It’s an ancient story. Pedanius Dioscorides (circa 40—90 AD) was the rock star of his day. His five-book volume, De Materia Medica (“Regarding Medical Materials”), was not only a big hit throughout the Roman and Greek empires, widely read for over a millennium, but it also formed the cornerstone of modern pharmacopoeia.
A key ingredient: honey.
A botanist and physician who served as an army surgeon for the Emperor Nero, the traveling Dioscorides discovered a range of medicinal plants and roots. He attempted to identify nearly 600 such plants in his book while experimenting with preparations.
With a rich affinity for nature and a sound knowledge of empirical techniques, Dioscorides learned how to benefit from the honeybees. He used their antiseptic nectar to treat wounds, ulcers, swelling, coughing, and stomach disease, among other ailments.
Today, Peter Molan, PhD., professor of Biochemistry and director of the Honey Research Unit University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, has compiled a database of clinical findings on honey’s efficacy to treat numerous conditions. His findings support the longstanding knowledge that honey can be used topically to rapidly heal wounds, and to prevent wound infection. It is also beneficial in suppressing inflammation, decreasing edema, and stimulating tissue growth.
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