A TALE OF THREE ULCERS ~ Medicinal Virtues of Honey

A TALE OF THREE ULCERS by Jim Duke
(adapted from an article printed in Pathways Magazine, Spring 2015)

Decades ago, one ankle sore;
Had me facing amputation.
But p’roxide, sulfur, sunshine
Permitted perambulation
(anonpoet, 2015)

Trying to offer my Pathways readers something completely different for the New Year, I am offering a detailed account of the reported medicinal virtues of honey. Turns out that honey, in this case New Zealand’s manuka honey, a new friend of mine, mixed in Peru’s dragon blood, an old friend of mine, cured two ankle ulcers of mine, that conventional antibiotics had failed to help. And I’ve long been afraid of ankle ulcers. As you’ll see, I almost lost a leg to such an ankle ulcer in Panama about 50 years ago.

My Rodale book, The Green Pharmacy, came out in 1997, nearly 20 years ago, but had been submitted for publication, closer to 1995, when I retired from the USDA. That book still sells well, and has been reprinted in 10 or so languages. Matter of fact, it did so well, that the royalties helped me establish what we now call (and spell) Green Farmacy Garden (GFG). GFG started harvesting honey two seasons ago, thanks to some beekeeping friends, Dick and Victoria Ransom, who placed some hives here, near my 300-species GFG.

Apiarist Dick Ransom checking the Green Farmacy Garden hives

Apiarist Dick Ransom checking the Green Farmacy Garden hives

On page 148 of the original hard cover edition of the book, there’s a chapter entitled, “Cuts, Scrapes and Abscesses.” It takes me back to Panama, cerca 1965. I hope you never have an abscess like the one I had on my left leg 50 years ago there in Panama. In the humid forests, minor cuts can turn into major infections, seemingly almost overnight. This one started out quite small on my left ankle. Before you could contemplate “suppurating,” the medical term for the pus oozing from infected wounds, my aggressive abscess turned into Hollywood movie type jungle rot. My lower leg was a mess, the growing ulcer dripping disgusting green pus. My immune system was battling the bacteria hiding in the ulcer. Little did I know then that the peroxide and other chemicals in honey can fight some of those bacteria.

In the sleepy little province of Darien, near the Colombian border, my abscess grew, and my Panamanian friends shook their heads knowingly. I was hobbling so badly and I became feverish and wary. I paid the town urchins to take me from the farm, where several gringo scientists were renting to town in a wheelbarrow.  The natives (but not me) probably believe such ulcers are caused by the corrosive exudates of dumbcane (Dieffenbachia seguine), which is the same as the familiar palmlike Dieffenbachia houseplant up here. My friends assumed that some of the caustic resin from cut stems of dumbcane had entered a minor cut. That sounded possible, especially since I tended to go barefoot on the slippery slopes of the rivers, trying not to embarrass myself by falling down. But I’ll never know for sure. All I knew was that as the ulcer grew larger, I became feverish–and scared.

HerbalBum 1960

HerbalBum 1960 with his ulcerated bum ankle

I put on a brave face, but skin infections in the tropics can quickly become serious. Three decades ago, I was not quite as confident of the Green Farmacy as I am today. So I called on a North American physician at a hospital in the Canal Zone. After one look at my abscess, he said that if I didn’t get intravenous antibiotics immediately, I might lose my leg.  He administered some antibiotics, but that was not enough, in his view. If I wanted to save the leg, he said, I should return to the United States for continued treatment in air-conditioned hospitals.

Back then the American military stationed in Panama military offered me nice position to return to the forest as a botanical consultant. What to do? I wanted that job more than anything – but I also wanted to keep my leg.

I called my right-hand man and friend Narciso “Chicho” Bristan, an African-Panamanian who had accompanied me on several jungle trips. He, too, would enjoy a financial windfall by joining the new expedition into the bush to look into the advisability of a sea level canal cut thru Darien with nuclear devices. Chicho helped me hobble to see his sister, Carmen, a Darien nurse with an extensive knowledge of bush medicine. She had seen ulcers like mine before.  She was more optimistic. Yes, I needed immediate treatment, but not intravenous antibiotics. I was pleased when Carmen told this budding botanist that I could treat my abscess with “flowers,”. Not the botanical kind of flowers. She meant flowers (purified powder) of sulfur. She recommended flushing out my sores with hydrogen peroxide, a good disinfectant, drying them in the sun and finally sprinkling on flowers of sulfur. Turns out she was right or I was lucky.  Soon after that visit, I limped back into the jungle, still leaning on Chicho. But I didn’t have to lean on him for long. Carmen’s program and her flowers of sulfur quickly healed that angry abscess. Within a month, all I had left was a scar that I bear to this day, testimony to my first leg-threatening encounter with jungle rot. I’ve spent 7 of the last 50 years tromping around the tropics looking for medicinal plants.  Peroxide, sulfur and sunshine (Jungle Rx) with a generous helping of serendipity had permitted me my favorite avocation, walking thru the forests and botanizing.

Now, 50 years after my first indolent ulcer, old age and stenotic spinal neuropathy have me hobbling again. Last spring (2014), while wearing prescription compression stockings to improve my leg circulation, a strange pair of small ulcers developed, one on the front of each ankle.  It soon became apparent that they were, if anything – fertilized by the allopathic antibiotics. I was doubly amazed and amused when my holistic Physician’s Assistant, Josh Anderson, suggested a rather gory mixture he concocted, consisting of my new friend Manuka Honey and my old friend Dragon’s Blood (Croton lechleri) – a red resin that comes from a specific plant group.

Dragon's blood, Sangre de Draco, Croton lechleri

Dragon’s blood, Sangre de Draco, Croton lechleri

IMG_1587 manuka honey

raw manuka honey

That did the trick! In a few weeks, aided and abetted by also exposing the ulcers to the summer sunshine, (as I had done in Darien some 5 decades ago), I was up and about.

