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FDA Quietly Acknowledges Medical Benefits of Honey

In an Associated Press story dated December 27th 2007, it was revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had quietly approved a line of honey-based wound dressings during the fall of that year. Derma Sciences, Inc., a New Jersey manufacturer of medical wound and skin care supplies, was then able to market their MEDIHONEY product. MEDIHONEY is a line of wound dressings consisting chiefly of an absorbent alginate (which is a component of brown algae) pad, covered in Manuka (Leptospermum) honey.

Using honey to treat wounds is nothing new; even ancient civilizations used it in this manner. However, this is the sort of thing that usually gets relegated to "folk healing". It seems scientifically obvious: honey is very acidic (antibacterial), and it produces its own hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluid which drains from a wound! The extremely high sugar content of honey means it contains very little water. So, it draws the pus and fluid from the wound, thereby speeding the healing process. Furthermore, the honey contains powerful germ-fighting phytochemicals from the plants that produced the pollen harvested by the honeybees. Having already been accepted by the overseas mainstream medical community for some time, North America finally caught on. MEDIHONEY is, according to Derma Sciences' website, "the first honey-based product cleared for use by Health Canada and also the first cleared for use by the FDA."

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