honey to be used in wound and burn care in the United States. Manuka wound dressings have already been used for several years in Great Britain, Australia, and its native New Zealand. Canada also cleared it for use as an antimicrobial dressing earlier this year.
Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin.
Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). The level of UMF can vary between batches, so each batch is ranked and priced accordingly. The higher the concentration of UMF, the darker, thicker and more expensive it is.
In July 2007, the FDA gave Derma Sciences, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of wound-care products, clearance to sell Manuka wound and burn dressings as medical devices. It’s the first honey-based product approved for medical use in the United States.