Dragon’s Blood and Honey
May sound bloody funny
But if it heals my ulcers
Right on the bloody money (Anonpoet, 2015)

IMG_0496

Jim Duke applies honey mixed with dragon’s blood to his leg ulcers

HONEY USES HERE AND THERE AROUND THE WORLD

Green Farmacy Garden Honey made in 2014 by our bees with help by Dick Ransom.

Green Farmacy Garden Honey made in 2014 by our bees with help by Dick Ransom.

More than a decade ago I wrote a foreword to Stephen Harrod Buhner’s, Herbal Antibiotics – Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug Resistant Bacteria (Storey Books, Pownal, Vermont, 1999). Hence, I feel free to quote myself from that Foreword, “When we borrow the antibiotic compounds from plants, we do better to borrow them all, not just the single solitary most powerful. We lose the synergy when we take out the solitary compound. But most important, we facilitate the enemy, the germ, in its ability to outwit the monochemical medicine. The polychemical synergistic mix, concentrating the powers already evolved in medicinal plants, may be our best hope for confronting drug-resistant bacteria.” After a quick review of the antibacterial properties of various honeys, I think the same applies to honeys.

Honey, not necessarily New Zealand manuka nor Slovakian honeydew honey, looks to be significantly or trivially (depending on author, concentration, and/or potency of antiseptic phytochemicals, or synergy) useful against some bacteria (even some super bacteria). For example, Acinetobacter, Aeromonas, Bacillus, Campylobacter, Candida (not a bacteria but important), Cellulosimicrobium, Clostridium, Enterobacter, Enterococcus. Escherichia; Hemophilus, Helicobacter, Klebsiella, Listonella, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Mycobacterium, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Serratia, Shigella, Staphylococcus, Stenotrophomonas, Streptococcus, Vibrio, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) (WebMD; X20882522; X21776290; X23494861; X23569748; X24969731; X25278429).

To avoid developing resistance to the chemicals in honey, I recommend using the whole antibacterial multifloral honey as a shotgun; do not isolate the most potent chemical (silver bullet) to which resistance will quickly evolve. Buhner wisely specifies the use of wildflower honey (in contrast to the Ayurvedics, who recommend against wild honeys, which may come from bees foraging on poisonous plants). Our mountain laurels, Kalmia latifolia, here in Maryland, can lead to poisoned honey. Buhner rightly suggests that monofloral alfalfa and clover honeys may lack the natural chemical diversity of wild honey and are more liable to be contaminated with pesticides.

Buhner notes that honey has been effectively used in huge ulcers extending to the bone (rather like my Darien ulcer). Honey gives excellent results with burns; complete healing with no need for skin grafts, and with no infection or muscle loss. Honey “has outperformed antibiotics” with blood vessels, bone storage and transport, corneal problems, gangrene, skin grafts, stomach ulcers, and surgical incisions or infections (Buhner, 1999).

AYURVEDA (mostly in India) – Honey (Madhu) is classified by Ayurveda according to color. There are four types: white, brown, oil-colored and light yellow. The oil-colored varieties are, generally speaking, the best. Honey is sweet-astringent in taste, heavy to digest, cooling (constricts capillaries) and a blood purifier. It has medicinal value in treating Kapha end Pitta energy over-balance, but overuse can cause dryness and gas. In the winter, in spring and in humid weather, it has remarkable value for health. However, it should never be taken hot, as with teas, because heat may bring out latent poisonous effects from the pollens of nearby poisonous flowers. This is especially true of wild or uncultivated honey. (From Alan Tillotson.)

BIBLICAL: And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds Genesis 43:11 (KJV). Sounds like a Biblical food farmacy gift package to me. The word honey is mentioned 60 times, the phrase “milk and honey,” perhaps synonymous with agricultural sufficiency, is mentioned 20 times in the Old Testament. Perhaps the most medicinal of the quotes is Proverbs 16(24), “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” There is no reference to “wild honey”in the Old Testament, no reference to “milk and honey” in the New Testament, where there only five references to honey, three of them to wild honey, e.g., in Mark 1:(6) “John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey.” Some speculate John’s locust may be the insect, others suggest it might be the carob (Ceratonia), rather suggestive of our honey locust. Speaking of extra-Biblical uses of medicinal plants mentioned in the Bible, I noted a few, e.g., (1) Onion seeds are mixed with honey and applied to warts. (2) North Africans that use aloe, usually mixed with gum arabic and honey or sugar for amenorrhea, dyspepsia, and jaundice. (3 & 4) Rhizomes of the Biblical Reed (Arundo donax) are boiled in wine and honey to treat cancers, as are chicory leaves boiled with honey for cancers, (5 & 6) Arabs add cumin and pimenta to honey as an aphrodisiac; similar uses reported for rocket seed in honey, and (7) Algerians mix manna ash seeds with honey and olive oil to treat gonorrhea (from my CRC Medicinal Plants of the Bible and the Bible online).

Carob, Ceratonia siliqua, has male and female flowers on separate trees. These are the male flowers and the strong "male" scent    lures not only insects to gather pollen but also me (H.Metzman). Ramat Rachel Jerusalem, Israel

Carob, Ceratonia siliqua, has male and female flowers on separate trees. These are the male flowers. The strong “male” scent lures not only insects to gather pollen but also me to photograph them (H.Metzman). Ramat Rachel Jerusalem, Israel

BULGARIA: Noting that honey is effective against colds, flu, and other respiratory infections, as well as immunodepression, Buhner recalls a Bulgarian study of 17, 862 patients showing that honey helped allergic and chronic rhinitis, asthmatic bronchitis, bronchitis, and sinusitis (Buhner, 1999).

