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How Manuka Honey Helps Heal Wounds

When it comes to wound care, the sweet goodness of Manuka Honey is making a comeback in the veterinary community. Groundbreaking holistic vets like Dr. Richard Palmquist, who you’ll meet Saturday on Tripawd Talk Radio, has long been an advocate for applying Manuka honey to wounds

Manuka flowers and native bee. Source: Wikipedia

According to Dr. Jean Dodds, this unique strain of raw honey from New Zealand is being used by both conventional and holistic veterinarians for patients with wound-healing complications.

When applied to the wound, Manuka honey has been shown to kill more than 250 strains of bacteria, including:

  • MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)
  • VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)
  • Helicobacter pylori (which can cause stomach ulcers)

We first heard about Manuka Honey when Tripawds member Charley had an oozing pressure sore on his elbow. His veterinarian, the renowned Dr. Karen Becker, suggested Manuka honey. Charley’s pawrent says:

Charlie, my nine year old Lab, is a right rear leg Tripawd. Right after his amputation he got a pretty serious pressure sore on his left front elbow. Before getting a custom wrap made, our holistic vet, Dr. Karen Becker, recommended trying Makuna honey. It worked beautifully!

Charlie now gets occasional sores on his remaining back “ankle”. The honey clears it right up. It has to be raw honey, of which Makuna is a special kind. It is great stuff, with antibacterial properties. I use it on my own cuts too. It might be hard to keep dogs from licking it, even when wrapped, but applying it at bed time might help. Charlie still took the wrap off, but thankfully just a touch of Makuna honey works wonders.

Keep in mind that Manuka Honey is NOT the kind you see at the supermarket: that one should never be used on wounds. Manuka honey is medical-grade, sterilized honey that should only be applied to an open wound by your veterinarian at diagnosis. Users must be cautious of fake Manuka honey products too.

According to, Manuka honey is different because:

Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity. Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but Active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.

The level of UMF can vary between batches, so each batch is ranked and priced accordingly. The higher the concentration of UMF, the darker, thicker, and more expensive it is. . . A rating of UMF 10 or higher is recommended for medicinal use.

IMPORTANT: Never apply any type of honey without consulting your veterinarian first. Here are some resources to learn more and share the dialogue:

Dr. Jean Dodds: Raw Honey, Sweet Food for the Health of Your Pet The Sweet Golden Treat That Can Help Wipe Out Deadly MRSA
PetMD: Honey is Great for Wound Care, But Not All Honeys Are Created Equal
Veterinary Practice News: Jump Starting the Healing with Manuka Honey

5 thoughts on “How Manuka Honey Helps Heal Wounds”

  1. To determine if the Manuka honey you are looking at purchasing is UMF verified you can check it out on this website
    The companies have had their honey rated and are licensed to carry the UMF rating which assures purity and quality. Not all sold has the health benefits you may be looking for.

    • Hello Kay. First consult with your vet about the incision wound. At two weeks it should be dried up. There could be an infection going on which may require antibiotics. Makuna honey is typically applied on the wound and then bandaged. But we recommend seeing a holistic veterinarian to guide you in its use, as makuna honey comes in varying grades of quality and efficiency. Best wishes to you and your pup.


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