Some of us use honey every day. We either get it from the local grocery store or at the nearest farmer’s market. Whether we use local honey as a remedy to fight off seasonal allergies or put it in our tea as a healthier alternative to sugar, honey has been traced back to 8000 years ago.
Some ancient civilizations that have used honey for wounds and diseases of the gut include the Chinese, Romans, and Assyrians. The ancient Egyptians used honey as a wound salve and for embalming. The Greeks utilized honey for a vast assortment of ailments including baldness and contraception. And, in Indian ayurveda, as well as ancient Greece, it was applied daily to the eyes to improve eyesight and regarded in cataract prevention.
It seems researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have caught on to ancient remedies. The researchers are testing the use of antibacterial medical honey as a natural eye lubricant. The upcoming clinical trials are set to compare conventional eye drops and other clinic-based drops to honey-based therapies.
The mixture of Manuka honey is being sought after as being an alternative to other drops which have side effects such as decreased effectiveness over time and an increase in the risk of eye infection.
The eye drops being tested reduce inflammation on the ocular surface. Researchers hope that it will soon work as a substitute for ointments, eye drops, gels, and steroids.
The QUT is setting up two different studies using the honey. The first study is to test the effectiveness for those who can not continuously wear contacts due to dry eye symptoms. The second study will largely track patients with meibomian gland dysfunction.
There is no cure for dry eye. There are current therapies that restore normal tear amounts to lessen discomfort but that is all. So, the trials to test the efficacy of honey are looking promising.
“Medical honey has demonstrated efficacy in wound management and in the reduction of ocular flora in dry eye patients,” Dr. Paugh writes, citing a previous study (Albietz and Lenton, Cornea, 2006).
Natural remedies are gaining more momentum these days. The practices of ancient civilizations are beginning to be realized and those in the scientific field are readily testing, and possibly verifying, the use of natural cures. With over 200 substances including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, there is no reason researchers at the QUT have taken notice to honey’s beneficial properties.