Almost four years ago in my “Diabetes Update” newsletter I wrote about an ancient remedy that is being used again to treat stubborn wounds and ulcers. These ulcers are a major threat to anybody with diabetes who has neuropathy.
On first blush, that treatment, using so-called sterile maggots, sounded pretty sour. I wondered then whether blood letting or leeches would be the next wound treatment to resurface.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The newly rediscovered ancient treatment is much sweeter – honey. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity.
Until one of my correspondents, Kit Emory, brought this old-new treatment to my attention, all that I knew about honey was that it was a wonderful natural sweetener with an average glycemic index of 55, which puts it in the low glycemic range. But that average masks a wide range of different types of honey, all the way from 32 for Romanian locust honey to 87 for an unspecified variety of honey tested in Canada.
The range o...
Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures .
-Anthony Machado, “Last Night as I Was Sleeping”
Sweetness and honey: two words that might elevate bloodsugars of diabetics everywhere just by imagining them. Yet I love this poem and these lines in particular. Because even though the old failures are there (and always will be), there’s comfort there, too.
Machado’s bees remind me that this is how we learn. We learn to change not by getting it right all the time, but by getting it wrong. More often than not, we learn what to do by learning what not to do (reason enough to read this and other SharePosts ). Of course, I can’t help but look at Machado’s poem through the eyes of a diabetic…a diabetic who has gotten it wrong as many times as she’s gotten it right.
Honey is a sweet food made by bees from the nectar of flowers. This substance is composed of a complex mixture of water, carbohydrates and other minor compounds such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. It has been used for thousands of years by humans and for many good reasons.
Cortes, Vigil, and Montenegro (2011) looked at the benefits of honey to human health and their findings are enough to make anyone want to hug the nearest honey bear. For example, honey can help us with the aging process by improving our defenses against oxidative stress. Consumption of honey can help stabilize the free radicals in our bodies that cause cell damage and death.
Honey can also help the immune system. Honey has been known to trigger a response to infection and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Its antimicrobial capacities have even caused some to recommend it for wound care.
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