TRADITIONAL USE OF HONEY IN MEDICINE
HONEY – FOOD AND MEDICINE
Honey is a natural food product of plant and animal origin, as bees partially digest and process the collected pollen and nectar in their glands. Man has been taking it from beehives for at least ten thousand years. The first sources even date back the Stone Age, 20,000 to 30,000 years ago (Kapš 1998, 23-24). Prehistoric sources from 2000 to 3000 BC testify to the use of honey for healing, initially mainly by applying it to the skin (Forrest, 1982).
Early civilizations understood the power of honey better than modern humans. Honey and objects immersed in it were preserved for decades, even centuries. Ancient Egyptians and peoples of the Middle East used it for embalming among other things (Cambridge University, 1894/1989). Practitioners of Ayurveda, the oldest medical system in India (where public institutions offer formal study of the field), have been using honey for about five thousand years (pHarmonija, 2018).
Initially, honey was a vital food, later, it became widely used for wound care. Even 2000 years before the discovery of bacteria that cause inflammation in the wound, it had been used as a medicine. Hippocrates (460 BC) was not the first to describe and recommend it, honey had already been mentioned in Hindu scripts, Greek and Roman schools also thought of it.
Chief physician Dr Tanja Planinšek Ručigaj, MD, Asst. Prof., Senior official, and Mojca Šimnic Šolinc, MSc, Director of Tosama
Antiseptic and antibiotic properties of honey were first identified in modern science by R. J. van Ketel in 1892, but they were scientifically proven only in the 20th century. In 1999, Dr Peter Molan from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, published the first paper on the effect of honey on wound healing that covered and supported the therapeutic potential of honey in wound healing.
Scientific literature and research prove that natural honey strengthens immunity, facilitates recovery from illnesses, gives energy, prevents and treats intestinal diseases, respiratory diseases, dental caries, and childhood diabetes, and heals wounds. The first wound dressing with honey was approved for use in Great Britain in 2004, the FDA approved its use in America in 2007. In 2009, Tosama launched Vivamel, the first Slovenian wound dressing with medical chestnut honey.