Some rare good news on the state of the ecosystem–Urban bees are flourishing. As an example, this photo of my bee garden, otherwise known as ‘weeds’…
With the world decline of honeybee population, an unexpected habitat is booming: the urban bee. Cities around the world –like London, Paris, Tokyo, New York City, and San Francisco–are becoming the home of urban beekeepers. Ironically, by some measures, urban apiaries are doing better than their rural couterparts. In many urban areas pesticides have been banned, making it easier for bees to survive. The diversity of flowers found in city gardens, parks, roof terraces, and balconies, offer a more varied and constant (albeit smaller) nectar source that than the monoculture flower crops typically found in rural areas.
Not only that, Rhode Island’s own Dr.Allen Dennison is doing research on a fact known to the ancients.
Honey heals wounds.
Honey is a mixture of concentrated sugars that immediately dehydrate a bacterial cell, rendering it immobile, though without necessarily killing it. Young Dr. Keith Monchik, of the Orthopedic Service at Rhode Island Hospital (RIH), went to Haiti with our team from the Ocean State to treat earthquake victims. They ran out of usual wound-care creams quickly but a senior military nurse reminded the team that sugar packs from their rations always work in a pinch to keep a wound from getting infected through the same mechanism. He reported gratifying results to the RIH medical staff.
The high osmotic value of honey draws fluids out of wounds. This decreases tissue pressure, thus admitting more new blood, with, of course, oxygen, as well as healing elements and protective immune-system cells. As the fluid hits the honey, small amounts of hydrogen peroxide are produced, very toxic to bacteria but not to fibroblasts and healing elements. Honey derived from medicinally active nectars such as tea tree and eucalyptus may have additional value, and the Food and Drug Administration has allowed their importation and marketing.
Read the whole Providence Journal article for the specifics of what kind of wounds and how the honey is used, especially if you’re considering trying this at home. As Dr.Dennison says, wounds due to diabetes or poor circulation need a doctor’s attention. (When my cat bit me on the hand I was on IV antibiotics in less than an hour– you can’t treat deep and infected with a topical ointment. I feel I have to say this because so many of us lack access to a doctor.)
This is pretty exciting research. I’ve taken care of people with various wound treatments and usually they get better, but the products are very expensive and not available to everyone.
It’s been a bitter week, so time for something sweet.