Food & Fitness

Hydrogen peroxide in honey: is it safe?

Westwood brought up an interesting point the other day on my post about healing with honey. She said:

Well as much as I am all for natural healing products, if it converts to hydrogen peroxide, that isn’t a good thing. Hydrogen peroxide used to be commonly used because it was cheap and kills bacteria. However it is no longer used because it kills not just bacteria, but everything… living, healing tissue as well. Though effective as an antimicrobial agent, wounds treated with HP tend to scar quite badly and may not heal properly.

The mother dear, being a holistic veterinarian who focuses on acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapy and herbs, weighed in on the honey issue:

Time for some honey info from the International Vet Acupuncture Society 36th Congress (Aug 2010)courtesy of a lecture given by Dr. Signe Beebe DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVT:

Honey has been used for over 4500 years as a wound dressing. It fell out of favour in conventional medicine practice during the 1970′s but due to the development of antibiotic resistant wound infections, the use of honey has undergone a renaissance. There are numerous recent published studies evaluating the antimicrobial and wound healing properties of honey. The experts are still trying to explain the (dare I say) magical properties of honey. It has strong antimicrobial potency, is an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, has immunostimulant activity and promotes rapid wound healing with little or no scarring. Not all honeys are equal; different honey has different properties (dependant on climate, bees, flowers to name a few).

I could go on and on, but suffice to say, as a practicing veterinarian for 29 years, I have used honey on many wounds with incredible success to speed the healing process with no scarring. It has now fallen back in favour with western medicine. It can be found in free form and tubes for wound dressing, as honey ointment & honey impregnated dressings. Most of the research is being done in Australia and New Zealand. Just google “Medihoney” or “Activon Tube” to find out more.

Dr. J also brought up an important point which I’d read about in my research but had neglected to mention: children should not be fed honey because of botulism. He also notes that:

I think the strength from honey does not damage the wound as a higher percentage would.

I decided to to a bit more research to see if I could answer Westwood’s question/concern about honey more completely. From an article at,

…the hydrogen peroxide concentration produced in honey activated by dilution is typically around 1 mmol/l [2], about 1000 times less than in the 3% solution commonly used as an antiseptic. The harmful effects of hydrogen peroxide are further reduced because honey sequesters and inactivates the free iron which catalyses the formation of oxygen free radicals produced by hydrogen peroxide [31] and its antioxidant components help to mop up oxygen free radicals [32].

And from an article at

Hydrogen peroxide in high concentrations can also damaged skin tissue. Therefore, the use of pure hydrogen peroxide has lost its popularity among doctors and other medical professionals.

What most people don’t know is that honey has the necessary components to produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in a slow-release manner. This makes honey an ideal substance to use in the treatment of infected wounds and other bacterial disorders.

Other sources also supported this position on the goodness of honey. So there you have it! Honey is an incredibly safe way to treat wounds.


  1. The Bird Cage

    Dear Sagan,
    I love this series on honey, I do believe in it feverishly as a healer, both of the skin and internally. I find it really soothes GI maladies ad it helps with colds.
    I actually come to you for your advice again: I’ve been requested to go on protein powders and I am beyond overwhelmed with the diversity of the offering. I also have no idea what I should be looking for and I’m quite scared because they all seem to be for giant macho-men trying to be like Arnold.
    So, I have questions:
    1. What should I be looking out for?
    2. What kind minimizes digestive agony?
    3. Is there a better product for women specifically?
    4. What balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat should I look for?
    5. Is there a brand you recommend?
    I hope this is not too much to ask, but I immediately thought of you for help when my doctor told me about it.
    Thanks Sagan!

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Ooooh yes, I know what you mean – there are so many different types of protein powders out there and some of them are absolutely awful in terms of taste and nutrition. But there are a couple good ones!

      Let me think about this one for a bit so I can do a little research – I’ll write a blog post about it to answer all your questions more fully 🙂

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