Infection fighters: Manuka honey and pomegranates

December 20 2009 post. It’s hard to explain what happened without actually showing you a photo of my finger (which I don’t have anyway, since, at the time, I wasn’t thinking of documenting this, er, event!), but I will do my best: in winter, particularly when it gets really really cold, what I can only describe as small slits form sometimes between the fingernail and the skin on the top of my fingers. And these tiny cuts tend to get infected if I ignore them. Aggravating!

As usual, I completely ignored the tiny slit that formed on my right index finger about two weeks (?) ago…didn’t disinfect it, didn’t put a bandage on it, blablabla. And yes, to make a long story short, more or less a week ago it got infected. It happened by degrees so I didn’t notice until the top of my finger was really red and throbbing. At that point, feeling extremely stupid, I disinfected it (Italian home remedies, such as dipping your finger in warm water and salt, are usually effective) and covered it with an antibiotic ointment, which is also usually effective. But after a few days it still hurt like mad. The pain didn’t stop me from my everyday activities, including typing, but whenever my bandaged finger hit the keyboard or any kind of surface, OUCHHH! Uffa.

On Thursday I went to see my family doctor, mainly to give him a few Xmas gifties…while I was there, I took the bandage off my finger and asked him to have a look. He stated the obvious “well, you have a nicely infected finger, there. Do this, do that, but if nothing works, and it still hurts tomorrow, you should begin taking an antibiotic.” He wrote me a prescription. (Oh, incidentally, my doctor’s “do this, do thats” referred to the home remedies that I had already tried, see above, and that hadn’t worked.) Well, you can’t imagine how annoyed I was at myself…I hate going on antibiotics (but of course I will if I must!), especially for something so minor.

As soon as I got home, though, a thought popped into my head. Remember my post on Manuka honey =September 6 2009)?

Ah wait, before I continue, I solemnly swear (and I will swear on anything you want, even my cats!) that I am not being paid even half a cent by a Manuka honey manufacturer or anyone else, for that matter. I say this because, had this happened to someone else, I myself would have a hard time believing it…!

In a nutshell, I remembered that, among other things, Manuka honey is used to heal wounds. And I also remembered a Science Daily article that I read back in September (see below). So I figured, hey, before taking an antibiotic, why don’t I try some Manuka? As you know, I am always (well, almost always!) ready to experiment with something non-toxic as long as it has solid scientific backing…

So before going to bed on Thursday night I smeared a bit of raw Manuka honey (15+) on the top of my finger and bandaged it. The following morning my finger was not as red (Stefano is my witness) and didn’t hurt as much. And it also didn’t hurt as much to type. Even I was surprised. Needless to say, I didn’t go fill my antibiotic prescription…

I have applied Manuka honey five times since Thursday evening (when I am at home, of course, I take off the bandage and wipe off the honey so my slit can get some air…). This morning I am totally pain-free. The cut is healing, and my finger no longer throbs or looks red and puffy. But mainly, as I said, the pain is gone. I can type…no pain…no wincing…yaaaay.

This September 10th Science Daily article, http://tinyurl.com/y8wba6e, reports on a study showing that Manuka honey inhibits MRSA (= Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which is a HUGE problem now in hospitals. It particularly affects people with weakened immune systems (aha!) and older folks. You can find a million websites with loads of info on MRSA…I randomly chose WebMD: http://tinyurl.com/yofavx

Now, instead of administering different types of antibiotics to combat MRSA and other infections (incidentally, the above link tells us that There is also emerging antibiotic resistance being seen with some of these medications as well, so the battle between resistant bacteria strains and humans will probably rage on forever…), wouldn’t it be absolutely WONDERFUL if hospitals began to treat MRSA-infected patients with Manuka honey? The Manuka remedy is cheap, easy, non-toxic…and not as sticky as you would think! By the way, I would be very curious to know if anyone else out there has tried this infection-fighting goo, too! Thanks.

December 23 2009 post. Just a few days ago I wrote a post about Manuka honey and its amazing infection-fighting properties (my cut is completely healed, by the way!)…and today I read a Science Daily article on the same topic. Except this time it’s pomegranates. Have a look: http://tinyurl.com/yj8mxbd 

According to Prof. Naughton, the head researcher in this particular study, “The idea of using a foodstuff is unusual and means that the body should be able to cope more easily with its application; patients are less likely to experience any major side-effects.”

Hear, hear…!

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