A study has looked closer at manuka honey as a topical treatment for eczema (atopic dermatitis). The Saudi Arabian study was conducted only after patients reported to their doctor that they were finding relief after applying manuka honey to skin affected by the dry, itchy eczema, with impressive results.
Manuka honey has long been known to have medicinal qualities, and is regularly used in wound care and as a burns treatment. Some studies have looked into its use in antibiotic resistance, with multiple studies currently underway.
Dr Abdullah A. Alangari, an allergist, published his study in an issue of Immunity, Inflammation and Disease, a medical journal. The study looked at 16 eczema sufferers, eight women and eight men, however two people had to leave the study because their symptoms became worse and they required a different treatment. This left 14 people in the study. The patients were asked to put manuka honey on one side of their body, where eczema affected both sides equally, for example on the inner elbows or knees. The observation was that the treated side improved more than the untreated side.
The three-item severity score was significantly lower after one week of treatment, with no significant differences in the scores of control lesions pre and post treatment. The honey was well tolerated, with no adverse events recorded after a week of the study.
It is understood that Staphylococcus aureus colonises the skin when it is damaged by eczema, however tests before and after treatment saw no differences in skin staphylococci. They did discover that the honey significantly downregulated certain skin secretions in a dose-dependent way, and significantly inhibited mast cell degranulation via histamine release.
If you want to use manuka honey for your eczema, we advise you to buy the good stuff, with New Zealand manuka honey being more potent than Australian. It costs more, but the active ingredients are abundant, and you’ll see a better outcome than if you buy it off the supermarket shelf. Do not buy pasteurised manuka honey.
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