INDIANA: The later it gets the more often I say, ”My good friend, the late … in this case Varro Tyler. Varro, like me and the late Norman Farnsworth, were important advisers on the American Botanical Council, Founder and Executive Director, Mark Blumenthal. I don’t think Farnsworth published any pop books, but Varro and I did. Thirty years ago Varro published, Hoosier Home Remedies, Purdue University Press (1985), in which we find such fascinating Hoosier recipes as drinking honey and vinegar for arthritis, or as a panacea (for whatever ails you). Then there was honey and sassafras as spring tonic and blood thinner. And comfrey, horehound, jack-in-the-pulpit, and spikenard, with honey and vinegar, for colds and flu. As antitussive, balm of gilead with honey and lemon; or honey and garlic, in vinegar (with whiskey), or honey and vinegar (with or without olive oil), or licorice, rock candy and honey, or mullein root with honey, or the complicated alum, black pepper, butter, ginger, honey and rosin, or simmered skunk cabbage and vinegar, with added honey, or says Tyler (p. 55), “a teaspoon of honey will quiet a cough.” As a panacea, milkweed root with honey (for constipation, dropsy, fever, hemorrhoids, nerve problems, even snake and spider bites). Then Varro suggests large doses of honey (two pounds in doses of six teaspoons every 20 minutes, to sober one up, even curb the desire to drink alcohol. Eat honey to promote sleep. While I am sure that some honeys are good for running sores or ulcers, I’d not try the Hoosier pokeroot, with honey, flour, eggs, and olive oil. On the other hand I’d not be afraid to take horseradish with honey and vinegar for hoarseness. One I did not know for stomachache was crawley root (Corallorrhiza) tea, sweetened with honey. I think I’d rather have Varro’s wild mint tea, with honey. And finally, he mentions 3-4 teaspoons aloe decoction with honey for tuberculosis. How’s that for a Hoosier Honey roundup from the late Varro Tyler’s Hoosier Home Remedies, Purdue University Press (1985)?

LATIN AMERICAN: Among Latinos, Amazonians use Motelo sanango stems and roots decocted with wild bee honey for female sterility. Maidenhair infusion is mixed with honey as expectorant, for rheumatism, and colds, heartburn, and sour stomach. Andeans use agave leaf tea with honey as a collyrium for conjunctivitis. Bolivians use century plant with honey for bruises, gonorrhea, internal tumors, nephritis, rheumatism, and tuberculosis. Bolivians gargle pineapple decoction with honey for angina, sore throat, and tonsilitis. Choco Indians mix papaya latex with honey as a vermifuge. Haitians use the Haiti Catalpa leaf tea with honey to relieve angina. Panama natives put copaiba mixed with honey in newborne mouths to impart knowledge and ward off hexes; also used for VD. Amazons mix bitter cane (Costus) stem juice with honey for cough, colds, and whooping cough. Bolivians use calabash decoction with honey to bring on the menstrual period. Peruvians take calabash jelly (hot fruit juice with honey and lemon) for bronchosis and cough. Chileans steep Winter’s Bark leaf in boiling water with honey as a stomachic tonic. Peruvians macerate ripe genipaps in rum with honey, for rheumatism. Haitians mix sweet potato root, honey and sulfur for cough. Peruvians use lantana leaf decoction with honey, garlic, and onion for bronchosis and cold (DAV). Hondurans cook Peruvian basil root with anise and honey cardiac pain and cough. A shot of chuchuhuasi with aguardiente and honey was given many ecotourists on departure from the Iquitos airport in 1991. All survived withdrawal from the Amazonian rain forest. And many came back, habituated. Latinos gargle leaf decoction with lemon and honey for sore throat. Peruvians apply matico leaves in honey to leishmanial sores. There is the strange mix of stinging hairs (Mucuna) in honey ingested to dislodge worms. Amazonians take honey with andiroba, black pepper, copaiba, and sugar, for bronchitis, coughs, laryngitis and pharyngitis. Bolivians use paud’arco leaf tea with honey as a tonic. Peruvians take Tecoma floral tea with honey as diuretic, pectoral, and sudorific (Source: Duke, JA; Vasquez Martinez, R. 1994. Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary (Peru). CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL. 215 pp., and Duke, JA, Bogenschutz-Godwin, MJ, and Ottesen, A. 2008. Duke’s Handbook of Medicinal Plants of Latin America. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 901pp).

NORTH AMERICAN: Dan Moerman was kind enough to print out from his database the entries that involved honey among, e.g., the Cahuila, Cherokee, Diegueno, Navajo (floral honey), and Rappahannock Native Americans. Most often it seems to be added to medicinal herbs as a tonic or for asthma, coughs, colds pertussis, and sorethroat. Moerman’s printout includes no mention of topical use for burns, infections, or sores. (Moerman, Daniel E. 1998. Native American Ethnobotany. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 927 pp.)

SLOVAKIA: Slovakian, J. Majtan, listed a lot of surprising uses for honey, often honeydew honey from Abies [not honeydew (Cucumis melo)], e.g., corneal ulcers caused by contact lens (X25278429), leg ulcers (X25187187), perianal fistula in IBD (X21977900), preventing endophthalmitis (X22508360), in addition to more mundane activities like antibiofilm (X25278429), antiniflammatory (X25278429), IL-1beta-Genic (X24612472), IL-1beta-Inhibitor (X24612472), IL-6-Genic (X24612472), IL-6-Inhibitor (X24612472), immunomodulator (X24612472), MMP-9-Inhibitor (X 23812412), ROS-Genic (X24612472), ROS-Inhibitor (X24612472), TNFalpha-Genic (X24612472), TNFalpha-Inhibitor (X24612472), and vulnerary (X24612472).

