Honey Articles: [click on title to read]
and Herpes article, November, 2004
and Surgical Healing
and blood antioxidant levels
and cancer metastisis to surgical wounds
[More from my file on honey: This article borrows
heavily from one published online by Healthnotes and written by Kimberly
Honey Mixture Improves Skin Conditions
Subject: A mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax may relieve the symptoms
associated with eczema and psoriasis, reports Complementary Therapies
in Medicine (2003:11;226-34).
Background: Atopic dermatitis (a form of eczema) is a chronic inflammatory
skin disorder that causes dry, itchy patches most commonly seen on the
face, the insides of the elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and
feet. With repeated scratching, skin infections and abnormal thickening
of the skin may result. The skin may also ooze and form crusts of dried
fluid. Eczema affects up to 20% of people worldwide at some point in childhood;
these individuals also have an increased tendency to develop asthma and
hay fever. Children whose parents have a history of any of these conditions
are more likely to suffer from eczema; malfunctions of the immune system
may also be a cause.
Treatments for eczema focus on decreasing inflammation and preventing
infection. Creams and lotions are recommended to maintain skin moisture,
and over the counter and prescription corticosteroid creams are often
used to relieve itching. Corticosteroid creams, however, may cause skin
thinning and can prolong the healing time of injured skin. Newer drugs
that target the immune system (e.g., tacrolimus ointment [ProtopicT])
help control inflammation. Avoidance of substances known to trigger eczema
(including animal dander, dust mites, certain foods, cigarette smoke,
chlorine, and perfumes) can help decrease the number of flare-ups.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder characterized by abnormal cell formation.
Skin cells are produced too quickly, resulting in thickened red areas
covered with silvery scales, usually on the scalp, elbows, knees, back,
buttocks, palms, and soles; these areas may be itchy or painful. Psoriasis
affects about 2% of the United States population and appears more likely
to develop in people who have a family history of the disease.
Part of the immune system is believed to trigger the abnormal buildup
of skin cells seen in psoriasis, so some treatments are aimed at controlling
this immune response. Therapies for psoriasis include creams that contain
corticosteroids, vitamin D, or retinoids (synthetic forms of vitamin A),
and ultraviolet-light treatment. Stronger drugs like methotrexate and
cyclosporin may be prescribed for more severe cases. These drugs can cause
serious side effects including liver and kidney damage, high blood pressure,
anemia, and immune system suppression that can lead to infections.
Current Research Publication: The new study investigated the use
of a topical application of honey, olive oil, and beeswax for the treatment
of eczema and psoriasis. Twenty-one people with eczema and 18 people with
psoriasis took part in the trial. Eleven of the participants with eczema
and ten of those with psoriasis were using topical steroid creams before
The participants with eczema who had had no prior treatment applied a
mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax to the affected areas on one
half of the body, and Vaseline to the affected areas on the other side
of the body three times per day for two weeks. Those with eczema who were
using corticosteroids prior to the study applied a combination of a steroid
cream and the honey mixture to one side of the body, and a Vaseline and
steroid cream mixture to the other side of the body three times per day
for two weeks.
The participants with psoriasis who had had no prior treatment applied
the honey mixture to one half of the body and an inert material (paraffin)
to the other side. The participants using steroid creams prior to the
study applied a combination of the honey mixture and a steroid cream to
one side of the body, and a mixture of paraffin and a steroid cream to
the other. Both groups applied their mixtures three times per day for
All participants were assessed for signs of redness, scaling, skin thickening,
itchiness, and oozing. Among the participants with eczema who had used
no prior treatment, 80% had a significant improvement using the honey
mixture; the amounts of itching, scaling, and oozing had the most profound
improvements. Among those participants with eczema who had used a steroid
cream prior to the study, a combination of the honey mixture and steroid
cream led to substantial reductions in steroid doses in almost half of
the participants. The honey mixture resulted in a marked improvement in
63% of the participants with psoriasis who had had no prior treatment.
Steroid doses were reduced by up to 75% in half of the participants with
psoriasis previously using steroid creams, with no deterioration in symptoms.
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help to
decrease pain and the appearance of scars, and that lead to faster wound
healing. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties and the ability to
inhibit substances that lead to inflammation. Olive oil and honey both
contain flavonoids that help protect cells and inhibit histamine (a substance
involved in allergic reactions). Beeswax has anti-inflammatory properties
and is often included in formulas to treat burns and other skin conditions.
Conclusion: A natural combination of honey, olive oil, and beeswax can
provide significant benefit to people suffering from eczema or psoriasis.
Perhaps the most significant finding of this study is the ability of the
honey mixture to decrease the need for corticosteroids.
The Recipe: The mixture used in this study is not commercially available
but may be made at home by combining equal parts of raw (unprocessed)
honey, beeswax, and cold pressed olive oil. Start with a small amount
of each ingredient (e.g., one or two tablespoons). Begin by melting the
beeswax in a small pan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted,
remove it from the heat and mix in the honey, then the olive oil, stirring
the mixture until well blended. While the mixture is still warm, pour
it into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The mixture
should keep for up to three months. A few drops of vitamin E oil (from
a gel cap) may be added to each batch for longer shelf life, and to enhance
its healing properties.
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