The science of our honey

Posted by Danielle de Villiers on

The magic that is Fynbos honey

Its acidity, high sugar content and the presence of hydrogen peroxide — all allow this local sweet stuff to work its magic when it comes to healing wounds

Not just any honey

We use medical-grade honey. Unfortunately you can’t just use store bought edible honey. Apart from many store bought honeys not being 100% honey, some unprocessed honeys can be harmful. Up to 26% of raw (unprocessed) honey contains Clostridium botulinum spores, which results in botulism – a potentially fatal illness.
Our Medical-grade honey is specially treated (getting rid of the harmful bacterial spores and keeping the enzymes intact) which store bought honeys aren’t. This is to make sure no bacterial spores are introduced into the wound which can cause infection in an already compromised wound.

Medical-grade multifloral Fynbos honey - a unique resource

Honey is composed of water, sugars, amino acids, wax, pollen, pigments, minerals, and enzymes. The activity or potency of honey varies according to composition. This is dependent on many factors; geographical location, botanical origin, bee sub-species, season and post-harvest treatment. What many people don’t realize is that we have a unique resource in South Africa, namely our multifloral Fynbos honey, from the Cape biome. South Africa possesses a significant floral biodiversity with many unique, indigenous plants. There are over 30 000 plant species in South Africa, of which the Cape boasts one of the most diverse temperate flora on earth, including over 3000 plant species that are used therapeutically. This is why we chose multifloral honey - meaning it contains several floral origins.

Our honey has some great mechanisms for stopping bacteria in their tracks and encouraging the healing process. These are:

Creating a moist wound environment

The high viscosity of our honey creates a barrier that helps to keep microbes and foreign particles out of the wound. It reduces the adherence of dressings to wounds making removal of bandages easier. This moist barrier over the wound also prevents the healing cells from drying out and reduces scarring.

Acidity

A handy property is that our honey is acidic. The pH of our honey ranges between 3.4 and 5.5. Bacterial colonization associated with wound beds and chronic wounds tend to create a higher pH environment (> 7.4). The low pH of our honey creates a wound bed that is unfavourable for bacteria to grow. Lowering the pH of the wound bed also promotes wound healing.

Lots of sugar and very little water

Lots of sugar and very little water deprives bacteria of the water they need for survival. The water in and around the wound is attracted to the sugar in the honey. As water passes through the wound into the honey, it picks up dirt, bacteria and debris, cleaning the wound - a term known as autolytic debridement. Debridement is the removal of unhealthy or dead tissue. Bacteria and foreign particles love to attach to dead tissue, so by removing the dead tissue this contributes to an improved healing environment and faster recovery time.

Hydrogen peroxide

Our honey contains an enzyme known as Invertase. This enzyme converts sucrose into simpler glucose and fructose, and glucose oxidase. Glucose oxidase produces gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. The gluconic acid contributes to the acidity of honey. The hydrogen peroxide prevents the growth of bacteria.

Removal of bad smells

All of the above actions help to remove any bad smells in the wound which are usually caused by bacteria colonizing the wound and dead tissue.

Multifloral Fynbos honey has superior wound healing properties

Superior wound healing

Our Fynbos honey has superior wound healing properties. Published data demonstrates that Multifloral honeys have higher ORAC values (level of antioxidant content) than monofloral honey and that Fynbos honey has higher MGO (Methylglyoxal) levels than other honey.

The MGO (Methylglyoxal) level of Fynbos honey has been found to be effective in eradicating biofilms formed by some bacteria.The concentration range of MGO (693 - 1261 mg/kg) was found to effectively kill Gram positive and negative bacteria, but was not cytotoxic to cells in vitro (per published study).

Sustainably sourced

Professor Albert Einstein was presumed to have stressed the fact that should bees become extinct, mankind would only survive three to five years further, dying of starvation. Bees are a keystone species and the sustainability of our honey is of utmost importance. Our beekeepers are part of The South African Bee Industry Organization (SABIO) and register annually through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries ensuring their bee colonies are protected and kept disease free. The beehives have been established since the 1960s and are moved to different flowering areas as needed. The strict regulations that we follow to ensure our honey is medical grade also means that we have to make sure our honey is sustainably sourced and that it is 100% pure honey.


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