The buzz about honey and propolis

Can honey and bee propolis help your dog or cat? Let’s take a look!

Honey is a very special healer, both inside and out. The Manuka variety from New Zealand is the kingpin, but there are many other honeys from around the world that have something special to share with us.

Honey contains health-enhancing antioxidants, including flavonoids. The darker the color, the deeper the flavor. Darker varieties, like buckwheat, sage, and tupelo, contain the most antioxidants.

What makes it so special beyond its antioxidant properties? Dr. Peter Molan, MBE, who was professor of biochemistry at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, researched the healing properties of honey. He found that its acidity or pH is low enough to hinder or even prevent the growth of many types of bacteria. It may be that honey’s ability to absorb water from a wound deprives bacteria of the moisture it needs to thrive.

As well, when honey is diluted by fluids from a wound, an enzyme is activated that produces hydrogen peroxide, an important antibacterial agent. Research has shown that it reduces inflammation and soothes the pain of serious wounds and burns. Dressings made with honey don’t stick to the wound, so newly formed tissue is not so easily compromised. This makes honey the perfect “Band-Aid.”

“It provides a moist, healing environment yet prevents bacterial growth even when wounds are heavily infected,” said Dr. Molan. “It is a very effective means of quickly rendering heavily infected wounds sterile, without the side effects of antibiotics, and it is even effective against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.”

There’s also the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) to consider. UMF is a phytochemically derived antibacterial property found in some strains of Manuka honey. Honeys must be tested for this special property. A UMF rating of 10 is the minimum recognized for having beneficial healing qualities. “UMF” on a Manuka honey label guarantees that the product has this special antibacterial benefit to at least the level indicated.

Bee propolis

Affectionately referred to as “bee glue”, propolis is a natural substance collected by worker bees from the resin of select trees and used to line their hives. In tincture form, you can use it for wound care, as it has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.