TRADITIONAL CHINESE: Regarding Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Roy Upton kindly forwarded this to me. Shi Mi (mel) is sweet and balanced. It mainly treats heart and abdominal evil qi, all fright epilepsy, and tetany. It quiets the five viscera when they sustain various insufficiencies, boosts the qi, supplements the center, relieves pain, and resolves toxins. It eliminates multitudes of diseases and harmonizes hundreds of medicinals. Protracted taking may fortify the will, make the body light and free from hunger and prevent senility. A commentary in the same text states, “Honey moistens dryness, resolves various toxins, relieves various kinds of pain, frees the flow of the triple burner, and harmonizes the constructive and defensive. It is often prescribed to suppress cough, cure dysentery, and brighten the eyes. Besides the indications cited in the text, it may render the face brilliant.” (Yang SZ. 1998. The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica. Blue Poppy Press, Boulder, CO. 198 pages.)

Honeybee on Pycnathemum muticum in the GFG

Honeybee, Apis mellifera, on mountain mint, Pycnathemum muticum, in the GFG

____________________________________________

HANDBOOK OF MEDICINAL PLANTS
©James A. Duke, Green Farmacy Garden, 2015

MANUKA, New Zealand Tea Tree
(Leptospermum scoparium J.R. et G. Forst) + FNFF=! (Honey ++ FNFF=!!!)

MYRTACEAE

“Make no doubt, we have the finest medical/patent science system in the United States of America that human greed can fashion.” — Attributed to someone under the name or pseunonym of ‘Hackus’. (We’ve been financially hacked by Big Pharma and collusional government agencies.)

Synonyms: Leptospermum nichollsii Dorr. Sm.; (=) Leptospermum scoparium var. chapmannii Dorr. Sm. ex Rehder; Leptospermum scoparium var. incanum Cockayne; Leptospermum scoparium var. martinii hort.; Leptospermum scoparium var. nichollsii (Dorr. Sm.) Turrill

NOTES (MANUKA): It may surprise you as it surprised me to read that there are three different species of Myrtaceae growing in Australia and New Zealand known as ‘Tea-tree.’ There’s the more familiar Australian Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and the New Zealand manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), and Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides). All three essential oils are used by aromatherapists. Manuka had a spasmolytic action, while Kanuka and Melaleuca had an initial spasmogenic action. The antifungal activity of Kanuka was inversely proportional to its strong antibacterial activity, whilst manuka displayed a stronger antifungal effect, though not as potent as Melaleuca. The antioxidant activity of manuka samples was more consistent than that of Kanuka, while Melaleuca showed no activity. The variability in the manuka and Kanuka essential oils suggests caution in their usage, as does the fact that the oils have not been tested for toxicity (X11114000).

In mid-2014, manuka honey from New Zealand and dragon’s blood (Croton lechleri) from Peru quickly cured my “compression stocking” ulcers where conventional antibiotics had failed. So I’m devoting my lengthy fluffy first paragraphs to manuka honey itself which has its own healing reputation. Recently there are more PubMed citations on the manuka honey than on the essential oil, both of which are proving to be trivial or significant antiseptics.

But from the outset of this, I’m trying to see if there’s some strong reason why manuka should be better, perhaps a monotonous monofloral honey from rather monotonous manuka forests. Monofloral honeys may have high concentrations of a few antiseptics; multifloral honeys may have more antiseptic phytochemicals, possibly acting synergically. The honey produced in my Green Farmacy Garden is multifloral, with over 300 flowering plant species in a half acre. Many of them are well known bee forage plants in the mint family, with chemicals that can help the bees resist the mites that are playing havoc with many bee colonies here in the US, if not in New Zealand.

Here I report on some chemicals rightly or wrongly stated in the literature to be unique to manuka honey. In 2014, Japanese scientists reported that leptosperin, (methyl syringate 4-O-ß-D-gentiobiose), and methyl syringate are exclusively present in manuka (X24941263; X25310890). In 2012 Japanese researchers also reported that the honey inhibits myeloperoxidase, due to methyl syringate and its methyl syringate 4-O-ß-D-gentiobiose, named “leptosin,” a good chemical marker for manuka, which was correlated with the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) value, as antibacterial (X22409307). Can you believe it? Indian studies showed that brushing with manuka was better than brushing with commercial toothpaste. Manuka has substantial non-peroxide antibacterial activity associated with an unidentified phytochemical component, denoted as UMF. Children using manuka honey instead of conventional toothpastes showed statistically significant reductions in salivary Streptococcus mutans after 10 and 21 days (X25001440).

In 2008, German scientists showed that manuka honey exhibited antibacterial activity when diluted to 15-30%, which corresponded to a methylglyoxal (MGO) content of 1.1-1.8 mM (anti-Escherichia, anti-Staphylococcus) (X18210383). In New Zealand, MGO ranges from 38-828 mg/kg (X18194804). And yes, manuka has anti-Staphylococcus aureus activities, with promise as a topical antibacterial (AntiMSSA) agent and effective chronic wound dressing (X22580031). As early as 1991, New Zealand scientists (Allen, Molan, and Reid) surveyed 345 samples of unpasteurized honey obtained from commercial apiarists throughout New Zealand. Most of the honeys were considered to be monofloral, from 26 different floral sources. Antibacterial activity (against Staphylococcus aureus) ranged from the equivalent of less than 2% (w/v) phenol to 58% (w/v) phenol, with a median of 13.6 and a standard deviation of 12.5. manuka was outstanding, and due entirely to the non-peroxide component (XX1687577).

