For those who’ve been fortunate enough to never have it, eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a condition that causes the skin to become both scratchy and red. While it’s most commonly seen in children, flare-ups can occur at any age. This makes it crucial for adults and parents alike to know how to treat eczema when it rears its ugly head, with topical steroids, coal tar, and immunosuppressive drugs being fairly standard treatments for affected areas. If you’re looking for additional, alternative treatments to be used in conjunction with these more typical options, one of several natural products you might keep in mind is Manuka honey, which some studies allegedly state may help treat eczema through topical use.
Last year, a study published via the journal Immunity, Inflammation, and Disease found that Manuka honey could help treat atopic dermatitis, given the honey’s supposed abilities in reducing bacterial activity and helping the immune system. During this study, participants applied Manuka honey to an area of skin affected by eczema and let it sit overnight, a process they repeated for seven days in a row. Researchers swabbed the area of skin affected by eczema both before the honey was applied and afterward.
Toward the end of this published study, Dr. Abdullah Alangari with King Saud University’s Pediatrics Department in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia stated, “Manuka honey is potentially effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis skin damage based on both clinical and cellular studies.” However, Alangari and his colleagues added that this must be “confirmed by randomized and controlled clinical trials.”
In case you don’t already know, Manuka honey is derived from honeybees who pollinate and gather nectar from the Manuka bush, which is native to New Zealand. “Not all honey is the same,” says WebMD. “The antibacterial quality of honey depends on the type of honey as well as when and how it’s harvested.” According to clinical nutritionist Josh Axe, the “unique” Manuka honey may help with “healing sore throats and digestive illnesses to curing Staph infections and gingivitis,” but he did add the warning to “take the honey with caution if you’re allergic to bees and report any adverse reactions to your [general practitioner] immediately.”
While individuals suffering from eczema should consult their physician for treating their condition and adhere to standard treatment methods, it may help to add in a more naturalistic approach as well, starting with the use of Manuka honey. You’ll not only have additional help for your condition, but you’ll also have a high-quality honey on hand for other issues—and food needs.
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