Health Check: The healing properties of honey

In ancient times, bee keeping was widely practiced and the honey bee itself was considered sacred in some circles.

And there appears to be a resurgence of the utilization of the healing properties in this sweet nectar.

"Honey has been used for thousands of years to heal. It has a property of preserving things. It preserves itself because it's the bees' bank account. It's their energy," said Dr. Allen Dennison of the Medical Associated of Rhode Island.

Dennison, an internist and assistant bee keeper, said he's been a bee-believer for more than 30 years. And he's passing along his extensive knowledge to other health care professionals.

For allergies, Dennison advises his patients to take a teaspoon of raw honey from a local supplier, put it underneath their tongue before breakfast every morning and let it melt for a few minutes.

Over time, the local honey is believed to help desensitize you to your environmental allergies.

For dry skin, Dennison uses a mixture.

"I like to mix this product or local honey with Aquaphor. Aquaphor is a Vaseline-type product and I mix it half and half," he said.

The product is MEDIHONEY and the mixture can be applied to areas where your skin is especially dry, like the heels of your feet.

"I like to rub a small amount of it on the heel. I like to go in between the toes and I rub it in," he said.

MEDIHONEY is unique in that it offers the first FDA-approved, pre-packaged methods of utilizing honey in the healing process.

"MEDIHONEY is special honey that comes from a monoculture, the tea tree plant, which is in New Zealand," Dennison said.

There are different pre-packaged products that are FDA-approved to treat diabetic wounds, first- and second-degree burns as well as some traumatic and surgical wounds.

"Bacteria are getting wise to our antibacterial ointments. Honey is going to fill the breach. It has a chemical resistance to any kind of bacteria or by yeast, and that's why honey will also protect your wound for the same reason.

Dennison recently spoke at the Evergreen House Health Center in East Providence.

For Dennison's Dry Skin Ointment:

One part local honey or MEDIHONEY ointmentOne part AquaphorMix together

For Allergies:

For spring allergies, Dennison suggests putting a teaspoon of lighthoney under your tongue first thing in the morning and letting it dissolvethere for a few minutes.

For fall allergies, Dennison suggests using dark (local) honey. Thedark honey, he says, has goldenrod in it, which gives it its dark color.