Not everyone recommends manuka honey for diabetic ulcers. Juraj Majtan from Slovakia, while recommending honey for several ails, suggests that high methylglyoxal manuka (MG) might be contraindicated at least for diabetic ulcers. In 2011, he said the pronounced antibacterial activity of manuka honey is due, at least in part, to reactive methylglyoxal (MG), which can be 100-fold higher than in conventional honeys. Freshly produced manuka honey contains low levels of MG (~ 140 mg/kg) but during storage at 37̊C its content increases. The levels of MG in multi-floral honeys are low, ranging from 0.4 to 5.4 mg kg. High levels are reported in manuka honeys, ranging from 48 to 835. It has been suggested that concentrations of MG above 150 mg kg are directly responsible for the characteristic antibacterial properties of manuka honey. But MG is a potent protein-glycating agent and an important precursor of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). MG and AGEs may impair diabetic wound healing. Majtan also pointed out that resistance to silver as an antibacterial is showing up in Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, and Salmonella (X21776290).

A discordant New Zealand study comparing four different honeys found that kanuka honey (from Kunzea ericoides) was a better wound healing antiiflammatory than a blend (kanuka and manuka), better than manuka and much better than red clover honey. “The phenolic content of honey correlates with its effectiveness, although the specific compounds involved remain to be determined.” (Manuka had 59% phenolic, kanuka 39%, the manuka/kanuka blend 59%, and clover 40%.) (X24623989).

The dihydroxyacetone in manuka may be converted to methylglyoxal (MGO). Flavonoid components of manuka run about 1.16 mg/100 g honey. The principal flavonoids present were pinobanksin, pinocembrin, luteolin and chrysin. Also, 1, 2-formyl-5-(2-methoxyphenyl)-pyrrole, was isolated from the flavonoid fraction and separately synthesized (X23870890). “Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and methylglyoxal (MGO) are unique carbohydrate metabolites of manuka honey” (X22960208).

Recently, Hammond has shown the manuka honey effective against one of the superbugs, Clostridium difficile and its biofilm. (MIC & MBC=6.25%v/v) (X23651562, X25181951). Here I am at home January 16, 2015, while my wife Peggy is hopefully recovering from a very complicated serious open heart surgery (coronary bypass, new aorta). I have maintained for years that the most dangerous place in the world is the hospital. I still maintain that opinion and long for my wife’s successful recovery. She’s in ICU in a very clean (we hope) new building at Johns Hopkins. Still even in the first day of her operation, we heard rumblings that might be caused by an earlier botched operation (at Howard County Community Hospital. The doctors (January 15, 2015) noted that scar tissue from the botched pacemaker insert operation necessitated some dissection. That might dislodge scar tissue “debris” to float around, capable of causing minor or major blood clots, even strokes. It was probably about 3.5 years ago when Peggy went in for a much simpler operation, to insert a pacemaker, at our Howard County Hospital but with a highly recommended Johns Hopkins surgeon. But they botched it, the simple pacemaker insert, and overshot. We almost lost her. And they had to do emergency reparations. And she had a near fatal sepsis. I think I heard the attending physicians mention Clostridium.

I mention all this because I just came across those papers by N. E. Hammond showing that manuka honey (from Leptospermum) has antibacterial properties capable of inhibiting in vitro biofilm formed by the superbug Clostridium difficile (X25181951). Clostridium difficile diarrhea is estimated to occur in 8 out of 100,000 people each year. Among those admitted to hospital, it occurs in 4- 8 people per 1,000. Due in part to the emergence of a fluroquinolone-resistant strain, C. difficile-related deaths increased 400% between the years 2000 and 2007 in the United States. A number of different antibiotics are used for C. difficile, more or less equally effective. Metronidazole typically is the initial drug of choice for mild to moderate disease, because of lower price.Typically it is taken three times a day for 10 days. Oral vancomycin is preferred for severe cases. Fidaxomicin is as effective as vancomycin in mild to moderate cases. Cholestyramine, an ion exchange resin, is effective in binding both toxin A and B, slowing bowel motility, and helping prevent dehydration. Cholestyramine is recommended with vancomycin. A last-resort treatment in those who are immunosuppressed is intravenous immunoglobulin. Evidence to support the use of probiotics in the treatment of active disease is insufficient…. A World Health Organization report, released April 2014 states, “this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance–when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections–is now a major threat to public health” (Source: Wikipedia). Not all citizens of the world can afford these antibiotics. In their desperate poverty, they can try honey. Until the honey has been clinically compared with the increasingly more useless antbiotics, I cannot be sure but what the honey is better, cheaper, and safer. You see, honey is like a natural shotgun, long known (millennially) to your genes (if your ancestors consumed it), containing several different kinds of antibacterial pellets which might synergically be more useful than the dying silver bullet, the unnatural synthetic monochemical never known to your genes until you take it for the first time.

In 1994, New Zealand scientists, publishing on manuka honey (XX8308841), noted that some of the antiseptic activities of honey were due to hydrogen peroxide, which I, too, have used as an antiseptic. And many of the studies of manuka honey relate to the antiseptic activities of the non-peroxide components. Five isolates of the ulcerogenic bacteria Helicobacter pylori to honey was tested, were sensitive to a 20% (v/v) solution of manuka honey. As little as 5% honey (v/v) stopped overgrowths of the bacteria in cultures. None showed sensitivity to a 40% solution of a honey, in which antibacterial activity was due primarily to hydrogen peroxide (XX8308841).

al Somal, et al. (X) note that conventional treatment of gastric and duodenal ulceration is unsatisfactory. Most drugs used suppress but do not cure ulcers, slowly healing and with high rate of relapse – 80% at 1 year and 100% at 2 years, even with maintenance therapy with ranitidine 150 mg at night, the relapse rate is 48%. Gastric and duodenal ulcer medicine is expensive. Treatment with honey is much less expensive and appears to be quicker. Allopaths tend to prematurely reject “alternative medicine” if it lacks a rational basis. These New Zealanders provide a rational basis. Much gastric and duodenal ulceration appears due to Helicobacter pylori and honey has proven antibacterial activity.

