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November Issue Of Natural Alternatives
November 08, 2007
Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

November 2007

Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

Due to some technical difficulties I was not able to mail this issue earlier. My apologies. I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a favour and pay it forward!

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Nature is the Physician of all Disease ~ Hippocrates







Paul is a diabetic, with a big wound on his foot. To dress it, his surgeon reaches for a jar of honey, soaks a piece of gauze in it and pats it on. Yes, a honey dressing. This is not an imaginary scene from some kids' tale, but one that is seen in several parts of the world today and one we are all likely to witness in the near future.

Dr. Fasal Rauf Khan and his team from North West Wales NHS Trust in Bangor, Britain, reviewed eighteen studies conducted over the last 60 years involving the role of honey in the treatment of surgical wounds. They concluded that it is certainly worthwhile considering this ancient remedy as it has been proven to be very effective in the healing of wounds.

Ulcers or wounds that take longer than three weeks to heal are a surgeon's nightmare. Such wounds may progress into fulminant infections in disabled, bedridden patients or even become gangrenous in diabetic patients, warranting an amputation. A surgeon's challenge is to cure such a wound before complications set in.

Honey has been advocated as a medicine since antiquity. It is said to have antibacterial properties, and in the past half century many researchers have experimented with honey dressings to treat wounds when conventional therapy has failed.

Spencer E. Efem of the University Teaching Hospital in Calabar, Nigeria, published a series of papers on the antibacterial and wound-healing properties of honey. He applied unprocessed honey to chronic non-healing wounds several times daily, after cleaning them with normal saline. He noted that wounds healed rapidly and became free of bacteria.

This was demonstrated with the help of a laboratory test, called bacterial culture, which helps to determine what type of infective bacteria are present. Wounds that were positive for a variety of bacteria before became sterile after a week of honey dressings and went on to heal rapidly and completely.

Due to its antibacterial properties, honey dries up wounds quickly and even decreases swelling or edema in the surrounding skin. It also helps get rid of foul smell in wounds by rapidly decreasing dead, infected tissue and promotes the growth of healthy healing tissue.

These properties are attributed to the high sugar content, high acidity, and presence of substances called inhibins in honey. Hydrogen peroxide and some phenolic acids could be such substances. All the exact components responsible for the antibacterial effects have not been identified yet. Scientists are still speculating what enzymatic processing the nectar from flowers undergoes in the beehive that makes honey medicinal and also gives it a long shelf life of several years.

Several surgeons have noted that in the treatment of infected surgical wounds, antibiotics could be discontinued earlier when honey was used to dress them, as the wounds healed faster and without infections.

Dr. M. Subrahmanyam from the Department of Surgery at Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College in Sangli, India, used honey as a soothing dressing in numerous burn patients and found it was superior to the conventional silver sulfadiazine dressings, in terms of faster eradication of bacteria and shorter time in wound closure.

Honey has also been found to offer relief to patients of dyspepsia, probably by inhibiting the helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for causing gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. Further research has been indicated in this domain to find if honey can be a potential cure for this cancer.

It is suggested that commercially available honey be used for surgical dressings, but it should be untreated as heating destroys certain beneficial enzymes present in it. The honey should be pure and unadulterated, without additives like sulphuric acids, paraffin, sugar or flour, as they obviously affect its efficacy. Natural unpasteurized honey may contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which causes food poisoning in children, if ingested. But there have not been any reports of clostridial infection of a wound from honey.

Manuka honey, a variety of honey coming from bees that feed on the nectar of the manuka bush found in New Zealand, has been found to be especially valuable medicinally and superior to all other types of honey.

Apart from being an easily available and inexpensive mode of treatment, honey has an added advantage of preventing antibiotic resistance, through lesser use of antibiotics. Patients report that changing honey dressings is painless as it does not stick to the skin and the general level of pain is diminished by virtue of its anti-inflammatory properties. Because of these advantages, E. A. van der Weyden, a nurse from Woodfield Retirement Village in Haberfield, New South Wales, Australia, remarks that honey has now become mainstream in treatment of chronic wounds in their care facility.

Vaidya Prashant Suru, practitioner of Ayurveda in Pune, India, observes that there are hundreds of references in this ancient medicine which testify to the use of honey not only for external application, but also as a medicine for treating various maladies, a cosmetic, a vehicle for dispensing other medicines, a part of regular diet and even as a tonic.

Ayurveda, a holistic system of medicine practiced in India for more than 5,000 years, which includes and emphasizes the use of body, mind, and spirit in disease prevention and treatment, has long known that honey helps to dry secretions, decreases corrosiveness and promotes binding.

Large-scale clinical trials to document the benefits of honey have not been conducted and so there is no significant statistical evidence for its use in medical practice. Experts fear that such a trial may never be conducted, as the profits from the sale of honey cannot equal the expenses for such research. But several small studies in various parts of the world suggest that honey should be considered as an alternative treatment modality where conventional modalities have failed.


(Dr. Pradnya Kulkarni is a clinical pathologist from India. She worked as a consultant pathologist in a private laboratory in Pune before moving to Hong Kong with her husband and young daughter. She is also a freelance writer, focusing on medical issues of public concern. ©Copyright Pradnya Kulkarni.)


From PROOF Magazine

Deodorants: Is it possible to stay fresh and still stay safe?
05 August 2006

Nobody wants to go around smelling like a compost heap (or be around someone who does), but what price do you pay for keeping shower-fresh all day long?

This old question was recently resurrected when UK researchers highlighted the potential risks associated with the preservatives parahydroxybenzoic acids, or parabens, in deodorants.

Parabens are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, and studies suggest they are oestrogenic. Used in formulas absorbed into the skin, such as body, face and suncreams, it is speculated that these xenoestrogens (from outside the body) could build up and cause health problems.

Speculation came closer to reality when researchers at the University of Reading found traces of parabens in every single tumour sample taken from a small group of women with breast cancer (J Appl Toxicol, 2004; 24: 5-13).

They concluded that the chemicals had seeped into the tissue after being applied to the skin, probably via deodorants.

Careful With That Deodorant: It may cause breast cancer
06 September 2007

Does the standard deodorant cause breast cancer? High levels of aluminium have been found in the breast tissue of cancer patients – and the standard deodorant and anti-perspirant is 90 per cent aluminium.

Aluminium is easily absorbed by the skin, especially if the underarms have been shaved. Once it is in the body, it mimics the hormone estrogen, which is known to be involved in the development of breast cancer.

Researchers from Keele University investigated tissue from 17 women who had breast cancer, and found ‘significantly higher’ levels in the underarm region of the breast than in other parts of the breast tissue. Research team leader Dr Chris Exley said it was reasonable to conclude that deodorants were the most likely cause of such a high level of aluminium in the underarm region of the breast tissue.

(Source: Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 2007; 101: 1344-6).


My own natural healing potential grows stronger each day.



Thank you for reading.

Livia P.
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.


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