As they note, antibacterial activity of honey varies depending on the bee honey sources. The major antibacterial factor in most honey is hydrogen peroxide, produced in the honey by the action of glucose oxidase which is added to the honey by the bee, but some antibacterial activity is due to floral substances. If honey heals gastritis and ulcers by affecting Helicobacter pylori, it may be the phytochemical content of the honey that is involved rather than the osmolarity or the hydrogen peroxide content of the honey. The authors honestly say, “Honey is a very bland treatment, and in fact can protect the stomach from the damaging action of other substances. However, although manuka honey shows potential for use as a low-cost innocuous agent against Helicobacter pylori, its usefulness clinically is not known. Helicobacter pylori is susceptible to many antibacterial agents in vitro but only a few are effective in vivo.” “Manuka honey, a common floral type in New Zealand, has been ingested in large quantities by a large number of people for a long time without any adverse effects coming to light” (XX8308841). Are not clinical studies in order? We need to know; can honey be significantly or trivially better than the synthetic options offered us. We don’t know! Why? If the FDA were looking for what is best for the American public instead of what’s best for the bottom line of the pits, Big Pharma, perhaps FDA’s biggest patron, we would already know. Good old corporate America. Feeding the rich. Milking the poor. In the land of milk and honey. I think even rich Democrats and Republicans, might like to know if honey might help the ulcers they have (and deserve). Manuka honey, a common floral type in New Zealand, has been ingested in large quantities by a large number of people for a long time without any adverse effects coming to light.

Where one finds honey, one often finds propolis, which has some antiseptic vitrues of its own.

Czech scientists note that propolis, in ethanol, or in DMSO, proved antibacterial against Enterococcus, Escherichia, Listeria, and Staphyloccus, and against the fungi Aspergillus fumigatus, Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypsaeum, and the omnipresent yeast, Candida albicans (X23915150).

Yes, even monofloral bee pollens have their own antiseptic activities, e.g., pollen of Brassica napus subsp. napus > Papaver somniferum > Helianthus annuus, among Slovakian pollens, against Escherichia, Listeria, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Staphylococcus was most sensitive to the poppy pollen, Salmonella to the rape and sunflower pollen   (X23305281).

Korean scientists found two acaricides more potent than DEET [(LD50=37.12 ug/cm(-2)]. 2,2,4,4,6,6-Hexamethyl-1,3,5-cyclouetrione LD50=1.21 ug/cm(-2) and Leptospermone LD50=0.07 ug/cm(-2) (X19051215). New Zealand researchers showed that a mouthwash including essential oils of manuka and kanuka was effective against radiation-induced mucositis of the oropharyngeal tract (during treatment for head and neck cancers). Taiwanese scientists studied the essential oils of the aromatic tea tree relatives kanuka and manuka. They reported that they were significantly effective against four bacteria (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus) and four fungi (Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Malassezia furfur, Trichosporon mucoides). The manuka oil also reduced canine Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, including MRSA, and biofilm (X23772881).

As early as 2005, German scientists showed that the oil inhibited herpes (HSV1 & HSV2) with IC50 of 0.96 ug/ml and 0.58 ug/ml for inhibiting the viral plaque. Like the oil itself, flavesone and leptospermone, inhibited the virulence of HSV-1. Even after the virus had penetrated the host cells, manuka oil still cut back replication of HSV1 by ~ 41%. Added at non-cytotoxic concentrations 1 h prior to cell infection, plaque formation was reduced by 99.1% and 79.7% for flavesone and leptospermone, respectively (X16395648).

Oregon University researchers reported a clinical trial of IND 61,164, a mouthwash, containing essential oils and extracts from Leptospermum scoparium, Melaleuca alternifolia, Calendula officinalis, and Camellia sinensis. Fifteen subjects completed the Phase I safety study. Seventeen subjects completed the Phase II randomized placebo-controlled study. As I read the abstract, I’d not care to try it myself (X16317652).

COMMON NAMES (MANUKA): Árvore-Chá (Brazil, Por; USN); Broom Teatree (Eng. ,USN): Érica (Brazil, Por.; USN); Falsa-érica (Brazil, Por.; USN); Leptospermo (Brazil, Por.; USN); Manuka (Maori, NZ, USN); Manukamirt (Afrikaan; USN); Manuka Myrtle (Eng., USN); Manuka Teatree (Aust.; Eng., USN); New Zealand Teatree (Eng., S. Afr., USN); Rosenmyrten (Swe.; USN).

ACTIVITIES (MANUKA): Acaricide (1; X19051215); Anthelminthic (1; PR14:623); Antiacetylcholinesterase (1; HAD; JAF45:677); Antiallergic (1; FNF); Antiasthmatic (1; FNF; CJT4:203); AntiEscherichia (1; X24582465); Antiherpetic (1; X16395648) Antiinflammatory (1; XX9720632); AntiMRSA (1; X23772881); Antimucositic (1; X19297246); Antioxidant (1; PR14:623; X11114000); Antiseptic (1; PR14:623; X11114000; X16395648; X24582465); AntiStaphylococcus (1; X24582465); AntiStreptococcus (1; X24582465); Antitussive CJT; Antiulcer X10823671; Antiviral (1; X16395648); Antiyeast (1; X24582465); Anxiolytic (1; FNF); Astringent (1; PR14:623); Bactericide (1; PR14:623; X24582465); Candidicide (1; X24582465); Diuretic (1; AEH219 BIS); Fungicide (1; PR14:623; X11114000; X24582465); Herbicide (1; FNF; X23314892); Immunomodulator (1; X17675558; X22212104); Insectifuge (1; FNF); Irritant (1; CAN); Nematicide (1; SZ44:183); Nephroirritant (1; CAN); Sedative (1; FNF; XX7838881); Spasmolytic (1; PR14:623; XX9720632; X11114000); Spermicide (1; FNF); TNF-alpha-Genic (1; X17675558; X22212104); Tranquilizer (1; XX7838881); Uterocotractant (1; PR14:623); Vulnerary (1; FNF).

INDICATIONS (MANUKA): Anxiety (1; XX7838881); Bacteria (1; FNF; X24582465); Candida (1; X24582465); Cold (f; PR14:623; XX9720632); Cold (f; XX 9720632); Diarrhea (f; XX9720632; Dysuria (f; PR14:623); Escherichia (1; X24582465); Fever (f; PR14:623); Fungus (1; FNF; X24582465); Infection (1; FNF); Inflammation (f1; XX9720632; X24582465); Insomnia (1; XX7838881); MRSA (1; X23772881); Mycosis (1; FNF); Staphylococcus (1; X24582465); Streptococcus (1; X24582465); Worm (1; PR14:623); Yeast (1; X24582465).

DOSAGES (MANUKA): FNFF=!!!. I do not remember seeing dosages for this, but recommend the honey as a food to be consumed as desired. Manuka honey is now sold internationally. Leaves used also to make tea. Manna edible (WIK).

DOWNSIDES (MANUKA): Honey should not be given to infants as it may cause botulism (WebMD). None for the honey (possibly fattening and habit forming, containing the endocannabinoid caryophyllene); essential oils need to be monitored carefully say practicing aromatherapists. Aromatherapists, as with many other essential oils, suggest caution. Variability in manuka and Kanuka essential oils suggests caution in their usage; “oils have not been tested for toxicity” (X11114000).

Not indexed in AHG or AHPA’s Botanical Safety Handbook (2nd Ed., 2013).

EXTRACTS (MANUKA):

LEPTOSPERMUM SCOPARIUM J.R. et G. Forst

“MANUKA”

ALLOAROMADENDRENE EO NAPRALERT
DELTA-AMORPHENE EO NAPRALERT
ARABINOGALACTANS FL (HONEY) X22212104
AROMADENDRENE EO NAPRALERT XX9933953
3,4,5-TRIMETHOXYBENZOIC-ACID HL NAPRALERT
3,4,5-TRIMETHOXYBENZOIC-ACID-METHYL-ESTER HL NAPRALERT
BETULINIC-ACID BK 5,000 PHYT13:2002 NAPRALERT
BETULINOL SH NAPRALERT
(-)-BICYCLOSESQUIPHELLANDRENE EO NAPRALERT
(-)-CADINA-1(6),4-DIENE EO NAPRALERT
(-)-CADINA-3,5-DIENE EO NAPRALERT
CADINA-1,4-DIENE EO NAPRALERT
CADINENE EO XX9933953
DELTA-CADINENE EO NAPRALERT
CALAMENENE EO XX9933953 X19161682
(-)-TRANS-CALAMENENE EO NAPRALERT
CARYOPHYLLENE EO XX9933953 X15184010
BETA-CARYOPHYLLENE EO NAPRALERT
CHRYSIN HONEY X23870890
CHRYSIN-DIMETHYL-ETHER SH NAPRALERT
COLOSOLIC-ACID 3.2 SH NAPRALERT
COPAENE EO XX9933953
ALPHA-COPAENE EO NAPRALERT X15184010 X19161682
CUBEBENE EO XX9933953
ALPHA-CUBEBENE EO NAPRALERT
DEFENSIN-1 HONEY X22366273
DIHYDROXYACETONE FL X25277074
DIHYDROXYACETONE HONEY METABOLITE X22960208
3-BETA-30-DIHYDROXYLUP-20(29)-EN-28-OIC-ACID 1 SH NAPRALERT
2′-BETA-DIHYDROXY-3′-METHYL-4′,6′-DIMETHOXYCHALCONE SH NAPRALERT
2,5-DIHYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVAN-3-ONE PL XX7838874
2,5-DIHYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVAN-3-ONE LF NAPRALERT
5,7-DIMETHOXYFLAVANONE SH NAPRALERT
5,7-DIMETHOXYFLAVONE PL XX7838881
5,7-DIMETHOXYFLAVONE SH NAPRALERT
5,7-DIMETHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVONE PL XX7838881
5,7-DIMETHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVANONE SH NAPRALERT
DIMETHYLCRYPTOSTROBIN SH NAPRALERT
ELLAGIC-ACID BK PC7:1803
3-O-METHYL-ELLAGIC-ACID BK PC7:1803
3′-O-METHYL-3-4-METHYLENEDIOXY-ELLAGIC ACID BK PC7:1803
3,3′-DI-O-METHYL-ELLAGIC-ACID BK PC7:1803
3,3′,4-TRI-O-METHYL-ELLAGIC-ACID BK PC7:1803
ELEMENE EO XX9933953 X15184010
FARNESENE EO XX9933953
FLAVANOIDS PL XX7838874 XX7838881 X17235970
FLAVANONE-5,7-DIMETHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVONE SH NAPRALERT
FLAVANONES PL XX7838881
FLAVESONE EO X10096865 X17368492
1,2-FORMYL-5-(2-METHOXYPHENYL)-PYRROLE HONEY X23870890
GERANYL ACETATE EO X15184010
(3-(ß-D-GLUCOPYRANOSYLOXY)-2-METHYL-4H-PYRAN-4-ONE) FL X25529685
GLUCOSE-OXIDASE HONEY X22366273
ALPHA-GLUCOSIDASE HONEY X22366273
GRANDIFLORONE LF X10096865 X17368492 X25103692
GURJUNENE EO XX9933953
ALPHA-GURJUNENE EO NAPRALERT
2,2,4,4,6,6-HEXAMETHYL-1,3,5-CYCLOHEXANETRIONE EO X19051215
HUMULENE EO X15184010
ALPHA-HUMULENE EO NAPRALERT
BETA-HYDROXYCHALCONE PL X17235970
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVANONE SH NAPRALERT
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVONE PL XX7838881
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6-METHYLFLAVONE SH NAPRALERT
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVAN-3-ONE SH NAPRALERT
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVANONE SH NAPRALERT
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVONE SH NAPRALERT
5-HYDROXY-7-METHOXY-6,8-DIMETHYLFLAVONE PL XX7838881
JACOUMARIC-ACID 40 LF NAPRALERT
ISOLEPTOSPERMONE [3, 5-HYDROXY-4-(2-METHYL-1-OXOPENTYL)-2,2,6, 6-TETRAMETHYL-4-CYCLOHEXENE-1,3-DIONE) PL X10096865
LEPTOSPERIN HONEY X24941263
LEPTOSPERMONE EO X10096865 X17368492 X19051215 X23314892
LINALOL EO X15184010
LUTEOLIN HONEY X23870890
MALTOL GLUCOSIDE FL X25529685
3-BETA-O-CIS-P-COUMAROYL-MASLINIC-ACID 14 LF NAPRALERT
3-BETA-O-TRANS-P-COUMAROYL-MASLINIC-ACID 30 LF NAPRALERT
TRANS-METHYL CINNAMATE EO X15184010
METHYLGLYOXAL HONEY METABOLITE X22960208
METHYL-SYRINGATE-4-O-ß-D-GENTIOBIOSE HONEY X24941263
METHYL-SYRINGATE HONEY X24941263
MONOTERPENES -30,000 EO EO XX9933953
MYRCENE EO X15184010
PHENOLICS HONEY X24623989
ALPHA-PINENE EO X15184010
PINOBANKSIN HONEY X23870890
PINOCEMBRIN HONEY X23870890
PINOSTROBIN SH NAPRALERT
PLATANIC-ACID 0.6 SH NAPRALERT
PROTEIN-MRJP1 HONEY X22366273
SELINENE EO XX9933953 X15184010
ALPHA-SELINENE EO NAPRALERT
BETA-SELINENE EO NAPRALERT
SESQUITERPENES 600,000 EO XX9933953
BETA-SITOSTEROL SH NAPRALERT
STROBOCHRYSIN-DIMETHYL-ETHER SH NAPRALERT
STROBOPININ SH NAPRALERT
STROBOPININ-7-METHYL-ETHER SH NAPRALERT
SYRINGIC-ACID-METHYL-ESTER HL NAPRALERT
TRIKETONES 200,000 EO X15184010
BETA-TRIKETONES LF X25103692
UVAOL SH NAPRALERT
VIRIDIFLORENE EO XX9933953
VIRIDIFLOROL EO XX9933953
ALPHA-YLANGENE EO NAPRALERT
GAMMA-YLANGENE EO X15184010
(-)-ZONARENE EO NAPRALERT

3.25.2015 Garden Report ~Helen Lowe Metzman, Garden Director

We had a delayed opening of the garden due to temperatures in the single digits, ice, and snow in late February and early March. Once the snow finally melted, Hillary, Wendy, Porter, and I cut back out last year’s growth and pruned the dormant trees and shrubs. Our rosemary, which lost 90% of its size in the Winter of 2014, once again has 90% dead  remaining branches and leaves with only 10% growth that is not dried and withered. I am not going to lose hope in its survival, but I will not have any expectations either. As I tell my kids, “all suffering comes from expectations.”  Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) replaced the snow in the Alzheimer’s plot; Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis), a source of berberine in its root, is blooming in the Vaginitis plot; butterbur (Petasites japonica) displays its flower inflorescence in advance of its mammoth leaves in Headache plot; ramps (Allium tricoccum) leaves are emerging  from maroon sheathes in the yin side of the valley; and Lenton Rose (Helleborus sp.), crocus (Crocus vernus) and Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemale) herald the transition of winter to spring around the garden. The red-shouldered hawks continue as they do – year after year – to scream and bicker overhead and in the woods. I have yet to hear the wood frogs’ quacking call, and wonder if I just missed them. This winter of 2015 was hard in many ways and the awakening of plants brings a fresh joy to the garden.

Wendy, Hillary and Porter prune the Aesculus glabra Buckeye.

Wendy, Hillary and Porter prune the Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

IMG_9210 Goldthread coptis chinensis gfg

Chinese goldthread, (Coptis chinensis) in flower

IMG_9218

Butterbur (Petasites japonicus) in flower

IMG_9228

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

IMG_9235

ramps (Allium tricoccum) emerging

IMG_9242

ramps (Allium tricoccum) last year’s seed head

IMG_9245 lenten rose helleborus niger

Lenten Rose (Helleborus sp.) flowers beginning to open

IMG_9135

Crocus vernus in flower

IMG_6869 red shouldeered hawk

Red-shouldered hawk watching at the GFG

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2 Responses to A TALE OF THREE ULCERS ~ Medicinal Virtues of Honey

  1. sageywoman says:

    Nice to see photos of you in your youth and as an elder . My husband, who was diabetic, got infected sores easily from just a scape . I healed them with consistant warm poultices of basil,plaintain and garlic that were growing in the garden . Antibiotic cream did not help those sores .
    I would love to get some ramp seed to grow in my gardens . Do you offer any seed? The red tailed hawk has lately become our garden’s friend because of all the trees I planted .Thanks for your beautiful posts . I would love to visit & volunteer but have my acre garden to tend here at the homestead . I fondly remember the weed walk at a biodynamic conference in the 90’s at Claymont. :)Sharon .

  2. Nina Raymond says:

    My ayurvedic doctor Light Miller, N.D. recommended Manuka essential oil to treat Lyme disease. When good quality manuka essential oil not available, she had me do self massage twice a day with Naiouli oil. Very important to get best quality.

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